The Study of the Mahatma Letters
Feb 28, 1995 08:42 PM
The idea to study the Mahatma Letters is a great idea!
In my opinion, the best edition to read and study is the new
Chronological edition published by The Theosophical Publishing
House, Phillipines. Copies of this new edition can be purchased
from TPH, Wheaton, from Theosophical University Press and from
Point Loma Publications. I believe all of these publishers are
selling it for $28.00.
I would urge all individuals on theos-l to obtain a copy. It is
well worth the money.
I would also invite everyone to read the MLs trying to forget
everything you think you know about Theosophy. This can be a
quite interesting experience if you try!
2 or 3 essential background books for the study of the MLs are:
The Occult World by A.P. Sinnett
Esoteric Buddhism by A.P. Sinnett
Isis Unveiled by H.P.B.
There are other books which are essential for the understanding
of the MLs but these three are very helpful.
Concerning Letter No. 10 [the letter on God], I would like to
suggest that one should also read Letter No. 22 and Letter No.
134 in conjunction with Letter No. 10. [Letter Numbers are to
the first 3 editions of the MLs and not to the 4th edition
(chronological); I am quoting from memory!]
There are many books which would help one to understand what the
Mahatma is getting at in these letters on God. One good source
which most students of Theosophy are probably not aware of, is
Arthur W. Osborn's Quest Book *The Cosmic Womb*. Mr. Osborn
chapters on "What is Ultimate Reality?", "About the Word `God',
"The Location of God", and "God and Evil" are a valuable
commmentary on Letters 10, 22 and 134.
Another good book that outlines the concept of "God" in the
western sense is Dr. John Hick's *The Philosophy of Religion*.
Concerning whether HPB was an atheist or not: I believe she would
say that she was an A-theist, ie. NOT a theist but more a
pan-theist if the word "pantheism" is understood in the proper
Letters 10, 22 and 134 contain profound concepts but they need to
be read and understood in the light of HPB's *Secret Doctrine*
and other writings of HPB.
Unfortunately, these 3 letters have been misunderstood by many
Theosophists, including Dr. Hugh Shearman and even Colonel Henry
Also the letters need to be viewed within the context of
mysticism, the Hindu doctrine of "Atman" and "Para-Brahman" and
the Buddhists doctrines of "Nirvana" and "Sunyata", etc.
In fact, a whole commentary should be written clarifying and
elucidating Letters 10, 22, and 134. Mention by Master K.H. of
Spinoza, Samuel Clarke and Baron d'Holbach provide additional
clues to the greater understanding of these 3 letters.
I have found that one needs to read and re-read and carefully
study and meditate upon these letters and try to go beyond the
mere words to the various realities pointed to by the Master.
Also one should educate oneself about many of the names and
subjects brought up in these letters. Far too many students of
Theosophy try to fit what the Master says into their own a priori
conceptions of things instead of trying to leave their prior
"knowledge" and "beliefs" aside and attempting to really listen
and view all of what the Mahatma says from a new "frame of
I think the suggestion to study the MLs on Theos-l is a great
idea and I want to join in. How do we approach these "letters"?
Daniel H. Caldwell
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