Nov 07, 1995 09:13 PM
by K. Paul Johnson
According to Jerry Hejka-Ekins:
> Are you saying that HPB later gave out an address as to
> where we can contact one of these brotherhoods? If she did I
> missed it. Please advise me as to where in HPB's writings I can
> find this address.
All the references to Shigatse in the letters to Sinnett and
elsewhere. Cranston makes much of all this as does Fuller.
There is even a drawing. This is supposedly the home of KH a
place HPB studied for a period.
> knowledge and occult powers do exist but she was not allowed to
> name names and give out addresses.
Not accurate ones you mean since she was clearly allowed to
give out disinformation.
> That's point one-- is it really a fraud if she told us
> beforehand not to believe her on this subject and told us
> afterwards not to believe everything that had been alleged of
> the Masters?
> Where did she say this?
Again I don't keep a copy of TMR at work but in the letters
to Franz Hartmann about the Masters quoted in the
introduction. These were first published in The Path in 1896 I
> in her Russian writings we get a much more down-to-earth
> portrayal of her relations with the Masters that yields plenty
> of clues to her real associations.
> By Russian writings you are referring the ~Caves and
> Jungles of Hindustan.~ We've been through this before privately.
Actually I find The Durbar in Lahore to be much more valuable
historically since it seems to be mostly if not entirely
non-fiction and can be juxtaposed against the more fictional
accounts in C&J letters to Sinnett etc.
> Victorian era. Sir Walter Scott was a master of this technique.
> There are indeed clues concerning the Masters in this series but
> would HPB reveal real clues to their true identities even in
> fiction what she would not reveal in fact? I think that would
A different audience required a different level and kind of
"blinds." With Russians she seems to have gone out of her way
to make the Masters very human; with readers of English she
seems to have exaggerated their differences from ordinary
> hunting falls under literary criticism which is my field of
> expertise. If she mentions Meru then you can say it is
> fictional. If she mentions Lahore you can find it on the map.
And her most helpful book for my purposes does just that in
> So is she a fraud if she
> tells us a large amount of the truth mixes it up with fiction
> and then warns us that this is the case? To me that's an
> occultist using blinds.
> spirit. A blind is not a lie or a fabrication but are usually
> created by making generalizations in order to avoid giving
> specific information. HPB was consistent in how she created
> blinds going all the way back at least to ~Isis Unveiled.~
That seems to me to be a matter of interpretation. I have
documented a suspiciously long list of name changes in which
part of a real person's name appears in the fictionalized
character's name. This looks like a consistent pattern of
"blinds": Dayal/Djual Endreinek Agardi/Agardi Metrovitch
Ten-dub Ughien/Ugyen Gyatso Mulraj Singh/Lala Mulraj
"Krishnavarma" no first name/Shyamaji Krishnavarma not to
mention Gulab Singh/Ranbir Singh whose father was Gulab and
Koot Hoomi Lal Singh/Thakar Singh.
> This is not the HPB I saw in your book nor is it the HPB I
> saw in Meade or Campbell I've only skimmed Washington so far so
> I cant' talk about him yet. You Meade and Campbell all
> acknowledge HPB's intelligence and her contacts with other
> intelligent people. The three of you also portray HPB as one who
But only I portray her as someone with a lifelong commitment to
seeking initiatory contacts with spiritual traditions around
the globe who succeeded in this endeavor who was supported in
her work by adepts in many places and traditions and whose
writings are extremely valuable spiritually and historically.
> created a deception. The only difference is that I see is that
> you argue that HPB's deception was based upon real people. Why
> do you feel that HPB is more respectable if she invented the
> Masters and fashioned them upon real people then if she invented
> them completely from her imagination? It makes little difference
> to me.
But I wouldn't say she "invented them and fashioned them upon
real people." Rather she had real people she saw as Masters
and tried to claim this publicly while protecting their
privacy which got her caught up in one piece of disinformation
after another. But it seems unproductive to focus on how
respectable HPB appears to either of us in light of what she
may or may not have done that was deceptive. The real
question is does the non-Theosophical world have a greater
respect for HPB as a writer as a person as a result of my
books? Perhaps too soon to say but it looks like a definite
yes so far. Just being the subject of a university press book
gives her a certain entree into a different level of respect.
> I don't believe HPB ever intended to be a religious leader.
But she sure as hell became one especially after death.
> Anti HPB books generally use the neo-theosophical portrayal
> as the straw man to destroy and replace it with nothing. As far
> as a portrayal of HPB goes I'm not sure however that your
> scenario is any better than the nothing they were left with.
Better for what purpose? Shoring up Theosophists' faith in
their tradition-- no. Stimulating scholarly interest in her as
a worthy subject of investigation-- yes.
