RE: Theos-World Why the decline in interest in TS/Theosophy
May 06, 1999 01:02 PM
by W. Dallas TenBroeck
Thanks for your comments.
I will put some notes below in the body of your response, if you
Thanks, Best wishes,
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> Subject: Re: Theos-World Why the decline in interest in TS/Theosophy
Dear Dallas and All,
I do not agree with you in you view about the role of leadership
Theosophy. It may semantic. I simply call leader who commits
herself to the well-being of Lodge or a Study Group, including
That is exactly what I meant -- EACH MEMBER IS COMMITTING TO THE
SUPPORT OF AN ASSOCIATION THE BEST THAT THEY KNOW HOW. They do
not need others to tell them what to do. They will do as they
please anyway -- and that is the fate of all organizations when
For instance: What is wrong with the Original three objects as
framed that they need to be changed in any way ? Has the
membership been referred to? Is it a matter of passive
The point in question is as presented by Ramadoss, is that there
decline in membership and visitors in our lecture halls. Why? The
is not in the theosophical books but in our theosophical work. In
way the 'they' perceives the TS impact in personal growth.
THEOSOPHY IS PERFECT because it deals with Divine-Wisdom . . .
TSA, etc may disappear if no new generation of theosophist join
work for the cause.Is this true?
To me it is totally unimportant what an organization, or
association names itself. That which is important is how it
carries into practice the ideals that it sets forth. In the
matter of Theosophy, which HPB says, is "eternal truth," nothing
less but the greatest honesty and sincerity will do.
Those practices that set out common work need to be defined, and
then practiced. Once they are clear to everyone, it is easy to
see if the management and conduct of such a body follows the
ideals. It also has the virtue of keeping things strictly
accurate and true -- it is an application of universality and
hence of BROTHERHOOD. If it does not, and the members do not,
insist on accuracy in practice, then it will eventually perish.
HOWEVER This does not mean that THEOSOPHY as originally
promulgated by the Adepts and HPB, Their messenger, is wrong. It
means that people have not had the strength to carry out the
ideals in practice. [ NOTE: The Adepts, Masters, Mahatmas,
whatever designation is given to Them, made it clear that HPB was
Their Agent, and wrote according to their bidding. Without HPB
and her work there would be no T S.
If the Theosophy of the Mahatmas is not studied and if the
writings of HPB are neglected, then no one can expect the T S to
I have heard that some theosophist are just happy to see the TS
theosophical books, for the buyer will read them and learn
And they see the future of the TS as such. Have you heard that?
Out of curiosity, if I volunteer to give a talk at ULT on a
evening about the Egyptian Book of the Dead, how is it decided?
to vote on it. One I asked and a young kid told me that only
members give talks. What is the decision mechanism?
As far as I know the ULT exists for the study and promulgation of
the philosophy of Theosophy as recorded in the writings of H. P.
Blavatsky and Wm. Q. Judge.
The DECLARATION of the ULT is the sole document on which a group
of self-constituted volunteers meets to study Theosophy, and
where personal affiliation is not asked about. There are no
rules and regulations nor are there any "officers."
The monthly Program of meetings is sent to anyone who desires to
receive it. It commences with the statement: "To spread
broadcast the teachings of Theosophy as recorded in the writings
of H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge." No substitution for
those originals is entertained.
If you offer to give a talk, you ought to address the ULT
directly at their office and address.
One would presume that you have spent several years in the
intensive study of the original teachings, as nothing else forms
the basis for presentation or mutual discussion at ULT study
meetings. As a regular attendant at ULT meetings you must be
aware of this.
ULT would not entertain "outside" lecturers unless they are deep
students who have a ready familiarity with the writings of HPB
and WQJ. The program of work at the ULT is always framed several
months or weeks in advance. Since 1909 it has been operating on
this basis for the benefit of all who attend, and its meetings
are free and open to anyone who comes.
In no way I mean it in a negative way, or to make fun of ULT, nor
writing any paper on it.
In my Study Group in West LA, if you want to visit us and gives
'on theosophy' I say yes, a done deal and no efforts, and is very
To 'theosophise' means to repeat the dead letter of the
books without the soul and spirit that accompanies when the one
is a living truth of it. I think that is what a meant.
I can also understand that repeating words without explanation is
a useless exercise. However the repetition of those original
words offer the ideas that the original Founders intended to use
for the public to grasp. This was and is done so that what
theosophy meant (and means even today) in terms of "metaphysical
ideals" is available, as an ideal, which each person can
personally study and decide if they wish to apply in their daily
living. This contact with the noumenon of Theosophy, might move
to feel the mighty movement of the One SPIRIT that is present
within them, and cause some to commence to inquire into their
meaning. This is what the ULT exists for -- to inquire into the
meaning of the presentation of original Theosophy.
