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Theosophical SOURCE Material: Part 1

Feb 28, 2009 10:30 AM
by danielhcaldwell

I would like to quote what Jerry H.E. wrote years ago on theos-l:

"...we tried to promote a historically based general definition of 
[Theosophical] source material that focuses upon the period before 
the splits [in the Theosophical Society], when this material
was being given out for the first time. Therefore, this period is 
common history for everybody [i.e., for Theosophical students]".

Notice Jerry's words:

"...when this material was being given out for THE FIRST TIME".  caps 

It was H.P. Blavatsky who showed up on the public scene in late 1874 
and 1875 in America and started the process of giving out the "source 
material" which she said emanated from her Lodge, from her Masters. 

In July, 1875, when she wrote her "first occult shot" Olcott knew 
virtually nothing about the "source teachings" except what HPB had 
started to give him. 

Judge, Mavalankar, Sinnett, Subba Row, Chatterji, Holloway, 
Leadbeater, Besant and others had not even meet HPB at this time! 

Each in turn had a fateful day when they heard of and then met HPB. 

She was the SOURCE, the channel through which each of them obtained 
their initial knowledge and understanding of Theosophy and the 

Sinnett himself readily admits this in one of his books "The Early 
Days of Theosophy":

"Madame Blavatsky is the CENTRAL FIGURE to be considered. She was THE 
ONE PERSON who knew of her own knowledge, that The Brothers, ? as she
called them in those days ? were Beings, human in aspect, of flesh
and blood, for she had been for a time in company with two of them in
Tibet. She knew they had dazzling powers in dealing with the affairs
of the world. She herself had faculties of a super-physical order
that kept her in touch with them wherever she might be. She knew she
had a mission to fulfil which had for the moment assumed the shape of
the Theosophical Society. She must have been conscious of possessing
wonderful powers the exercise of which was under restriction, to
which she submitted in devotion to the great Brother whom she
regarded as her own Master, in a pre-eminent degree. ?[page 17] caps 

Relevant to keep in mind is what HPB herself wrote in 1877 in her 
very first book ISIS UNVEILED.  She told her readers about these 
Adepts and her role in giving out the fundamentals of Theosophy as 

". . .we came into contact with certain men, endowed with such 
mysterious powers and such profound knowledge that we may truly 
designate them as the sages of the Orient. To their instructions we 
lent a ready ear." p. vi 

"The work now submitted to public judgment is the fruit of a somewhat 
intimate acquaintance with Eastern adepts and study of their 
science." p. v 

Moving on....

And during the 16 and 1/2 years of her public work, HPB was 
constantly giving out these "source teachings" of Theosophy. 

And if, for example, William Judge or C.W. Leadbeater had never become
a Theosophist, we would still have Theosophy as given by HPB in the 
10,000 plus pages of her writings as well as all the extant letters 
of the Masters.

If Sinnett or Besant had never come into contact with HPB or if they 
had become students of Theosophy but had never written a word on the
subject, we would still have "the source teachings" as given through

Historically speaking therefore, HPB was the SOURCE, i.e. "the point 
at which something springs into being", for Theosophy as we know it 
in modern times.

HPB came FIRST; each of the individuals named above came LATER. 

Now I am not saying that Olcott, Judge, Mavalankar, Sinnett, 
Leadbeater Besant and others may not have made contributions to the 
Theosophical work that HPB had originally started. They may have....

But my point here is that they built on her original foundation, they 
followed or tried to follow or at least said they tried to follow in 
her footsteps.

But had none of these individuals ever written any thing on 
Theosophy, the "source teachings" as given by HPB would still be 

Notice again that Jerry HE writes: "...we tried to promote a 
historically based general definition of source material that focuses 
upon the period BEFORE [caps added] the splits [occurred in the 
Theosophical Society]....]

When did the splits occur? One split that Jerry HE is probably 
referring to is the serious split between Besant and Judge. 

