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Re: To Rick & Liesel

Aug 30, 1995 04:54 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker


>Rick: <Is Theosophy becoming a religion or religions?
>If so, is this the decline of Theosophy?>

HPB speaks of Theosophy as the Wisdom Religion. There's nothing,
I'd say, bad about religion per se, except for the rapid corruption
in the organziations in the world, as unqualified individuals seeking
personal power over others eventually take over. (This is not, of
course, the only thing that goes wrong in religious organizations!)
We basically have rather precious wine that is rapidly turned foul
in inappropriate or ill-suited bottles.

>In my view it is neither a step up or down, but
>rather inevitable given the formulations of the
>human mind. HPB speaks a lot about theosophy
>forming the cornerstone of a worldwide religion
>especially as it itself incorporates many many
>ideas from the world's religions. Judge states
>that theosophy is the cornerstone of a new
>"western occultism" but alas, never defines what
>he means.

Making a worldwide religion may have been wishful thinking on her
part, knowing what happens to relgions as their initial impulse
dies down, and followers take charge. For the greater religions,
initiated by Avataras, does it even take a few centuries for the
inspiration to be lost and another secular organization in religious
garb to arise?

Western occultism may be a different matter, depending upon how
we refer to the "occult". If we refer to the science of the hidden
side of things, certainly our spiritual development leads us to a
greater insight into the workings of life. If we refer to the "occult"
in the sense of powers over nature and others, we're talking about
faculties that arise naturally in our lives, when karmically appropriate,
or faculties that can be trained if we have a suitable Teacher. The
greatest danger in any such development is that it does not go
hand-in-hand with a transcendence of the sense of personality and
a growing unselfish concern for the welfare of others.

>However, I for one, find only a hair's
>breath between occultism and psychism. As most
>of you already know, the historical cornerstone
>of western occultism is that left to us by the
>ancient Egyptians. Alas, they too delved into
>psychism apparently oblivious to its dangers
>right up to the end.

There is a thin, but deadly dividing line. Again it's a matter of
motivation and inner spiritual readiness. The consequences upon ourselves
and others of our actions, when we deal with occult forces, are more
wide-reaching, subtler, and more difficult to handle properly. It's
not merely a matter of saying it's good or it's bad.

The other aspect to this is not regarding any dangers to the occultist,
but rather the need for such powers. I'd suggest that few people actually
need occult powers, but there is a general need for people to firmly
root their feet on the Path. And Purucker makes it clear that one of the
first steps for new students is to shut down the psychic, to concentrate
on the spiritual and selflessness, to deal with life in a simple, plain,
but magically spiritual way.

>Liesel: <"Formalize, 'develop' & systematize the
>teachings", and you're a dead duck, in my
>opinion. If you constrain teachings by boxing
>them in, you create stultified fossils, instead
>of a living breathing doctrine, which can
>inspire people.>

The Teachings need to be presented along with a healthy process of
dealing with them. We need both the content and the process. Without
the proper process, we become fixed in one "snapshot" of the Teachings,
which becomes rigid over time and blocks out any further creative
search into deeper Truths. An incredible degree of flexibility is
needed along with the proper content if we are to put it to use.

>One part of me agrees with you here. But another
>says that you are dreaming. The "systematized"
>teachings are already given to us ala HPB and the
>MLs. Its a done deal, and to say otherwise is
>wishful thinking. All of the TSs except Adyar
>have already systematized the teachings by making
>HPB and her Master's writings gospel. Only Adyar
>has dared to try to further their work by "extending"
>it into new territory - and they are soundly
>criticized for their efforts by the other TSs.

I'd disagree and say that each group has gone further in its own
way. The Point Loma branch, for instance, includes such key ideas
as the twelvefold scheme of things (an expansion upon the sevenfold
scheme), further teachings on Swabhava, Inner and Outer Rounds,
the various Monads and how they are different from the Principles,
the Boundless All, and many more ideas that are more than simple
elaborations upon what HPB has previously said. Many of us would
consider Purucker as a further Teacher, equally representative of
the Masters. Others from a different theosophical variant would
discount any special status to Purucker and give high regard to
their own favorite figures.

>Let me give you one simple example. A couple years
>ago, Don de Gracia wrote a Windows help file on
>theosophy proportedly for new people to give them
>an idea of what theosophy is (rather in the nature
>of advertising). I, and many others jumped on him
>for failing to even mention reincarnation and
>karma, which I saw as key theosophical teachings
>(rather in the nature of Eldon's "core teachings"
>for which he got trounced by many on this net). My
>point is, that without core teachings, or key
>doctrinal ideas, or whatever we want to call such
>systematization such as reincarnation and karma,
>we are left in the rather embarrassing position
>of having an organization without any real definition.
>The whole argument of "what is theosophy" lies at
>the root of systematizing or leaving things loose
>and nebulous. Maybe its my age, but I find
>myself agreeing with Eldon, that we do, in fact,
>need "core teachings" for our self-identity. How
>else can headquarters throw someone out? But perhaps
>even more importantly, how else can we recognize
>others as "fellow theosophists" and how can we ever
>hope to promote it, if we can't even define it
>(definition is formalization)?

The definition is not formalization in a negative sense unless
it is down without any *associated process* of learning and
relating to the Teachings. The Teachings are already dead, if
presented in a book without any way of helping the reader to
make them a *living reality*.

-- Eldon

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