Re: Theos-World was promotion of Krishnamurti's teaching a big mistake
Jul 25, 2007 06:03 AM
by Pablo Sender
When I first heard someone speaking about Krishnamurti's teaching, I
said to myself "What is that nonsense?". And during certain time I
had some discussions with "Krishnamurtians", resulting in a very
confusing idea. Therefore, I began to study his teachings in order to
discover by myself the thing.
Finally, I could appreciate his teaching, especially when it began to
throw a different light in some theosophical teachings (particularly
fro The Secret Doctrine). Here is one example of I discovered, and
that justifies to me the promotion of Krishnamurti's teaching.
The Secret Doctrine as Spiritual Practice
Pablo D. Sender
The Theosophist, May 2006
H. P. Blavatsky's major work was The Secret Doctrine (SD), which,
according to one of her Masters, was the triple production of Mahatma
M., HPB, and Mahatma KH.1 While it was being written, she was
seriously ill and her life was in peril, but the Masters must have
considered this book a very important one, for they kept her alive,
in the midst of pain and suffering, in order to leave this legacy to
In its original form the SD consisted of two large volumes, yet HPB
said she had prepared a Third Volume and was working on a Fourth, but
she died before publishing these. Six years after her passing, her
disciple Annie Besant published the Third Volume and, although some
people claimed this was a spurious one, later investigations made by
Daniel H. Caldwell showed that much of its material was actually the
real Third Volume intended by HPB.2 The promised Fourth Volume was to
be almost entirely devoted to practical Occult teachings, although
its publication, according to HPB, depended entirely upon how Volumes
I and II would be received by Theosophists. Unfortunately, this
Volume was never published.
The SD is frequently taken as a theoretical compendium of
metaphysical and abstruse teachings, or as an `esoteric' history
about the genesis of the Universe and Man. In that context, this work
can be studied as an exposition of some essential facts related to
the Cosmos, Humanity, and the general plan for their development
according to certain immutable laws. This conception has its own
value, because it provides a deep and comprehensive cosmovision of
existence. However, since the study of this subject is frequently
reduced to a mere intellectual exercise with little impact on our
daily life, one wonders if a book considered so important by the
Mahatmas and HPB should not have a greater practical significance. In
fact, in a letter to A.O. Hume, Master KH said:
The truths and mysteries of occultism constitute, indeed, a body of
the highest spiritual importance, at once profound and practical for
the world at large. Yet, it is not as a mere addition to the tangled
mass of theory or speculation in the world of science that they are
being given to you, but for their practical bearing on the interests
Therefore, the truths of Theosophy must have a real (practical)
meaning for humanity. It is our duty as members of the TS to discover
the real dimension of the SD (and all theosophical teachings), not as
a collection of concepts, but as a transforming force in our lives.
Signposts on the Path
According to HPB, the SD has different keys of interpretation:
metaphysical, astronomical, physiological, psychological, and so
forth. Therefore, we will attempt here to consider these teachings
from a psycho-metaphysical point of view, as HPB would say, looking
for an interpretation that allows us to make them part of our
In a talk with some students, HPB is reported to have said: `TRUTH
lies beyond any ideas we can formulate or express',4 and `no picture
will ever represent TRUTH'.5 In another context, J. Krishnamurti also
said: `The unknown, the limitless, cannot be captured by thought.' 6
Every authentic spiritual tradition or teaching states that Truth `is
beyond the range and reach of thought'. If this is so, how can the
Truth be realized? Maybe the question arises because we are used to
considering thought as our only tool, although according to
Theosophical teachings, this is not the case. HPB wrote:
The INFINITE cannot be known to our reason, which can only
distinguish and define; but we can always conceive the abstract idea
thereof, thanks to that faculty higher than our reason ? intuition,
or the spiritual instinct.7
The text is referring to buddhi, or Spiritual Intuition, which is the
faculty we need to awaken for the perception of Truth. If the modern
presentation of Theosophy has the object of guiding us to this goal,
it must provide us with tools to help us make operative this `power
latent in man' through which spiritual realities can be grasped.
