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RE: DEFENSE OF HPB and moving on.

Jan 19, 1999 03:11 PM
by Peter Merriott

Dear list members,

It must be about 4 weeks now since I have been 'listening in' to this
discussion group.  In that time there has been a great deal of animosity and
personal insults expressed between some members. Sarcasm and clever quips
lace a number of responses.  Sometimes it appears that questions are asked
not for information but merely to show up the 'other person'.  Quotes from
Theosophy and other sources are mostly offered as a help.  But, at other
times they appear to be used as missiles aimed at the 'other person' to
devalue their point of view rather than to add to a shared understanding.
Individual views and personal positions appear to becoming more and more
polarised around the above subject-topic.  Fewer people are posting to the
List.  These are my observations, which may of course be mistaken.

My sense of the different contributors to this emotive debate is that each
has a wealth of experience and knowledge that is worthy of sharing and
listening to on this List.  I also have a sense of how frustrating it must
be for members on both sides of the conflict not to be understood and/or to
have their motives, intelligence and integrity impuned.... or indeed, to
feel that HPB is being devalued.

The repeated pointing to perceived omissions or mistakes on HPB's part may
simply lead us away from the actual teachings of Theosophy and appear, even
when not intended, as criticism of HPB's standing and integrity in the
Occult World.  The unwillingness to acknowledge that HPB may have made
mistakes or omissions in her presentation of the Teachings, and that these
may be worth pondering, is likely to appear as intransigence, even when it
not intended as such and where such a defence of HPB arises mainly out of a
sense of loyalty to a great soul and teacher of humanity.

It seems to me that one of the central difficulties in discussing what HPB
may or may not have left out in her teachings, or mistakes she may or may
not have made is that we cannot ask her, or her Teachers, to clarify these
points.  Are they errors, deliberate omissions, deliberate inclusions,
esoteric blinds, or attempts on HPB's part to draw something to our
attention?  Each of us today can only have very limited opinions as to what
was in HPB's (and the Masters') mind at the time.  However, individual views
tentatively aired and shared with a view to advancing our understanding of
Theosophy can only benefit the group as a whole.  But the latter can only
happen if we trust each other and are willing to offer a respect for the
motives and integrity of the person sharing that we would wish to receive
for ourselves.

To question Theosophy and HPB doesn't necessarily make some one an enemy of
Theosophy and HPB.  In fact, I would argue that the fiercist enemies of
Theosophy, the Dugpas, are those that know the Theosophical teachings and
Laws of Occultism are real and not those who doubt them.

Lastly, it seems to me that there is such a tremendous amount of the
Teachings that HPB and the Masters *did* put clearly and definitely in
writing that we, as enquirers or serious students of the Inner Life, have
more than enough to explore for the next 7x7x7 plus 7 lives without worrying
too much about what may or may not be mistakes.  Yet to acknowledge the
possibility of these can have its rightful place and provide food for
thought as it throws us back on our own inner resources.

So, is it possible to acknowledge that there are differences of views and
yet to *actively* draw upon the things we have in common?  Is it possible to
develop a mutual respect and support for each other, even when views differ
from our own, in our endeavour to better understand and live the life of
Theosophy?  My sense is that individuals on both sides of this debate would
like to do just that.

It may be a long, long way off to reach the heights of someone such as HPB,
let alone her Teachers.  Yet in the meantime each one of us may become in
this very moment a Philaletheian, a Lover of Truth and encourage this 'love'
in our fellows.  In this we will be following in Their most noble footsteps.

With best wishes and respects to all,


ps:  I include the quote below as it is one that helps me to remember not to
get too caught up in analysing the details, to always return to general
principles and fundamentals of Theosophy, and to remember that perplexity
has its place.

"It is impossible, when the complicated facts of an entirely unfamiliar
science are being presented to untrained minds for the first time, to put
them forward with all their appropriate qualifications . . . and abnormal
developments. . . . We must be content to take the broad rules first and
deal with the exceptions afterwards, and especially is this the case with
study, in connection with which the traditional methods of teaching,
generally followed, aim at impressing every fresh idea on the memory by
provoking the perplexity it at last relieves."

>From Secret Doctrine vol 1, p162

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