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Re: The second object of the Adyar Theosophical Society

Jul 25, 2007 08:01 AM
by nhcareyta

Dear Perry and all

Perry, thank you for your comments and questions. They provide an 
opportunity for dialogue on these matters, for which it is to be 
hoped others might contribute.

You write, "As I see it, the clock cannot be turned back, when I 
first joined the TS, I
joined because of the 3 objects (as they are now) this was what I saw 
the society as being there to promote."

Yours was not the mistake. From my perspective, that belonged to 
those who changed the second object in 1896.

You write, "People have been joining the society for many years now 
based on this
understanding, and as I see it the Society is duty bound to stick to 

Yes, very unfortunately you may be correct. However, more on this 
perhaps in a subsequent post.

You write,"?but if the society is only there to study Blavatsky's 
teachers writings, the Mahatma letters and commentaries on them, 
where is this clearly stated anywhere by the founders?"

Never did they intend for students to only study their teachings. 
But some points need to be made here.
Of significant importance perhaps, is that the Theosophical Society 
is so named, a point missed by many. It was not called the Eclectic 
Spiritual Development Society. It was so named to describe the 
intended purpose and operations of the organisation, that being 
Theosophy, its study and practice. And its teachings were 
intentionally released in a systematic manner over the next 15 or so 

We can debate what Theosophy might be ad infinitum, producing quote 
upon quote to reinforce our particular opinion, however it is 
indisputable to me that there is such a body of information termed 
Theosophy in the form of teachings to which Madame Blavatsky and her 
teachers refer and were concerned.

As Madame Blavatsky writes in the Key to Theosophy:

"ENQUIRER. How do you expect the Fellows of your Society to help in 
the work? 
THEOSOPHIST. First by studying and comprehending the theosophical 
doctrines, so that they may teach others, especially the young 

"Study, comprehend and teach." These are significant words as I read 
them. As "Fellows" or, as they are now called members, their dharma 
was to study, comprehend and teach, if they wished to be of 
assistance. Study, comprehend and teach what? Theosophical doctrines. 
It is perhaps important to note that this was published in 1889. The 
only "theosophical doctrines" per se to which were being referred at 
that time, in this context, were those primarily of Madame Blavatsky 
and AP Sinnett. To what others could they possibly have been 

She reinforces this idea in the Key to Theosophy by following the 
previous statement with, "Secondly, by taking every opportunity of 
talking to others and explaining to them what Theosophy is, and what 
it is not; by removing misconceptions and spreading an interest in 
the subject."
With the aforementioned this appears to speak for itself. She 
reiterates, "what it (Theosophy) is and what it is not" implying it 
is something specific.

She continues, "Thirdly, by assisting in circulating our literature, 
by buying books when they have the means, by lending and giving them 
and by inducing their friends to do so." 
The reference to "our literature" and "books" in 1889 must mean at 
least Isis Unveiled, Occult World, Esoteric Buddhism and the Secret 
Doctrine and most probably the Voice of the Silence.

Perry, you write, ""I personally can't see how the intent (of the 
second object) is that much different?"

The difference is profound from my perspective.

Let's reconsider the wording of the second object, remembering Madame 
Blavatsky had been and was being instructed by Masters from the East. 
Let's also remember that these Masters' chiefs waited almost a 
century for a suitable vehicle to bring their teachings to the West. 
Why would they have done that? I will capitalize those parts, which 
seem to me to be of most significance to the current discussion.

Firstly in 1878 the second object read:
"The objects of the Society are various?to acquire an intimate 
knowledge of natural law?study to develop his latent powers?exemplify 
the highest morality and religious aspiration?TO MAKE KNOWN AMONG 

Then in 1891 at the time of her death:

Compare that with the changed version in 1896:
"To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and 

The key here is one of emphasis. In the 1896 version the original 
emphasis is lost. It is no longer based in promoting and making known 
TO the "Western nations", the "Eastern" and "pure esoteric system" or 
of "demonstrating their importance."

To me as mentioned, the difference is profound and the implications 
very far-reaching.

