History of the Theosophical Movement

I would like to present here a reference to the work, published in 1951 by a Theosophical publishing house, which seems to have a very philanthropic approach to the dissemination of its materials. The work referenced above is one of the possible - and, perhaps, the one marked by the least amount of insipid criticism, so persistent up to this day - expositions of the history of the Theosophical movement - a movement, which ideologically was primarily under the leadership of H. P. Blavatsky up to her passing.

In Theosophy, the inquirer will find much to think about, little to believe.

Theosophy is a movement, comprising several organizations and numberless individuals touched by the work of H. P. Blavatsky. The aims of the Theosophical Society, formulated by its founders, to which modern theosophists still subscribe, irrespective of the actual membership in any of the organizations, are:

1. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.
2. To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science.
3. To investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man.

This book, it is hoped, will serve as an introduction to further study of the Theosophical philosophy. Basically, Theosophy is an outlook on life which should have natural appeal for all men and women who believe in the inalienable spiritual potentialities of every human being, and who sense the futility of both scientific scepticism and sectarian religion.

Most of all, Theosophy should appeal to those who are weary of human hatred, of the incessant conflicts, born of fear and ignorance, among men and nations, and who have resolved to discover, if they can, a practical philosophy of soul—a way of thinking and acting that will slowly but surely change the world.
 
As I have posted elsewhere:

I find that [H.P.B.'s] work is very relevant to this group's work, and I am trying to show by the article below one of the examples of how HPB's work has a number of similarities to that of Laura.
 
Now it is probably time to look at the findings of the Society of Psychical Research (SPR), on which, I believe, Laura's opinion of HPB may be largely based, and which, in turn, severely influenced the opinion of the forum members and the rest of the group.

Below is the text of the full chapter from the work referenced above, in the opening paragraph of the first post in this thread, devoted to this particular issue. Please bear with the length of the text, as the very Justice and Truth depend on that.

CHAPTER VII
THE LONDON SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH

TODAY, THE LONDON Society for Psychical Research is a well-known and respected body, with records of its investigations more voluminous than any other research organization in the field. Less known is the fact that it was founded in 1882 by a group which included several prominent members of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society. The latter were Prof. F. W. H. Myers, W. Stainton Moses—who wrote under the pseudonym of “M. A. (Oxon) ”—and C. C. Massey. It is evident that these founders of the Society for Psychical Research had been more attracted to Theosophy by its connection with psychical phenomena than by the ethical principles which were the primary consideration of H. P. Blavatsky.

In any event, the preliminary announcement of the new Society declared that “the present is an opportune time for making an organized and systematic attempt to investigate that large group of debatable phenomena designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical, and Spiritualistic.” Committees were to be appointed to investigate and report upon such subjects as telepathy, hypnotism, trance, clairvoyance, sensitives, apparitions, etc. The announcement stated that “the aim of the Society will be to approach these various problems without prejudice or prepossession of any kind, and in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned inquiry which has enabled science to solve so many problems, once not less obscure nor less hotly debated.” The new Society almost immediately attracted to its Fellowship some hundreds of men and women of reputation and ability in their several fields. By 1884 the Society had made numerous investigations, had begun publishing its Proceedings, and was established in the public confidence as a serious scientific body.

The announcement of the formation of the London Society for Psychical Research received a warm welcome in the Theosophist. An editorial called attention to the similarity of the aims of the new Society to some of the Theosophical objectives and offered full cooperation, concluding:
The new Psychic Research Society, then, has our best wishes, and may count upon the assistance of our thirty-seven Asiatic Branches in carrying out their investigations, if our help is not disdained. We will be only too happy to enlist in this movement, which is for the world’s good, the friendly services of a body of Hindu, Parsi and Sinhalese gentlemen of education, who have access to the vernacular, Sanskrit and Pali literature of their respective countries, and who were never yet brought, either by governmental or any private agency, into collaboration with European students of Psychology. . . . Let us, by all means, have an international, rather than a local, investigation of the most important of all subjects of human study—PSYCHOLOGY.

There is no evidence that the London group accepted this invitation to collaborate. The London Lodge was largely under the influence of Mr. Sinnett, who had returned to England, and the interest of most of the members was upon the phenomenal aspect of “the occult.” The London Lodge, therefore, was a center of eager investigations and experiments nominally in line with the Third Object of the Theosophical Society. Rumors were afloat regarding “astral appearances,” “Occult letters” and other phenomena connected with the mysterious “Brothers” supposed to be the invisible directors behind the Theosophical activities.

When Col. Olcott arrived in London early in the summer of 1884, followed a little later by H.P.B., interest rose to a genuine excitement. This excitement, coupled with the fact that a number of members of the Society for Psychical Research were also Fellows of the Theosophical Society, made it natural and plausible for the S.P.R. to turn its attention to the inviting possibilities at hand. Accordingly, on May 2, 1884, the Council of the S.P.R. appointed a “Committee for the purpose of taking such evidence as to the alleged phenomena connected with the Theosophical Society as might be offered by members of that body at the time in England, or as could be collected elsewhere.” Out of this beginning grew the famous “exposure” that for a time threatened the ruin of the Theosophical Society.

The S.P.R. Committee as originally constituted consisted of Profs. E. Gurney, F.W.H. Myers, F. Podmore, and J. H. Stack. To these were subsequently added Prof. Henry Sidgwick, Mrs. Sidgwick, and Mr. Richard Hodgson, a young University graduate.

In May the Committee questioned Col. Olcott, he narrating the details of various phenomena he had witnessed during the years of his connection with H.P.B. Mohini M. Chatterji, a young Hindu who had accompanied the Founders from India, was also questioned. Mr. Sinnett repeated to the Committee his observations on the phenomena described in his Occult World. During the summer the meetings of the Cambridge Branch of the S.P.R. on several occasions invited Col. Olcott, Chatterji, and Madame Blavatsky to attend. According to the preliminary Report, the visitors permitted themselves to be questioned on many topics.” Additional reports were obtained by the Committee from many sources testifying to a wide range and variety of phenomena through the preceding ten years, in America and Europe as well as in India. All the witnesses were persons of repute.

In the autumn of 1884 the Committee published “for private and confidential use” the “first report of the Committee,” a pamphlet of 130 pages, now very rare. It contains a description of the basis and nature of the investigations, the Committee’s comments and tentative conclusions, and two notes, one relating to the Coulombs, the other, by Prof. Myers, giving a brief digest of the Theosophical views and explanations of the phenomena in question. Also included in this Report were a number of appendices summarizing the evidence obtained from the many witnesses.

