Theos-World Re: Should an "ideal" Theosophical Society study & "promote" these books?
Jul 22, 2007 02:11 AM
Dear Cass and all
Cass, thank you for your response and insightful comments.
I would like to address a number of your points and will start with
You write, "I can't get away from the fact that as you say, Radha
Burnier has an obligation and responsibility towards the
infrastructure and the stability of the theosophical society, because
as a theosophical student I believe that Radha's obligation and
responsibility should be towards the "truth". As HPB said, "there is
no religion higher than truth" which for me means that no
organization is higher than its truths."
This has such a ring of authenticity to it.
Moreover, the old axiom that a house built on shaky foundations will
soon fall (fail) has some obvious correlations to me.
If I may point out, as you know Madame Blavatsky didn't only
say, "There is no religion higher than Truth" (Satyam Nasti Paro
Dharma), she made it the very motto of the Adyar Society! This was to
be the underlying theme of her version of Theosophy and the Society
established to promote it.
>From this, please allow me license to elaborate somewhat on this
subject and to include and invite our broader readership to perhaps
consider and respond.
When we speak of Madame Blavatsky's version of Theosophy many think
only in terms of an additional body of written knowledge, which they
may or may not deem to be correct, as is their right.
This is then compared with other bodies of knowledge and endless
debates ensue as to which version is true and accurate or which is
able to be proven or believed to be otherwise. It is quite apparent
this was fully intended by Madame Blavatsky due to the enormous
number of comparative references she used in Isis Unveiled and the
Secret Doctrine with respect to various traditions and belief systems.
This is a vital process in itself, which can significantly develop
our mental acuity.
But perhaps this was not the only reason she wrote using this method.
>From her and her teachers' many statements, it is apparent she was re-
introducing a body of knowledge which was ancient and ageless and,
whether students approve or not, quite specific in some of its
pronouncements. As I attempted to apprise Sveinn Freyr some postings
ago, one word can potentially change a major component upon which
hangs their entire spiritual philosophy.
She used comparisons with other traditions both to explain that which
supported their version of Theosophy, and that which did not.
However, more significant to the current discussion, it seems she and
they were also attempting to encourage a new type of mindset, a
completely new way of thinking. Not one in which facts are simply
added to more facts. Not one where these facts are only compared with
other facts, however important this may be, as has been stated.
Rather a mindset that is free, open, objective, unattached, fearless
and honest; one hopefully to be facilitated by her comparative
If the above is true, it then begs the question, why would they wish
for us to think so differently if we are to apprehend TRUTH.
Firstly, and perhaps rather obviously, it can help us see other
viewpoints and perspectives which might be different from our own.
Among many other considerations, this guards against the arrogant,
closed mind demanding it is right, thereby perpetuating its own
Secondly, it helps preclude us from turning Theosophy into a dogma,
i.e. that which must be believed which necessarily curtails our
ability to freely think for ourselves. Also among many other
considerations, this guards against the insecure mind from fulfilling
its desire for predictability and the accompanying, albeit putative
sense of "security."
Thirdly, it assists us to recognise that whilst one mindset might be
liberating, another can be enslaving. This helps us to be ever aware
of our mind's desire to be in control and the benefits and pitfalls
associated with this.
Mindsets which include arrogance, pride, closed-mindedness,
attachment, insecurity and the desire for predictability and security
are all rooted in fear.
In our ordinary state of existence, fear can be seen as a sometimes-
useful protection mechanism, however it can also dominate and control
our nature into a state of utter powerlessness. As you are well aware
Cass, the various religions have used fear to very good effect in
maintaining compliance of their flocks for millennia. Our minds
naturally rebel against this emotion and establish physical, mental
and emotional structures to protect us from its extremes.
In one of its forms, fear can cause some minds to want to become
especially knowledgeable about a particular subject or teaching.
Whilst there can be undoubted merit in this acquirement of
information, certain mindsets can develop attachments to it and feel
the need to protect it at all costs, which thereby guarantees their
It seems this fear-based mind can sometimes be unwilling or unable to
understand the need for simple truth wherever possible. And Cass, it
is this predisposition that I relate to in your statement above.
Truth presents in a number of forms.
