TS and its Future (Part 2 of 3)
Jun 01, 1997 01:23 PM
by M K Ramadoss
SECOND GENERATION THEOSOPHY
The fact that neither Annie Besant nor CWL, after maybe one or
two initial incidents, was actually in touch with any Master
although they may have genuinely believed they were has serious
implications when considering what they said and did when they
assumed positions of authority.
The whole tenor of the Society thereafter was one of
make-believe! It became a pantomime, largely devised and
orchestrated by CWL: a fairy story, but with a thread of truth
running through it.
Except for passing references to HPB as 'our revered teacher',
her literature as such was seldom referred to or studied. There
was, however, a flood of literature purporting to be
'theosophical' from both Annie Besant and CWL, and later from
CWL's writings were largely colored by his own real or imaginary
clairvoyant insights and his interpretations of them.
It is noteworthy here that, in the HPB/ Masters literature there
is very little reference to, and no diagrams of, the Chakras so
much featured by later writers. What little there is is in the
papers to the Inner Group (incorporated by Annie Besant into her
Vol III of the S.D. )
Whereas the Annie Besant and CWL literature can be criticized
from a purely theosophical point of view, much of -what Annie
Besant wrote was significant spiritual instruction. It was,
however, of the conventional, classical religious type, derived
largely from the Indian scriptures but with a Christian and a
She had reviewed THE SECRET DOCTRINE at the time of its
publication; this must have made a lasting impression on her but
apart from acknowledging her debt to HPB, she seldom, if ever,
specifically referred back to its teaching, or to that in THE KEY
CWL seems never to have read either of these books. He puts
himself in a very false position as an 'occult' author in the
Introduction to his book THE ASTRAL PLANE where he says that his
manuscript was considered so excellent as an exposition that the
Masters wanted it for their archives.
It is difficult to see why this should be; much of the
information given us in the book is at variance with their
teaching and furthermore it is not clear, for example, which
'astral' plane he is describing, the HPB or the A.B./ CWL one,
the former being the 2nd plane of Nature and the latter being the
There is also no mention of the 'etheric double' in the
HPB/Masters classification of the human principles. It is to
this double that CWL ascribes many of the qualities that HPB
attributes to her astral body.
The changes of numbering of the principles where Kama (emotion,
desire) was put 2nd instead of 4th is important. An aid to the
understanding of THE SECRET DOCTRINE is analogy and
In the Masters' literature Kama as the 4th principle is
emphasized in the evolutionary stages of development in the 4th
Round, the 4th Race, the 4th Substance, not the 2nd.
One example of the extent to which the members of the
Theosophical Society, from senior members to the newest, were
'infected' by CWL is exemplified by Jinarajadasa's acceptance
of the fact that CWL's Astral Plane manuscript had in fact been
transmitted magically to the Masters.
Obviously also Jinarajadasa's statement that he, in common with
others, had had several initiations about which he knew nothing
except what CWL told him, again raises the question of CWL's
As the years progressed the divergence between the HPB/Masters
teachings and the second generation Theosophy widened; even basic
information was changed, e.g. the introduction of the 'etheric
double' (with four 'etheric' states of physical matter), the
alterations to the classification of principles and planes, and
the CWL account of the after-death states which is quite
different from that of the Masters, etc.
The divergence of the two systems became clearly apparent with
the publication of the Mahatma Letters in 1924/5. It was
unfortunate that, for a number of reasons, their publication had
been delayed till then.
Apart from 'occult' material in them, these letters set a
background of specific purpose to the founding of the Society.
This was closely related to the Masters being regarded as one
tier of membership in the Society, with their accepted Chelas as
a second and the ordinary members a third.
To begin with this was the case but it obviously ceased to be so
on HPB's death (if not before). An attempt to reintroduce it by
edict later was obviously spurious.
The Letters also describe in some detail the conditions that were
essential for a relationship between the Masters and their
Chelas. These conditions were very stringent, particularly
aregarding honesty and straightforwardness.
In the period after HPB's death and with the withdrawal of the
Masters once again into obscurity, instead of direct guidance
from or association with the Master, even if it were visiting him
in the Astral, the practice grew up of this being done indirectly.
For example, people were taken to the Masters in their astral
bodies for initiations etc., but about which next day they knew
nothing apart from what they were told. In one or two places the
Masters do say that this can happen in the matter of training but
not by proxy. Further, initiations are matters of enhancement of
waking consciousness and this can occur only when certain
conditions created necessarily by the pupil, not someone on his
behalf, have been met.
Regardless of the state of the Society, thanks to the Masters'
insistence and help, and the sacrifices of HPB, the world and
particularly the Society have a voluminous and authentic
The Society itself is now a world-wide organization of an
idealistic and benevolent nature, inspired by the idea of
universal brotherhood, but the second and third objects are
interpreted very loosely and widely to include anything from
UFO's to what is generally extra- ordinary and sensational.
All this, however, against a background of what might be termed
'religion' or spirituality, mostly by way of, for example, the
Eastern exoteric scriptures and various ideas on Theosophy,
methods of yoga and meditation. There is also in some places a
strong adherence to the Liberal Catholic Church and Co-Masonry as
if they were indeed part of the theosophical movement.
In some places, notably Africa, the Theosophical Society is
identified with the Theosophical Order of Service. Charity is
impressed on every member through the brotherhood idea; there are
however hundreds of charitable organizations to work for and
there can be nothing special about the 'theosophical' one to
warrant its association with the Society.
Similarly the Round Table is an admirable organization but again
nothing in it is specifically theosophical.
Theosophical Science groups while keeping interested members
informed of current scientific matters have seldom if ever
related science to anything specifically associated therewith in
the classical theosophical literature. Because some scientific
members have found faults and inconsistencies in 'scientific'
statements in the literature they have abandoned the whole grand
theosophical system, demonstrating at least a lack of a sense of
Where older Lodges have survived, and in Section central
libraries, books on Theosophy on display or listed in catalogues,
are mostly those of the second generation writers. Their
contents on the whole are taken to be Theosophy without question.
A few individuals try to correct this situation but their
influence generally is very small. Only a scattered and
desultory interest is paid to the classical 'theosophical
literature of the HPB/ Masters era. The idea is widespread that
the jealously guarded freedom of thought of members can mean that
anyone's views or opinions about 'theosophy' can be put out as
This was certainly the case in the early days of the 20th
century. It was almost vehemently stressed then that there was
no such thing as a definite 'theosophical' system of thought,
knowledge or teaching. The great fear was of 'dogmatism'.
This word, however, was, and still is in places, wrongly applied.
A dogma means an obligatory belief and no such thing is imposed
on Theosophical Society members. This does not mean that there
are not authoritative statements of fact such as those given us
by the Masters, who claim to know what they speak or write about,
i.e. they are not speculating, voicing opinions or advancing
All beliefs concerning Theosophy and the Theosophical Society
ought seriously to be questioned against what can easily be
discovered of the original teachings and intentions for the
Society. A serious perusal of THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY will do this.
What is said above about 'make-believe' in the Society also
applies to the E.S. The implied connection of it with the
Masters through the Outer Head is an example. There is in fact
no such connection.
Furthermore, the implication by secrecy, or even privacy, that it
possesses some esoteric knowledge which it can impart to members
is also 'make-believe'. It makes an appeal to would-be aspirants
to chelaship and imposes some preliminary disciplines but omits
the necessity for hard work in studying and assimilating the
eternal verities of Theosophy as given by the Masters.
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