The phenomena investigated by the Committee were chiefly (1) “astral appearances” of living men; (2) the transportation by “Occult” means of physical substances; (3) the “precipitation” of letters and other messages; (4) “Occult” sounds and voices. In the earlier portion of the Report the Committee says that in considering evidences of abnormal occurrences it “has altogether declined to accept the evidence of a paid medium as to any abnormal event.” It goes on to say that, “in dealing with these matters, it is admitted that special stringency is necessary, and one obvious precaution lies in the exclusion of all the commoner and baser motives to fraud or exaggeration.” But with regard to suspicion of the motives of the Theosophical exponents it says, “we may say at once that no trustworthy evidence supporting such a view has been brought to our notice.”

Although the witnesses emphasized that the Theosophical phenomena were not of the kind familiarly known as mediumistic, and although Madame Blavatsky declined to produce any phenomena for the consideration of the Committee, as her purpose was to promulgate certain doctrines, not to prove her possession of Occult powers, the Committee’s approach and its theories to account for the phenomena were the familiar ones employed in Spiritualistic investigations. The Committee stated that there were three points calling for the greatest care on its part. The first of these is “that it is certain that fraud has been practiced by persons connected with the Society.” This refers to the charges brought by the Coulombs, who were members of the Theosophical Society, against Madame Blavatsky; to the “Kiddie incident,” and to certain “evidence privately brought before us by Mr. C. C. Massey.” On this matter the Committee says that it suggests, “to the Western mind at any rate, that no amount of caution can be excessive in dealing with evidence of this kind.”

The second point raised by the Committee is that “Theosophy appeals to Occult persons and methods.” Accustomed to dealing with mediums and mediumistic manifestations, where the moral and philosophical factors have no bearing, accustomed to believe that where there is reticence there must be fraud, the Committee did not like the idea made plain at all times by H.P.B. that the subject of Occult phenomena, their production and laws, would not be submitted to scientific exploitation, but would only be made known to those who qualify themselves under the strictest pledges of secrecy and discipleship. Finally, the Committee recognized that—Theosophy makes claims which, though avowedly based on occult science, do, in fact, ultimately cover much more than a merely scientific field.

This, also, is not agreeable to the Committee, which remarks:

The history of religions would have been written in vain if we still fancied that a Judas or a Joe Smith was the only kind of apostle who needed watching. . . . Suspicions of this kind are necessarily somewhat vague; but it is not our place to give them definiteness. What we have to point out is that it is our duty, as investigators, in examining the evidence for Theosophic marvels, to suppose the possibility of a deliberate combination to deceive on the part of certain Theosophists. We cannot regard this possibility as excluded by the fact that we find no reason to attribute to any of the persons whose evidence we have to consider, any vulgar or sordid motive for such combination.

But in spite of its suspicions, its doubts, fears and mental reservations, occasioned by ignorance of the laws governing metaphysical phenomena; by the absolute refusal of H.P.B. to disclose the processes of practical Occultism; by the atmosphere of mystery surrounding the whole subject of the hidden “Brothers” and their powers; by the charges of fraud laid by the Coulombs at the door of H.P.B.; by the undisclosed “evidence privately brought before us by Mr. C. C. Massey”—in spite of all these disturbing elements, the testimony amassed by the Committee was so absolutely overwhelming as to the fact of the alleged phenomena that the Committee found itself compelled to make certain admissions:

It is obvious that if we could account for all the phenomena described by the mere assumption of clever conjuring on the part of Madame Blavatsky and the Coulombs, assisted by any number of Hindu servants, we could hardly, under present circumstances, regard ourselves as having adequate ground for further inquiry. But this assumption would by no means meet the case. The statements of the Coulombs implicate no one in the alleged fraud except Madame Blavatsky. The other Theosophists, according to them, are all dupes. Now the evidence given in the Appendix in our opinion renders it impossible to avoid one or other of two alternative conclusions: Either that some of the phenomena recorded are genuine, or that other persons of good standing in society, and with characters to lose, have taken part in deliberate imposture.

Accordingly, the Committee expressed these conclusions:

On the whole, however (though with some serious reserves), it seems undeniable that there is a prima facie case, for some part at least of the claim made, which, at the point which the investigations of the Society of Psychical Research have now reached, cannot, with consistency, be ignored.

The Committee decided to send one of its members to India to investigate the charges made by the Coulombs, to interview the numerous witnesses to phenomena testified to by Hindus and Europeans in India, and to report on the results of such examination. Mr. Richard Hodgson was the member chosen. His report is the foundation and superstructure of the celebrated exposure” embodied in Volume III of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research.

Hodgson arrived at headquarters in December, passed three months in pursuing his inquiries, and returned to England in April, 1885. He was, therefore, present in India during the period of fierce attack and witnessed the wavering defense. He saw the bold confidence of the accusers and observed the timid, the cautious, the doubting and fearing attitude of Col. Olcott and other leading theosophists. Had there been no other influence at work upon his mind, these alone might have been ample to persuade him that Theosophy, the Theosophical Society, the “Adept Brothers” and their teachings were, with the phenomena of H.P.B., nothing but a vast fraud devised and perpetrated for some secret purpose.

Mr. Hodgson’s report of his investigations was submitted to the Committee of the S.P.R.. by them endorsed, and at the General Meeting of the Society on June 24, 1885, Prof. Sidgwick of the Committee read its Conclusions. Certain difficulties developing, the ensuing six months were spent by Mr. Hodgson in revising his report. As time passed it became generally understood that the report of the Committee of the S.P.R. was entirely adverse to the Theosophical phenomena. But, as in the Coulomb case, the preparations for this more “respectable” attack were carried on in secrecy and silence. No opportunity was given the Theosophists to inspect Mr. Hodgsons report, no chance was offered for correction, criticism, objection, or counter-statement, and during the long delay, rumors of the Committee’s conclusions were allowed to prejudice public opinion before any evidence had been presented. Meanwhile, the Theosophists could only await the production of charges the particular character of which they knew nothing and to which, therefore, no reply was possible.

The Conclusions of the Committee and the full text of Mr. Hodgson’s report were finally embodied in the Proceedings of the S.P.R., Vol. III, pp. 201-400, issued in December, 1885.

The essential conclusions of the Committee are embodied in the following extracts:

After carefully weighing all the evidence before them, the Committee unanimously arrived at the following conclusions.

(1) That of the letters put forward by Madame Coulomb, all those, at least, which the Committee have had the opportunity of themselves examining, and of submitting to the judgment of experts, are undoubtedly written by Madame Blavatsky; and suffice to prove that she has been engaged in a long-continued combination with other persons to produce by ordinary means a series of apparent marvels for the support of the Theosophic movement.

