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Re: Theosophical SOURCE Material: Part 1

Feb 28, 2009 11:24 PM
by nhcareyta

Dear Daniel and All

Daniel, thank you again for your many interesting and incisive 

You write, "Unfortunately, far too many readers don't take the 
necessary time and effort to try to understand what H.P.B. is 
attempting to convey in her many writings.

And far too often, students interject their own thoughts and
understanding into the subject matter. Nothing is inherently wrong
with that approach but it is suggested that a student might try to
ascertain first of all what H.P.B.'s and the Mahatmas' views 
actually are on various subjects."

>From my perspective there is no more important task for a 
theosophist. The attempt to understand what someone is
actually saying or doing is significantly more important than 
merely reading, remembering and regurgitating the information.

Why might this be so?

>From our earliest years, even from the womb, we begin the
process of imbibing information, whether sensory, emotional
or mental. During these earliest years we receive these data
largely without discernment.

When we attend school, we are presented with information
that is required to be remembered and recalled for the sake of 
passing examinations. This information, for which we often
have no proof, and are not permitted to discern, requires 
acceptance of the authority of the teacher, if only to pass 
said tests.

Thankfully during puberty, many begin to subconsciously rebel 
against the requirement to agree, and manifest an innate
"need" to disagree, often in spite of presented evidence. 

This process strongly conditions or programs what we term the "me" 
or "I" into a particular mode of thinking, which nowadays we 
usually term mindset.

This mindset, or mode of thinking, is therefore necessarily heavily 
conditioned into a responsive state of agreement/disagreement.
That is, when reading or listening to information, we are 
automatically processing the data in terms of whether we agree or 
When listening to someone, are we not constantly checking
with ourselves to determine whether we agree or not with our
If we are each aware and sufficiently honest with ourselves, we 
will recognise this existential phenomenon of our tendency to 
immediately agree or disagree with whatever we are presented.

The mindset of agreement/disagreement motivates many of us
to become students of life. The need to know, and to be right, 
(so that we may pass our exams and feel worthwhile), is a powerful 
motivation towards developing our self-esteem and feelings of 

And despite its obvious value, it is this very mindset that so 
often blinds us from that which is actually true and accurate. 

Through the need to be right, we study information, learn it, 
memorise and regurgitate it, as if we or the author is an 
We can become so focused on learning and memorising that we 
overlook the essential importance of understanding the information

Then when our memorised, authoritative information is at 
variance to another, we immediately tend to fall into the 
disagreement mode and defend our position to the last breath, 
blind to the fact that indeed perhaps both positions may be 
entirely inaccurate.

This way of thinking and functioning I term the blind, follower
mindset. It is a mindset that still needs an authority, with all
that brings to our psyche, and it processes information from 
this motivation.

A side product is that this mindset views and judges others in 
the same light, presuming them to be functioning similarly.
This at best leads to continual misunderstanding and at worst, 
conflict, vehement disagreement or even avoidance of 

Over the years, you and I have been encouraging students to
study the teachings of Madame Blavatsky and her teachers with
an open mind, so that we may gradually develop an understanding 
of their information.

An open mind is one that forgoes the programmed need to 
agree/disagree, attempting rather to understand than to judge 
and attack or defend.

An understanding of Madame Blavatsky and her teachers' body of 
information, as an holistic presentation of Theosophy, AND UPON 
essential if an open and accurate comparison is to be made.
To do otherwise is to yet again merely respond from our 
programmed blind, agree/disagree mindset, with no real 
investigation into what might or might not be accurate or true.

As we have both said repeatedly, this therefore in no way 
presents Madame Blavatsky or her teachers as final authorities 
to be believed, as some would accuse us. 
But hopefully, this expose might help explain why they might 
automatically think in this way.

Developing a genuinely free and open mind is perhaps the most 
difficult of all tasks, given the array of early conditioning and 
its continual reinforcement in our daily life/mind structures.

