Re: Nigel: "...I find Pedro's words to be disingenuous in the extreme...."
Apr 30, 2007 01:47 AM
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "danielhcaldwell"
> Nigel: "...I find Pedro's words
> to be disingenuous in the extreme...."
> I've extracted just a tidbit from your
> recent post. But your words prompt me
> to ask if you would be so kind as to give
> some of your own comments on what Pedro
> has written at:
> This may throw some light on what I quoted from
> your posting.
Thank you for your response to my posting and for asking the above
Please forgive the somewhat lengthy answer and for using and
sometimes extending some of your recent abbreviated quotations. They
are passages I have used many times before.
For me, a sense of disingenuousness emerges from Bishop Oliviera's
(hereinafter referred to as Pedro) article.
I don't believe he has been entirely open and forthcoming in an
When you are a long standing, highly knowledgeable, very senior
member of a Theosophical organisation, such that Pedro is in
Australia, which claims impartiality in the search for the truths of
life, and you are writing an explanatory and comparative theosophical
article in a national magazine with international circulation, it is
my opinion that the approach should be manifestly objective and
thorough, with equal representation of opinions rather than merely
quoting passages which may support a possible underlying agenda.
Allow me to demonstrate my reasoning through the following process.
Pedro writes, "Soon after HPB died, in May 1891, differences of
approach to the teachings of Theosophy became evident."
Differences of approach?! In truth, there were many and major
contradictions of which it is inconceivable for Pedro to be unaware.
In the interests of objectivity and fairness this should have been
He writes, "Considering that proselytising was never a platform of
The Oxford English dictionary defines proselytise as, "To try to
convert people to ones beliefs or opinions."
>From my perspective, Bishop Leadbeater et al often wrote with the
expectation that people would see things from their point of view. He
would putatively encourage people to think for themselves whilst at
the same time making authoritarian pronouncements with an expectation
of compliance. This to me is disingenuous, worthy of the highest
political accolade if successful, which unfortunately it was and is
still to this day.
This is where I perceive hypocrisy in Pedro's statement. Whilst there
is no stated policy or "platform" for this compliance, nevertheless
Bishop Leadbeater and his books are still heavily promoted by members
within and by the Society.
Moreover in years past, perhaps less so today, Theosophical Society
members who were not also members of "either/or" the Liberal Catholic
church, Co-Masonic Association and Esoteric Section were unlikely to
achieve high office.
Pedro writes, "Several books by Besant and Leadbeater are based on
their clairvoyant investigations, including Thought-Forms, Man:
Whence, How and Wither, The Lives of Alcyone, Occult Chemistry, among
others. A number of statements made in these books were not
independently corroborated and for some this called into question the
legitimacy of teachings based on clairvoyant observations. However,
it is interesting to note that HPB herself used some form of
clairvoyance in the writing of The Secret Doctrine."
He then chooses one isolated passage where Madame Blavatsky
explains, "Well, you see, what I do is this. I make what I can only
describe as a sort of vacuum in the air before me, and fix my sight
and my will upon it, and soon scene after scene passes before me like
the successive pictures of a diorama, or, if I need a reference or
information from some book, I fix my mind intently, and the astral
counterpart of the book appears, and from it I take what I need. The
more perfectly my mind is freed from distractions and mortifications,
the more energy and intentness it possesses, the more easily I can do
Pedro omits to mention Madame Blavatsky's writing of the Secret
Doctrine was not only corroborated by the Mahatmas but was
largely "written" by them through a sophisticated occult process.
Referring to just three examples:
"I have also noted your thoughts about the `Secret Doctrine.' Be
assured that what she has not annotated from scientific and other
works we have given or suggested to her. Every mistake or erroneous
notion corrected and explained by her from the works of other
theosophists, was corrected by me, or under my instruction." Mahatma
KH; Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom 1st Series.