(2) That, in particular, the Shrine at Adyar, through which letters, purporting to come from Mahatmas were received, was elaborately arranged with a view to the secret insertion of letters and other objects through a sliding panel at the back, and regularly used for this purpose by Madame Blavatsky or her agents.

(3) That there is consequently a very strong general presumption that all the marvelous narratives put forward as evidence of the existence and occult power of the Mahatmas are to be explained as due either (a) to deliberate deception carried out by or at the instigation of Madame Blavatsky, or (b) to spontaneous illusion, or hallucination, or unconscious misrepresentation or invention on the part of the witnesses.

(4) That after examining Mr. Hodgson’s report of the results of his personal inquiries, they are of the opinion that the testimony to these marvels is in no case sufficient, taking amount and character together, to resist the force of the general presumption above mentioned.

Accordingly, they think that it would be a waste of time to prolong the investigation.

With reference to Madame Blavatsky herself, the Committee says:

For our own part, we regard her neither as the mouthpiece of hidden seers, nor as a mere vulgar adventuress; we think that she has achieved a title to permanent remembrance as one of the most accomplished, ingenious, and interesting impostors in history.

The preliminary and final reports of the Committee should be taken together. A careful examination of these documents will prove as nothing else can the monstrous injustice of the S.P.R. investigation and report. In the first place, the investigation was entirely ex parte. The Committee laid out its own course of procedure, determined its own basis, admitted what it chose, rejected what it chose, reported what it chose of the evidence—subject to no supervision, no safeguards to insure impartiality or afford redress if bias were present. Of its own motion and decision it declared itself court, judge, and jury; at its pleasure it finally took upon itself the role of prosecutor without allowing or permitting to those it thus constituted “defendants” any right of cross-examination or rebuttal. That which began ostensibly as a mere inquiry into the evidences available concerning the Theosophical phenomena degenerated into something very like a criminal prosecution, in which a verdict of “guilty” was pronounced upon H. P. Blavatsky—without a hearing, without appeal, without recourse. Had the Committee been a duly and legally constituted Court, its procedure would have been likened to that of the Committee of Public Safety of the French Revolution.

But in fact the Committee was that of a rival society whose objects, methods, and purposes were radically different from those proclaimed by H. P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society for ten years preceding the investigation. The Society for Psychical Research was interested solely in phenomena and was moved by mere scientific curiosity. It specifically disclaimed any interest in philosophical research, any concern in Occult laws, any regard for the moral factor. The Theosophical Society and H.P.B., on the contrary, specifically avowed that the primary Object of its existence was the moral factor of Universal Brotherhood, its second Object the serious study and comparison of religions and philosophies, and its third Object the investigation of laws and powers as yet unexplained and misunderstood; not phenomena at all, save as these might be incidental and illustrative. These differences were recognized by the Committee. The preliminary report says:

The difference between The Theosophical Society and the Society for Psychical Research is . . . almost diametrical. The Society for Psychical Research exists merely as a machinery for investigation. . . . The Theosophical Society exists mainly to promulgate certain doctrines already formulated, those doctrines being supported by phenomena which are avowedly intended and adapted rather for the influencing of individual minds than for the wholesale instruction of the scientific world.

The Committee’s attitude toward the “certain doctrines already formulated” for the promulgation of which the Theosophical Society “mainly exists” is shown by its own reports. In the preliminary report it is said that “The Theosophical Society was founded . . . for certain philanthropic and literary purposes, with which we are not now concerned.” In the final report the statement is made: “The Theosophical Society was founded ostensibly for certain philanthropic and literary purposes . . . with these doctrines (or so-called “Wisdom-Religion”) the Committee have, of course, no concern.”

It should be understood in connection with this use of the word “ostensibly” that not a shred of evidence is introduced to show that the Theosophical Society ever had any other objects than its proclaimed ones.

The Committee took enough note of the Theosophical doctrines to recognize their extensive implications:

The teaching . . . comprises a cosmogony, a philosophy, a religion. With the value of this teaching per se we are not at present concerned. But it is obvious that were it widely accepted a great change would be induced in human thought in almost every department, To take one point only, the spiritual and intellectual relationship of East to West would be for the time in great measure reversed. “Ex oriente lux” would be more than a metaphor and a memory; it would be the expression of actual contemporary fact. (Italics added.)

Why was the Committee “not concerned” with the value of this teaching? Was it because the West or the Committee already possessed abundant knowledge as to the existence of superphysical phenomena and the laws and processes by which such phenomena are produced? Here is what was proclaimed in the prospectus of the S.P.R. in 1882:

The founders of this Society fully recognize the exceptional difficulties which surround this branch of research; but they evertheless hope that by patient and systematic effort some results of permanent value may be attained.

And the Committee itself declares in the preliminary report that the evidence for these phenomena “ is of a kind which it is peculiarly difficult to disentangle or to evaluate. The claims advanced are so enormous, and the lines of testimony converge and inosculate in a manner so perplexing that it is almost equally hard to say what statements are to be accepted, and what inferences as to other statements are to be drawn from the acceptance of any.”

To have concerned itself seriously with Madame Blavatsky’s teachings, to have investigated and studied the principles and processes she inculcated would have called for the same self-sacrificing devotion that was expected of the theosophists themselves. There was no middle ground. Rejection of this course left the Committee stranded on the shores of conventional opinion. Its members chose the “safe” policy of avoiding any direct challenge to the “cosmogony, philosophy and religion” of the times. Nor did they in any way question the prevailing idea of the complete superiority of “the spiritual and intellectual relationship” of the West to the East. Apparently the Committee had no urge to conduct researches in a direction that might result in making ex oriente lux” something more than “a metaphor and a memory.”

The next question involves the competency of the Committee to inquire into the Theosophical phenomena. The history of Spiritualistic phenomena without exception shows that the occurrences are involuntary on the part of the medium, as regards both their production and control, and that their rationale and processes are not understood by either mediums or investigators. On the other hand, all the evidence amassed by the Committee shows that the Theosophical phenomena were voluntary—that is, consciously produced and consciously controlled by the operators, and those operators themselves claimed that the explanation of laws and processes could be acquired only through the Theosophical teachings. Nevertheless, the Committee and Mr. Hodgson took the position that the Theosophical phenomena were of the same character as Spiritualistic manifestations, and were to be approached in the same way. Their deliberations increasingly assumed a tone of suspicion, their serious hypotheses concerning the phenomena becoming limited to those founded on presumption of fraud. The preliminary report shows that the Coulomb accusations, the “Kiddle incident,” and Mr. Massey’s “private evidence” weighed heavily on the minds of the members of the Committee. Nevertheless, other phenomena were so overwhelmingly convincing that the Committee is obliged to conclude:—“Either that some of the phenomena recorded are genuine, or that other persons of good standing in society, and with characters to lose, have taken part in deliberate imposture.” It should be realized that no evidence can be found in the final Report to controvert this testimony, nor to impeach the “persons of good standing in society, and with characters to lose.” These witnesses, at least, are not charged with having taken part in deliberate imposture.”

