Nov 08, 1995 00:03 AM
by 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.
References to Shigatse doesn't help. You may as well have
said Maryland. To much territory. The drawing doesn't help
either. One ravine looks pretty much like another when you are
in the mountains. I know I've hiked in a lot of them.
>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.
"Disinformation" is of course your term. HPB uses the word
"lie." Though disinformation and lies both express untruths but
I think there is a difference in motive behind them. A lie might
be used to hide the truth. Disinformation leads a person away
from the truth. I don't see any evidence that HPB was quilty of
disinformation but she certainly found it necessary to lie from
time to time as your quote in TMR bears out.
> 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
The letter you are thinking of is on page 09 of your book.
My reading is of thesis letter is completely different from
yours. As I read it she is telling Hartmann of her efforts to
stay Olcott's wild imagination. She is not saying "not to
believe her" on the subject of the Masters but that she wants
Olcott to *hear* what she *is* trying to say about them without
getting caught up in his imaginary wanderings:
Have I not struggled and fought against Olcott's ardent and
gushing imagination and tried to stop him every day of my
She is not arguing against the existence of these Masters but
telling of her efforts to keep Olcott from becoming carried away
with his fantasies about them:
Was he not told that there were no Mahatmas who Rishi-like
could hold the Mount Meru on the tip of their finger and fly
to and from in their bodies!! at their will and who were
or were imagined by fools more gods on earth than a God in
Heaven could be etc. etc?"
Perhaps followers of CWL believe in Olcott's fantasies concerning
Masters but this quote makes it clear that inspite of Olcott's
imagination this is *not* what HPB represented them to be. I
don't see anywhere in the quote you gave that HPB is telling us
"not to believe her on this subject" but if anything not to
embroider upon what she does say.
> 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
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.
OK. HPB's letters to Sinnett are "fictional"? That's a new
> 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
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
You use "blinds" in a very different way than I have ever
understood their use in HPB's writings. It appears that your use
of "blinds" is synonymous to your use of the word
"disinformation." In my 30+ years of reading HPB and of studying
with others who have also read HPB you are the first person I
have ever met who understands "blinds" in this matter though I
have run into some weird interpretations. This may be your
usage but is not how HPB uses or defines the word "blind." To
bad you didn't make this point in your book it would have saved
me some confusion.
> 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
I think your abridgement of my quote has obscured my point:
Victorian historical fiction is written in such a way as to give
the illusion of reality where no reality actually exists. What
appears to be the most real may be the most illusionary. Just
because Lahore is on the map doesn't necessarily mean that the
actual body of truth that is in the story has anything to do with
Lahore. Troops of literary critics work all their lives creating
convincing arguments for this being true and that not being true.
It is all for nothing--and fortunately the critics themselves
know that it is all a game. What one critic affirms then next
one denies. There is no end and there is no answers. I believe
that HPB had things that she wanted to teach in her fiction but
it also was the perfect literary form to assure that no addresses
or identifications where given out.
> 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.
> 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.
You would have made a great English major. That is the fun
of literary criticism techniques you can create patterns where
there were no patterns before. It is just a matter of carefully
selecting the evidence. Now lets see: Damodar is really Djual
Kuhl; Morya is Metrovich; K.H. is really a blind for Katherine
Hillard.... Give be a little time and I could find damn good
arguments to support these correlations--just as you did with
yours. Personally I don't think that the "blinds" that you are
looking for exist. Why should they?--for someone to eventually
solve them when HPB was adamant that the identities of her
teachers are not to be known?
> 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 can't 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 created a deception.
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.
And who created elaborate "disinformation." Don't you
consider "disinformation" a deception?
> The only difference 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.
Yes. Too soon to know yet. It takes ten to twenty years
for an academic book to find its place in the literature. The
one advantage your book has is that it is the first academic book
to cover this subject. That makes it forever a classic
regardless of how good or bad it is eventually judged to be.
> I don't believe HPB ever intended to be a religious
But she sure as hell became one especially after death.
I don't blame her for that. Do you?
> 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.
No on both. I'm suggesting that for a person who is not
involved with theosophy six of one is half a dozen of the other.
> 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 one:
That would give only a distorted version-- since she generally
indicates that her real information sources are not authors of
I think this is a partial myth that HPB tried to dispel.
See in the ~Key~ where she says that very little of what she
wrote was produced with outside help.
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
A movement of which the body of doctrines was a integral
> 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.
Exactly. And your thesis obscures the above.
>JHE [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
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.
It is interesting that you even found "several" in the
general populace even cares one way or the other.
> Why do Theosophists "misread" your book but other people
> don't? Does disagreeing with your conclusions necessarily mean
> that your book was misread?
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.
I find it extraordinary that no non-theosophist has misread
your book. My experience in teaching writing is that all people
only partially understand what they read. So in a sense all
readings are misreadings. Perhaps you are equating agreement and
non agreement with correct reading and misreading?
