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Is Theosophy becoming a Religion? (Part II)

Jun 23, 1996 11:13 PM
by senzar

 The following copyrighted article is posted here with the
 permission of the author. The first part was posted several
 days ago. The second and concluding part follows. This will
 appear in the Canadian Theosophist, July - August 1996 issue.


                  "... A Church On My Grave."
                           PART TWO
                         By S. Treloar
        (Copyright February 1996 by Stanford L Treloar)

 	Can a Theosophist go to church? One hears this asked on
 occasion. If Theosophy is a religion, as the question
 implies, the answer has to be no. The true occultist may see
 sufficient problems of revealed truth lacking in the exoteric
 religion of a church and not want to go. Others my like the
 atmosphere, and also see the truths veiled behind the
 exoteric parts of the religious service, and be able to get
 an uplift from the church service and its rituals. This need
 for rituals and a lighter, less-to-non-intellectual approach
 has led to the rituals brought in by the post Blavatsky E.S.
 The E.S. variously stands for Esoteric Section, Esoteric
 School, and for me, Elitist Section. I have never disguised
 my contempt for this group in general for abuses of power,
 snobbishness and a few other things better said in private.
 The charge that is elitist is born out by the fact that only
 E.S. members get into the hierarchy of leadership of the
 Adyarian T.S. It is not exactly democratic, as a member must
 take an oath of obedience to the Outer Head, who at the
 moment is (and historically most often is) the international
 president. The exception to the above statements has been the
 leadership of the Canadian division of the T.S. who have been
 against the E.S. in general, not withstanding plenty of E.S.
 members in the ranks.

 	The Canadian division, which being now independent, I
 will not refer to as the Canadian Section now, is the group I
 mostly refer to in this essay, as being the one most closely
 observed, starting when I was about 18. This Canadian
 division has been historically probably most conservative,
 fundamentalist T.S. group in the world. The simple version of
 Theosophy as put forth by Besant and Leadbeater and some
 others later, has been condemned by many Canadian T.S.'ers as
 being false and "Neo Theosophy". Some of the accusations are
 accurate and justified, some are not. In general I find that
 this form of theosophy, which I call "Besantine" theosophy is
 for most part a simplified form of what HPB brought forth,
 and some parts may contain organic fertilizer from the male
 cow. The Canadian Group, with its Loud Minority deciding what
 must be rejected, has been breaking apart from its
 crystallization before I was born. The first split was in
 1924 when the staunch E.S.'ers formed a separate section,
 recognized by Adyar, and which still exists today as the
 Canadian Federation of Theosophists, and is the official
 Canadian T.S. as recognized today by the Adyar Vatican. Not
 all E.S. members are found in the Canadian Federation, some
 were and are always in the Canadian Section, now independent.
 I always likened them to communists holed up out of sight,
 but potently waiting for the right moment to lead, in a trade
 union. The E.S. members are the most likely to be in favor of
 ceremonies, a religious aspect of theosophy, (not favored by
 HPB) and such ceremonies were looked down upon by the late J.
 Krishnamurti, who when asked shortly before his death, if he
 would ever join the T.S., replied (in part) ".... only if the
 T.S. gets rid of its ceremonies..."

 	Some theosophists believe that the whole truth of
 existence was given out by HPB, and that there has been none
 given out since her death, and that there can be no further
 revelation ever, obviously, since all has been revealed. On
 this the late Dr. Gina Cerminara, a theosophist and
 psychologist, (or perhaps psychiatrist) remarked "Some
 theosophists .... become as dogmatic and absolute in their
 theosophical opinions as the most orthodox christian
 fundamentalists. HPB fully recognized the dangers of such an
 attitude, foresaw that this might happen and warned against
 it in many passages of her work. "The *Secret Doctrine* is
 not meant to give any such final verdict on existence, but to
 lead toward the truth" - HPB in "How to Study Theosophy." Our
 theosophical fundamentalists cannot separate their religion
 making tendencies and desires from HPB's intent, and so the
 narrow views prevail, harden, and the T.S. breaks apart,
 predicted by a Master or several, and expected by this writer
 many long years ago. And it is breaking apart. Those who had
 to keep attached to Adyar, to save their souls, and perhaps
 keep their chances of getting into or staying in the "Golden
 Book", had to leave us here when the Canadian Section was
 excommunicated. Since then other groups known for ultra
 conservatism in leadership if not the entire membership, have
 broken associations and become independent, again predicted.