There is the ordinary interpretation of truth as that which is
distinct from a lie or deliberate misrepresentation. Then there is
the meaning of truth in terms of the generally accepted understanding
we have of matters based on our limited perception. And finally, its
form as being ultimately unknowable due to it being beyond perception
altogether. This is termed variously moksha, nirvana, shunyata, or
the Absolute according to our particular tradition.
The motto of the Adyar Society would seem to indicate not only the
importance of the quality of truth but, as you say Cass, the
Society's dharma itself.
This then begs the ongoing questions, why won't the Society's
hierarchy and certain of its members expose and challenge the
demonstrable lies and misrepresentations in its midst, which
incidentally causes it significant discredit amongst the rest of the
The political angle we have discussed previously. The psychological
aspect usually involves the mindset of fear. Its manifestations can
include fear of loss, of exclusion, of loss of face, of being wrong,
of losing its security blanket, of what might happen, or indeed it
can be simple stubbornness fuelled by pride.
It can also be through fear of loss of putative "harmony" within the
It seems to me that, among other considerations, the Adyar Society
hierarchy is failing in its obligation to promote fearless
investigation and comment, partly through desire for a perceived form
of "harmony" amongst its members. However, from my perspective and
experience this form of "harmony" easily can and does become a form
of co-dependency where "peace" at all costs becomes the modus
operandi. This is akin to an alcoholic (lies) being given a drink
supported) by their partner to "keep the peace" in the hope of
avoiding unpleasantness or even violence. This might be
understandable and pragmatic nevertheless it doesn't assist the
alcoholic to discover the truth of their alcoholism, and it doesn't
curtail the violence which the alcohol (lies) causes at both the
mundane and subtle levels. This thereby condemns both the alcoholic
and their co-dependents to ignorance, incoherence, mental blindness
and even death or dissolution.
>From this particular perspective I don't think there is any sinister
agenda within the organisation as a whole or from at least some of
its knowledgeable members to fail to address Bishop Leadbeater's
untruths. Some members belonging to the Liberal Catholic church will
of course have a vested interest. However, I see it mainly as a fear
that the organisation's members might descend into argument and
belligerence. However in my experience and the Society's past
history, many Lodges and Branches are far from harmonious centres
And so perhaps it is time for the hierarchy to fearlessly evaluate
the evidence and recognize the practical and occult influences and
implications of supporting untruths and misrepresentations.
Then perhaps they and theirs can rebuild their foundations based in
genuine freedom, open-mindedness and the common search and aspiration
for Truth. The practical and occult ramifications would potentially
Kind regards Cass
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Cass Silva <silva_cass@...> wrote:
> Hello again Nigel,
> I can't get away from the fact that as you say, Radha Burnier has
an obligation and responsibility towards the infrastructure and the
stability of the theosophical society, because as a theosophical
student I believe that Radha's obligation and responsibility should
be towards the "truth". As HPB said, "there is no religion higher
than truth" which for me means that no organization is higher than
> Unfortunately HPB was not born at a time when she could roam the
countryside with her teachings, the then current situation dictated
that the only forum would be to form a society whereby the truths
could be filtered. I am sure the Masters and HPB knew this would be
doomed to failure because they knew that those that followed would be
challenged and tempted by their own ego, that they, were not fully in
control of their ego, but were perhaps the best around at the time.
There purpose was pure and simply to provide an alternative
explanation to our inherent divinity. One cannot answer to two
masters, and the TS cannot survive if it persists in honoring those
that misconstrued or slanted the message towards their own belief
> Regardless of what Ms Burnier does, Theosophy will survive, HPB's
message will survive, it will reach those that are "ready" whether or
not a Theosophical Society exists or not.
> Sadly, the TS is not a good place to start if the teachings only
lead to confusion and division, although I spent many happy years
learning about theosophy through some wonderful theosophists who were
more or less obliged to teach Leadbeater/Besant when I am sure were
not in agreement with their teachings and tried to draw parallels
which were not there.
> Thanks for listening, look forward to your comments.
> nhcareyta <nhcareyta@...> wrote:
> Dear Cass
> Thank you for your kind feedback. It's good to be in dialogue with
> you again.
> I think you make a very good analogy with Darwin, although behind
> scenes there would probably be considerable disquiet amongst and
> between the various academic disciplines until, through simple
> of evidence alone, they arrive at the state of logic you so
> pertinently mentioned in a previous post!
