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Bailey's conversion

Sep 11, 1995 07:39 AM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins


>Frankly I would like to hear a bit more about Bailey. I was
>reading the article on Suffering in the latest issue of Quest
>and her history came up. She was a fundamentalist and made the
>shift to something else. I am very interested in transitions
>like that so whatever you think will inform me would be helpful.
>Art Patterson

 Yes, I think Bailey is one of the most extraordinary people
of the TM. and I recommend that you read her ~Unfinished
Autobiography.~ She was raised in a wealthy fundamentalist
family, married and lost her wealth. She moved to California and
worked for a cannery in Monterey when around 1912 she became
interested in an upper class woman living in Pacific Grove who
was teaching theosophy. In her autobiography, Bailey admits
having no interest in theosophy at the time, but was attended
the Lodge to satisfy her social needs. Eventually she got
interested in theosophy and later came to Krotona (National
Headquarters of the TS at the time) where she "recognized" a
portrait of one of the masters as someone she had seen in her
childhood. Politics around this time resulted in Bailey and her
new husband to be pushed out of Krotona, but she also began to
receive clairaudiant messages that resulted in the writing and
publication of her books.

 I share your fascination in her change from fundamentalism
to theosophy, and look forward to your reading her autobiography
and sharing your insights. I believe there are lots of character
clues in her autobiography that beg exploration. My feeling is
that she was writing from almost a childlike honesty. I sensed
no fabrication, but only a simple, honest retelling of her

 The other "insight" that I feel that I have discovered about
her, concerns the nature of the theosophical teachings that she
was exposed to at the time. They were quite different from those
of HPB's day, and also different from what theosophists of today
are exposed to. She came into theosophy when new revelations
came in almost every issue of the theosophical journals and ES
journals. Krishnamurti was promoted at this early date as the
"coming of the Lord" or the return of Christ. There was an
atmosphere of Christian fundamentalism at that time that was
later toned down as they approached the twenties--perhaps because
of rising protests from the Christian communities--I'm not sure
yet. So Bailey's conversion was not a very big step at the time.
It is too bad that we don't have diaries from this early period
where we could read about her outlook as she was experiencing it.
Remember her Autobiography was written near the end of her life
and is retrospective of events 30 and more years in her past.

 Another "insight" I have is from closely reading her
this book was dictated by Djual Kul. I experienced the book to
be a restatement of ES teachings published between 1908 and 1918.
I took at look at ~Treatise on Cosmic Fire~, published some years
after she began teaching ~The Secret Doctrine.~ Bailey claims
that this book is the "psychological key to ~The Secret
Doctrine.~" Though I did not do a close reading of every page, I
did closely read much of it, and experienced it to be a confusion
of ~Secret Doctrine~ teachings syncretised with her earlier
teachings that she got in the ES. One of my students became
interested in this project and also did a close reading of
basically the same conclusions as I had, with of course, even
more insights. Based upon my experiences with her writings, I
feel that her conversion was more of a syncretism of neo and
classical theosophy. However, it was a major step from her
earlier fundamentalism. Certainly the church of her childhood
would not have tolerated reincarnation and karma, let alone her
seven rays and inner government of the world, even though Jesus
holds a high position in it.

 It all leaves me to wonder if Bailey would have had any
attraction at all to Blavatsky's teachings if she had run into
them first. Blavatsky gives no special status to Jesus in the
really push any one religious system over any other. At any
rate, she certainly does not stress Christianity. My guess is
that she would not have been attracted to it. People come into
beliefs when they have needs to be filled. Bailey tells us that
her need was in the beginning social. Perhaps the Christian
tenor of theosophy in 1912 found little conflict with her beliefs
of the time and allowed an easy transition. Theosophy of that
period was very attractive to many thousands who were drawn into
the Order of the Star, and was characterized by an imminent
expectation of the return of Christ. Not so different from
fundamentalism, I would think.

As HPB once wrote to Sinnett:
"Jesus loves you.'

Jerry Hejka-Ekins
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