 	One hears the statement made at times, usually when
 someone dares to mention the name of some TS writer not on
 the accepted List (accepted by who? an arbitrary acceptance
 foisted by someone in the Loud Minority), "I thought that
 this was supposed to be a Blavatsky lodge (or Section, or
 whatever)? Again, accepted and by whose authority was it
 declared to be an HPB only? Examination will show that it is
 not in the by-laws, not in the Objects, and not in the
 Minutes of any Board meeting of any lodge or group. So the
 whole situation is the arbitrary set-up of the narrow
 fundamentalist types, foisted on the others, accepted by
 those who like to follow leaders, and those who object,
 either keep quiet or leave, Is this any different from the
 behaviour in a religious organization? This behaviour is
 exactly as can be expected from the 6th Ray personality,
 devotion to an ideal, as expressed through an imperfect 6th
 Ray type.

 	The purpose of the Solar Logos, or Deity or God, is to
 evolve. As the entire solar system is His body of expression,
 all its parts must follow and express His purpose. Evolving
 means change. "The only thing in this world that never
 changes is the fact that everything changes." Something new
 is change. If it is new, it is different, at least to some
 degree. If it is not different, it is not new. If something
 evolves, it must therefore appear changed, different, and so
 on. The conservatives cannot abide by change. An occult law
 states "that all change is painful": a psychological fact

 	If an new revelation or interpretation does not appear to
 have come from HPB's writings, our
 conservative/fundamentalist TS'ers reject it as "neo",
 "false", "pseudo" and so on. Unfortunately, they regard their
 judgments in that respect as coming directly from God, as
 they have that amazing ability to make such judgments without
 looking into the new too far, if at all. The new is sometimes
 rejected, an all too human and universal trait, because it
 did not come from the mind of the objector, the motivation:
 jealousy. New and different in theosophical thought must be
 wrong, even if it may be but a revelation of one of the many
 locks and keys that are blinds in the *Secret Doctrine*.
 Rejection of new is in the religious attitude, as anyone can
 see who looks over the standard behaviour of the exoteric
 crystallization and the break-up and ultimate death of the

 	In the matter of crystallization, there is an interesting
 passage: "... the Great White Lodge and the Black Lodge - the
 one dedicated to the beneficent task of purifying and aiding
 all lives in the three worlds and the other to the
 retardation of the evolutionary forces and to the continuous
 crystallizing of the material forms ..."

 	The works and revelations of Alice Bailey bring forth the
 most violent reactions from the ultra-conservatives. First,
 there was extreme resentment by at least two women, Besant
 and Tingley, that Bailey was chosen and not them to write for
 a Master. Then her writings are new and therefore different,
 resented by the unchangeable, and above all, the Bailey
 writings, like the *Secret Doctrine* of HPB, are extremely
 difficult, with the real meanings well hidden. These
 revelations have considerable overtones in and of psychology,
 therefore the message therein was better brought forth in
 this century when the science of psychology is much better
 developed than at the time of HPB. I have yet to get an
 intelligent reason why Bailey should be so condemned by those
 who do, from those who do. That they do not and cannot
 understand her writings and revelations is patent. In the
 ultra conservatives there is an observable fear and feeling
 of being threatened, supplying energy to the condemnations.
 There will be a few more remarks on this later.

 	There is difference between theosophy based on:

 (a) HPB's writings only, and
 (b) one based on HPB's methods of broad pursuit of truth, and
 knowledge, never static.

 "a" is static and has to be and is the preferred mode of the
 6th Ray types, and is not evolution and cannot be: the second
 "b" mode can evolve.

 	Exclusiveness to the works and personality of HPB (see
 the enormous amount written of her history which energy could
 better be spent on interpretation) are the typical and
 psychological characteristics of a religion held, and held as
 being dutiful and virtuous to her memory and the only way to
 go. Certainly she deserves much, but Karma will reward her
 directly -- we need our energy spent on advancing ourselves
 and our fellows, not in hero(ine) worship. The problem is
 that HPB never instructed this behaviour from her ardent
 followers -- may have more than hinted that it was a human
 trait that should be grown out of -- she never suggested that
 she should be so set up as an object of such adoration so
 typical of religious followers. To her ardent followers, I
 again ask, why not follow her *example*? That would involve
 being broad minded, which most devotees to the Ideal, (6th
 Ray types) are not.