"The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its
cosmogony alone is the most stupendous and elaborate system: e.g.,
even in the exotericism of the Purânas. But such is the mysterious
power of Occult symbolism, that the facts which have actually
occupied countless generations of initiated seers and prophets to
marshal, to set down and explain, in the bewildering series of
evolutionary progress, are all recorded on a few pages of geometrical
signs and glyphs. The flashing gaze of those seers has penetrated
into the very kernel of matter, and recorded the soul of things
there, where an ordinary profane, however learned, would have
perceived but the external work of form.?It is useless to say that
the system in question is no fancy of one or several isolated
individuals. That it is the uninterrupted record covering thousands
of generations of Seers whose respective experiences were made to
test and to verify the traditions passed orally by one early race to
another, of the teachings of higher and exalted beings, who watched
over the childhood of Humanity. That for long ages, the "Wise Men"
of the Fifth Race, of the stock saved and rescued from the last
cataclysm and shifting of continents, had passed their lives in
learning, not teaching. How did they do so? It is answered: by
checking, testing, and verifying in every department of nature the
traditions of old by the independent visions of great adepts; i.e.,
men who have developed and perfected their physical, mental, psychic,
and spiritual organisations to the utmost possible degree. No vision
of one adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the
visions?so obtained as to stand as independent evidence?of other
adepts, and by centuries of experiences." SD Vol 1 p 272/2
(photographic facsimile edition 1888)
Similarly with the occult process of precipitation, one of the
methods used by the Mahatmas through Madame Blavatsky to "write" the
letters to Mr Sinnett and Mr Hume:
". . . . bear in mind that these my letters are not written, but
impressed, or precipitated, and then all mistakes corrected." No.10
(1) ". . . I have to think it over, to photograph every word and
sentence carefully in my brain, before it can be repeated by
precipitation. As the fixing on chemically prepared surfaces of the
images formed by the camera requires a previous arrangement within
the focus of the object to be represented, for, otherwise?as often
found in bad photographs?the legs of the sitter might appear out of
all proportion with the head, and so on?so we have to first arrange
our sentences and impress every letter to appear on paper in our
minds before it becomes fit to be read." No.12 (1)
These occult processes used in the construction of the Secret
Doctrine and Mahatma Letters cannot remotely be compared with the
putative "clairvoyance" of Bishop Leadbeater and Dr Besant and to so
suggest using only one quote is quite disingenuous to me.
Pedro writes, "There are a number of other areas of perceived
differences between the two literatures that space constraints
prevent us to address: the controversy about Mars and Mercury and the
Earth Chain, investigation of past lives, the nature and work of the
Brotherhood of Adepts, the after-death states, stages on the Path,
For me, this is once again disingenuous.
Any literary comparison of these subjects demonstrates overwhelming
and unequivocal contradictions and certainly not merely "perceived
differences." It might cause us to question why Pedro does not
mention the word contradiction or refer to the differences in this
Could the answer be because Bishop Leadbeater often claimed to be in
direct occult contact with the same Adept teachers as Madame
Blavatsky and that this would then beg the question as to why those
very same occult teachers would completely contradict themselves so
utterly in the space of a few years after waiting almost a century to
bring their information to the western public?
Could it also be that Pedro is a Bishop in Bishop Leadbeater's church
and would not want any public loss of credibility to his church and
its founder and his own hard-earned position of power? I have no
doubt Pedro believes Bishop Leadbeater to have done much good in the
Society and that his followers have tried to be fine, upstanding
Whatever Pedro's reason/s it is disingenuous to me not to be open and
comprehensive when representing theosophical matters. If the
Society's motto affirms no religion higher than Truth, simply telling
all of the story would be a good place to start. Telling only part of
it, perhaps to suit a particular agenda is disingenuous to me.
Given the above and in light of Perry's experience of being barred
from rejoining the Adyar Theosophical Society in Australia for
speaking out against what he saw as censorship of a kind in an
organisation which demands in writing "freedom of thought", this
indicates in my opinion a systematic pattern of disingenuousness at
the level of certain individuals who represent the organisation.
>From my perspective this is an occult tragedy, as the promise of an
international organisation of individuals devoted to the open search
for Truth, open to rigorous and critical challenge has been all but
lost or at least seriously diluted, perhaps only for the purpose of
protecting certain peoples' sacred cows?
(1) Mahatma Letters to AP Sinnett and AO Hume; chronological
edition of George Linton and Virginia Hanson
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