To continue, Madame Blavatsky certainly used an enormous number of 
quotes in her works. She also made it very clear that some supported 
her Theosophical propositions and some certainly did not. 
For example, in Isis Unveiled she writes, "But Aristotle was no 
trustworthy witness.  He misrepresented Plato, and he almost 
caricatured the doctrines of Pythagoras." Clearly she found some of 
Plato's propositions congruous with her specific teachings, but not 
so those of Aristotle.

As Dr James Santucci, professor of religious studies and linguistics 
at California State University, Fullerton and editor of Theosophical 
history writes, "Furthermore, it was Blavatsky's contention that the 
Wisdom could be partially recoverable from a "comparative study and 
analysis" of selected philosophers, (he lists these philosophers as 
Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus, Porphry, Proclus, Patanjali, and 
Shankara) or schools of philosophies (he lists these as the Greek 
Mystery Schools, Neo-Platonism, Vedanta, Taoism and Cabalism) and the 
sacred writings of the great historical religions. (which he names as 
Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism).

Note the word "partially."  Because neither jointly nor severally do 
these represent the holistic Theosophy of Madame Blavatsky and her 

And herein lies what I think to be of such importance. 

>From previous examination of emphasis and what she accepted as 
supportive and what she did not, it is demonstrable that Madame 
Blavatsky used references from the Western traditions only to 
demonstrate where they were either supportive or not of the Eastern 
Aryan, Chaldeo, Tibetan tradition, not the other way around. 

This distinction is extremely significant to me.

The earlier versions of the second object remained mostly the same 
for almost 18 years. Why was the emphasis changed? After Madame 
Blavatsky's death Dr Besant and Bishop Leadbeater were free to exert 
their influence largely without challenge. Did they wish for it to be 
changed to a more neutral version to enable a more Western, 
ritualistic and perhaps religious influence to have more sway? 

Whatever the reason and whether right or wrong is not the issue under 
discussion. What is evident is that the Masters' tradition and the 
Society's original intent became diluted and misrepresented. Its 
original teachings also became misrepresented and contradicted. 

It seems to me, all of the above supports the contention that there 
are quite specific teachings with which Madame Blavatsky and her 
teachers were concerned. From my perspective the teachings, style and 
timely release of Madame Blavatsky's works were specifically intended 
to provide a basis from which we might undertake our study and 
apprehension of the authentic Ancient Wisdom. This basis is just 
that, a framework or holistic blueprint if you like, considered by 
Madame Blavatsky and her teachers to be appropriate for the Western 

Perry you write, ""If this was what they intended then it should have 
been clearly
stated in the original objects of the Society."

Why? What would have been the likely result? Would it not then have 
been turned into a dogma?  Do we have to have everything spelled out 
so exactly or do we need to read between the lines.
If they were trying to keep members from dogmatising 
and "absolutising" their work, wouldn't they have used subtleties to 
guard against this? Wouldn't they have left some things unsaid?
In the opening passage in letter 1 of the Mahatma Letters to AP 
Sinnett the Mahatma KH writes:
"Precisely because the test of the London newspaper would close the 
mouths of the skeptics ? it is unthinkable." 
The Masters did not want blind followers. They did not want 
religiously devotional devotees. They wanted sensitive, deep and 
objective thinkers to study and ponder their doctrines, to keep alive 
the Eastern esoteric, Aryan, Chaldeo, Tibetan tradition, because they 
obviously thought it was the most effective for the rational western 

The ideal Theosophical organisation for me, and perhaps I am in the 
minority, is one where students study and use Madame Blavatsky and 
her teachers' Theosophy as a foundational basis from which to begin 
to inquire into the truths and mysteries of existence. All 
scientific, philosophical, spiritual and artistic subjects and 
propositions are encouraged and freely raised at the instigation of 
the students. These are then discussed and compared with her and 
their works. Whether they concur or not, at our level of awareness, 
it perhaps matters little. A rigorous investigation and mind 
expansion has occurred whereby her and their teachings have been 
included and expressed but not necessarily believed and certainly not 
insisted upon as holy writ. 
At the mundane level, all this must therefore occur in an atmosphere 
of essential freedom of thought. This essential freedom must include 
absolute permission to accept or reject her and their teachings 
without prejudice.