How, then, does the Committee explain the phenomena so overwhelmingly testified to? It says they were due “to spontaneous illusion, or hallucination, or unconscious misrepresentation or invention on the part of the witnesses.” But no evidence is offered to support this wholesale “explanation.”

Neither the members of the Committee nor Mr. Hodgson were able themselves to produce any phenomena, nor, with one or two exceptions, had they been witness to any of the Theosophical phenomena. They did not claim for themselves any knowledge of their own as to how such phenomena could or could not he produced. All that they had originally set out to do was to secure the testimony of witnesses who had seen phenomena. The two reports show that, except for the accusations of the Coulombs, and the testimony of one or two others, such as that of Major Henderson, chief of the Indian Secret Service, the more than one hundred persons whose statements were obtained all testified to the occurrence of phenomena under circumstances that precluded any other conclusions than that the phenomena were genuine.

Upon what, then, did the Committee rely for its conclusions? Upon the Coulombs; upon the “Kiddie incident”; upon Mr. Massey’s “private evidence”; upon the “expert opinions” of Netherclift and Sims on handwriting; most of all, on the “opinions” of Mr. Hodgson.

The Coulombs and their charges have already been discussed. Their story had no independent corroboration of any significance; it was directly denied by Madame Blavatsky and contradicted point-blank by the testimony of scores of actual witnesses of the phenomena. William Q. Judge, who arrived in India soon after the Coulombs had been sent away from headquarters, made a detailed examination of the false doors M. Coulomb had constructed in Madame Blavatsky’s “occult room.” He showed the product of Coulomb’s interrupted labors to some three hundred witnesses, who signed their names to a description of the place. He then removed the “shrine,” in which the Coulombs had attempted to plant evidence of fraud. Hodgson never saw this portion of the “evidence” for his case, but relied upon the second-hand reports of H.P.B.’s enemies.

Judge relates that after the Coulombs were caught at their work and sent away, the Principal of the Christian College visited headquarters, asking to see the occult room. Mr. Judge writes: “He [the missionary] was then asked in my presence by Dr. Hartmann what he had paid to Coulomb for his work, and replied, somewhat off his guard, that he had paid him somewhere about one hundred rupees.” Hartmann himself reported that Coulomb came to him and said that ten thousand rupees were at his disposal if he could ruin the Society—which was doubtless an exaggeration of the amount offered him. Apparently, the Coulombs hoped by such means to extort more money for their silence.

It is evident that the unfinished work of the Coulombs was supplemented by the imagination of the missionaries and the lies of the former, and that Hodgson preferred the testimony of these witnesses to the ingenuous and confusing statements of many of the theosophical witnesses. Hindu students, in particular, were appalled by the whole idea of an “investigation,” and Hodgson made no effort to understand their attitude.

So far as Hodgson is concerned, however, there is no extenuation for his failure to make a more critical examination of the letters which Madame Coulomb claimed to have received from H.P.B. He did not submit these letters to handwriting experts to determine their true authorship. In claiming them to be genuine, he ignored the illiterate French they contain—as though the cosmopolitan Madame Blavatsky could have composed these passages! Hodgson, it seems, gave way to his predisposition to believe Madame Blavatsky guilty of fraud; his impartiality succumbing to prejudice, he became the self-righteous representative of conventional society—its defender against any disturber of the status quo and its well-established beliefs.

Hodgson was under a similar necessity to brand the “Mahatma Letters” as spurious. After his return to England, he found himself in a quandary on this phase of his report. Hodgson and the Committee had declared that, in their opinion, Madame Blavatsky had herself written the adept letters to Mr. Sinnett and Mr. Hume. But when some of the letters were submitted to Mr. Sims of the British Museum, and F. G. Netherclift, a London handwriting expert, along with samples of the writing of H.P.B., both these “experts” concluded independently that the Mahatma letters were not written by H.P.B. But if she did not write them, who did?

The investigator for the Psychical Research Society thereupon presented “new evidence” to the experts, and agreeably, they reversed their opinions and decided that the letters were written by Madame Blavatsky! The need for this change in expert opinion was one of the causes of the delay in publication of Mr. Hodgson’s report. (Further evidence of the fallibility of this sort of “expert” opinion is furnished by Mr. Netherclift himself, for a few years later, in the case of Charles Parnell against the London Times, he swore positively that the signature to the famous “Pigott letters” was in Parnell’s handwriting; then later on, Pigott confessed in open court that he had forged the signatures.)

“The Kiddie incident” has been described, and whatever opinion may be formed in regard to it, there is no evidence whatever of fraud in connection with it, or of any bad faith on the part of Mr. Sinnett or H.P.B. or any other theosophist. Mr. Massey’s “private evidence” is given at page 97 of the S.P.R. Report and anyone who reads it can determine for himself that, whatever of the mysterious and the unexplained there may be in connection with the matter, there is no evidence whatever of any fraud on H.P.B.’s part. As in other cases, something occurred which Mr. Massey could not understand; his doubts were aroused; H.P.B. denied absolutely any wrongdoing, but refused as absolutely to explain the mystery; hence she was “guilty of fraud.”

The “prosecution” of Madame Blavatsky by the Society for Psychical Research was for the crime of nonconformity to the “accepted” methods of the nineteenth century. Science, said the authorities of the day, must maintain complete ethical neutrality. “Facts,” they maintained, may be discovered without reference to their moral implications. This element in the theory of scientific method was categorically rejected by H.P.B., who said that the ultimate facts of life are essentially moral in nature, as man is essentially a moral being, and that the quest for truth can never be divorced from the study and practice of natural moral law. She would not submit to the methods of “psychic research” evolved according to the theories of Western science, but demanded that its investigators adopt the principles and method of Occult science. The choice was a hard one for the average Westerner. Either he must acknowledge that his canons of knowledge were inadequate for occult inquiry, and humbly accept the conditions prescribed by H.P.B., or disregard occultism as a subject unworthy of his attention.

