RE: Dallas wrote: "I am not interested in the philology [of Devachan]. . . .Be content with your view, and let me be happy with mine. Enough."
Jan 24, 1999 06:29 AM
by Dallas TenBroeck
Jan 24th 1999
Dear Daniel, Rich, etc... :
Re: philology (the love of words)
When I wrote that I was "not interested in philology" I meant I
was not intensely interested in word-origins per se.
I am interested in what words are used for to convey living,
vibrant and practical ideas. In this regard I notice that
Theosophy has employed for its use words from many sources, and
given them, in many contexts, variable meanings. Words, to me,
are only tools to convey ideas. They are often inadequate, and
to some, I must appear as inchoate.
The original writers insisted they were not writing for
academics. Their scope was an effort to change the orientation
of men's minds to brotherhood based on our common origin - which
is the real brotherhood "of the Heart." That is, as I understand
They assailed the institutions of their days with the concept (to
be found in each one's own heart) of universal Law and justice
without favoritism. Universal LIFE for all beings because of
their One Source in imperishable SPIRIT (God - a Universal Power,
not a Gigantic and fallible, whimsical Man). The evolutionary
process was vast and fair and gave each being an opportunity to
progress towards "perfection." Each human was free-willed, and
decided his own "path," and future. Reincarnation and Karma were
facts of life and Nature, and could be trusted to operate
Humanism and respect for LIFE anywhere were, and are, their aims.
As one of the recent posts suggested, it is the "interior
meaning" of a word is of more interest than the "form, or origin"
of the actual word used.
It is also quite apparent that HPB's THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY was
not fully edited by her before her body died, and that others,
like G R S Mead, had a great hand in finalizing it. To whom
should we attribute errors ? We do not know for sure.
I happen to have been interested, as I studied Theosophy, to
refer constantly to the THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY, and use it as
"collection point" for those so many unusual words used in
In doing this I satisfied myself that in the great majority of
cases, the entries made there are substantiated by similar
definitions given in other books or articles written by HPB. This
has been my particular line of work organizing, and it is not
necessarily that of others.
I have written several times that I find a continuity and a
coherency in Theosophy which is not always clear in other systems
of thought or religion. I admire the manner in which HPB has
made plain the many difficult renderings of information derived
from Oriental texts. She does not agree with the literal
renderings of most translators, but employs or corrects those
that are suitable to her purposes of explaining what the occult
or esoteric meaning is. I have also taken note that the
antiquity claimed for Theosophy ( SD I 272-3 ) is far greater
than anyone acknowledges. In fact the whole chronology of
Evolution (SD II 68-70) is of value to understand the enormous
difficulties in dating the Past which paleographers,
paleontologists, and archaeologists encounter.
And what emerges is that there was at her disposal a fund of very
real knowledge on such a wide variety of subject that one is
almost overwhelmed by the eclectic nature and the precision with
which they are dealt with. This gives one a basis for believing
that there exists a College of Wise Men, and that the Theosophy
we have been studying is the product of their effort to make it
available to the world at large. It is not a revelation any more
than an account of History, made by those who were eye-witnesses,
Anything I may convey is obviously the result of my own
observations. I am not going to dispute the FACTS that Rich (or
anyone else) has put before us all, but I do not endorse his
conclusions (in full) either.
I am of the opinion that in Theosophical literature the original
writer, HPB, serving the Masters of Wisdom, used a language she
chose (or They chose). They chose words used in the
English-tongue (and other tongues) which would serve to convey a
meaning that would attract the attention of the thoughtful reader
in no matter what part of the world, or what philosophy, religion
or science he might be interested in could understand. Those
ideas attributed by them to the Theosophical scheme and
doctrines, transcend such barriers as language and words.
In fact in more than one place those "original writers" convey
their dissatisfaction with English, as a language, to make fine
philosophical and esoteric, or occult, definitions.
So we all lumber along trying to make good sense out of these
pearls we have found. Certainly the ideas conveyed extend to a
far greater horizon than those of mere word dissection. What
they do convey, is far more valuable than why they were used, I
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