Kind regards

--- In, "danielhcaldwell" 
<danielhcaldwell@...> wrote:
> Dear Govert, 
> You write:
> "I concur to a certain extent with Anand, in resisting, for 
> reasons, the tendency to absolutize or sacralize HPB and her 
> teachings."
> If you have read into what I wrote anything suggesting a "tendency
> to absolutize or sacralize HPB and her teachings," then you are 
> reading into my words something that I was not suggesting.
> First of all, I was approaching her writings from a historical 
> perspective and from the point of view that she was the first to 
> write about the Masters.
> See her own words in her first major book published 1877:
> ". . .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 
> intimate acquaintance with Eastern adepts and study of their
> science." p. v
> None of the other individuals in my last posting were making any
> such claims at this point in time:  1877.
> My basic approach can be found in the following words as found on 
> website:
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> Unfortunately, far too many readers don't take the necessary time 
> effort to try to understand what H.P.B. is attempting to convey in 
> her many writings.  
> And far too often, students interject their own thoughts and 
> understanding into the subject matter.  Nothing is inherently wrong 
> with that approach but it is suggested that a student might try to 
> ascertain first of all what H.P.B.'s and the Mahatmas' views 
> are on various subjects. 
> As a reader studies the material, he might constantly ask 
> himself: "Do I really understand what H.P.B. and the Mahatmas are 
> trying to convey?" 
> The advice of one student is as follows: Give H.P.B. and the 
> the lectern and allow them to speak. The initial goal should be to 
> try to "listen" to them and to try to understand their view and 
> take on the subject. 
> None of the above should lead one to assume that H.P.B. and the 
> Masters are always right or anything like that. H.P.B. and her 
> Teachers never claimed they were infallible. But at the same time 
> many serious students of these original writings have reasonably 
> concluded that H.P.B. and her Teachers were very knowledgeable on a 
> wide range of subjects and also had wise and insightful comments on 
> many of the mysteries and problems of life. 
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> Or as Doss McDavid clearly states:
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> "Should we take H.P.B. as an infallible authority? . . . Absolutely 
> not. . . . But there is another side to the question.  We have to 
> remember that the modern Theosophical movement owes its very 
> existence to H.P.B. and the Masters, whose faithful agent she 
> to be. It would be extremely unwise to reject the teachings given 
> through her WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING what those teachings REALLY were 
> the first place. And how can we acquire this understanding if we do 
> not study her writings? We don't have to blindly accept what she 
> or take her views as the last word, but at least we should become 
> familiar with those views firsthand....."
> -------------------------------------------------------------
> Or as I often say it:
> Study HPB's writings.  Don't read and study them to blindly accept 
> them or blindly deny them.  Don't read and study them to agree or 
> disagree.  First study them to UNDERSTAND them. If at some later 
> date, one decides to believe or disbelieve in this or that doctrine 
> as given by Madame Blavatsky, then fine and good.
> Try to grasp the teaching to the best of your ability without 
> filtering them thru your own opinions and without relying on what 
> some later commentator or claimant said or didn't say.  Try to 
> understand the teachings on Blavatsky's own terms.
> You write:
> "First, HPB herself says that she is merely bringing together and 
> systemizing what had already been given to the world in different 
> traditions and teachers.
> She just added the string to hold together a beautiful bouquet of 
> flowers. (This though might be applicable only to IU and not to the 
> SD)." 
> Govert, although she more or less says what you write above, she 
> writes that she is also transmitting the teachings of her Masters.
> Even in the quote above from the very first pages of ISIS 
> she writes:
> ". . .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 
> intimate acquaintance with Eastern adepts and STUDY OF THEIR 
> SCIENCE." p. v
> Notice what I have put in CAPS.
> And at the beginning of THE SECRET DOCTRINE, she plainedly states:
> "The sole advantage which the writer has over her predecessors, is 
> that she need not resort to personal speculations and theories. For 
> this work is a partial statement of what she herself has been 
> by more advanced students, supplemented, in a few details only, by 
> the results of her own study and observation."
> More relavant quotes could be given.
> So in fact she is doing more than what you are suggesting when you 
> write:
> "First, HPB herself says that she is MERELY bringing together and 
> systemizing what had already been given to the world in different 
> traditions and teachers."
> She may indeed be doing what you say but she is also transmitting 
> specific teachings of her teachers and of their brotherhood.
> You write:
> "Second, on certain occasions HPB seems to construe Theosophy as an 
> aid for those in other traditions and religions to attain a deeper, 
> esoteric understanding of where they already are, and not to make 
> TS into something like a separate sect/religion that would compete 
> with the others. (This would give some latitude to wiggle for the 
> crowd)"
> Nothing I have written would suggest that HPB may not indeed being 
> doing what you say in this paragraph.
> And indeed this may give wiggle room for the LCC crowd.  You will 
> have to clarify what you mean by this since at this stage I can 