The latter course would have been easy, except for the Theosophical phenomena. These extraordinary happenings, if they were real, could not be ignored. Occult phenomena had intruded themselves into his circumstantial world of familiar fact and experience; there they were, and they could not be accounted for by any known theory. Fraud, therefore, was the only “comfortable” explanation of them, the alternative being an acceptance of the revolutionary views of the theosophists. Thus the relation of the London Society for Psychical Research with the Theosophical Movement was far more than an “investigation” of certain phenomena and of the occult powers of Madame Blavatsky: it was the collision of two radically opposed and fundamentally incompatible theories of knowledge. The dramatic character of the phenomena precipitated this trial of theory, and the force of prejudice—the moral inertia of the age—predetermined the result.

In no one thing, perhaps, is the weakness of the S.P.R. investigation more fatally self-betraying than in the motive assigned to account for the “long-continued combination and deliberate deception instigated and carried out by Madame Blavatsky.” That anyone should for ten or more years make endless personal sacrifices of effort, time, money, health, and reputation in three continents, merely to deceive those who trusted her, with no possible benefit to herself; should succeed in so deceiving hundreds of intelligent men and women that they were convinced of the reality of her powers, her teachings, her mission as well as her phenomena, only to be unmasked by an investigator who, after interviewing some of the witnesses and hearing their stories, is able infallibly to see what they could not see, is able to suspect what they could find no occasion for suspecting, is able to detect a sufficient motive for inspiring H.P.B. to the most monumental career of chicanery in all history—this is what one has to swallow in order to attach credibility to the elaborate tissue of conjecture and suspicion woven by Mr. Hodgson to offset the solid weight of testimony that the phenomena were genuine.

What, then, was the motive attributed by Mr. Hodgson and the Committee to make credible their conclusion that she was “one of the most accomplished, ingenious, and interesting impostors in history”? She was a Russian spy, and her motive was to destroy British rule in India!

It is interesting to observe the successive steps of the Committee’s struggle with this question of the possible motive of H.P.B. In the preliminary report the Committee raises the question of “all the commoner and baser motives to fraud or exaggeration,” and dismisses them: “We may say at once that no trustworthy evidence supporting such a view has been brought under our notice.” Next the Committee considers the possibility of “good” motives for bad conduct: ‘Now we know, indeed, that the suspicions which the Anglo-Indian authorities at first entertained as to the political objects of the Theosophical Society have been abandoned as groundless.” Next the Committee says, “But we can imagine schemes and intentions of a patriotic kind . . . we must be on our guard against men’s highest instincts quite as much as their lowest.”

In the final report Mr. Hodgson goes over the grounds of possible motives: “The question which will now inevitably arise is—what induced Madame Blavatsky to live so many laborious days in such a fantastic work of imposture?

I should consider this Report incomplete unless I suggest what I myself believe to be an adequate explanation of her ten years’ toil on behalf of the Theosophical Society.”

Was it egotism? “A closer knowledge of her character would show such a supposition to be quite untenable.”

Was she a plain, unvarnished fraud? “She is, indeed, a rare psychological study, almost as rare as a ‘Mahatma’! She was terrible exceedingly when she expressed her overpowering thought that perhaps her ‘twenty years’ work, might be spoiled through Madame Coulomb.”

Was it religious mania, a morbid yearning for notoriety? “I must confess that the problem of her motives ... caused me no little perplexity. . . . The sordid motive of pecuniary gain would be a solution still less satisfactory than the hypothesis of religious mania. . . . But even this hypothesis I was unable to adopt, and reconcile with my understanding of her character.”

What, then, was the compelling motive that induced the labors of a Hercules, the sacrifices of a Christ, to carry on a career of deception worthy of the Prince of Deceivers himself? “At last a casual conversation opened my eyes. I cannot profess, myself, after my personal experiences with Madame Blavatsky, to feel much doubt that her real object has been the furtherance of Russian interests. . . . I suggest it here only as a supposition which appears best to cover the known incidents of her career during the past 13 or 14 years.”

H. P. Blavatsky lived and died a martyr, physically, mentally, and in all that men hold dear; she forsook relatives, friends, ease and high social standing, became an expatriate and naturalized citizen of an alien land on the other side of the globe; she founded a Society to which she gave unremitting and unthanked devotion; she wrote Isis Unveiled, The Secret Doctrine. The Voice of the Silence, all of which were proscribed in Russia; she became a veritable Wandering Jew devoted to the propagation of teachings and ideas hateful to the world of “reactionary forces”; she eschewed all concern with political objects of any kind, all attachment to “race, creed, sex, caste, or color,” and formed and sustained with her lifeblood a Society sworn to the same ideals; she lived and she died without personal possessions of any kind—slandered, calumniated, betrayed, and misunderstood; she never, from 1873 to the day of her death, set foot on Russian soil, an exile from family and country.

Why did she do these things? “In furtherance of Russian interests!”

Now, perhaps, a few paragraphs from the article by an eminent Gnostic researcher G. R. S. Mead, who was the private secretary of H. P. Blavatsky during her final years, titled “Concerning H. P. B.” (emphases mine):

As for myself, when I am confronted with the notorious S. P. R. Report - though I must confess that I rarely hear anything about it nowadays - I have a very simple answer to make; and it runs somewhat on these lines. You who believe in the S.P.R. investigator’s account say that Mme. Blavatsky was a trickster, You did not know her personally; nor, as a matter of fact, did the Committee who adopted the investigator’s account. Even the investigator himself had to get the data on which he based his theory from others, when he arrived at Madras. It is thus all at second-hand at the best; even the investigator saw nothing at first-hand. Like the investigator, and like you who believe in his theory, I too was not there; I, therefore, have no means of judging at first-hand. I can only put the very ample written testimony and the still ampler unwritten evidence of her friends who were present, in favour of H.P.B. against the accusations of two dismissed employees, adopted by the missionaries, and afterwards endorsed by the S. P. R. investigator, who at that time seems to have had no first-hand acquaintance with the simplest psychic phenomena, and to have felt himself compelled to exhaust every possible hypothesis of fraud, even the most absurd, before giving Mme. Blavatsky the benefit even of the slightest doubt.

Since those days, however, such a change has come over the general opinion of the S.P. R. with regard to psychic matters, and Dr. Hodgson himself has so fundamentally altered his own position, owing to his now mature first-hand experience, that one need not be held to be departing entirely from an impartial judgment in thinking it more probable that Dr. Hodgson’s inexperienced hypotheses with regard to Mme. Blavatsky are not to be preferred to the many years of testimony in her favour brought forward by her friends in all countries.

