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C.W. Leadbeater's & Annie Besant's Theosophical Teachings

Oct 04, 2008 04:40 PM
by danielhcaldwell

In regards to C.W. Leadbeater's and Annie Besant's Theosophical 
teachings, Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn in his book "Theosophy:  A Modern 
Revival of Ancient Wisdom" (published 1930) wrote the following 
relevant statement: 

"Certain schools of his critics assert flatly that he [C. W. 
Leadbeater] has only succeeded in vitiating her [H.P. Blavatsky's] 
original presentation [of Theosophy]. Two years ago [starting in the 
March 15, 1928 issue] The Canadian Theosophist, a magazine published 
under the editorship of Mr. Albert Smythe at Toronto, published a 
series of articles [excerpted from Margaret Thomas' Theosophy Versus 
Neo-Theosophy] in which parallel passages from the writings of Madame 
Blavatsky and the Mahatma Letters on one side, and from the books of 
Mrs. Besant, Mr. Leadbeater, Mr. C. Jinarajadasa, on the other, give 
specific evidence bearing on the claims of perversion of the original 
theories by those whom they call Neo-Theosophists. The articles 
indicate wide deviations, in some cases complete reversal, made by 
the later interpreters [Besant, Leadbeater, Jinarajadasa] from the 
fundamental statements of the Russian Messenger [Blavatsky] and her 
Overlords [the Mahatmas]." 

"The differences concern such matters as the personality of God, the 
historicity of Jesus, his identity as an individual or a principle, 
the desirability of churches, priestcraft and religious ceremonial, 
the genuineness of an apostolic succession, and a vicarious 
atonement, the authority of Sacraments, the nature and nomenclature 
of the seven planes of man's constitution, the planetary chains, the 
monad, the course of evolution, and many other important phases of 
Theosophic doctrine. This exhaustive research has made it apparent 
that the later exponents have allowed themselves to depart in many 
important points from the teachings of H.P.B." (pp. 330-331)

Dr. James A. Santucci, professor of religious studies at California 
State University, Fullerton and editor of Theosophical History 
<>, CONFIRMS Kuhn's statements:

"The two [Besant and Leadbeater] were largely responsible for the 
introduction of new teachings that were often in total opposition to 
the Theosophy of Blavatsky and her Masters. These teachings were  
designated by their opponents as Neo-Theosophy . . . or less often 
Pseudo-Theosophy. The differences between Theosophy and Neo-Theosophy 
are too numerous to mention in the context of this paper. . . . An 
extensive overview [of the differences] is given in the unpublished 
booklet, Theosophy or Neo-Theosophy by Margaret Thomas. . . . The 
booklet was written around 1925."  Quoted from:

Jerry Hejka-Ekins, a long-time student of Madame Blavatsky's 
teachings, has also commented:

"The earliest use of the term 'neo-theosophy' was used by F.T. Brooks 
around 1912 in a book called Neo Theosophy Exposed. . . . Around 
1924, Margaret Thomas published a book called "Theosophy Versus Neo-
Theosophy".  Part one compares Blavatsky's teachings to those of 
Besant and Leadbeater's by juxtaposing quotes from each party on 
various subjects, so that the thoughtful reader could easily discern 
the differences and contradictions. Part two published documents 
concerning the Leadbeater scandal, and part three publishes documents 
concerning the Judge case. . . . " Quoted from "Discussions on the 
Theosophical Philosophy"

In a 1975 Adyar T.P.H. book, Helen V. Zahara wrote:

"The original statements in the Theosophical Society regarding the
after death processes were given in Letters of the Mahatmas to A.P.
Sinnett. . . . One must, however, note that a DIFFERENT description
of the after death process appears in some works by theosophical
writers. One such exponent was C.W. Leadbeater. . . . This
[Leadbeater's version] would seem to be AT VARIANCE with the original
teaching [of Master Koot Hoomi]." Caps added. Quoted from Miss
Zahara's "The Panorama of Human Existence," pp. 68-69 in "The
Universal Flame: Commemorating the Centenary of the Theosophical
Society", Adyar, Madras, India, Theosophical Publishing House, 1975.

Hugh Shearman also wrote in the pages of THE THEOSOPHIST:

". . . the accounts of after-death the Mahatma
Letters CLASH VERY EMPHATICALLY...with what Bishop Leadbeater...later
described...." "Theosophical Ontologies," The Theosophist, October,
1971, p. 11. Caps added.

For more information on this topic, see:

Theosophy Or NeoTheosophy? compiled by Margaret Thomas



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