> Yes, as you allude, as the democratically elected International
> President, Radha certainly has a number of responsibilities to
> consider, one of these presumably being a sense of duty to protect
> the organisation and its infrastructure. There is obvious merit in
> this position unless taken to the extreme. After all, the general
> corporate philosophy is that even a flawed organisation is better
> than none, particularly where the organisation promotes
> and compassion. However, the Theosophical Society was not only
> established to promote these worthwhile qualities and from my
> perspective the circumstances surrounding Bishop Leadbeater fulfils
> the criteria of extreme.
> Here however the situation becomes more than a little tenuous as
> there are political considerations, of which you are probably
> that are not always immediately apparent to the casual observer.
> Bishop Leadbeater is often more than closely associated with Dr
> Besant, no more so than in India. Indian membership of the Adyar
> Society makes up more than 30% of the worldwide membership. There
> other countries where Bishop Leadbeater has a considerable
> including Australia. A rigorous, wide-ranging debate as to the
> or otherwise of Bishop Leadbeater will necessarily expose some very
> dirty but true facts which will certainly shock and dismay many
> members, with predictable psychological and practical consequences.
> Moreover, this will inevitably draw Dr Besant into the debate and
> reputation may also be significantly damaged due to her close
> relationship with Bishop Leadbeater, for some of the political
> decisions she made concerning him and for some of the
> she made, of which many members may be unaware. This might also
> to similar consequences.
> And herein lies an additional political consideration. Dr Besant is
> still revered by many throughout the upper echelons of the broader
> Indian community for her political and educational work. In my
> opinion, this reputation and her association with the Theosophical
> Society have been of great benefit, in one form or another, in
> retaining some of the land which forms part of the International
> headquarters, despite apparent attempts by government to resume it.
> This land houses, among other things, the large Olcott and
> Krishnamurti schools, which provide a valuable service,
> to very disadvantaged children.
> Despite the potential risks involved, I think the Leadbeater issue
> needs to be addressed honestly, openly and courageously before the
> Adyar Society can regain its onetime reputation as an organisation
> fearless truth-seekers, so evidently and earnestly desired by
> Blavatsky and her teachers.
> Kind regards
> --- In email@example.com, Cass Silva <silva_cass@> wrote:
> > Hello Nigel,
> > As always I very fair and balanced point of view. I found it
> interesting that Radha Burnier felt that thoughts generated by an
> analysis of Leadbeater's work would incite thoughts of hatred and
> division within the movement. It appears that the movement
> the teachings for Ms Burnier. If one applied this method to other
> non-theosophical authors,eg Darwin - their findings would never
> been challenged. And I am sure that debate on Darwin does not leave
> us with feelings or thoughts of hatred towards him or his theories.
> > Cheers
> > Cass
> > nhcareyta <nhcareyta@> wrote:
> > Dear Pablo
> > Thank you for sharing in such a comprehensive and heartfelt
> > your personal experience of the Adyar Society. Like you, I was
> > involved and committed to the organisation on all levels and
> > alongside some very hard working, selfless and sincere people. I
> > experienced the opposite, such being human nature wherever we may
> > I particularly appreciated Dr Burnier (Radha) as a friend and
> > colleague and respected her for her work as International
> > a role with considerable difficulties not always understood by
> > membership or public at large.
> > Thank you for considering my previous posting to be "mostly
> > although I am less certain as to its "rightness", it being simply
> > accurate portrayal of my current perspective.
> > You write, "I think there is a wrong idea about the Adyar TS,
> > people say we appreciate Leadbeater as being more learned than
> > or things like that. I've never heard anything of that sort?"
> > I can only respond by saying "I certainly have" and quite
> > and on numerous occasions both in Australia and India. On one
> > occasion in particular, many years ago whilst national lecturer,
> > was asked what my thoughts were of Bishop Leadbeater by a senior
> > member of the ES at the Manor. I replied in the somewhat
> > manner required of my position that he was a tireless and
> > worker who made an extensive contribution, although I wasn't
> > convinced by some of his teachings. The very aggressive reply
> > back, "Well I think he's the greatest occultist that ever lived."
> > of discussion!
> > In Adyar in 1996 the level of devotion to Bishop Leadbeater, Dr
> > Besant and Krishnamurti was palpable, far more so than towards
> > Blavatsky.
> > You write, "?and I can say we have a deep appreciation and
> > for HPB."
