Farthing Manifesto - Part 3 of 3
Mar 11, 1998 09:28 PM
by M K Ramadoss
Part 3 of 3
[P81.] 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'.
[P82.] 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 theories.
[P83.] 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.
[P84.] 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.
[P85.] 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
[P86.] First the Adyar Society must take an honest look, fearlessly, at the
present position against the background outlined above.
[P87.] Loyalties to past leaders, to their personal influence and their
teachings, must become secondary issues. This means an acknowledgment that
all that happened to the Society as a result of C.W. Leadbeater's influence
on it, directly or indirectly, his influence on Annie Besant and his
enduring influence by way of his writings, is suspect. It must be
recognized that these writings are 'theosophically' defective and
[P88.] Annie Besant's influence, by reason of her long term as President,
must also be very objectively assessed. Whatever her personal integrity she
was obviously misled and mistaken, witness the Krishnamurti fiasco, her
espousal of Co-Masonry as part of the Theosophical Society and her handling
of the Judge 'case' with its disastrous results.
[P89.] For most members a change of mind or basic beliefs will at best be
painful and at worst difficult if not impossible. This means that only a
section of the existing membership can, in the first instance at any rate,
be expected to make any radical change, and this section will necessarily
include E.S. members who will obviously have their loyalties but they will
also presumably have acquired some self-reliance and have learned to think
[P90.] Some members already have or will have difficulty with the question
of their membership of the Liberal Catholic Church and CoMasonry in the
light of their longstanding association with the Society. Many of these
institutions have in fact been regarded as 'theosophical', even theosophy
[P91.] However, it is necessary that the Society should formally declare
that henceforth neither of them is really any part of, or has any special
association with, the Theosophical Society.
[P92.] This does not mean that members are not free to join the Liberal
Catholic or any other Church, or become Masons or members of any other
institution they wish, provided that they are not inimical or antithetical
to Theosophy, and still be members of the Society.
[P93.] The Society has its own special message to promulgate. This
message only exists in the writings of HPB and in the Mahatma Letters. This
message in its completeness (as far as it was given out) is unique.
[P94.] The future direction of the Society must therefore include:
[P95.] 1) The eradication of the 'make-believe' Leadbeater influence - in
all departments including literature, and severance from the Society of all
other organizations, i.e. the Liberal Catholic Church and Co-Masonry.
[P96.] 2) A thorough examination of all literature purporting to be
'theosophical', and a brave declaration, and no further promotion, of any
which is not wholly consonant with the original teachings. This is no
proscription but all books purporting to be theosophical which strictly are
not should be clearly labeled or marked that they are the author's views on
the subject and not necessarily authentic. Members are, of course, free to
read what they like but they can be warned, if not guided. The section in
any Theosophical Society library purporting to be theosophical literature
should be segregated from other material offered, be clearly marked and the
books given prominence on book lists, catalogues, etc.
[P97.] 3) The retention and promotion of the three objects of the Society
plus an active promotion of Theosophy as given by the Masters.
[P98.] 4) At all Theosophical Society Centers, Headquarters, etc., there
should be someone qualified to discuss Theosophy, say what it is, and
recommend books to enquirers. This service should as far as possible be
available at all times or a notice displayed as to where it can be obtained.
[P99.] 5) Commercialism in any form, i.e. book selling or publication as
such, without specific reference to the promotion of a knowledge of
Theosophy, is not part of the legitimate activities of the Society.
'Fringe' literature can be obtained in ordinary bookshops or from other
organizations, e.g. the Arcane School, the Anthroposophical Society, etc.
This recommendation is made with our second object specifically in mind.
Study of comparative religion is encouraged by the Society but it does not
have to publish or supply the books.
[P100.] 6) Professionalism in the society should be examined. Whereas
'goods and services' must obviously be paid for, Theosophy as such cannot
be sold. Should exponents be paid? If so, to what extent?
[P101.] 7) Serious study of the 'prime' literature, whatever else is done
in Lodges, at Centers, etc., should be encouraged and all facilities
provided. Facilities should be provided for meditation - quiet and solitude
if possible. Meditation should, however, be 'theosophical', i.e.
classical (Patanjali), HPB Diagram, or just silence, not according to local
gurus and amateurs with 'special' methods, and NEVER for money.
[P102.] 8) The Society will obviously need a group of students dedicated to
the study of the literature and to the dissemination of what they discover
both in the writings, and in themselves, as they progress. This can be
supplied by some of the existing members of the E.S. At present there are
no 'esoteric' leaders or teachers in the Society; it will therefore in this
respect have to 'lift itself up by its own boot-laces' as the expression
[P103.] There is no justification for secrecy within the E.S. or the
Society but on occasion private members meetings could be efficacious
for discussion, exchange of information, mutual encouragement, etc.
There is obviously now no corporate connection with the Masters so that
that 'make-believe' can be dispensed with. The E.S. study should be
confined to the Master or HPB writings. The Society has no other
[P104.] Where the E.S. members feel they need inspirational literature
apart from books like THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, LIGHT ON THE PATH and some
of the classical mystical works like THE BHAGAVAD GITA, as this is a
personal matter they should be free to discover their own. Discrimination
as to what is consonant with theosophical teachings will grow. Let students
beware of self-styled teachers and of themselves posing as such. They will
know when they really are qualified - they will have been 'authorized'. Let
[P105.] 9) The Society's relation to 'computerization', the Internet, etc.,
needs serious examination and Sections given guidelines.
