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Re: Theos-World Blavatsky & Krishnamurti (3)

Feb 18, 2009 04:43 PM
by Pedro Oliveira

--- In, "Govert Schuller" <schuller@...> wrote:

> Dear Pedro and all,
> Find below the third installment with my comments on your article on
Krishnamurti and Theosophy:
> Self-knowledge
> [HPB] "The first necessity for obtaining self-knowledge is to become
profoundly conscious of ignorance; to feel with every fibre of the
heart that one is ceaselessly self-deceived."(2) 
> [K] "To know oneself as one is requires an extraordinary alertness
of mind, because what is is constantly undergoing transformation,
change, and to follow it the mind must not be tethered to any
particular dogma or belief, to any particular pattern of action."(3) 
> [PO] The present age has been hailed as the `information age' and
never than before human beings have a colossal amount of information
and knowledge at their fingertips. Yet, and not surprisingly,
self-knowledge remains elusive and very rare. Both HPB and K suggested
that without alertness and awareness one cannot see through the
deceptions that mental activity creates. Several traditions have
insisted that in order to know oneself there must be impersonal
attention to what happens both within and without. Such attention not
only sees through the machinations and illusions to which we have
become accustomed to call `me' but also brings them to an end.
Self-knowledge is the beginning of transformation.
> [GS] Self-knowledge is not only a matter of self-observation and
self-transcendence, but also self-interpretation and self-evaluation.
The idea that one can be objectively or impersonally observing oneself
is a myth. I thought I was observing myself objectively when I was
seriously engaged in experimenting with K's teachings, only to find
out later I was interpreting myself according to his teachings. I'm
not saying here that it was false what I found, but that it was
meaningful relative to his paradigmatic framework and that other
frameworks (Theosophy, Zen, psycho-analysis or psycho-synthesis) also
generate meaningful insights and changes. The problem with K is that
he claims an exclusivity and objectivity that is not warranted.]
> The Learning Mind 
> [HPB] "He must endeavor as much as possible to free his mind, while
studying or trying to carry out that which is given him, from all the
ideas which he may have derived by heredity, from education, from
surroundings, or from other teachers. His mind should be made
perfectly free from all other thoughts, so that the inner meaning of
the instructions may be impressed upon him apart from the words in
which they are clothed."(4)
> [K] "Reality is not as thing which is knowable by the mind, because
the mind is the result of the known, of the past; therefore the mind
must understand itself and its functioning, its truth, and only then
is it possible for the unknown to be."(5) 
> [PO] In order to learn the mind needs to educate itself. The word
education comes from the Latin educere, `lead out'. Fresh
understanding and insight are not possible if the mind is constantly
`crowded' with opinions, second hand knowledge and reactions. They
have to emerge from a deeper source within. The mind that truly learns
is the one that pays attention to what is before it - the `book of
life' - and has an understanding which is both sensitive and
compassionate, which are qualities that can only unfold in the present
> [GS] Granted: 'alien', unprocessed, unchecked thoughts and
conclusions are obstacles to investigating a matter at hand. In the
quotes used there is a difference though between what both aim at
after having shed old opinions and thoughts. HPB wants you to be
unencumbered to be able to understand some inner meaning of a worded
instruction and K wants you to be open to a non-verbal 'unknown.'
Quite a difference. The difference becomes even more pronounced if the
context of HPB's quote is taken into account, for it is lifted from a
letter to new members of the then just established Esoteric Section,
of which one of its aims was "the salvation of the whole Society." One
of its instructions, of which "the inner meaning . may be impressed
upon him apart from the words in which they are clothed" was as
follows: "It is, however, right that each member, once he believes in
the existence of such Masters, should try to understand what their
nature and powers are, to reverence Them in his heart, to draw near to
Them, as much as in him lies, and to open up for himself conscious
communication with the guru to whose bidding he has devoted his life."
This raises of course numerous interesting questions regarding the
role of the ES towards the TS and what role, if any, K's teachings
have to play in that, all of which I propose to address later. The
important point is that when the context of the HPB quote is pulled
into the alleged similarity one bumps smack into some fundamental
differences regarding the value of spiritual organizations and Masters.]

Dear Govert,

Thank you for your comments. I must confess that extreme language
("Krishnamurti was used by the anti-Christ"), absolutistic language
("K failed") or even ideological name-calling ("You are a
Krishnamurtian Theosophist"), as used in previous messages discussing
Krishnamurti's teachings vis-a-vis Theosophy in this list, have
somewhat discouraged me to join the discussion. However, I would like
to contribute a few ideas before an army of deadlines engulfs me.

