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A sense of The Masters Revealed

Mar 13, 2006 06:55 PM
by Robert Bruce MacDonald

Some people have been looking for a sense of what the TMR is all about and why it may be objectionable. To give people an idea, the book is divided into three parts, Part 1: Adepts, Part 2: Mahatmas, and Part 3: Secret Messages. Part 1 deals with HPB's early years and the various people that she might somehow be connected to and how these might be inspirations for her later work. Part 2 deals with individuals that might be the prototypes of the various Mahatmas that HPB wrote about. Part 3 deals with all sorts of ugliness and could best be described as the political glue that holds the rest of the book together.

In Parts 1 and 2, the book utilizes quotes from the Coulombs, the brothers Hare ("Who Wrote the Mahatma Letters" - read about them in "Defence of Madame Blavatsky" by Beatrice Hastings,, the Coulombs sourced from "The Occult World of Madame Blavatsky" (demonstrates why this volume can be dangerous), Olcott's "Old Diary Leaves", and Blavatsky's fictional "Caves and Jungles". These, in addition to letters, etc. are used to drive the arguments and connections in the book. Clearly some of these sources are dubious at best, other sources are those of outright liars. Although the contents of the sources themselves are not usually controversial, their origin makes them questionable all the same.

The problem with trying to get into somebody's head by looking at the people that they may have crossed paths with is that you never know what type of lessons your subject is deriving from these encounters. What TMR focuses on in its many short biographies is the political motivations and relationships of these people in addition to whatever occult sources of knowledge they may have access to. You come away from the first two chapters with a strange mix of politics and the occult. The problem with these two endeavors, as any occultist will tell you, is that they do not mix. Politics is the art of influencing others to help achieve worldly ends; the occult serves an entirely different mistress - it is the art of encouraging people to think for themselves. The only way the two can mix would be if HPB was a book-learned occultist without possession of the Heart Doctrine. In this scenario, HPB would be a great intellect who provided the world with a remarkable body of literature. She might properly be called one of the true greats. Great what? Great scholars. HPB has been transformed from an occultist into a scholar. Perhaps this is high praise coming from the pen of a scholar.

To lend credence to this picture, TMR begins Part 3 as follows:

IN 1993, SEVERAL DOCUMENTARY discoveries shed new light on HPB's political involvements. Maria Carlson's No Religion Higher Than Truth, a history of the Theosophical movement in Russia, reprints portions of a letter Blavatsky wrote on 26 December 1872, while in Odessa. Addressed to the Director of the Third Section, it volunteers her services as a secret agent:

“During these twenty years I have become well acquainted with all of Western Europe. I zealously followed current politics not with any goal in mind, but because of an innate passion; in order better to follow events and to divine them in advance, I always had the habit of entering into the smallest details of any affair, for which reason I strove to acquaint myself with all the leading personalities, politicians of various nations, both of the government factions and of the far Left....

As a Spiritualist, I have a reputation in many places as a powerful medium. Hundreds of people undoubtedly believed and will believe in spirits. But I, writing this letter with the aim of offering my services to Your Excellency and to my native land, am obligated to tell you the entire truth without concealment. And thus I must confess that three-quarters of the time the spirits spoke and answered in my words and out of my considerations, for the success of my own plans. Rarely, very rarely, did I fail, by means of this little trap, to discover people's hopes, plans and secrets.... I have played every role, I am able to represent myself as any person you may wish.” (p. 216)

Were the Theosophical world to take note of this discovery in the Central State Archives of the October Revolution in Moscow, it would be seen as a bombshell exploding the hagiographic interpretation of the founder's early life. But it is likely to pass unnoticed. Her description in this letter of her activities in the 1850s and 1860s corresponds accurately to the portrait that has emerged in the present investigation. Quite striking, however, is her apparent willingness to violate the trust of the same men she was later to mythologize as Masters. Nevertheless, according to Carlson, the Russian government rejected her offer, and no evidence has been found to confirm that she ever became a secret agent for her native country. She did, however, become a secret informant of the
British government, but not until fifteen years after her offer to St. Petersburg was rejected.

This ends the quote that begins Part 3.

The rest of Part 3 deals with suspicions by the British concerning HPB's possible involvement as a Russian Spy, her unfortunate involvement in an effort to stop an Indian uprising that could only have resulted in the death of many of India's poor turned to desperation, Hume's involvement in the whole mess, and hearsay nonsense surrounding what is called "An Occult Imprisonment".

This gives the people who have not read the book a sense of what it is about. The TMR is basically a house of cards where if the 1872 Spy letter is removed, the whole thing collapses. The Spy letter helps to establish a state of mind for HPB just prior for her leaving to America and establishing the Theosophical Society. At one point the book uses the Spy Letter to blunt or dismiss HPB's contempt for the whole field of politics. TMR quotes from "The Letters of HPB to AP Sinnett", Letter LXXXVIII, where HPB laments at being drawn into the political world due to the above mentioned plot.
From TMR we then read the glib comment: "This Letter suggest HPB's ethics
and sense of responsibility had evolved considerably since her 1872 offer to the Third Section."

If we are to speak of responsibility, before using the 1872 letter to club HPB over the head with, perhaps it would have been responsible to make some effort towards its verification. To my knowledge there has been no effort to verify this letter before or since. How can you then in good conscience write a book around it, especially when so much of the book is put together with thinly supported accounts? But then if one was to try and verify the letter and fail, that would sure put the breaks on a sensationalistic book! Perhaps it was best to leave well enough alone.

I don't think we need professors to tell us whether this book has merit or not. It seems that we can decide that perfectly well on our own.


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