Thus Mme Blavatsky denied that the real value of the SD is to furnish
a complete philosophical account of existence, and advised: `Come to
the SD without any hope of getting the final Truth of existence from
it, or with any idea other than seeing how far it may lead TOWARDS
the Truth.' 8 She said that this book is `a means of exercising and
developing the mind never touched by other studies',9 and the right
work on it is `what the Indians call Jñâna Yoga'.10 Therefore, the
information given in the SD is not an end in itself, but a means. As
JK said, `the word is not the thing', and this book was written
just `to provide him [the student] with signposts on that Path'.11
When the student works rightly with the SD, it may lead him beyond
the mental processes, where the light of Intuition may shine. This is
what HPB points out in the Proem when she wrote: `Indeed, it must be
remembered that all these Stanzas appeal to the inner faculties
rather than to the ordinary comprehension of the physical brain'.12
One important thing to bear in mind when engaged in theosophical
study is the concept of learning. In the present time, we tend to
consider learning as the intake of new information from outside, and
therefore we think we know Theosophy because we have collected
concepts from different books and memorized them. But this knowledge
mostly affects only the surface of our being; therefore, there is a
gap between theory and practice. The real learning, as Plato stated,
comes from within, and the Stanzas try to awaken this inner
knowledge, which may be what is sometimes called `the archetypes in
our deeper mind'. This knowledge is more comprehensive and has a
transformative effect upon us.
Awakening Spiritual Perception
We should be serious in examining what are the bases for awakening
our spiritual perception. As we have said, the mere recollection of
the information given in the SD is not enough, and we should not
imagine that spiritual perception will be awakened in some obscure
way simply by reading. To reach this `deeper mind' is not so easy and
there are several factors involved in it, as expressed in
HPB says that Intuition arises in `a state in which one ceases to be
the conditioned and personal "I", and becomes one with the ALL'.13
This is also the very core of JK's teachings, since he was primarily
interested in helping us transcend all activities of our brain
consciousness (kâma-manas). In one of his dialogues with Dr David
Bohm, he differentiates between the Mind, which is universal and
unconditioned, and the brain, which is limited. And he says that the
brain is the basis of the self, while the Mind is the source of the
highest form of intelligence. But then the question arises: how can
that Mind act through the brain? According to JK this is possible
only when there is no sense of separateness:
DB: You are using the word Mind; not `my' Mind.
JK: Mind. It is not `mine'.
DB: It is universal or general.
JK: Yes. . . .
DB: It would almost seem to imply, then, that in so far as a person
feels he is a separate being, he has very little contact with Mind.
JK: Quite right. That is what we said.14
So, both HPB and JK established the necessity of leaving the `self'
behind as a basic condition for awakening Intuition. Obviously, this
breaking of that sense of separateness is not something that can be
achieved taking a single course of action; all the different aspects
of our life have to be orientated towards this aim, but here we will
concentrate on how the SD can help us in this task.
First Fundamental Proposition
The Fundamental Propositions given in the Proem of the SD contain
statements about the essential nature of the Cosmos and, at the same
time, Mankind, which is a mirror of the Universe. As HPB wrote:
As above so it is below, as in heaven so on earth; and man ? the
microcosm and miniature copy of the macrocosm ? is the living witness
to this Universal Law and to the mode of its action.15
Therefore, proper study of cosmic processes from an esoteric point of
view can have a direct impact upon us in a variety of ways. We will
attempt now to examine these Fundamental Propositions, not in full
length or in all their connotations, but highlighting certain aspects
useful for a psycho-metaphysical interpretation. The first one
establishes that there is a `ground' on which and through which the
Cosmos is manifested. It is:
An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE, on which
all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human
conception and could only be dwarfed by any expression or similitude.
It is beyond the range and reach of thought ? in the words of the
Mândukya [Upanishad], `unthinkable and unspeakable'.16
At first glance, it seems nonsensical to teach something on which all
thinking or speculation is impossible; therefore some say it is
useless to study that Absolute Principle, even though it is a
Fundamental Proposition of Theosophical teachings. On the other hand,
people who try to deal with this subject frequently reduce it to a
mere philosophical postulate about that primordial Unity in which
illusory diversity takes place. But taking into account the fact that
many pages in the SD are dedicated to this Absolute Reality, there
must be another reason for writing about this `unthinkable and
This First Proposition and Stanza I in the first volume of the SD
refer to the unmanifested state of the universe, where there is only
infinite space and eternity in an absolute state. According to HPB,
right meditation (not merely intellectual study) upon this concept
may have an important effect upon the mind. She recommended this
exercise as the very foundation for practising her Diagram of
Meditation, when she said: `First conceive of UNITY by expansion in
Space and infinite in Time.' 17 This statement suggests that we
expand the mind; but why? This is in order to abolish self-
centredness and lose the sense of time. As JK repeatedly
mentioned `the notion of time is based on thought', and we find that
in that state of universality and eternity the mind becomes still and
quiet, without images to work with. Later in her Diagram, HPB says
that the normal state of our consciousness must be moulded
by: `Perpetual presence in imagination in all Space and Time.' This
could seem a mere fantasy, but the Diagram points out that doing this
will produce a change upon the consciousness:
>From this originates a substratum of memory which does not cease in
dreaming or waking. Its manifestation is courage. With memory of
universality all dread vanishes during the dangers and trials of
This last concept is quite evident because if we look inside
ourselves, we will see that fear comes from the sense of
separateness, the identification of our consciousness with this
mortal, small self, and this type of work helps us diffuse it. We
find a similar statement in Light on the Path:
Live neither in the present nor the future, but in the Eternal. This
giant weed [of self] cannot flower there; this blot upon existence is
wiped out by the very atmosphere of eternal thought.18
Then, establishing our consciousness in a state of universality and
eternity (which is quite different from talking about it) helps us to
leave the self behind, and then there is the possibility of being in
rapport with the unconditioned. Let us consider it from another
angle, as in the dialogue quoted above between JK and Dr Bohm:
DB: What is the nature of the Mind? Is the Mind located inside the
body, or is it in the brain?