 	The Deva evolution is described as vertical: their
 energies travel up and down in a direct line from and to
 Deity. The human kingdom is said to be at right angles to the
 Deva Kingdom, and go horizontally, and thus we have the warp
 and woof of the fabric of the Deity in manifestation. The
 human goes along a street, a cul-de-sac no matter how long,
 and he/she polishes it by the experience encountered thereon
 and *contributes to it* by his interests on that horizontal
 line as long as he is content to stay there. It may be a
 lifetime. Mankind polishes a *cul-de-sac*. If he is
 progressive, he will, before death, move upward to another
 level of *cul-de-sacs*, lingering for a while, and may even
 go several steps upward before the lifetime is finished.
 Hopefully, in the next incarnation, the less progressive will
 incarnate at the next level up, and commence to polish that
 *cul-de-sac*. In the TS, Adyarian or separated varieties, one
 sees a lot of one level *cul-de-sac* polishers. Accepting a
 change can mean going to another level, -- upwards.

 	Truth is a many faceted gem, and too many only see the
 one facet or two that reflects the light from where they are
 standing, rather than seeing the whole gem. I used to think
 that this was my original thought, until I saw that HPB had
 also said it. Since there are very many ways to look at
 something, (I speak of ideas here) one wonders why the
 followers of HPB only, pay no attention to her good advice
 and revelations, such as the one just quoted here, instead of
 selectively taking something here and there, as might suit
 their predilections. As I said before, "she was a grand lady,
 with so many revelations for our development ... her greatest
 advocates are her greatest distorters." I can visualize her,
 if she were here to deal with these distorters, calling them
 the "Flapdoodlers" and their religion the Flapdoodle Sect.
 ("Flapdoodle" was one of her favourite words, when not using
 direct and deserved profanity, and the word is in the

 	If it looks and acts like a religion, it probably is,
 even if its participants deny it. As with the ultra
 conservatism of most of the Canadian TS, when something is
 (self) regarded as correct, it is proudly boasted of, but if
 someone suggests it could be pejorative, the participants
 deny doing any such thing. The denial lie, predictable as it
 is ubiquitous.

 	When in my teens, I started a lifetime interest in
 psychology. As I could not then psychoanalyze people on a
 couch, I would then use a substitute method, at first for the
 purposes of proving if psychology was true. If I noted
 something interesting, I would proceed to ask certain
 questions, or steer the conversation a certain way to see if
 what psychology would predict for this situation would hold
 true. It always did. Then when I saw the interesting field of
 esoteric psychology, I jumped into that too. I used the same
 technique to see if it was valid. It has been thus far. The
 religionists and ultra orthodox of the TS members have been a
 great help in proving parts of what has been given out about
 the Rays, the 6th Ray in particular.

 	My contention is that Mme Blavatsky was quite broad
 minded and would never condone the narrow minded line that
 her TS has become. I could say, has degenerated to. This
 happened to Christianity, for it is not based on the
 teachings of the Christ as found in that religion's favourite
 book, the Bible, neither Roman Catholic or Protestant
 versions of christianity, and certainly not on that earlier
 form of Christianity, Gnosticism. I think HPB hoped that it
 would not go that way, but foresaw it, hence her wail, as
 quoted at the beginning of this essay. These words of mine
 will have no effect on the religionists in the TS if they are
 over 30 or perhaps 40. Man has a concrete mind, and the
 concrete sets at about age 20. Thereafter it takes hammer and
 chisel to change any set ideas. Concrete is a good example of
 crystallization, for in the version of concrete that is used
 in building, bridges and roads, etc., when concrete sets, it
 forms crystals as it turns to man-made stone. The changing of
 an organization by crystallization is not evolution. Perhaps
 some of our younger members will be able to see the need for
 a broad attitude, as stated by the HPB quote used earlier in
 this article. A past General Secretary of Canada, and a
 former editor of this magazine stated in an essay "Do not
 take any graven images of the mind", as an interpretation of
 the Biblical stricture against graven images in the Ten
 Commandments. The problem with human nature, speaking of the
 Ten Commandments, (written in stone) is that humans, if they
 do a thing twice, think that they have to do it unchangingly
 that way ever after, hence the saying, "Written in Stone".
 Some philosophers are more generous than I and say; "If a
 human does a thing three times, etc..."