When I was a student of Philosophy in Brazil, one of the presenters at
a conference held at the university I was studying in, dealt with the
following subject: "To Free Marx from Marxism." As you probably know,
almost every department of Philosophy in a number of countries in
South-America after WWII was dominated by Marxists as Karl Marx's
ideology seduced quite a number of intellectuals in the western world
for a number of decades. The point made by the presenter at that
conference many years ago was that Marxism had become an ideology, an
emotionally-laden world view, mixed up with political struggles and
the promised land of Revolution and its myths, all of which had thrown
a thick cloud on Karl Marx as an author, philosopher and economist.

I would like to suggest, almost faintheartedly, that the history of
the Theosophical Movement makes it difficult to appreciate HPB's
teachings, or any other author for that matter, because of the
deep-seated emotional reactions generated by the perception of the
writings of the post-HPB authors vis-a-vis the so called original
authority of her writings. They have become such a benchmark for so
many students that many times the expression "Theosophical Movement"
seems to be interpreted or even held to be the history of Blavatsky's
teachings and of those who broke away from them. Please understand
that what I have just said is a very tentative enunciation of my
thoughts on the subject as I am still trying to understand and come to
terms with it. But I would venture to say that there may be a sense in
which HPB's teachings may have been "imprisoned" by the Theosophical
Movement when the latter is seen as a deep-seated emotional and
intellectual investment that tends to alienate and exclude almost
every non-Blavatskyan formulation of a theosophical worldview.

As you know, HPB placed great importance on the law of analogy. Annie
Besant wrote in her book Esoteric Christianity: "In the Fourth Book of
De Principiis, Origen explains at length his views on the
interpretation of Scripture. It has a "body", which is the "common and
historical sense"; a "soul", a figurative meaning to be discovered by
the exercise of the intellect; and a " spirit," an inner and divine
sense, to be known only by those who have "the mind of Christ"." 

Can Theosophy have a body, a soul and a spirit?

Perhaps we could see the 'body' as the teachings of the Perennial
Wisdom throughout the ages, in many cultures. I would suggest that the
'soul' is Altruism or Selflessness, the result of the assimilation of
the teachings. And one could imagine the 'spirit' as freedom in its
broadest and deepest sense. Although these three dimensions may be
seen as present in many expressions of Theosophia, different teachers
may have given different emphasis to each. But it seems clear from
their teachings that the ultimate goal implies the complete
emancipation of human consciousness from the great illusion:
separateness. A few examples:

"The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and
unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and
unchanging name." (Form Book 1 of the Tao Te Ching, translated by J.

"This mode of thinking (she says) is what the Indians call Jnana Yoga.
As one progresses in Jnana Yoga, one finds conceptions arising which,
though one is conscious of them, one cannot express nor yet formulate
into any sort of mental picture. As time goes on these conceptions
will form into mental pictures. This is a time to be on guard and
refuse to be deluded with the idea that the new found and wonderful
picture must represent reality. It does not. As one works on, one
finds the once admired picture growing dull and unsatisfying, and
finally fading out or being thrown away. This is another danger point,
because for the moment one is left in a void without any conception to
support one, and one may be tempted to revive the cast-off picture for
want of a better to cling to. The true student will, however, work on
unconcerned, and presently further formless gleams come, which again
in time give rise to a larger and more beautiful picture than the
last. But the learner will now know that no picture will ever
represent the TRUTH. This last splendid picture will grow dull and
fade like the others. And so the process goes on, until at last the
mind and its pictures are transcended and the learner enters and
dwells in the World of NO FORM, but of which all forms are narrowed
reflections." ("Madame Blavatsky on How to Study Theosophy")

I would like to highlight the following statement by HPB from the
above quote:

"But the learner will now know that no picture will ever represent the

If we become fixated on the body of Theosophy we may become prisoners
of images or descriptions of universal processes and systems. Here is
HPB's warning about the dangers of excessive mentation:

"The Atom, the Man, the God (she says) are each separately, as well as
all collectively, Absolute Being in their last analysis, that is their
REAL INDIVIDUALITY. It is this idea which must be held always in the
background of the mind to form the basis for every conception that
arises from study of the S. D. The moment one lets it go (and it is
most easy to do so when engaged in and of the many intricate aspects
of the Esoteric Philosophy), the idea of SEPARATION supervenes, and
the study loses its value." (same source as the previous quotation)

I would like to suggest that every teacher of the Perennial Wisdom, in
some aspects of their teaching, have pointed to the intrinsic
conditioning of the human mind and the need to transcend it. This may
have been Krishnamurti's essential emphasis. But he certainly was not
alone in this. The Samskrit word 'shaksatkara' means experience, not
ordinary experience, but a transformative experience. It is derived
from the verb 'shaksat', "to see with one's own eyes". Perhaps HPB was
emphasizing a similar view when she wrote:

"Be what he may, once that a student abandons the old and trodden
highway of routine, and enters upon the solitary path of independent
thought--Godward --he is a Theosophist; an original thinker, a seeker
after the eternal truth with "an inspiration of his own" to solve the
universal problems." ("What are the Theosophists?", The Theosophist,
October 1897.)

With best wishes,




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