Perhaps, it remains only to say that in 1986 (!!!) SPR retracted the findings of the report, for which I have the following reference: MADAME BLAVATSKY, CO-FOUNDER OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, WAS UNJUSTLY CONDEMNED, NEW STUDY CONCLUDES
 
Theosophy vs. Neo-Theosophy

James A. Santucci, professor of religious studies at California State University (Fullerton) and editor of Theosophical History, has written the following:

". . . Annie Besant, the President of the [Adyar Theosophical] Society from 1907 to her death in 1933, and Charles Webster Leadbeater, arguably the most influential theosophical writer from the early years of the 20th century to his death in 1934, . . . were largely responsible for the introduction of new teachings that were often in total opposition to the Theosophy of [Madame H.P.] 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 . . . Theosophy or Neo-Theosophy by Margaret Thomas. . . . "

(Emphasis added) -- arpaxad
 

United Gnosis

Jedi Council Member
Although I appreciate your intent to clear up what you interpret as a misunderstanding of the historical role of B., what stands out to me is the lack of meaningful explanation, in your own eords, of what exactly are the major points of interests which you see in her legacy and how exactly they are relevant to applied growth in Knowledge, i.e. the Work.

So far, this seems to be nothing more than an echo chamber for you to validate your ideology without connecting to the practical aspects of the Work which are the focus here, i.e. your glass is full and it prevents you from further progressing in Knowledge.
 

RflctnOfU

Jedi Council Member
Hi arpaxad. I have been reading, with some amusement, your various Theosophy 'propaganda' threads. You have received very valuable - IMO - feedback from various members of this forum, and it seems as if this feedback is rolling over you like water rolls over the feathers of a duck. I get the distinct impression that you are proselytizing. Though, I could be wrong on that. As others have mentioned, I think that familiarizing yourself with Gurdjieff's work would be of benefit to you regarding the foundational point of departure upon which this forum is based. Frankly, I am amazed at the patience displayed (by non-displaying, if that makes sense).

Kris
 
United Gnosis said:
Although I appreciate your intent to clear up what you interpret as a misunderstanding of the historical role of B., what stands out to me is the lack of meaningful explanation, in your own eords, of what exactly are the major points of interests which you see in her legacy and how exactly they are relevant to applied growth in Knowledge, i.e. the Work.

I'm getting to that. Thanks for the feedback.

As for the "critical" comments, I, in my turn, feel "amusement" at the lack of what seems to me as basic familiarity with the goals of this forum, so profoundly expressed here, for example:

the accumulation and preservation of knowledge, [using, among others, the s]cientific approach, [including such methods as:] Collection of direct and indirect data (videos, articles, books extracts,...), sources validation, elaboration and challenge of hypothesis and theories consistent with validated data.

And so on.

Further, regarding comments such as this one:

Richard S said:
You are essentially wasting your time and ours in attempting to rehabilitate Blavatsky on this forum. We have been through that and have moved on.

I wonder if the people who think that they have it all figured out about H. P. Blavatsky and her work, - if they have even read the preface to the first book of "The Wave" series, in which Arkadiusz Jadczyk clearly says:

Thus, the problem becomes more than just “tuning” to a narrow band signal, because clearly the hackers can imitate the signal and have become very clever in delivering their lies disguised as “warm and fuzzy” truths; the problem becomes an altogether different proposition of believing nothing and acting as though everything is misleading, gathering data from all quarters, and then making the most informed choice possible with full realization that it may be in error!

Knight-Jadczyk, Laura (2012-05-02). Riding the Wave: The Truth and Lies About 2012 and Global Transformation (The Wave Series) (Kindle Location 142). Red Pill Press. Kindle Edition.

So, would you give at least yourselves the benefit of the doubt?

Perhaps, it could also be added here from the Theosophical teachings, which have direct relevance to this thread:

The true philosopher, the student of the Esoteric Wisdom, entirely loses sight of personalities, dogmatic beliefs and special religions. Moreover, Esoteric philosophy reconciles all religions, strips every one of its outward, human garments, and shows the root of each to be identical with that of every other great religion.

As a sidenote, I would like to express appreciation to the founders and moderators of this forum for keeping an open mind and allowing me to post on such an "unpopular topic." I don't do it for proselytizing any particular teaching, as anybody familiar with the true Theosophy will understand that it is contrary to the very aims of Theosophy, but just doing my best in clearing some, what I see as, misunderstandings in the subject important to the history of all the occult teachings of the 20th century (including the 4th Way), the struggle against predominance of materialism, psychopathic governments, and the Christian church. I hope that I am not diverting the attention of forum members by more than 2% from what are considered here "more important topics."

Anybody who is interested in pursuing this matter further are welcome to use the links I have provided so far, and, perhaps, even try to study the first few pages of "The Secret Doctrine."

My attitude here is to provide some directions and orientation points, rather than expounding on the whole teaching, which is too big for any human brain, as far as my experience on this forum confirms. :P
 
RflctnOfU said:
I think that familiarizing yourself with Gurdjieff's work would be of benefit to you regarding the foundational point of departure upon which this forum is based.

Oh yes, and, finally, if you look at some of my activities in other threads, you will see, I hope, that I am familiar with the Gurdjieff's work.

I have been a student of the 4th Way for nearly 20 years before I started being able to approach the work of H.P.B. I hope that this gives you some perspective. Perhaps, you will learn to appreciate this information in the coming years, so, consider my "transmissions" to you here being from "you in the future."
 

Buddy

The Living Force
arpaxad said:
Now it is probably time to look at the findings of the Society of Psychical Research (SPR), on which, I believe, Laura's opinion of HPB may be largely based, and which, in turn, severely influenced the opinion of the forum members and the rest of the group.

That's really funny. Seems you see no difference between a mere opinion (an unsubstantiated view) and conclusions based on investigation and (self)evident reasonableness? Not so unusual I suppose but you seem also to see no difference between forum members responses and those people who supposedly turned against B after the SPR report. Really now, arpaxad, please stop the innuendo, needling and overall silliness. I'd be feeling angry and lower than you now after what you said if I hadn't been doing actual work.

Now, if you understand and live...

arpaxad said:
Most of all, Theosophy should appeal to those who are weary of human hatred, of the incessant conflicts, born of fear and ignorance, among men and nations, and who have resolved to discover, if they can, a practical philosophy of soul—a way of thinking and acting that will slowly but surely change the world.

