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Answer to Daniel Caldwell

Jan 29, 1997 09:48 AM
by Michael

At 03:35 13-01-97 -0500, Daniel wrote:
>In a recent posting on Theos-l, Michael Rogg wrote in part:
>"I have devoted quite a few pages on my site to the personal survival problem
>and more in my book "Dood geen Einde" (Death no End) , particularly the
>Spiritualists' point of view. It is my opinion that Theosophists should
>acquaint themselves far more with mediumistic phenomena because from that
>stable came the movement but severed its connections for various reasons,
>although HPB continued to act as a medium. For me the clue to the
>communications of the Masters lies in similar inspired writings (Old
>Testament). Communicators born out of fantasy  may take on quite a solid
>appearance. I have given an example in my summary  of the "Philip"
>experiments by Canadian parapsycholgists (see my page on the "presence
>phenomenon") of a product of fantasy being  evoked which made itself
>physically known."
>On Michael's WWW homepage, he says that "proof of their [the Masters']
>existence has never been found."
>I have a question, Michael.  Have you had a chance to read K. Paul
>Johnson's THE MASTERS REVEALED and my critique [HOUSE OF CARDS]
>of his thesis on the Masters M. and K.H?  In both his book and my critique
>you will find testimony by Henry Olcott and others on their encounters with
>these two Masters.  How do you explain these experiences especially in light
>of your statement that "communicators born out of fantasy  may take on quite
>a solid
>appearance"?  I have studied the history of spiritualism for more than
>twenty years
>and I have never found accounts in the spiritualistic literature that would
>the testimonies concerning the Theosophical Masters.   K. Paul Johnson
>and I do not see eye to eye on many things, but we do, I believe, agree that
>is evidence indicating that at least the Master "Koot Hoomi" was a living
>and blood person and not some ectoplasmic manifestation materialized through
>Blavatsky's "mediumship."
First of all: My reference to figures born out of fantasy  taking on quite a
solid appearance, referred to Canadian "Philip" and "Hamilton" experiments.
As these materialisations usually occur in seance conditions, I do not think
that they apply to physical appearances of "Masters".

In the light of the heated debate going on I have perused TMR and HoC.
I salute K. Paul Johnson for bringing together so much biographical
information of the personalities HPB came in contact with. I think his work
important because it attempts to throw light on the evolution of the myth of
the Masters in HPB's'mind.
I can only offer my sympathy to both KPJ and his opponent being carried away
by their ostensible right, but even more to the subscribers who were
subjected to their arguments.

PLease permit me to sum up  my  position.
A. Scholars have hardly ever accepted HPB's version of Eastern
religio-philosophical traditions. 
B. HPB's presentation of truth therefore hinges on acceptance of her
authorities: Masters of Wisdom of a White Brotherhood residing in far away
It surprises me that KPJ, after having drawn out the carpet underneath the
Masters,  is not detracted "one iota from the truth of the principles
enunciated by her or the alleged Masters", because it implies absolute
credence in her interpretation of  Western and Eastern esoteric traditions.
C. Nowhere independent proof of existence of such  Masters has been found,
if one discounts testimony of those involved in the apparent hoax. One of
the greatest authorities, Mme. Alexandra David-Neel,  gave a  scathing
judgment. Time and again I have brought up myself the question of the
masters with informed people like  John Blofeld, and Tibetan priests, some
of whom close to the Dalai Lama. I met nothing but amazement of such
gullibility on the part of Westerners. Baird Spalding with his Masters of
Wisdom (or something like that) also cashed in on the credulity of Western
audiences, not to speak of Lobsang Rampa.
D. Since then never a body of teachings resembling that of Theosophy has
ever been traced in the Far East. Elements yes, but the whole complex system
with its interpretation?
E. The Masters'/HPB'  teachings were a typical product of the nineteenth
century when the accent was on the intellect. It complied with the popular
saying: "knowledge is power". I do not see Mahatmas like Ramakrishna, or
Ramana Maharishi proclaiming such intellectual truths. Moreover Indian
guru's use to frown upon performing physical paranormal phenomena. They
occurred, but not intentionally. 
In fact such super human beings as described by HPB's have never been found.

Remains the question of who perpetrated this myth?
I value KPJ's work to bring forward persons who could have stood model. Yet
we remain with the question of how exactly were HPB's devotees tricked? Who
wrote the Mahatma letters? We know from spiritualist history that aiutomatic
writing may differ completely from that of the medium. Although handwriting
expertise has been applied, I wonder whether stylometry,  with which style
characteristics may be traced, would give any clue. This software-instrument
revealed years ago that not all letters in the New Testament  were written
by their supposed authors.
For me the Masters were either split-personalities in HPB's mind or possibly
spiritualist' communicators/entities, or on a physical plane: people
impersonating Theosophist Masters.