> > With respect, that is a rather broad generalisation of the total
> > membership. I have heard many condemnatory remarks made about
> > Blavatsky by members from all parts of the world in terms of her
> > temperament and teachings. There have been articles published in
> > Adyar Society magazines strongly challenging Madame Blavatsky's
> > pronouncements. I have seen none challenging those of Bishop
> > Leadbeater or Dr Besant.
> > You write, "Being in Argentina I had a fairly bad conception
> > Leadbeater.
> > But then, being in the Archives, I had access to information,
> > personal letters written by him, etc., and my previously bad idea
> > about him changed completely. Now I feel certain silent
> > for him as a person?"
> > Bishop Leadbeater was certainly not all bad although I can only
> > you continue to investigate his life history, his activities and
> > pronouncements. If you haven't done so already, researching
> > the past few years of theostalk alone will provide helpful
> > information perhaps. If you have so done, then we will have to
> > respectfully disagree on this matter.
> > You write, "So I asked (Radha) shouldn't we write books showing
> > other side of the coin? And she told me she rather would not do
> > anything on that line because the main result of that is the
> > increasing of controversy and the contamination of the mental
> > atmosphere with thoughts of hatred, criticism, etc.)"
> > Having heard this response from her before, although in a
> > different manner, I respectfully disagree. Notwithstanding the
> > all too important political considerations, it is my current
> > perspective that the documented and demonstrable behaviour,
> > and "mental atmosphere" of Bishop Leadbeater precludes him from a
> > position of honour and promotion in a theosophical organisation.
> > is my belief that if members were made aware of his complete
> > many would adopt a similar position.
> > You write, "Thus, my answer is that it is close to impossible to
> > controversies over personalities;"
> > My, and I know many others' concerns do not relate to
> > although this is where the debate is often steered by those who
> > not wish to confront the real issues. I am not ascribing this
> > tendency to you as you appear to me to be very sincere.
> > are largely unimportant. A person's character however is a
> > matter. Honesty, integrity and simply telling the truth are
> > of far greater significance from both an occult and mundane
> > perspective.
> > You write, "What I cannot justify is the systematic attack upon
> > Adyar TS, because it damages the whole movement, and is far below
> > every theosophical-occultist consideration (see for example what
> > Mahatma KH says about the elementals putting in activity by a
> > who goes to denounce a neighbor, and other who spent that energy
> > something
> > constructive)."
> > This is an admirable sentiment however from my perspective, it is
> > some in the Adyar TS hierarchy who have damaged and continue to
> > damage the entire movement by continuing to support and promote
> > thoroughly discredited and dishonourable teachers and teachings.
> > hasten to emphasise "some" because as mentioned, there are many
> > people in the Adyar TS and there are even those who have chosen
> > remain members in the hope they might slowly effect change.
> > In response to your paraphrasing of the Mahatma's ideal, I would
> > add, "Evil happens when good (people) do nothing."
> > When heavily involved in the Adyar TS in earlier years I was
> > blind to these issues. Through extensive research into the
> > historical accounts of the movement along with "outsiders'"
> > perspectives, I gradually became aware that there were other
> > legitimate stories, other than those perpetuated in the
> > environment and energies of the Adyar Society. My eyes were
> > opened to that which ultimately became unacceptable for me. My
> > initial ignorance was replaced by denial followed by attempted
> > justification and eventual acceptance of "reality", with much
> > along the way.
> > It has been an interesting journey thus far.
> > My very best wishes to you in yours
> > Kind regards
> > Nigel
> > --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Pablo Sender" <pasender@>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > Dear Nigel
> > >
> > > Yes, you are mostly right. But I think the problem we are
> > > with is human nature itself, and that makes the situation quite
> > > complex. . . Let me explain myself.
> > > I'm 32 and I've been in the TS (Adyar) since I was 20. From the
> > very
> > > beginning I was deeply interested in Theosophy and also
> > > the institutional work. I was member of the TS National Council
> > > Argentina, I gave lectures and courses (in my country and
> > > others, including Spain), conducted a Summer School, and so on.
> > Then,
> > > I went to Adyar and I was working in the Archives for one and a
> > half
> > > year. I've gave several lectures there and, along with my wife,
> > > three-month course on the Secret Doctrine. I'm telling this
> > > convey I've been involved both in the teachings and in the
> > > institutional work.