...then it seems you would be willing to talk about how Theosophy has been practical for you and changed you - like people do in THIS work - practical ways in which it has helped you to think and act on lines that will slowly but surely change the world. You've already been asked to do this but I'm not seeing it. I'm not even seeing the common everyday courtesy of replying to direct questions specific people have asked you which you can find by going back through the threads you've posted on - like people do in THIS work. And I am seeing you ask people to do something you seem to want to avoid doing - to go read something relevant to something being said to them - like people usually don't avoid doing in THIS work.

How can you not see any of this?? I'm genuinely curious. If what I claim to be seeing and not seeing is backwards, please feel free to show me how so I can correct my errors. That's what we do in THIS work. Thanks.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
In the past, I did an extensive comparison study on H.P. Blavatsky's work and Theosophy. This is my conclusion ...

Theosophy is a blend of distorted forms of Hinduism and Buddhism with Western occultism.
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
arpaxad said:
Oh yes, and, finally, if you look at some of my activities in other threads, you will see, I hope, that I am familiar with the Gurdjieff's work.

What I see is, putting it politely, an extreme form of identification.

[quote author=ISOTM]
"It is necessary to see and to study identifying to its very roots in oneself. The difficulty of struggling with identifying is still further increased by the fact that when people observe it in themselves they consider it a very good trait and call it 'enthusiasm,' 'zeal,' 'passion,' 'spontaneity,' 'inspiration,' and names of that kind, and they consider that only in a state of identifying can a man really produce good work, no matter in what sphere. In reality of course this is illusion. Man cannot do anything sensible when he is in a state of identifying. If people could see what the state of identifying means they would alter their opinion. A man becomes a thing, a piece of flesh; he loses even the small semblance of a human being that he has.
[/quote]

On a lighter note, it goes something like this:

Man climbs the soapbox to say his piece. After hearing him speak, the audience says "not really interested". Then the man, starts quoting things that the audience is familiar with and values in an effort to justify his monologue. Sort of like casting irrelevant "red herrings". Any effort to communicate with the man falls into deaf ears. He is determined to say what he has to say in complete disregard of the reaction of the audience.

Why does he do that? The answer is suggested here.

[quote author=Arpaxad]
I have been a student of the 4th Way for nearly 20 years before I started being able to approach the work of H.P.B. I hope that this gives you some perspective. Perhaps, you will learn to appreciate this information in the coming years, so, consider my "transmissions" to you here being from "you in the future."
[/quote]

He thinks he is doing the audience a favor. This is common in proselytizing. But this is not just about the material he seeks to proselytize as the bolded portion above seems to indicate. It is more about him. He uses terminology people here are familiar with to put himself on a pedestal, as a sort of messiah.

Such messianic zeal is usually immune to rational counterpoints. Anything that can be said rationally will be either dismissed, argued with the help of irrelevancies, or taken as proof that what he is doing is right.

Or so it seems to me.
 

Neil

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
If anyone is curious, the Secret Doctrine can be read here. _http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/sd/sd1-0-co.htm#contents I got through stanza three and had to quit. The Proem 1 was mildly interesting, it addressed a lot of things that were discussed in the nonexistence thread and it seemed to be trying to explain how things are manifested from the ultimate 7D reality into lower more concrete forms. There is lots of "panning for gold" though as I mentioned in the Blavatsky on 7D thread, and once you get into the stanzas, the book seems to go gradually downhill. The constant infusion of all of the Buddhist terms gets really annoying after awhile; it is like she is trying to wow us with her knowledge of this "exotic mysticism" which really just ends up muddying the waters. I found this part particularly interesting...
The Secret Doctrine said:
Vol. 1, Page 73 THE DRAGON AND THE LOGOI.

(b) “The “Dragon of Wisdom” is the One, the “Eka” (Sanskrit) or Saka. It is curious that Jehovah’s name in Hebrew should also be One, Echod. “His name is Echod”: say the Rabbins. The philologists ought to decide which of the two is derived from the other — linguistically and symbolically: surely, not the Sanskrit? The “One” and the Dragon are expressions used by the ancients in connection with their respective Logoi. Jehovah — esoterically (as Elohim) — is also the Serpent or Dragon that tempted Eve, and the “Dragon” is an old glyph for “Astral Light” (Primordial Principle), “which is the Wisdom of Chaos.” Archaic philosophy, recognizing neither Good nor Evil as a fundamental or independent power, but starting from the Absolute all (Universal Perfection eternally), traced both through the course of natural evolution to pure Light condensing gradually into form, hence becoming Matter or Evil. It was left with the early and ignorant Christian fathers to degrade the philosophical and highly scientific idea of this emblem (the Dragon) into the absurd superstition called the “Devil.” They took it from the later Zoroastrians, who saw devils or the Evil in the Hindu Devas, and the word Evil thus became by a double transmutation D’Evil in every tongue (Diabolos, Diable, Diavolo, Teufel). But the Pagans have always shown a philosophical discrimination in their symbols. The primitive symbol of the serpent symbolised divine Wisdom and Perfection, and had always stood for psychical Regeneration and Immortality. Hence — Hermes, calling the serpent the most spiritual of all beings; Moses, initiated in the wisdom of Hermes, following suit in Genesis; the Gnostic’s Serpent with the seven vowels over its head, being the emblem of the seven hierarchies of the Septenary or Planetary Creators. Hence, also, the Hindu serpent Sesha or Ananta, “the Infinite,” a name of Vishnu, whose first Vahan or vehicle on the primordial waters is this serpent.* Yet they all made a difference between the good and the bad Serpent (the Astral Light of

Footnote(s) ———————————————

* Like the logoi and the Hierarchies of Powers, however, the “Serpents” have to be distinguished one from the other. Sesha or Ananta, “the couch of Vishnu,” is an allegorical abstraction, symbolizing infinite Time in Space, which contains the germ and throws off periodically the efflorescence of this germ, the manifested Universe; whereas, the gnostic Ophis contained the same triple symbolism in its seven vowels as the One, Three and Seven-syllabled Oeaohoo of the Archaic doctrine; i.e., the One Unmanifested Logos, the Second manifested, the triangle concreting into the Quaternary or Tetragrammaton, and the rays of the latter on the material plane.


