re: re Group Project
Sep 19, 1995 11:01 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
>I found the J.J. van der Leeuw article you posted very, very
>interesting indeed. I didn't agree with all of it, maybe about
>half, but each and every paragraph made me think -- HARD --
>about where ULT is, and where the movement as a whole is going.
I feel gratified to know that this article made you rethink
about ULT and the Movement as a whole. It seems that this is
exactly what van der Leeuw wanted us to do with his pamphlet.
Remember it was issued in crises times. Of course, van der Leeuw
was speaking from his experience in the Adyar Society and was
really addressing Adyar issues, so a lot would not apply to ULT
or Pasadena, yet a lot of the same dynamics were going on--It
seems that in some ways, the three Organizations have led
>First off, J.J. van der Leeuw is certainly right about the
>difference between Theology (he defines it as "discussion" about
>the divine) and Theosophy ("experience" of the divine). That is
>a good distinction, and emphasizes that Theosophy is to be
>applied, and not just studied and then we all sit around saying
>How Marvelous, How Beautiful! It's so lovely!
Yes, and perhaps there is some instinctive rebellion about
this. I've noticed that participants on this net listen to the
"messenger", whoever they think that is (i.e. HPB, AB, CWL etc.),
but someone like you or Eldon who are only repeating the message
meet with resistance. Interesting dynamic.
>I also think J.J. van der Leeuw's point about pseudo-tolerance
>is a good one. We cannot refuse to criticize, and simply say
>"I'll take the good and leave the bad." That means the bad is
>accepted, allowed to remain, and probably to grow. For
>instance, we apparently have blackballed discussion of CWL's
>"bad side" from this board, which I find perfectly ridiculous.
>If we can't hold up ideas and events to scrutiny, then we have
>no right to say "we pursue the truth."
Reading between the lines concerning pseudo-tolerance, I
think van der Leeuw is alluding to the subtle techniques that
were used by the ES to control criticism and undesirable
independent thinking. There are lots of instances of this, but
only an historian would be aware of them at this point. Yet,
this same dynamic continues on into the present. An important
technique used today in the ES, (and also effectively used to
control Lodge discussions) is to inform the independent thinking
offender that what they expressed is only their opinion. For
instance, in a Lodge meeting I might make an unwelcome statement
such as: "Judge was one of the founders of the TS." I would be
told "that is only your opinion." If I shut up, the damage is
stayed and status quo is kept. If I protest and say that I am
not expressing opinion but historical fact, I would be told: "you
are being dogmatic." Further argumentation on my part would
bring the added charge that I'm bring dis-harmony to the Lodge,
etc. Believe me it is very effective, and I have watched many
many Adyar meetings over the years being controlled this way.
Perhaps others might share control techniques used in ULT and
Point Loma groups.
Gosh, I hope honest discussion about CWL is not banned.
That would be hypocrisy at its highest as I see it. Surely, I
have noticed a bias here about what may be discussed. For
instance, comments that HPB smoked hashish appeared three or four
times on this board that I'm aware of, and I was the only person
who responded to the allegations. I wasn't at all offended, nor
did I express any offence. I just evaluated the evidence. I
have done the same with CWL and even defended him on an occasion
or two. Yet whenever something negative about CWL is posted,
there is usually someone to protest that they are offended. Yet
these same people never expressed any offense concerning the
postings about HPB. There was only silence. I think that if the
issue was really based upon principle, the same people who
express indignation over CWL would express the same indignation
over HPB. Since they have not, it leads me to believe that the
issue is not saying negative things about theosophical leaders,
but saying negative things about CWL. What do you think?
So, my understanding is that we can still talk critically
about CWL, HPB etc. on theos-l, but historical discussions should
be on theos-roots. For instance, it would be fair game for us to
discuss CWL's Mars observations on theos-l, but a discussion of
the 1906 CWL scandal, or the Coulomb conspiracy, or the Hodgson
Report, or the Judge case should go on theos-roots.
>What I didn't appreciate about J.J. van der Leeuw's article was
>his demand, a very scholarly one, that we make everything
>verifiable to reason. Theosophy is certainly reasonable, and
>much in it is perfectly logical, uniform under the law of
>analogy, etc. But if there is anything truly SPIRITUAL in
>Theosophy, we cannot expect it fo conform to the logical
>constraints of the lower mind. This doesn't mean that we have
>to fall prey to constant revelations, Lo! here and Lo! there.