> But these are not the people she quotes nor interacts with
> in her writings. If you are to argue that "Theosophy is
> genuinely derived from the most highly qualified individuals of
> the time..." then we can look at the people and the books she
> quotes from in order to determine who those individuals were whom
> she derived Theosophy from. Here the list is a very different
That would give only a distorted version-- since she generally
indicates that her real information sources are not authors of
books. But when I talk about Theosophy I'm referring not just
to a body of doctrines but more importantly to an international
MOVEMENT that was supported by a wide range of people behind
> one: E. Levi Bailley Crooks Skinner Gerald Massey and of
> course the religious and philosophical classics. She also has
> relatively little to say about Islam or Sikhism. I find it more
> reasonable to assume that the source of information are those
> whom she gave credit to. To argue that HPB quoted from a vast
> array of literature to hide the identities of her informers is
> too fantastic for me to accept.
That's not my thesis. Obviously she got from books what she
got from books. But the unfolding of her intellect took place
through encounters with precisely those spiritual traditions
upon which my book is focused. In rough chronological order
Rosicrucianism Kabbalah Spiritualism Sufism Hinduism
Buddhism Sikhism-- with lots in between.
re persuading readers that the Masters weren't entirely
> I had in mind the general reader--the populous at large not
> the occult historians who read everything that comes out at a
> matter of course. But it is still interesting that Tillett and
> Lane were converted from a belief that HPB made up to Master to a
> belief that HPB fabricated the Masters upon people who she knew.
Several others-- a Ph.D. historian a sociologist a
biochemist-- people who are in the general populace but have
academic credentials-- have indicated the same evaluation. The
formerly universal outside TS circles consensus that the
Masters were fictional simply has no leg to stand on anymore.
> Why do Theosophists "misread" your book but other people
> don't? Does disagreeing with your conclusions necessarily mean
> that your book was misread? Do you believe that I have accused
No of course not. Imagining that the book claims to do things
it does not claim to do; inventing hostile motives where none
were present; making general claims about my outlook and
convictions that are dead wrong-- all are misreadings and none
have come from non-Theosophists. Why? Because IMO the
misreaders don't like the message and choose to blame the
messenger are hypersensitive to some things and oblivious to
others generally can't read what I wrote because of constant
interruptions from what they "know."
> you of "conclusively" establishing "solid one-to-one
> identifications for all the pseudonymous Masters in Theosophical
> books" ?
No one has accused me of DOING that; I have definitely been
treated as if that were my OBJECTIVE.
> Are you thinking of the Tilletts and the Lanes or people
> from the general public?
Unanimous from the feedback I get.
> OK lets take them one at a time: For Dayananda you cite
> p 111 a KH letter saying that "D. Swami was an initiated Yogi
> a very high chela at Bandrinath endowed some years back with
> great powers and a knowledge which he has since forfeited and
> that HPB told you the truth...." That sounds like a failed chela
> to me not a Master. Olcott's second hand account of HPB's
> statement about him that you cite p 109 is ambiguous and may
> very well be supportive to the statement in the KH letter.
But the letters from Olcott to Dayananda and from HPB to
Krishnavarma are considerably stronger.
> Remember an Adept is not a Mahatma. Both HPB and Olcott
> distinguished between the two. For Sengchen Tulku you have an
> enigma but very possibly a person whom HPB gained information.
> But does HPB or HSO call him a Mahatma?
Don't have the sources in front of me but HSO called him "one
of our Masters" as I recall.
For Swami Sankaracharya
> you cite p. 208 an article by HPB showing that she considered
> him an "initiated Adept"--still not a Mahatma. So much for your
> establishment of a "Theosophical Master."
Hmmm. There's something in your phraseology of "so much for
your..." that conveys a reflexive wish to shut out the
possibility that I'm right. Where do you get the idea that
"Theosophical Master" is exactly equivalent to "Mahatma" and
entirely distinct from "Initiated Adept"? The terms are used
sometimes interchangeably sometimes with fine distinctions.
Remember the letter from HPB to Hartmann that says they were
called adepts until Damodar came along and started calling them
> We would have to examine and evaluate these "conflicting
> statements." Conflicting does not necessary mean untrue.
> However HPB's claims about the Mahatmas are in themselves
> extraordinary and IMO unprovable. But unprovable does not
> necessarily mean false. As for "Dogma" belief in the Masters in
> any form never was such in the TS.
de jure; de facto just try messing with received views of that
topic and see how much you're treated as a fellow Theosophist.
> Yes--a real possibility but as you say lots of room for
> interpretation. This is one that I'm also happy to entertain
> however I don't feel confident that your specific hypotheses
> will pan out either.
I think your confidence is lower than mine since it's mainly
the pseudonymous ones that remain mysterious and that's a
minority of cases.
> Myth. Actually I'm not looking for a spiritual leader at all.
> However an HPB as you propose not only created an illusion
> concerning the Masters but by the falsity of the concept of a
> group of in effect living Buddhas this aspect of her teachings
> falls into question. Further if she fabricated the Mahatmas
But is it a false concept? Or a true concept that was packaged
in a way that made it seem false? Remember that HPB said that
EVERY religions was false on its surface true in its depths.