This to me then recognizes and respects the inestimable value of 
their extraordinary version of Theosophy and their considerable 
sacrifice, both occult and mundane, in bringing it to the modern 

Thanks again Perry and I look forward to yours and others' 

Kind regards

--- In, "plcoles1" <plcoles1@...> wrote:
> Hello Cass & Nigel,
> I personally can't see how the intent is that much different, 
> perhaps I am not seeing something staring me in the face, but if 
> society is only there to study Blavatsky's teachers writings, the 
> Mahatma letters and commentaries on them, where is this clearly 
> stated anywhere by the founders?
> If this was what they intended then it should have been clearly 
> stated in the original objects of the Society.
> Cheers
> Perry
> --- In, Cass Silva <silva_cass@> wrote:
> >
> > Hello Perry,
> >   Why when it has been changed half a dozen times?  It shouldn't 
> have been changed in the first place should it.?  Would you have 
> joined if the objects had been the same as the original objects?  
> Did you join because you saw a link between your belief system and 
> theosophy?  Unfortunately the 1896 version flies in the face of the 
> original version and totally distorts the truth of the objects.
> >    
> >   Warm regards
> >   Cass
> > 
> > plcoles1 <plcoles1@> wrote:
> >           Hello Nigel,
> > Thanks for raising this as a point of discussion.
> > As I see it, the clock cannot be turned back, when I first joined 
> the TS, I joined because of 
> > the 3 objects (as they are now) this was what I saw the society 
> being there to promote.
> > People have been joining the society for many years now based on 
> this understanding, 
> > and as I see it the Society is duty bound to stick to that.
> > I am interested to hear your perspective.
> > 
> > Regards
> > 
> > Perry
> > 
> > --- In, "nhcareyta" <nhcareyta@> wrote:
> > >
> > > Dear all
> > > 
> > > In light of recent statements and their implications for the 
> > > Theosophy of Madame Blavatsky and her teachers the following 
> be 
> > > of some interest.
> > > 
> > > At the time of Madame Blavatsky's death in 1891 the second 
> object 
> > > said nothing about the study of "comparative" religion.
> > > 
> > > It read:
> > > "To promote the study of Aryan and other Eastern literatures, 
> > > religions, philosophies and sciences, and to demonstrate their 
> > > importance to Humanity."
> > > 
> > > The implications are obvious. She was to be the "connecting 
> link" 
> > > between "esoteric" Tibetan philosophy, elsewhere described as 
> the 
> > > Aryan, Chaldeo Tibetan tradition, and the Western traditions. 
> > > The passage "...and to demonstrate their importance to 
> > > clearly shows that she and her teachers had something specific 
> they 
> > > wanted brought to the West.
> > > 
> > > This object became diluted only in 1896 when it was changed to 
> read:
> > > "To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and 
> > > science."
> > > 
> > > This permitted her and their dharma to be compromised by 
> admitting 
> > > all religion and philosophies as equal in value. Whether they 
> are or 
> > > not is a mute point however their wishes were clear.
> > > 
> > > In fact in 1878 the object read:
> > > "The objects of the Society are various?to acquire an intimate 
> > > knowledge of natural law?study to develop his latent powers?
> exemplify 
> > > the highest morality and religious aspiration?to make known 
> among 
> > > western nations?facts about oriental religious philosophies?and 
> > > disseminate a knowledge of that pure esoteric system of the 
> archaic 
> > > period, and finally and chiefly, aid in the institution of a 
> > > Brotherhood of Humanity?"
> > > 
> > > So it can be seen that the later theosophical leaders and 
> decision 
> > > makers in the Adyar Society, including Dr Besant and Bishop 
> > > Leadbeater, changed the object for their own reasons, thereby 
> > > diluting and diverting the real purpose of the original impetus.
> > > 
> > > It is for each to decide whether this was a wise decision or 
> and 
> > > what ramifications flowed from it.
> > > 
> > > Regards
> > > Nigel
> > >
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >          
> > 
> >        
> > ---------------------------------
> > Take the Internet to Go: Yahoo!Go puts the Internet in your 
> pocket: mail, news, photos & more. 
> > 
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> >

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