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Re: TS Adyar's policy or non-policy?

Jan 01, 2009 02:56 PM
by Joseph P. Fulton

Very good question.  I have to admit that sometimes I am quite amazed
at the lack of comparative studies.  There appear to be a number of
things involved, some are philosophical, and some are quite, how
should we say, prosaic?  I'll answer the questions in order.

1) Please see the site: for contact info and
submission guidelines. 

2) Have you ever done programming in a branch or study center?  You
find out one thing real quick.  You're on your own.  The most common
reaction from a programming person doesn't have anything to do with
what "Wheaton" or "Adyar" wants.  Getting something, i.e. anything
together is the best many can hope for.  The prevailing attitude in
most groups (having heard this enough times as a Federation Pres.) is
if "Wheaton wants to tell us what to do, they can come do it themselves".

3) See #2. Headquarters offers study courses to groups, but I've
never, ever heard of word coming down from HQ saying that a group
"must" study something.  I've even visited groups where I was kindly
told to leave for asking if they read or studied the SD or ML. 
Running a local group is really a "by the seat of your pants" type of
thing.  I have some wonderful horror stories of times where speakers
didn't show or someone in the audience tried to make a virtual
whipping post out of the speaker or their topic.

4) Applying a style of logic normally ascribed to Nagarjuna, this
answer will apply to Questions #5, 6, 7, and 8.  If a local group is
fortunate enough to have someone with an Eastern philosophical
background, chances are this type of debate goes on quite a bit. 
However, in this organization, there seems to be much less emphasis on
the tradition of inquiry and open examination.  The prevailing
attitude that I observe in most groups is that of your typical
"believer", not much different than what you would find at a local
Methodist or Congregationalist church.  And, to paraphrase
Krishnamuti:  "People choose their leaders out of confusion, therefore
the leaders are also confused."

So the answer to Questions 4 - 8 is "yes, all the above are allowed".
 The reality is, and mostly for the reasons given above, is that it
just doesn't happen.

9)  I guess it depends on who you call an "Adyar" writer or teacher. 
Probably the most well-known piece from the "Adyar" camp is "There is
No Religion Higher Than Truth" by E.L. Gardner
(  As a member of the British
Section, Gardner lays out a comparison between various teachings of
HPB and CW Leadbeater.  In regard to the teaching of later
"commentators" perhaps the issue is one of not having anything new to
say vs. not saying anything.  In the Adyar tradition, virtually
everything is an expansion on the writings of CWL.  Now that being
said, there are some fine exceptions, such as "The Divine Plan" by
Geoffrey Barborka, and "The Reader's Guide to the Mahatma Letters" by
Virginia Hanson.  One other little known source, and perhaps one of
the most wonderfully objective pieces I've ever seen was a video of
the history of the Theosophical Movement, by the late John Cooper.  He
did a brilliant exposition on the various traditions within the
Theosophical movement without being rude or condescending to any
particular viewpoint or organization.  This is something (IMHO) that
all of the various organizations within the Theosophical movement
should have in their libraries.

I would like to analyze the entire issue of what is taught in the
Theosophical Society from a different viewpoint.  The autonomy of
local groups is pretty absolute.  The only requirement that I am aware
of for groups is that they use "Theosophical materials" (presumably
from the Adyar organization) in "Theosophy" classes.

Morten, I agree very strongly with your view of the TS as an
"investigatory" organization.  A major portion of the issues we deal
with now date back to the post-Coulomb period when HPB was in Europe
and the ES was formed.  As soon as this direct line to a "higher
authority" was established with the Europeans, free-thought, and the
investigatory nature of the TS diminished greatly.  It's a funny
phenomenon, slightly alluded to in the Mahatma Letters (3rd Ed. Letter
16 "Devachan" Pg. 24) regarding the existence of a pair of undisclosed
Skandhas.  These two are associated, according to the letter, with
"the efficacy of vain rights and ceremonies, in prayers and
intercession".  Perhaps it is the action of this attribute of mind
which is mostly responsible for the current state of affairs.

I have one other question.  Who are the finest scholars in the
movement today?  David Riegle, Daniel Caldwell, Paul Johnson, Joy
Mills?  Where is the output from these individuals, presumably experts
in Theosophical writing?  Who are they challenging in the world of
science, religion and philosophy?

Answer that question, and you'll have the answer to everything you
asked above.  The sad truth is that the Theosophical movement as a
whole is quite a marginal movement, of little importance to anyone
today aside from its own participants.  Nobody really cares about the
arguments made on the forums or in the magazines because we just talk
to ourselves.  In a sense, I can get that by going downtown and
listening to the winos and drug addicts talk to the voices in their
head.  I guess, based on that, there are a number of hobbies one could
engage in that are more likely to be of benefit to society or cause
more damage.

Perhaps if we stopped pretending to have all of the answers and got
back to asking questions, such mundane little issues as membership,
who is President, and what do we teach may become meaningful again.


--- In, "Morten Nymann Olesen"
<global-theosophy@...> wrote:
> Dear friends
> My views are:
> A new year is beginning in peoples minds.
> It is now more than 133 years since the founding of the moderne
visdom teachings - The Theosophical Society year 1875.
> Status at Conventions occurs.
> It could be well for members at TS Adyar to consider the following
questions and words and their value.
> H.P. Blavatsky said:
> "...Contrast alone can enable us to appreciate things at their right
value; and unless a judge compares notes and hears 
> both sides he can hardly come to a correct decision."     H.P.
Blavatsky. The Theosophist, July, 1881, p. 218.
> I would appreciate if anyone would care to answer the following
questions, so that we may be able to know about TS Adyar more fully...
> 1.
> Who decides what kind of books and what books at all are being sold
at Quest Books?
> Who decides, what Bookshop and what books by what authors - TS Adyar
> What is the present day policy and why?
> 2.
> Who decides what kind of lectures are emphasised within TS branches?
> What is the present day policy and why?
> 3.
> Who decides what books one are allowed to lecture on?
> Are lectures on comparative study of various authors allowed freely?
> What is the present day policy and why?
> 4.
> Are lectures on commparative studies beteween H. P. Blavatsky vs. C.
W. Leadbeater allowed?
> 5.
> Are lectures on commparative studies beteween H. P. Blavatsky vs.
Annie Besant allowed?
> 6.
> Are lectures on commparative studies beteween H. P. Blavatsky vs.
Alice A. Bialey / Lucis Trust allowed?
> 7.
> Are lectures on commparative studies beteween H. P. Blavatsky vs.
Radha Burnier allowed?
> 8.
> Are lectures on commparative studies beteween H. P. Blavatsky vs. J.
Krishnamurti allowed?
> 9.
> Have any TS Adyar Teacher ever done an effort in the direction of
comparative study - large or small - between H. P. Blavatsky and all
of the aboves techings? If not, why not?
> 10.
> In the old H. P. Blavatsky days - no false claims were permitted to
go unchallanged for a longer time by H. P. Blavatsky herself. A clear
stance on various new religious groups was - ALWAYS - given in the
Theosophist and Lucifer etc. when the situation demanded it. - Is this
what is happening today?
> Are false claims being allowed to flourish within TS today?
> - - -
> If time permit me, I will in a study, and if no others will, seek to
> H. P. Blavatsky with all the above - C. W. Leadbeater. Annie Besant,
J. Krishnamurti, Radha Burnier, Alice A. Bailey. And I will eventually
publish my study before this my phycial body reach its death.
> M. Sufilight
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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