Explanations will have to be found for their physical appearance to
devotees. If those close to HPB were convinced of the existence of the
Masters they may have been either deceived by their own fantasy or by
trickery by confidants.
One explanation may be that HPB  tricked one half of them with the aid of
the other half and vice versa. It will be difficult at this stage to
establish who  corroborated exactly where  and when and what valid excuse
was employed.
 I see HPB as the prime mover. Her mind was a sponge having absorbed all her
childhood occult experiences and impressions. One clue is  her pleasure in
keeping her childhood friends spellbound by mystery stories. On top of that
she was influenced during her travels by people who may have exaggerated
their powers and knowledge. All this at a time that oriental religious works
created quite a stir when they came available in translation.
I see it as the creativity of her subconscious mind to mould it into a
coherent doctrine, a popularization of western and eastern spiritual
traditions into a  religious faith for the general public. My admiration
increases when I realize that she must have led quite a double life to
perpetrate all the trickery necessary to foster credence in the idea that
she was a messenger of a White Brotherhood.

Psychologically, she was rewarded by the respect she craved for, combined
with a true calling to serve mankind. As for her followers, Olcott c.s.
would have never left a trace in history if it were not for the acceptance
of the myth of the White Brotherhood. Jehova's Witnesses must feel similarly
uplifted when they are told to receive salvation by spreading their truth. 

Theosophy is a typical product of a Western mind, no Oriental would have
conceived of a dogmatic system like that of nineteenth century Theosophy.
Paramount in Eastern traditions is the belief that the intellect stands in
the way of apprehending reality. Zen Buddhism went farthest in breaking the
mind with its severe discipline and absurd riddles, koans. In Indian
ashrams salvation through knowledge would have sounded equally ridiculous.

>Have you read these accounts by Olcott and others?  And how do you explain
>these accounts?  You raise good questions but your narratives on Theos-l
>and on your homepage about HPB, mediumship, the Masters and spiritualism
>are couched in very vague, non-specific language and do not grapple with
>the detailed accounts as given by Olcott and other witnesses to HPB's
>phenomena and the encounters with the Mahatmas. 

It is a personal evaluation. Meanwhile I have revised slightly my pages to
allow for  real personalities in HPB's life having stood model for the Masters.

As stated above, the Masters could well have been split-personalities. After
all she had  a mediamistic mind  which has a tendency for such creations. I
have no explanations for the detailed accounts of encounters with Masters
except that confidants of HPB acted out the part, or that the witnesses
simply lied or fantasized. We can only guess,  what excuse HPB gave
followers to play a part in the hoax for the good of the Work.

As to fidelity to truth in religious matters: to what length do not
followers of a faith go to further it? Letters in the New Testament were
written under assumed names. Everyone knows that  the  Wisdom of Solomon was
not written by this biblical figure, etc. etc.

> Some of this rich,
>detailed testimony has been published in my 1991 book titled

I'll try to get hold of it, but I doubt if at this stage we can ever
discover the complete truth. Unfortunately we do not have a full confession
of anyone of HPB's associates.
>In the last year I have been studying the remarkable mediumship of
>the Reverend Francis Monck, a contemporary of Blavatsky's. 

You will have read that he was sent to prison after discovery of a piece of
muslin on a white frame which the medium was accused of having used to fake
materilizations. However, there is a body of important evidence in his
favour in particular that of archdeacon Colley. It is well known of
otherwise reliable mediums to have resorted to trickery. A study of the
mediumistic mind such as in Prof. Jung's  Psychiatric Studies: On the
psychology and pathology of so-called occult phenoena.

 I may try to
>post on Theos-l some of the accounts of his materializations in full light.
>I do agree that most Theosophists and even Blavatsky students appear to
>be uninformed about the history of spiritualism and its interrelationship with
>the history of Theosophy and Blavatsky.  Much of what is written on mediumship
>and life after death in THE MAHATMAS LETTERS is not apparently fully
>by students of these letters; I believe one of the reasons is the fact that
>students and readers of these letters do not have a good background
>of spiritualism, its phenomena and teachings.  For example, a careful
reading of
>LIGHT magazine during the years 1881-1895 is very informative for the student
>of Blavatsky and Theosophy.

I quite agree.
>What books on spiritualism would you (Michael) recommend for interested 
>Theos-l readers?  I will try to post in the near future a number of "reference
>books" which give good overviews and a great deal of detail on spiritualism,
>its phenomena, its teachings, and its history.

I find it difficult to make a choice as many describe a facet.
I should like to see amongst them:
As for its history: 
Brian Inglis: "Natural and Supernatural. A history of the paranormal."
Spiritualism at the time of Theosophy's foundation:
Olcott's "People from the other World"
Emma Hardinge: "Modern American Spiritualism" (first published in 1870)

As for the case for an afterlife:
Prof.Hornell Hart: The Enigma of Survival. The case for and against an
afterlife (Rider & Co.)
On the wealth of sub-conscious fantasy/Communicators: Jane Roberts' books on
the Seth control. Books on Edgar Cayce, Geraldine Cummins: "The scripts of
Cleophas" (Acts of the New Testament elaborated)
Dr.Robert Crookall. "The supreme adventure". Analyses of psychic
communications.(James Clarke & Co.Ltd.) and "The interpretation of cosmic &
mystical experiences".
Leslie A.Shepard"s Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology  gives a lot
of valuable information, but it is expensive.
Let me conclude in saying that whether Karma, reincarnation or other
Theosophic principles are true or not, they instill a sense of
responsibility in those who belief in them in the right way. I am not
opposed to them as a popular faith therefore. If the myth of the masters
helped to introduce them it has served its purpose. 
After all: what  religion can do without myth?
Amsterdam, Netherlands            

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