[P106.] HPB used the words Occultism, Esotericism, Esoteric Science, etc.,
as synonymous with Theosophy. In THE SECRET DOCTRINE she states several
times that some of the teaching given there had never been made public
before. These statements indicate that the teachings included more
material than was contained in any published religious or philosophic
[P107.] This distinction has been almost entirely overlooked. The
great Hindu scriptures have been taken virtually to be Theosophy. Initiated
Brahmins know this is not the case but they keep their esoteric knowledge
[P108.] This was the position when HPB made some of that knowledge public:
it was much resented even by Subba Rao whose Master incidentally was the
same as HPB's. All extant scriptures are exoteric even though in their
mystical content they reflect much of what is in Theosophy.
[P109.] Such treatises as THE BHAGAVAD GITA, the Puranas, many Sufi
writings and other world acknowledged scriptural writings are beautiful and
inspiring, potentially capable of leading aspirants on to the highest
[P110.] Neither they nor Hinduism nor Buddhism, in their published form,
are 'esoteric', nor of course is the now published THE SECRET DOCTRINE
except that its prolonged study changes our modes of thinking and
understanding, giving us insights we could otherwise not get.
[P111.] What do the theosophical writings include that others do not?
While the differences might appear superficial in themselves, in their
totality they are not.
[P112.] For example, the Hindu system is fivefold, as far as the human
principles and the skandhas are concerned, whereas the theosophical system
is sevenfold. The planes of Nature are sevenfold, with each having a
corresponding level of consciousness.
[P113.] In Theosophy Karma is a comprehensive Law applying universally, not
just to human beings by way of reward or retribution. Theosophy contains
the vast evolutionary scheme by Chains, Globes, Rounds and Races which
process by analogy applies to all manifest things, e.g. all those 'things'
comprising the kingdoms of Nature. Incidentally, properly there are no
'things'; every 'thing' is a life.
[P114.] Some 'esoteric' systems of the past, notably the original Kabala,
had reflections, in some instances almost exact, of the theosophical
scheme, but they were neither so comprehensive nor so explicit. In THE
SECRET DOCTRINE for example, HPB relates much of the theosophical teaching
to the principal world religions and explains much of their symbolism and
[P115.] Some of this is also dealt with in ISIS UNVEILED wherein the
student can find exciting insights and many explanations of even obscure
ancient writings. It is a mine of information leading up to the
comprehensive and relatively systematized exposition in THE SECRET DOCTRINE
of as much of the Ancient Wisdom as could be published then.
[P116.] All this knowledge was in addition to that of the 'mystical'
information and teachings in exoteric literature. The outpouring of
information and teaching given in THE SECRET DOCTRINE pushed forward the
boundaries of knowledge several steps beyond what was then otherwise
available to the layman.
[P117.] To a very large extent this has been ignored by the world and much
more sadly even by the majority of members of the Theosophical Society, who
according to THE KEY have the special responsibility "of letting it be
known that such a thing as Theosophy exists". They cannot possibly do that
if they themselves do not know what it is.
[P118.] The Maha Chohan uses the expression "to popularize a knowledge of
Theosophy". Where this has been heeded at all it has been taken to mean the
rendering of the vast and erudite teachings of Theosophy into a form
suitable for assimilation by the general populace.
[P119.] Quite obviously this cannot be done and any attempt to do so must
at least oversimplify the grand concepts and at worst dilute them until
their profundity and inner meaning is completely lost. Such an attempt to
'popularize' Theosophy in this way, to make it appeal to people who
otherwise cannot comprehend it, is virtual sacrilege.
[P120.] This, however, is a tactic used to increase membership of the
Society. The Society's three objects are popular, for anybody to subscribe
to, but apart from letting it be known as widely as possible that it
exists, Theosophy itself cannot be popularized.
[P121.] This is something that has to be accepted when considering the
future of the Society. We must never forget the nature of the original
writings. No attempt was made even in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, to 'simplify'
or 'dilute' the subject matter. They were written to appeal to the 'highest
minds', who in turn, as far as possible, would disseminate their content to
others, i.e the grand ideas would percolate down and so influence all society.
[P122.] A consequence of the virtual substitution of the original
literature by that of the second generation writers has meant that there
has been very little follow-up material in the HPB/Masters vein. There is,
however, enough to introduce the subject to intending students.
[P123.] To comprehend Theosophy one has to make a serious and prolonged
effort. In Bowen's Notes "Madame Blavatsky on How to Study Theosophy", HPB
explained to him, "This mode of thinking is what the Indians call Jnana
Yoga" and then mentioned the likely experiences that may arise.
[P124.] But nothing can happen without the effort. The Theosophical Society
was founded at the instigation of the Masters with a sublime object in
view: the salvation of the whole human race by a 'popularization' of their
teachings. Surely we can attempt to do this to the limit of our capacity.
Let us try!
End of Part 3 of 3
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