JK: No, it is nothing to do with the body or the brain.
DB: Has it to do with space or time?
JK: Space ? now wait a minute! It has to do with space and
silence . . . .
DB: Now I would like to go into the question of how they are making
JK: Ah! Contact can only exist between the Mind and the brain when
the brain is quiet . . . .
DB: And one can see that if the brain is quiet it could listen to
JK: That's right. Then if it is quiet, it is related to the Mind.
Then the Mind can function through the brain.19
Therefore, the correct meditation upon the First Fundamental
Proposition, which points out a Reality beyond thought, may steer us
to a condition of silence and quietude, where the self is not, where
Spiritual Intuition can arise.
Second Fundamental Proposition
However, we do not know how to proceed in that direction, being in
the midst of a restless mind. The Second Fundamental Proposition
gives us a clue. It affirms: `The Eternity of the Universe in toto as
a boundless plane, periodically "the playground of numberless
Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing".'
>From a macrocosmic point of view, the Universe in toto (the Space) is
eternal and boundless, but there is periodically an incessant
movement of manifestation and dissolution taking place within that
immutable Space. The `numberless universes incessantly manifesting
and disappearing' in the Macrocosms would correspond in the
Microcosms with our feelings, thoughts, memories, and so on, which
are constantly arising and coming to an end. Following the sequence
of these two Fundamental Propositions at first we must have, as far
as possible, an `unconditioned' perception, and then deal with the
conditioning within. This progression is closely related to the
Diagram of Meditation mentioned above, where HPB says that after
conceiving the Unity we have to meditate on our states of
consciousness. Why are we exhorted to do this? Perhaps this is a
strategy to meditate `upon one's lower self in the light of the inner
divine man' 20 and not as a mere intellectual analysis done by the
conditioned mind. Here, we are looking at our normal movement from
the highest state we are able to reach. This also resembles JK's
answer to a question. When asked how we can build a bridge between
our conditioned state and That which is unconditioned, he replied
that it is impossible. The bridge has to be built from That to this.
Of course, this does not mean that we have to delude ourselves,
taking for granted that the thinker is different from the
conditioning. The (lower) mind, the self, is the conditioning. But
the (silent) faculty of perception is not inevitably limited to the
brain consciousness, to the self. So, what is required here is for
the perception to detach itself from the ego-sense and from
identification with psychological processes, which is done through
that sense of `being the space'.
To examine this more closely, each one experiences an incessant
movement of sensations, feelings, thoughts, memories, expectations,
and desires, in succession. Although nothing in this movement is
permanent, somehow we attach to it a sense of being a single
identity, `the thinker', to whom all this occurs. But we do not
realize that all these processes take place mechanically: there
is `something' in us that thinks or feels as a response to external
or internal stimuli, or, in other words, those processes are merely
the activity of skandha-s.21 However, identifying ourselves with that
inner movement, we say `I am he who is thinking or feeling'. But this
perception is mistaken, because there is no thinker as a separate
entity. If we observe silently, we may realize there are only
different thoughts, each one assuming the role of the `thinker' when
active, with memory connecting all the passing thoughts, thereby
creating a sense of continuity. But then, what is permanent? As
mentioned earlier, it is `the space'. This means that in the attempt
to raise the consciousness from the impermanent to the Eternal, we
have to identify ourselves with the (inner) immutable space in which
the psychological processes are taking place, that is, with that
which contains all movements, and not with the movement itself. As
Sri Sankarâchârya says:
Space is not affected with the smell of wine by contact with the jar,
and in the same way one's true nature is not affected through contact
with the things one identifies oneself with.22
One should become aware of oneself, indivisible and perfect like
Space itself, when free from identification with such things as one's
body, senses, functions, mind, and sense of doership, which are all
the products of one's own ignorance.23
This suggestion is not an abstraction or imagination created by
thought. When one is actually watching very quietly the inner
movement and loses the sense of `me', at least for the time being,
there is a feeling of being just the space which embraces the
psychological processes. And this state may be considered as one of
pure `Self Existence' because there is no sensation of `I am this or
that', but one of pure `Be-ness', simply a sense of identity without
And there is something interesting in this process: we begin trying
to put ourselves in the position of being the Space, being the
Witness of all that happens inside us, and finish in that condition
of being the silent and quiet pure space. This resembles the famous
statements of JK: `The first step is the last step', or `freedom
(from the conditioning) has to be at the very beginning'. In
classical Theosophical literature we find similar concepts when it is
said that the Path (the means) and the Goal are essentially one and
Third Fundamental Proposition
Finally, the Third Fundamental Proposition gives us a hint as to the
correct attitude towards daily experiences. It establishes:
The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul,
the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the
obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul ? a spark of the former ?