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."
Perhaps in some cases. Perhaps their "misreading" of the
evidence is different from your "misreading" of the same
evidence. Perhaps they are interrupted by the thought that
certain evidence is given prominence while other evidence is
> 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
But the letters from Olcott to Dayananda and from HPB to
Krishnavarma are considerably stronger.
Then that is the evidence that you need to push and then
explain the contradiction in the above quote.
> 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.
One of the definitions of misreadings that you gave above
...inventing hostile motives where none were present; making
general claims about my outlook and convictions that are
dead wrong-- all are misreadings....
Why are you doing to me precisely what you hate to be done to
you? Whatever motives you attribute to my "phraseology" my
meaning is that I demonstrated that the evidence that you offered
does not establish that these where people that HPB referred to
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
From HPB's writings. Unless you establish your own
definition I have to go by HPB's and HSO's usage of the terms.
In my readings of HPB I have not experienced a blurring of
"Adept" and "Mahatma." They mean different things. However an
Adept *may* be a Mahatma and a Mahatma is *always* an Adept.
Therefore if HPB calls someone an "Adept" that does not
necessarily mean that person is a "Mahatma" and I would not
presume that meaning unless she makes it clear that this is what
she met. To support your position here are examples were she
could be using blinds as I understand the term but I don't see
how it is possible in these cases to determine if she is really
using a blind of if by "Adept" she really means "Adept."
> 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.
I don't involve myself with that crap. I don't accept the
"spiritual authority" of anybody and theosophists with "received
views" are no exception. For this reason I'm rejected by the
inner circle just like you are. The difference is that I never
wanted to be a part of that inner circle in the first place--
especially after I figured out who they are. That is one reason
why I never applied for membership in the E.S.--which is the
first requirement for being part of that inner circle. I have
other friends in the movement. One pleasant thing about my
friends is that none of them have any "received views."
> 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...
> 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.
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?
Because I don't regard Theosophy as a religion.
> Further if she fabricated the Mahatmas 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
You don't need Mahatmas to determine her sources. Denis
Surat back around 1930 did a study on ~Isis Unveiled~ showing the
literary sources for her information. The same can be done for
the rest of her writings. The Mahatmas by any definition are
useless detractions in this context and she would have been
better off saying nothing at all about them.
> 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 questions.
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?
What kind of "progress" do you expect? What was you goal?
To convince Dan that your thesis is right? Why not forget about
"progress" and just defend your thesis against his questions and
criticism until he runs out of questions.
> If your thesis is strong then you can weather his
> questions until he runs out of them.
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.
That is to be expected. But eventually he will run out.
>As for me I'm not challenging your book but only responding to
> it. There is a big difference.
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 of record.
"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."
"Alleged" can also be used to give the *appearance* of
"suspension of judgement." It depends upon the context.
> 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?
It isn't the words it is the context in which the words are
used. Yes in another context these words may not be
perjoratives. It is the context of Godwin's usage of these words
that is the issue.
> 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.
Giving simplistic answers to complex questions has its own
implications that a non student of theosophy could not catch
because they know nothing about the subject in the first place.
I respond to your book as a person who is informed concerning the
literature. I make no apologies for that. As for Jerry S. he
can speak for himself. His different impression is his own
based upon his knowledge of the literature and experience with
it. It does not have anything to do with me.
> "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 open."
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
That's a big assumption IMO.
> 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 your 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.
Yes in my opinion. All statements are only opinions. IMO
your thesis concerning the Masters does not address my views as
stated above one way or the other concerning HPB because my
opinions of her in these areas do not depend upon the existence
of the Masters under any definition. Do you understand what I'm
> 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.
If she had perpetuated a fraud but never came clean with
it than I would still consider her a fraud. Feeling sorry is
not sufficient repentance. There also has to be restitution.
> 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?
No. But that wasn't my point either. I had in mind the
investigation of the matter of "telepathic communication" or
whatever you want to call it per se between them is an
important question to investigate concerning your argument that
her Theosophical teachings were based upon these people.
> 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
No. There is no hint intended. It has nothing to do with
you being a theosophist or not. It has to do with you being so
naive as to think that these "Organization men" who call
themselves theosophists would welcome a book that challenges the
dogmas they deny to exist perpetuated by the Organization.
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.
In my mind your book has nothing to do with you being a
Theosophist. Perhaps you and others make that connection but I
don't. If you were writing propaganda for the local American
Nazi party then I would question whether or not you were acting
in a theosophical way. But your opinions concerning HPB and the
Mahatmas neither makes you a Theosophist or not a Theosophist in
my own mind. If Algeo TenBroeck Eklund Caldwell et al are
saying that you cannot be a theosophist and hold the opinions
that you do then I do not support their position. Is that clear
Either way your questions are stimulating and not offensive
and I am enjoying this discussion.
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