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Re: Rich's new acquaintances

Aug 29, 1995 07:08 AM
by Eldon B. Tucker

>Eldon: "What matters is that the original source Teachings are taught and
>understood in our theosophical groups, even if we personally may choose to
>disagree with bits and pieces of them. When later writers disagree with HPB
>and "The Mahatma Letters," we should note and consider those differences,
>rather than cover them up or deny that they exist."
>Of all your recent, extremely intelligent posts, this strikes me as a concise
>statement of the most fundamental issue Theosophists face today:
>***What do we do with later writers who differ from the source teachings of

People have taken a number of approaches to these differences. Some would
say and believe that their favorite writers, when apparently different than
the source literature, are better. Another approach is to say that the
differences are due to apparent contradictions, that with further study would
be suitably resolved. (I'd take this approach for my favorite, Purucker, if
it can be shown that he appears to differ from HPB.) Others would deny any
differences and call any attempt to describe them as an attack on Theosophy
itself. I'm not sure why people would get upset. It's quite obvious that there
are many views on what Theosophy is that are floating around. Just look at
the diversity of postings on 'theos-l'. I'd expect that different writers,
when adding their own individual ideas and views, would also vary among

>Your are quite right, many people are denying that Leadbeater (thanks for the
>correct spelling) and Bailey and Besant and Steiner have different "takes" on
>Theosophy, and these takes are NOT, as some are so vigorously asserting,
>merely "verbal" differences.

I've noticed many kinds of differences. There are different feelings,
atmospheres, or "thought currents" to different writers. The terminology is
used differently. Some writers will add a strong Christian (or Buddhist)
slant. (There may be as much a "back-to-Buddhism" bias in some areas of
Theosophy as there is a "back-to-Christianity" bias.) And there is a difference
in manner of presentation. Some books are thoughtful, some leave the reader in
an open, puzzled, inspired state of mind (like many of Purucker's books).
Others seem to me to be more rigid, arbitrary, and dogmatic, or on the
other hand seem to read like breezy travelogues.

>Verbal differences are confusing, but really just words. Substantial
>differences are causes of grave concern, because if we lose the knowledge of
>the source teachings, we lose the vibration of the Masters, we lose our inner
>connection to the great Work being done today, and we lose Theosophy pure and

Jerry Hejka-Ekins has been good in the past at reminding us that we should
be careful with our terminology. He's been helpful with pointing out the
orginal terminology as used by HPB. Without an awareness of that terminology,
books like "The Secret Doctrine" become difficult reading.

>It continues to baffle me that people are either pretending, or are sincerely
>ignorant, that Bailey and others differ substantially from HPB. For
>instance, we read in the Secret Doctrine that every planet in this solar
>system will go through seven rounds, as seven principles or aspects are
>developed. Bailey in A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, indicates that Venus is in
>her "fifth and last round." This is not reducible to a difference of words,
>it is a flat contradiction in concepts.

I don't think that people are pretending about anything. What I think is
involved here is that there are degrees of opening to the Teachings. At
an initial intellectual contact with the literature, the student is accepting
much "on faith," accepting much based upon the apparent authority of the
author or teacher. At this stage it's difficult, if not impossible to
distinguish what is real from the unreal. It's only at a more advanced
stage of study, when the student "dives beyond the words," that it is
possible to discriminate between the genuine and metaphysical speculation.
Someone else cannot do it for one by simply telling him. Until we awaken
some degree of contact with our Inner Teachers, we are left with a bewildering
array of claims by would-be metaphysical authorities. After that awakening,
we can ourselves determine the "right books to read," although at that point
we use the books as a starting point to our studies, as a diving board to
leap off of, rather than the literal source of our learning. Since we are
dealing with spiritual truths, we need to engage a spiritual process within
ourselves to be able to discern what is true and right.

>And so students, ultimately, have to choose what to do with this and the
>myriad other substantial contradictions. Choose sides? Find a way to
>harmonize? Ignore the differences? Look for yet the next "new revelation"
>to tell us what to do?

The best approach is to present what each of us holds true in as beautiful
and useful a form as possible. Turn what we know and feel into a gift to
the world. Don't take the "double negative" of trying to cancel out in
others what we would find bad, but take the "single positive" approach of
adding our best good to the world. In the long run, the highest ideas and
truths will win out as peoples minds and hearts are uplifted.

-- Eldon Tucker

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