through the Cycle of Incarnation, or `Necessity', in accordance with
Cyclic and Karmic Law . . . [in order to] have an independent
This Proposition affirms that we, as a consciousness, are essentially
the Universal Oversoul, that is, the Universal Mind. However, we have
to live through these particular vehicles (the physical, emotional,
and mental bodies) which limit that Universal Consciousness in order
to acquire a pure self-conscious existence. Therefore, we cannot
refuse to go through all experiences in life, irrespective of their
being pleasant, painful, or neutral, and these experiences may not be
of much use unless we go through them with a certain attitude. The
Voice of the Silence says:
The seeds of Wisdom cannot sprout and grow in airless space. To live
and reap experience the mind needs breadth and depth and points to
draw it towards the Diamond Soul. Seek not those points in Mâyâ's
realm; but soar beyond illusions, search the eternal and the
changeless SAT [the one eternal and absolute Reality and Truth, all
the rest being illusion], mistrusting fancy's false suggestions.24
Human beings change very slowly because, although we are alive, we
are not experiencing life to the fullest. We usually act
mechanically, inattentively, and moreover, identify ourselves with
the personality, selecting pleasant experiences while rejecting those
which are painful. Consequently, we learn very few lessons from them.
But `to live and reap experience' our mind needs `breadth and depth',
that is, it needs to be open, vulnerable, void, not engaged in all
the psychophysiological processes and reactions. It needs rather to
be a Witness, and this is possible only if our consciousness is not
confused with Mâyâ's realm, `hearing fancy's false suggestions', but
is pointed towards `the eternal and the changeless SAT', the
immutable Space or Be-ness, as previously discussed. In this way, the
Fundamental Propositions can be seen as a spiritual practice, showing
us what kind of attitude we should have while living our daily lives
to really `reap experience'. Those interested in this subject will
find it useful to consult HPB's Diagram of Meditation, which has
further suggestions to complement this practice.
1. Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, Second Series, No. 69.
2. Daniel H. Caldwell, `The Myth of the "Missing" Third Volume of The
Secret Doctrine', Blavatsky Study Centre, online ed., 2004,
3. The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, in chronological order, No.
12 (ML-6), 10 Dec. 1880.
4. How to Study Theosophy, Robert Bowen, (1997) TPH Adyar, p. 8.
5. Op cit, p. 13.
6. The Future of Humanity, First Conversation, Brockwood Park, 11
7. `The Beacon of the Unknown', H. P. Blavatsky's Collected Writings
(CW), XI, p. 258.
8. How to Study Theosophy, p. 9.
9. Op cit., p. 9.
10. Op cit., p. 13.
11. Op cit., p. 14.
12. The Secret Doctrine (SD), I, 2003, TPH Adyar, 3-vol. ed., p. 21.
13. `The Beacon of the Unknown', CW, XI, p. 258.
14. The Future of Humanity, Second Conversation, Brockwood Park, 20
June 1983, pp. 71-3.
15. SD, I, p. 274.
16. SD, I, p. 14.
17. The Theosophist, May 2003, pp. 308-9.
18. Light on the Path, 2000, TPH Adyar, p. 20.
19. The Future of Humanity, Second Conversation, pp. 62, 67.
20. SD, V, 1962, TPH Adyar, 6-vol. ed., p. 468; or CW, XII, p. 603.
21. Psychic `aggregates' of habits and tendencies.
22. Viveka-chudâmani (The Crest-Jewel of Discrimination), v. 450.
23. Op cit., v. 384.
24. The Voice of the Silence, v. 114.
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