Re: Source Teachings, Core Teachings of Theosophy
Sep 17, 1995 08:11 AM
In several postings over the last few weeks, I have seen reference to the
"source teachings" of Theosophy as consisting of the writings of H.P. Blavatsky,
the letters of the Mahatmas, and the writings of William Judge.
>From a historical perspective, I would say that HPB's writings and the letters
of the Mahatams constitute such "source teachings" but I would not include
Mr. Judge's works.
In saying this I am not attemtping to cast aspersions on Judge's character or
writings, etc. Mr. Judge was a remarkable man and did so much for Theosophy.
He died when he was only 44 years old; almost 45! He is surely one of the
3 original founders of the T.S.etc. etc.
Nevertheless, I agree with one PhD of religion: Dr. Robert Ellwood, when he
writes in his book THEOSOPHY, p. 217: "H.P. Blavatsky...is regarded by all
modern theosophical movements as the most important theosophical writer
and teacher of the modern era."
Serious Blavatsky students that I know would agree with Dr. Ellwood's statement.
Some of these Blavatsky students would also put Judge in that categroy but
other equally serious Blavatsky students would not. Instead of Judge, some
Blavatsky students believe that Annie Besant would be in that category with
HPB. Other students believe that G. de Purucker has given the world the best
commentaries, etc. on HPB's Secret Doctrine. etc. etc.
But if there had been no other Theosophical writers, other than H.P. Blavatsky,
Theosophists and other interested seekers, would have a huge Blavatsky corpus
of writings to read, study, research, etc. Add to all these writings (more than
20 volumes!) the Mahatma Letters (3 volumes) and you have more than 10,000
pages of source material and source teaching. How many Theosophical students
have taken advantage of this source material?
In 1891, at HPB's death, she was the most prolific Theosophical writer. She
had written approximately 1000 articles in a public career of 17 years and had
published the following books:
Isis Unveiled (1877) 2 large volumes
The Secret Doctrine (1888) 2 large volumes
The Key to Theosophy (1889)
The Voice of the Silence (1891)
[1891 should be 1889!]
Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge (2 volumes, 1890 and 1891)
She had written for private E.S. use 3 Esoteric Instructions and given
verbally to her Inner Group a body of teachings.
Soon after her death, her works The Theosophical Glossary and Nightmare
Tales were pubishled and in 1897 the third volume of the Secret Doctrine
Even in 1900, HPB was probably still the most prolific Theosophical writer
of modern times.
In 1995, we have 14 volumes of her Collected articles and miscellaneous
works. More unpublished MSS are still to be published, etc.
When we add the 3 volumes of the letters of the Masters, we have a large
body of source teachings which first emanated *through* H.P. Blavatsky
beginning on Oct. 27, 1874 and ending on April 27, 1891. She wrote more than
10,000 pages in longhand. And if we are to believe HPB's critics, she also
penned by hand the vast majority of the letters from the Masters! Did this
lady ever sleep or do anything else but write?
In the preface to her first major work ISIS UNVEILED, she says:
"The work now submitted to public judgment is the fruit of a somewhat
intimate acquaintance with Eastern adepts and study of their science....
we came into contact with certain men, endowed with such mysterious powers
and such profound knowledge that we may truly desinate them as the sages
of the Orient. To their instructions we lent a ready ear."
And if we are to believe what Master K.H. says in one of his letters:
"This state of hers [HPBs] is intimately connected with her occult training
in Tibet, and due to her being sent out alone into the world to gradually
prepare the way for others. After nearly a century of fruitless search,
our chiefs had to avail themselves of the only opportunity to send out a
European *body* ......." etc, etc.
And we could quote other statements of Koot Hoomi and Morya to the same effect.
And as I said at the beginning of this posting, I am not denigrating
W.Q. Judge's writings. But in historical fairness, should we not,
at the very least, also include Annie Besant's early Theosophical
writings if we want to include Judge's in the "source teachings"
HPB thought very highly of Judge. But she also thought very highly of Besant.
I could give quotes from HPB about Judge and Besant, but will not at this point.
Mrs. Besant wrote at an early stage of her Theosophical career three remarkable
books *The Seven Principles of Man (1892), *Reincarnation (1892) and *Death
and After? (1893). If Mr. Judge's book The Ocean of Theosophy is considered
"source teaching" material, why not these three works by Mrs. Besant?
And why not the writings of T. Subba Row, who was a pupil of Master M. and
highly regarded by HPB? And why not the writings of Damodar, a pupil of the
And after HPB's death, Annie Besant and William Judge in a joint E.S.
communication (dated May 27, 1891) write:
"The departure of our Teacher, H.P.B........We who write to you claim over
you no authority save such as she delegated to us. We are your fellow
students, chosen by her---the Messenger of the Masters of the Wisdom---as
Their channels to the measure of our ability.....For the use of all of
us, there are written teachings left by HPB in our hands that will give
food for study and thought for many a year to come......"
And even in July-August, 1894 when there had developed serious tensions and
difficulties between Judge and Besant, they signed an E.S.T. document of which
I give a brief extract:
"...we have our fundamental unity and channel in the Masters and in Their
mouthpiece---our Teacher in this School---our recognized Head H.P.B......
We remain throughout the world the one School....founded by H.P.B.,
recognizing her as our Teacher and the Masters as our foundation, having in
common her Headship, the Instructions she left, and the Rules of the School."
In light of all of the above and much I have not gone into, I believe it would
be proper from not only a historical perspective but from an esoteric
perspective to view H.P.B.'s writings and the Mahatma letters as "source
teachings" of Theosophy. Possibly other Theosophists (including Judge, Besant,
Subba Row) added greatly to that original foundation. Let each student
decide for himself or herself. But for the student who believe in HPB's
bona fides (and that doesn't mean that one has to blindly accept in some
fundamentalist fashion HPB's and the Master's writings as some dogmatic
scripture) would it not be a wise course of action to not only read, but also
to study, ponder, meditate, etc. on this marvelous 10, 000 plus pages of
writings emanating from this strange Russian woman and her Teachers?
"...we have broken the silence of centuries...." K.H in 1884.
I hope nothing I have said in this posting will be misunderstood. I am
not attacking William Q. Judge whom HPB said in 1888 was a "chela of thirteen
years" and a hard, very hard worker for Theosophy. Neither am I advocating
some sort of blind, dogmatic belief in HPB's words as though what she said
was infallible. What I am suggesting and encouraging is a new and possbily
renewed appreciation of her writings. I am certainly suggesting that students
(old and new to Theosophy) should undertake the careful reading, study, etc.
of what HPB originally wrote and what the Masters originally wrote in their
efforts to break "the silence of centuries."
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