> > >
> > > First let's clear the field. I think there is a wrong idea
> > the
> > > Adyar TS, when people say we appreciate Leadbeater as being
> > > learned than HPB, or things like that. I've never heard
> > > that sort, and I can say we have a deep appreciation and
> > > for HPB. During all these years and experiences, I was never
> > > to study or accept anything from anyone. Being more in tune
> > > HPB's teachings, I did not read much of Leadbeater's. In my
> > lectures,
> > > courses, etc., I never made use of his teachings, and nobody
> > > anything, nor even noticed it. So, Leadbeater is just one of
> > many
> > > author we study. Even when in Adyar, I heard lectures about HPB
> > > no one about Leadbeater (well, one, in fact, that was mine). It
> > > not that the Adyar TS don't like Leadbeater, but his teachings
> > > not its main subject.
> > >
> > > Being in Argentina I had a fairly bad conception about
> > > But then, being in the Archives, I had access to information,
> > > personal letters written by him, etc., and my previously bad
> > > about him changed completely. Now I feel certain silent
> > > for him as a person, although I'm not generally in tune with
> > > style of teaching. This change of mind was only due to my
> > > Nobody ever told me anything about him in my year and a half
> > > And I've read letters written by other people (for example
> > that
> > > left a very poor image of him. (Once I talked to Radha Burnier
> > about
> > > the bad idea I had on Besant and Leadbeater, etc., that was
> > > due to a lack of information or, in fact, because the only
> > > information I had come across came from those who don't like
> > and
> > > write against them. So I asked shouldn't we write books showing
> > > other side of the coin? And she told me she rather would not do
> > > anything on that line because the main result of that is the
> > > increasing of controversy and the contamination of the mental
> > > atmosphere with thoughts of hatred, criticism, etc.)
> > >
> > > Then, my point is: many people outside the TS say "how can you
> > > believe in HPB with her speaking of those "invented" Mahatmas,
> > > being a fraud, as demonstrated by..." etc., etc. Yet, for us,
> > was
> > > right. The same happens with Leadbeater, for example, or many
> > > leaders all over the world. There are accusations that are very
> > > obvious to certain people, but wrong to other. You cannot help
> > It
> > > has been always like that, and today Simon Magus was a black
> > magician
> > > and Peter the mouthpiece of God to most of the people (just to
> > > mention one case).
> > > So, if you think Besant was deluded, everything will sound
> > > outrageous. But if you think she was right, then many things
> > > sense. Here is an interesting exercise: read what happened to
> > and
> > > around her, but instead of being HPB, think it was Besant. Many
> > > things you now accept will sound very doubtful. I did that
> > > with HPB Judge, Besant, etc. It'll reveal a lot.
> > > Thus, my answer is that it is close to impossible to skip
> > > controversies over personalities; there will always be two
> > > Therefore, what is the most intelligent attitude? To me, it is
> > > of tolerance. I know this attitude is challenging, it also has
> > > several weaknesses, and it requires a lot of discrimination by
> > > members. You will meet some people reading things I don't
> > > theosophy at all. That's right. The attitude of saying "this
> > > authors are theosophical" is easier, provides more
> > > security, etc. But I sincerely prefer the side-effects of
> > > to those of marking limits. And I've seen in some Lodges in my
> > > country. Where they are "orthodox", you have few people knowing
> > about
> > > HPB with certain understanding, and the rest of the members
> > > repeating as parrots. While in Lodges where there was an
> > > different lines of thought (and the members were serious) there
> > a
> > > much deeper understanding even of HPB's writings. I think the
> > second
> > > object of the TS has a deep significance, far beyond a mere
> > academic
> > > one. In fact, that was my case. The more I opened my horizon,
> > > more deeply could I understand HPB's teachings (remember HPB
> > an
> > > occultist should know, although not necessarily dominate, all
> > > philosophies).
> > >
> > > I personally am very happy with the Adyar TS policy and I
> > > think is what the Founders wanted for the TS, although I
> > > some people may consider it differently of may need another
> > approach.
> > > What I cannot justify is the systematic attack upon the Adyar
> > > because it damages the whole movement, and is far below every
> > > theosophical-occultist consideration (see for example what
> > KH
> > > says about the elementals putting in activity by a person who
> > to
> > > denounce a neighbor, and other who spent that energy in
> > > constructive).
> > >
> > ---------------------------------
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