> guess.
> Again you write:
> "Third, I'm not convinced that the source teachings are free from 
> errors and intentional deceptions as admitted by HPB herself."
> Nor have I written anywhere that I know that "the source teachings 
> are free from errors."  
> Does HPB and her Teachers suggest that?
> But if one says there are errors then one should state exactly
> what they are and how one knows that they are errors.  And what 
> source is there with more reliable teachings?
> Furthermore, is any text completely free from errors?
> To talk about this in the abstract serves little purpose.  Details 
> and specific examples are what is needed. 
> Again you write:
> "Fourth, HPB might have been deceptive, for whatever reason, about 
> her admitted deceptions, thereby further complicating matters. (The 
> Ramsgate issue might be case in point). "
> But then she might not have been deceptive.  
> Maybe one simply does not have enough information and evidence at 
> one's disposal to make an informed opinion.  If by chance one could 
> discover more evidence and information then the apparent deception 
> might turn out not to be so.
> Again without examples, without details and specifics then to talk 
> about this serves little purpose.
> Again, you tell us:
> "Fifth, I do not belief that HPB's understanding of the Master's 
> teachings was firmly set by 1873 and did not go through new phases 
> understanding and deepening, or did not reflect the places she was 
> working in. (Liljegren and others might see in IU Bulwerian-
> occultism and in the Letters Oriental esotericism and in the SD 
> Germanic obscurantism. They might turn that perception into a 
> refutation of HPB, but for the same token it can be seen as a 
> development within her own understanding)."
> I would suggest that one would need to carefully study HPB's 
> in their  chronological order and be sure one understands them 
> one makes  the assertion given in your first sentence of this last 
> paragraph.
> Furthermore, Koot Hoomi in the Mahatma Letters says that there was 
> progressive unveiling of the teaching and gives examples from ISIS 
> illustrate his point.  
> It was not that HPB had a new phase of understanding but that the 
> Masters progressively unveiled the teachings.  
> This is not to say that HPB herself could not have had a 
> understanding of what the Masters taught her.
> Again I repeat:  to talk about this in the abstract without 
> examples, evidence, etc. does little to advance our understanding.
> As to Liljegren's book, I remember first reading it in the 1970s 
> even then in my studies I could see where he was mistaken in 
> things.
> One needs to verify at every stage whether a particualar author is 
> correct in what he states and asserts.
> For example, in the NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, 1967 ed., the author
> of the article on Theosophy states (I'm paraphrasing here) that HPB 
> claimed to be in contact with two DEAD Tibetan Mahatmas!!!
> Just because a writer states something doesn't mean it is true!!!!!
> Or the biographer Marion Meade in her HPB study writes as sober 
> "In all, about nine or ten persons testified to having seen the 
> Mahatmas: Annie Besant, Henry Olcott, Damodar Mavalankar, Isabel 
> Cooper-Oakley, William Brown, Nadyezhda Fadeyev, S.R. Ramaswamier, 
> Justine Glinka and Vsevolod Solovyov. Franz Hartmann said that 
> he never actually saw them, he felt their presence." (p. 497.)
> She doesn't know what she is talking about!!!
> I have notebooks with hundreds and hundreds of examples of such 
> lax scholarship.....
> Liljegren's book is worth reading and studying but one should 
> carefully check  and verify each and every assertion.
> And your last paragraph:
> "Fifth, in case where HPB might differ from a later occult source, 
> it's not an automatic given for me that she'd be right and the 
> wrong. And as we're not occultists ourselves it is very hard of 
> course to determine. In most cases I'd give HPB the benefit of the 
> doubt, but in other cases, where I personally have experienced my 
> set of transformative and enlightening gnostic insights based
> on other sources, I'll have to go with the other(s). (One example 
> would be my experience of reading the Scott material on K, which 
> triggered a wealth of latent insights, liberating feelings and 
> transcendental connectedness. I might have fooled myself, but so 
> it has survived different challenges and tests. This would then be 
> part of my basis to go with Scott's critique rather than with
> the more pro-HPB reading of K as done by Pedro and Pablo Sender.) "
> Yes I agree with your first sentence.  But usually students don't 
> even know enough to be aware of such differences in the first 
> The proper thing to do is to study what Blavatsky originally wrote 
> and taught and then once you understand that, then study what the 
> later writer  asserts and then try to understand the underlying 
> reasoning and idea  under both presentations.
> Whether one can determine who is right or wrong, will depend on 
> else you may or may not know. 
> And if one is comparing a Blavatsky teaching with let us say a 
> Leadbeater teaching, then it might also be useful and wise to 
> what Judge wrote about this or Purucker or Bailey, etc. etc
> Remember Leadbeater was not the only LATER writer to give out 
> teachings.
> And in fact one might be wise to also compare all these writers 
> including Blavatsky with other sources of information not 
> labelled Theosophical.
> This may all be a big job to undertake but who said truth is always 
> easy to find!!!????
> The above is just a few of my thoughts as jotted down.  There is 
> more that could and should be addressed.
> But I thank you for your thoughts and hope we can explore more 
> these topics.
> Who knows maybe all of us will learn something new or have new 
> insights!!!
> Daniel

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