But there was a "split" as early as 1886 when A.P. Sinnett sought 
communication with the Masters through a SOURCE other than HPB. 

Originally Sinnett was put into contact VIA HPB with the Masters 
through letters beginning in Oct. 1880. 

But in 1884, he started to "resent" some of what the Masters were 
telling him in their letters. And he began to have doubts about HPB 
and sought in 1886 to gain access to the Masters through Maude 
Trevers whom he hypnotised. 

Actually Sinnett had tried this very same thing (hypnosis) in the 
summer of 1884 with Laura Holloway.

Sinnett's seeking for a source to the Masters OTHER THAN through HPB, 
lead finally to that famous K.H. letter to Colonel Olcott in August, 
1888. (See Letter 19 in "The Letters of the Masters of the 
Wisdom*First Series".)

Olcott, Judge, Mavalankar, Sinnett, Subba Row, Leadbeater, Besant AND 
OTHERS may have made valuable contributions to Theosophy BUT whatever 
they accomplished (or did not accomplish) was built upon the 
foundation of "source teachings" FIRST given by H.P. Blavatsky.

And when the serious split between Judge on one side and 
Besant/Olcott on the other side started and culminated in 1893-1995, 
BOTH SIDES claimed contact with the Masters and the deceased HPB. 
Then the Theosophical Society was splintered. 

Who was in the right and who was in the wrong is not easy to 

But I have file folders of letters from serious Theosophy students 
giving their differing views. Some believe Besant and Olcott fell by 
the wayside and Judge remained faithful to the Masters. Others 
believe Judge fell by the wayside as well as Olcott and Besant. 
Others say Judge failed but Besant continued the orginal tradition. 
etc. etc.

On Theos-Talk in the last few years we have seen various 
correspondents take different sides and views.  Frank R., Anand G., 
Dallas T., Nigel C. and others have voiced their differing views.
Now Govert has posted some material giving even another view!

I believe HPB foretold this split that occurred within a few years 
after her death in her Letter to the Fifth Annual Convention of the 
American Section of the T.S just before she died. See the very bottom 
of p. 171, the full page 172 and ending on p. 173 of HPB's Collected 
Writings, Vol. 13.

Going back to what Jerry H.E. wrote: "Therefore, this period [before 
the splits] is common history for everybody."

I would amend this to read: 

Therefore, this period BEFORE HPB died SHOULD BE common history for 

Again summarising the above:

HPB was the first to come on the public stage and give the source 
teachings of Theosophy in 10,000 + pages of writings plus the letters 
of the Masters given out during HPB's life. 

The Theosophists I have mentioned above and others such as Tingley, 
de Purucker, Bailey, etc. came on the scene sometime after HPB. They 
may have all been sincere, truth seeking individuals and all may have 
made to a greater or lesser degree various contributions (literary or 
otherwise) to HPB's work, but especially after HPB's death, claims 
and counter claims proliferated. 

For a listing of more of the claims and counterclaims, see:

But Theosophical students should have in HPB's claims and teachings a 
COMMON SOURCE to focus on, regardless of the truth and validity of 
the secondary "sources" and later claims of some of HPB's students or 
later followers or claimants after HPB died.

Now, I am not implying or saying that there were no contacts with the 
Masters after HPB's death.   After her death and even today other 
agents MAY  have come forth. That is, genuine contacts from HPB's 

Unfortunately, you cannot get a room of serious Theosophy/Blavatsky 
students from diverse Theosophical backgrounds to agree on who that 
person or agent was or is!

That is a fact that should make a reflective and thoughtful person 
pause and ponder.  

I suggest especially to new students and inquirers that they would be 
wise to focus [at least initially] on the writings of HPB and the 
letters of the Masters which from the perspective I have been 
outlining above are the SOURCE Teachings of modern day Theosophy. 

Here is a huge body of material that contains more than enough food 
for thought for serious inquirers, seekers and new Theosophists.

I will continue this line of thought in subsequent postings.

Daniel Caldwell

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