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Re: CWL and Krishnaji

Mar 18, 1997 02:23 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

As Liesel has indicated, conflicting opinions concerning CWL and
Krishnamurti have been extant for quite some time.  Rather, most
of the history of the TS has centered upon controversies
concerning these two leaders.  Those who present the critical
sides of these issues typically produce documents to backup their
arguments, while those representing the loyal sides produce
testimonials by those who have met these leaders or who have
known them through their books.  In the case of CWL, the
loyalists also often allude to the existence of private material,
and that if it were made public, would disprove all of the
adverse documentation.

I believe that Doss' view that "great people have great defects",
inadvertently defines the bases of the conflict.  This position
of tentatively accepting the adverse documentation and yet
maintaining loyalty to these two leaders because of the benefits
their writings have brought to him, acknowledges both the human
failings of these leaders as well as their contributions.  I also
think this position is a step forward because when loyalty became
the highest value in the TS, it was the beginning of its
downfall.  The TS was dedicated to the pursuit of truth, a quest
that must be of primary consideration to the implementation of
all value systems.

With the above in mind, I feel an obligation to comment on some
of the statements I picked up from Doss' post:

Liesel's comment to Thoa that her teacher "died 2 years ago, was
CWL's pupil, and he told me in no uncertain terms that all these
nasty allegations re CWL were untrue" appeals to testimony as
proof of innocence.  Of course the fact that the events of 1906
occurred before Harry van Gelder was born, does not help Harry's
credibility as a witness in CWL's defense.  On the other hand,
Harry did personally know CWL at a much later time, and can
testify for the positive impression CWL made upon his life.
Liesel's assertion that "there are statements by him and other
pupils of CWL to the same effect.  Some of them are in the
archives at Wheaton" is also unhelpful, since the Wheaton
archives are not available for the membership to view and she
does not specify where the other statements may be found.

Regarding Tillett's book, the fact that it was a phd thesis tends
to be ignored.  But this fact means that it was written under
more restrictive guidelines of objectivity than other accounts of
CWL that were published by the TS.  I'm not saying that the book
is not without flaws, all books are, but I am suggesting that it
was written to be a comprehensive study of CWL, and accounts for
numerous points of views.

Liesel's statement that when Tillett "wrote his book none of
the people who really knew CWL would have anything much to do
with him" is an interesting criticism, but it doesn't reflect the
facts.  Among the people Tillett interviewed were Balfour Clarke,
and Mary Lutyens.  But what is curious is a contrasting criticism
that Tillett's book is unreliable because it is based upon
"gossip" he picked up from Balfour Clarke while researching the
archives at Adyar.  Of course, just reading the references in the
"Notes" section shows very clearly that Tillett's research was
extensive, and was primarily based upon documents.  But Liesel's
defense concerns giving the primary burden of proof to personal
testimony.  She writes:

     The ones I know, who loved and revered CWL, as do most Adyar
     Theosophists, say that all this accusations are very false.
     Now I guess it's up to you to figure out, if you can at this
     distance in time, who's telling the truth, and who's lying,
     or else imagining wrong interpretations on happenings.

As Doss has shown, personal testimony is one side of the
question.  But does the testimony of those who "loved and revered
CWL" count as convincing testimony for CWL's innocence to alleged
acts they were not present to witness?  Of course not: but they
do give testimony to the powerful influence CWL had upon others.
Though their testimony does not make the documents wrong, nor the
actual witnesses liars, they do give evidence of another aspect
of CWL that also needs to be acknowledged.

   |Jerry Hejka-Ekins,                      |
      |Member TI, TSA, TSP, ULT                |
         |Please reply to:   |
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