Why not apply this to the religion of Theosophy?
> from these people you mention then she fabricated the
> Theosophical teachings from them also. This doesn't sound like a
> person "with real wisdom and knowledge" but someone who patches
> together information and hides the source of it.
What's the diff? The information came from genuine sources
she didn't make it up she synthesized it with an amazing
amount of insight and the sources did not want to be
> On the other hand it is easy to convince someone of
> something they know nothing about. I'm sorry but a person who
> is knowledgeable about the literature is not necessarily closed--
> they just require a more complete and more informed explanation
> then someone who knows nothing. An informed person will have
> more questions which you will have to answer. The only informed
> person I know of who has asked those hard questions is Dan
> Caldwell yet you will not publicly defend your book against his
Will not? How about HAVE to the extent of several thousand
words already with no sign of progress and gave up due to the
escalating hostility of his responses?
> questions. If your thesis is strong then you can weather his
> questions until he runs out of them. As for me I'm not
But Jerry he won't ever run out of them. Everything I do to
answer one causes him to come up with a dozen more that may
not even be an exaggeration.
> challenging your book but only responding to it. There is a big
Which I appreciate.
> There are more options than acceptance and rejection of the
> phenomena. A third option is the non committed description--no
> "alleged" no perjoratives no adjectives indicating either
> acceptance or rejection--just an indication that this is what is
"Alleged" does not imply acceptance or rejection-- just
suspension of judgment. It's what reporters are obliged to say
when people are accused of crimes-- the alleged murderer etc.
Obviously the point is that "alleged" means "we don't know
whether or not it is true" not "we don't believe it."
> of record. Then if you want to go into it you can write about
> how different people responded to the phenomena--ie what they
> said about it but pro and con. To me this approach is far
> greater evidence of objectivity than the addition of
Nothing pejorative about "wondrous" any more than alleged. I
think you may be hypersensitive to words referring to HPB that
you wouldn't think twice about in another context?
> Nothing if you had taken the time to relate to the reader
> HPB's explanation of how Mahatma Letters are transmitted.
> Otherwise it appears that she was fabricating.
Only Theosophists have accused me of casting HPB in such a
negative light. Since I know I didn't mean to give a
simplistic answer to the complex question of the MLs
authorship; since I explicitly stated that it remains a mystery
and all I can say is that the answer is probably somewhere in
between the extremes I think it's a bum rap to blame me for
implications that only a minority of highly critical readers
find in my books. Jerry S. for example did not seem to get
the impression that you did.
> "Inspired" doesn't mean "telepathic." To make the
> suggestion you would have to use the word "telepathic" or a word
> that leads the reader to understand that you are talking about
> telepathy. Making a suggestion is also not the same as "leaving
It really seems here as if you are holding me to some litmus
test of how Theosophical authors are supposed to write about
HPB. The telepathy issue is referred to regularly in TMR and
gone into in more detail in Initiates. The one passage you
cite doesn't recapitulate the issue but assumes readers will
remember that HPB claimed telepathic communication with the
> I'm asking neither question. First of all HPB is not my
> "spiritual teacher" and my respect for her rests upon what she
> produced--not her personality. I already have opinions about her
> "greatness" what she "accomplished" and the "genuineness" of
> her knowledge which you theses does not address.
In your opinion. I think otherwise. If by "address" you mean
either "what I meant to write about" or "what many other
readers have derived from it" then the book DID address these
issues. Just not to your satisfaction.
As for her
> intentions your thesis directly involves this. Though you do
> not see her characterization of her as a fraud because of her
> good intentions I'm of the opinion that a fraud can be
> perpetuated under either good or evil intentions.
True and I would not shrink from saying that HPB was involved
in perpetrating a fraud. But that is nowhere near saying that
she WAS a fraud. Especially since she seems to have repented
and backpaddled from the deceptions later.
> It seems that their "sending what she was receiving" is an
> important question to investigate concerning your argument that
> her Theosophical teachings were based upon these people.
Any suggestions about how one might retroactively tune into
telepathic conversations to find out?
> frankly and less defensively about these matters now that I
> don't have to worry about "how can you call yourself a
> Theosophist and say that..."
> I never said or even hinted such a thing to you. Do you
> believe that I did?
For almost a year I've been looking over my shoulder and
cringing wondering when the next angry Theosophist would
address me in a tone that implied the above question. No you
are not one who would ever say such a thing. As for hinting--
when you say things like "you should have expected an outraged
reaction from Theosophists for portraying HPB as a fraud" I'd
say yes definitely that hints at saying that the reaction is
justified and that I deserve the rejection received so
abundantly. And that rejection is clearly a de facto
excommunication a message that "we can no longer respect you
as a Theosophist." But if you don't support the tone and
message used by Algeo TenBroeck Eklund Caldwell et al.
I'd appreciate your saying so.
Either way your questions are stimulating and not offensive
and I am enjoying this discussion.
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