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RE quotes by Bee B. and Liesel D.

Oct 22, 1995 06:32 AM

"I can't see how history can help us understand or live theosophy
any better."

"I've never liked scholasticism. I'd rather read about some ideas
I can work with & use in my daily life....So I just pass over these
discussions about nomenclatures, & what the Masters were or are. My
interest in the Masters, for instance, is rather in their teachings."

Well, as Sly and the Family Stone said 28 years: "Different strokes for
different folks." I think they said that in one of their songs!

But, at the same time, why not use every tool, every perspective one can
in order to understand Theosophy?

I am certainly interested in the teachings. But I am also interested
in Theosophical history. I am also interested in the practical application
of Theosophy to daily life. Am I don't underrate the devotional aspect of
Theosophy or the inner life of Theosophy. And there are others aspects or
perspectives. I have alwasys tried to use all these perspectives as
"tools" in my work with Theosophy.

For example, the Mahatma Letters are full of both history and teaching.

As George Linton and Virginia Hanson write in their READERS GUIDE TO THE

"In addition to the metaphysical and technical teachings, the book is a
vertiable gold mine of information on such matters as the ways of the Adepts,
the training of chelas for the probationary path, insights into character.....
There is much in the letters of a personal nature, some of which seems
rather inconsequential. Nevertheless, these passages are of value and deserve
careful reading by the student; they contain interesting character studies
as well as many hints regarding the ways of the adepts, the nature of their
consciousness, their methods of training aspirants for the probationary
path, and qualifications for discipleship."

Yes, I'm interested in the teachings of the Masters, but also much insight
can be gained about who the Masters were or are from the historical or bio0
graphical perspective.

Are Morya and Koot Hoomi similar Masters or gurus to the hundreds of gurus
we have come to know in the last one hundred years?

My major criticism of Paul Johnson's books on the Theosophical Masters is
that Johnson leaves out 95 % of the historical information on the Masters
and ends up painting a caricature of the Theosophical adepts. Those who
read his books with little knowledge and understanding of the true nature
of the Masters will come away with all sorts of misconceptions, etc. I have
already run across newcomers that have been totally misled by Johnson's

These misconceptions can warp one's understanding of the teachings and give
sincere, new students and even some older students all sorts of mayavic
readings of the teachings. Enough of this history stuff on Theos-l!

A focus on history can also help us to understand various Theosophical subjects

HPB and her Teachers warn constanly of the dangers of "psychism." If one
does a historical study (biographical study) on "Suby Ram", Anna Kingsford,
Stainton Moses, William Oxley and other persons mentioned in the Mahatma
Letters one can gain a vivid, fresh insight into what the Masters are talking
about when they warn of the dangers and delusions of the astral world and the
use of the lower siddhis.

HPB and the Masters warn Theosophical students of practicing pranayamas since
these practices can make one "mediumistic". They give specific examples and
illustrate these examples with biographical material on various persons.
A historical approach brings the whole subject alive and gives the student
much food for thought. I could give many examples of this which (at least for
me) has given me insights, etc. which the study of the teaching alone would
not have done.

Such an approach is not necessarily scholastic but in fact can have realistic
and practical applications to one's own life.

If one only experienced our every day life and had little knowledge of
geography and history, I for one would feel a tremendous loss. A knowledge of
geography and history adds new dimensions to our lives; adds new perspectives
and an incredible richness. A better knowledge of geography and history
helps us to transcend time and space and allows us to enter into the lives
of other human beings of other times and cultures. I'm not saying we should
ignore our own personal, day to day life.

Daniel Caldwell

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