I agree, if this was van der Leeuw's point. My reading of
this is that he was making the old faith verses reason argument:
That we need to subject what we learn to reason and experience
rather than taking it on faith on the authority of the Masters or
their mouth pieces. Once again there was a very historical
reason for this that would be clearer to someone living at that
time, or to someone who had studied this historical period.
Besant, Leadbeater and Arundale were making regular proclamations
in those days. Leeuw gave some examples, such as the
establishment of the Liberal Catholic Church and Co-Masonry to do
the World Teacher's work, and the establishment of twelve
disciples. But Krishnamurti protested these things. Leeuw
pointed out than whenever Krishnamurti made a statement that
contradicted the theosophical leaders, it was explained that
Krishnamurti was speaking his own opinion (sound familiar?), and
the world teacher was not speaking through him. As van der Leeuw
The interesting situation arises that a few people are to be
credited with the ability to tell us when Krishnamurti
speaks and when the World Teacher is speaking. The result
would seem to be that when the opinions agree with their
own, it is the World Teacher speaking, while otherwise it is
Mr. Krishnamurti. The only one who evidently is not to be
believed, when he says that the World Teacher is speaking,
is Mr. Krishnamurti himself.
So I think Leeuw is trying to say that we need to put reason and
experience above blind faith.
>It means we can be sensitive to intuition and mysticism and
>personal growth (a point J.J. van der Leeuw himself makes) and
>not expect everything to be publicly verifiable. If I get a
>flash during meditation or whenever, it is worth looking at even
>if not verbally expressible. But I don't have to go around
>parading before everyone Look At Me, I Got A Flash! It Must Be
>From The Masters! We must not force our own mysticism upon
>others -- including our psychic adventures!
Yes, and this kind of nonsense was running rampant at the
>I also question J.J. van der Leeuw's idea that life is
>meaningless and has meaning only in the experience. Reflection
>is valuable, I believe, to understand our experience. He is
>right, I think, to help us avoid being controlled by OTHER
>PEOPLE's systems, to let Theosophy dictate to us what single
>thing our experience means. But the ideas of Karma and
>Reincarnation, for instance, help explain many things to me, and
>I don't need a dictator or a prophet to apply them to myself.
As I read him, I think you are both saying much the same
>J.J. van der Leeuw is surely right in criticizing the constant
>revelations of the old Adyar Society, and even though much of
>that has stopped, and the Krishnamurti INSANITY is over, there
>is still the distinct air that the teachings have all been
>given, all we need to do is ingest what has been delivered.
>There is little space for individual creativity and insight.
>That's really a shame.
I Think the Adyar Society is still open to progressive
revelation. It seems that they go in the other direction and
embrace everything that "sounds theosophical." On the other
hand, and ironically, there is a rigidity that protects a block
of doctrine as "Theosophy", while the rest is "theosophy." That
seems to be why the Boston Lodge was challenged--those who
control the "Theosophy" lost the lodge to "theosophy". But you
know more about that than I do.
>At the same time, revelation is not ALWAYS contradictory to
>self-knowledge. J.J. van der Leeuw presents the Masters as
>demanding complete, unquestioning obedience. I don't read that
>at all in HPB and Mr. Judge's works.
I think van der Leeuw was critically talking about the
attitudes about the Masters at the time rather than what the
Masters expected in reality. I found an article in the
that those who were devoted to the Masters were like soldiers who
were to take orders without question, because the Masters are so
superior in their understanding. Of course CWL and AB were the
mouth pieces for the Masters, so in effect he was asking the
membership to follow his orders and revelations without question.
This attitude still dominates in the ES today.
>Working with the Masters does NOT mean giving up self-reliance
>or self-knowledge. The problem is that today, perhaps we rely
>overly, not on the Masters, but on their substitutes, our
>LEADERS, letting them do our thinking for us.
I think van der Leeuw would agree.
>J.J. van der Leeuw is very insightful and I very much
>appreciated the study and hearing people's comments.
And thanks for yours.
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