As an example, consider all the work done currently by several
dozen scholars of the Bible -- their search for original texts
(some 2,000 years old), and their painstaking efforts to obtain a
version of an ORIGINAL which can be relied on, instead of those
that have to be restored to the original base because of the
"changes" that have been made in them in transliterating, or
alterations of doctrine down the 20 centuries that separate us
from the age of the events that shape so many of our modern
It is only 108 years since the death of HPB's last used body.
And it saddens me to the hast with which some are desiring to
alter and conceal the clear and straight presentation of those
truths that are age-old. The pleas is that they are not in
modern English. Neither is Shakespeare, Bernard Shaw, Kippling,
Emerson, Thoreau, Milton, Keats, Byron, Boehme, Shopenhauer,
Coleridge, Newton, Goethe, Spinoza and Leibnitz, Shilling, Zola,
Dickens, Austin, and what kind of uproar would scholars level at
those who would "modernize" those phrases ? Is philosophy and
the wisdom of antiquity to receive less appreciation at our hands
than those of the literati ?
In the course of the past 100 years, those who have carefully
studied the historical course of the Theosophical Movement and
the several bodies that claim their origins in and from the TS,
notice that there has been an increasing tendency to swing away
for the original intent and meanings. And then, added to that,
have been accompanying and increasing attempts to justify such
divergences, or to add to the confusion by producing fresh ones.
Who among us today has HPB's knowledge and power? Who has
received unmistakably the cachet of the Mahatmas?
It is because of this that the ULT maintains a humble position.
It very simply desires that all who wish to study THEOSOPHY have
direct access to the same original source from whom modern day
Theosophy has flowed. There is no reason then to have to explain
away divergences. The student is put into direct touch with HPB
and Theosophy as she and the Adepts recorded it. And that is far
easier than trying to recreate what Original Theosophy taught,
from the well-intentioned writings of HPB's students and
It is held that the teachings of Theosophy have always been in
the world, under many ancient names. And Theosophical facts and
discoveries (SD I 272-3) have formed the sole background to all
the great World-religions. HPB and her Adept teachers, traced
these sources for us in the many pages that she wrote (as in ISIS
UNVEILED and the SECRET DOCTRINE, and in the many articles).
Those who desire to verify this for themselves are invited to
plunge in and work at it, as many others have done and are
already doing by and for themselves. As in many other serious
and honest studies, there is no substitute for thoroughness, and
personally verifying every statement that is made. Theosophy
does not encourage "authority," "leaders," "blind belief," or
"faith." It demands that the student do this work of analysis
and verification for himself. There are no short-cuts or
time-savers that are trustworthy.
There is a wide difference between the "Original Teachings" and
attempts made by students, of any degree of knowledge, to express
those "originals" as they understand their meaning. Since this
is always recognized to be an important factor, the ULT meetings
are framed in the form of questions and answer gatherings -- so
that those who attend may offer their views, problems in
understanding, and their own suggestions as to what the intent
and meaning of the original writers may be -- by this method it
has been found that all benefit, and a deeper understanding is
It is also recognized that since the death of HPB and WQJ there
have been a succession of writers who have presented aspects of
what they understood by "Theosophy." Some of these are valuable
and others show a divergent interpretation which is not clear.
But none of these
"second level presentations" are treated as comparable with the
"originals," nor are they used as substitutes, or recommended as
"easy access" to individual understanding. The reason is that
all students have a built-in filter, a bias that is unavoidable;
and this is always determined by the areas of their own personal
interests. These, in subtle ways may alter the meaning and
intent of the originals in their minds, understanding, and
consequently in their presentations. The ULT offers inquiring
students the "safety" of being able to compare their conclusions
with those of other students who, like themselves study "original
teachings." It would be the height of pride and presumption to
presume that any one of us, today, is fully equipped to
"interpret" what HPB taught. When we can write a "SECRET
DOCTRINE," then we might be entrusted to make interpretative
changes, but not till then.
Take for instance the writings of Robert Crosbie who founded the
ULT, and set these principles in motion for all to view. Many
are the students of Theosophy all over the world who value the
sincerity of the applications he spoke of. Stenographic record
had been made of his talks and answers at various study classes,
These have been published and used by students. They are not
considered "authoritative" nor would he have ever desired them to
be so considered. They assist in indicating where and how a
student may find in the "original" teachings those key passages
and ideas that will lead him, if he decides there is value in
using them, to a deeper understanding of those ORIGINAL
TEACHINGS. He always pointed to HPB and WQJ.
As an example: In Buddhism, no monk who has the duty of
promulgating the words of the Buddha and offering advice, will
offer them without, as a preliminary statement, saying: " Thus
have I heard...." The ULT advocates a similar humility be
practiced by all those who do work in its name for Theosophy.
And hence the practice of anonymity is recommended and used in
its work. It is thought advisable from the beginning to let
THEOSOPHY stand forth and let the "presenter" be effaced.
I am giving you this survey in answer to your queries, in case
you, and others who read this, are not aware of the application
of these principles in the ULT. I write this solely as my own
observation and opinion, and in no way is the ULT bound by what
I write here, which is the result of my personal observation of
its workings for over more than 60 years.
in West Los Angeles
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