 	Rigidness is symptomatic of a religion. In some places we
 see the term "source theosophy" used to show or define the
 correct and desirable form. What can this mean? One might
 think that it could be the first-use type of theosophy, as
 found, used and defined by Ammonius Saccas at the beginning
 of the Christian era, or mayhap its earlier use, as the word
 has been traced to about 200 BC and is claimed to have been
 used by St. Paul. This is not what the users of "source
 theosophy" mean. They mean Blavatskyian theosophy, however
 that might be described or defined. I doubt that HPB would
 like the use of the term in that way. In defining "source
 theosophy" one can see a problem in determining just who is
 entitled to make the definition. There are those who will
 (and do) define it, an arbitrary assumption of the right to
 define it. Does not this also happen, and be a prominent
 trait, in a religion? The Pope defines, and is infallible,
 yet other Christian groups offer other definitions for the
 same thing, and so the fights go on forever. The TS now has
 all the cute faults of a religion, and of which (religion)
 HPB had many things to find fault with.

 	The TS has been breaking apart, and this started with
 Judge, but I do not blame him for it, rather Besant, and
 mention it only to set a date. The Canadian group has been
 breaking apart since 1924, and with its boasted ultra
 conservatism, (but worded otherwise) it should be seen as
 inevitable. The blame will be placed elsewhere, including on
 me; the blame will be seen everywhere except where it is,
 which is in the ultra conservatism, and misplaced
 interpretation on certain chosen writers only, whether HPB or
 the Besantine outlook. Some groups in the TS place little
 emphasis on HPB, Besantine theosophy being preferred, as
 being easier. Countess Wachtmeister said that HPB while
 writing the *Secret Doctrine* said to her that someone in the
 20th century would write the psychological key to the *Secret
 Doctrine*. I suggest that this has been done, in Cosmic Fire
 by Alice Bailey. That is an opinion. But if it did not
 happen, was HPB or Countess Wachtmeister a liar? Not likely
 in either case. The narrow will never agree with me, as it
 goes counter to the religion aspect of theosophy today,
 suggesting a threat to consolidated beliefs in the oneness
 and onlyness (a word?) of the chosen brand of theosophic
 religion, Blavatskyism, Besantine, or even Judgeian.

 	The Oxford Dictionary defines the word "cult" as: a
 system of religious worship, devotion or homage to person or
 thing. What was once intended for concern with the occult is
 now tending to a cult.

 	In fear of change, someone remarked at a TS Annual
 Meeting, and was overheard, "... that the TS is being taken
 over by Roozycrewshuns! (sic) (Rosicrucians). There are a few
 members who are also Rosicrucians. I can see nothing wrong
 with this. On the contrary, a good sign. Are not Rosicrucians
 (an appellation but a few hundred years old) from a very
 ancient line of esotericists from which modern day Theosophy
 derives? Why did these alarmed members not worry when the TS
 was run by a Zen Buddhist? Or is it because HPB and Olcott
 became Buddhists, not necessarily Zen? I can visualize some
 Rosicrucians expressing fear "... that some of our members
 are being perverted over to Theosophy, and thus the
 Theosophists are going to take us over!" Where is the broad
 mindedness of HPB in Theosophists today? No wonder "... the
 Masters left the TS", (see D. Buxey, C.T. Mar. - Apr. 1996).

 	Alice Bailey asked in an early 1920's lecture: "Why
 should we (the TS) go back to Blavatsky when she is so far
 ahead of us?" "Let us go *forward* to Blavatsky: our
 Blavatskyites ("source theosophists") have gone back(wards)
 to her. Only by a broad study of all and any sources can we
 have any hope of finding the meanings hidden in the *Secret
 Doctrine*, so far as HPB gave out part of the secret
 doctrine, the rest we will have to find out for ourselves, as
 the great Plan intends we shall.

 To be published in The Canadian Theosophist, July-Aug 1996.

 Mailing address of Canadian Theosophist:
 R.R. No. 3, Burk's Falls
 Ontario P0A 1C0

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