Vol. 1, Page 74 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.

the Kabalists) — between the former, the embodiment of divine Wisdom in the region of the Spiritual, and the latter, Evil, on the plane of matter.* Jesus accepted the serpent as a synonym of Wisdom, and this formed part of his teaching: “Be ye wise as serpents,” he says. “In the beginning, before Mother became Father-Mother, the fiery Dragon moved in the infinitudes alone” (Book of Sarparajni.) The Aitareya Brahmana calls the Earth Sarparajni, “the Serpent Queen,” and “the Mother of all that moves.” Before our globe became egg-shaped (and the Universe also) “a long trail of Cosmic dust (or fire mist) moved and writhed like a serpent in Space.” The “Spirit of God moving on Chaos” was symbolized by every nation in the shape of a fiery serpent breathing fire and light upon the primordial waters, until it had incubated cosmic matter and made it assume the annular shape of a serpent with its tail in its mouth — which symbolises not only Eternity and Infinitude, but also the globular shape of all the bodies formed within the Universe from that fiery mist. The Universe, as well as the Earth and Man, cast off periodically, serpent-like, their old skins, to assume new ones after a time of rest. The serpent is, surely, a not less graceful or a more unpoetical image than the caterpillar and chrysalis from which springs the butterfly, the Greek emblem of Psyche, the human soul. The “Dragon” was also the symbol of the Logos with the Egyptians, as with the Gnostics. In the “Book of Hermes,” Pymander, the oldest and the most spiritual of the Logoi of the Western Continent, appears to Hermes in the shape of a Fiery Dragon of “Light, Fire, and Flame.” Pymander, the “Thought Divine” personified, says: The Light is me, I am the Nous (the mind or Manu), I am thy God, and I am far older than the human principle which escapes from the shadow (“Darkness,” or the concealed Deity). I am the germ of thought, the resplendent Word, the Son of God. All that thus sees and hears in thee is the Verbum of the Master, it is the Thought (Mahat) which is God, the Father.†

Footnote(s) ———————————————

* The Astral Light, or the Ether, of the ancient pagans (for the name of Astral Light is quite modern) is Spirit-Matter. Beginning with the pure spiritual plane, it becomes grosser as it descends until it becomes the Maya or the tempting and deceitful serpent on our plane.
Which I think relates to this
Session990828 said:
Q: I have this book, this Marcia Schafer thing: "Confessions of an Intergalactic Anthropologist," and its a bunch of channelled stuff; one thing she says: "the snake is associated with the sign of wisdom and higher learning, and is often regarded quite highly in mystical circles." She had an interaction with a rattlesnake, for which she felt sympathy, and she also has sympathetic interactions with Lizzies. I would like to have a comment on the idea of the snake as a "sign of wisdom and higher learning." Does this, in fact, represent what the snake symbolizes?
A: Snake is/was reported in context of the viewpoint of the observer.
Q: Are you saying that when the observer's viewpoint is that the snake is a symbol of higher learning, maybe...
A: Maybe the observer was just "blown away" by the experience.
Q: Clarify, please.
A: If you were living in the desert, or jungle, about 7,000 years ago, as you measure time, would you not be impressed if these Reptoid "dudes" came down from the heavens in silvery objects and demonstrated techno-wonders from thousands of years in the future, and taught you calculus, geometry and astrophysics to boot?!?
Q: Is that, in fact, what happened?
A: Yup.
Knowing the interference that has occurred from hyperdimensional realities in maintaining a control system on Earth, I pay close attention when any esotericist starts to extol the virtues of the serpentine energy. It seems that 4D STS always leaves their "stamp" somewhere when crafting these things, and this portion ran a red flag up the pole. The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor book tries to approach this in an academic manner.
The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor P59-61 said:
Lastly, it is important, especially in the light of the claim of the H B of L that its own adepts were at the source of Blavatsky's original work, to recognize the degree to which the teachings of Blavatsky's pre-Indian period resembled those of Emma Hardinge Britten, PB Randolph, and the H B of L. Leaving aside sexual practice, Blavatsky's early writings (especially Isis Unveiled, 1877) agree with Randolph and with Emma on the crucial points named above: the goal of human evolution into divinity, the rule of no reincarnation, with exactly the same three exceptions as Randolph, and the encouragement of practical occultism as opposed to passive spiritualism, in order to realize the goal of adeptship here and now.

The Western occultists had fair reason to claim after Blavatsky's move to India, that she had deserted their cause, especially when she proclaimed that occult practices of the type taught by the H B of L were dangerous and, for most people, inadvisable. They could not be expected to welcome her running down of Western esotericism in favor of her Buddhist masters. Ayton regarded her about face as a betrayal of her initiatic oath, writing as follows:

"Nevertheless, I know now, from authority, that [Blavatsky], equally with Randolph, was really initiated in a remote branch of our Order in India. Hence, she has considerable knowledge, having gone further than Randolph. She goes as far as she dare in making revelations without incurring the penalty of her obligation[...] Like Randolph she has perverted [occultism] to her own evil purposes, but unlike Randolph, has contrived to steer clear of the penalty of her obligation."

The higher spiritualism of Emma Hardinge Britten and Randolph, the early Theosophical Society with its "Brotherhood of Luxor," Max Theon, and the H B of L, were engaged in a common effort to rescue Western civilization from materialism and its contrary, an infantile religiosity, whether of the churches or of common spiritualism. Already in the mid 1870s, there was a nucleus of doctrinal and practical teachings embodied in Randolph and Emma's works, with echoes (usually without the practical side) in other Westerners such as Hargrave Jennings. Those broke out once again to oppose the new ideas that began to come from the Theosophical Society in 1881. Seen from this viewpoint, the H B of L was part of a continuity of Western occultism, having its origin in the unknown source (unknown to us, because not physical) to which all of these adepts gained access.
No one really knows for sure if Blavatsky had any official connections to the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, which in its later incarnations went on to produce people like Crowley, and Blavatsky did break with them publicly and become opposed to their more extreme ideas, but Theosophy seems to have the same lineage as these other groups, which we could term as a nebulous "Brotherhood of the Serpent." It seems to me Blavatsky was a bit smarter than her rivals at the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, and made some attempt to go in a different direction, but she had sort of crystalized on a wrong foundation which carried through to the rest of her work. I think this evident in her bit about discerning the good serpents from the evil serpents, when the whole basis of her esoteric teaching about it was actually based on encounters with 4D STS, and maybe a few records of the celestial environment when the cyclical catastrophes start to ramp up. I just don't really buy it. The Lizzies are indeed great purveyors of knowledge, but also the ultimate slave masters. It's like cosmic COINTELpro. The Secret Doctrine, as far as I read, harbors a few intellectually titillating ideas, but it leaves a qualitatively bad taste in my mouth.
 

Mal7

Dagobah Resident
arpaxad said:
My attitude here is to provide some directions and orientation points, rather than expounding on the whole teaching [. . .]

The Wikipedia entry for Blavatsky seems to me particularly fair, balanced and informative, better than one what one would find in an encyclopedia or biographical dictionary. It includes the information that the Society for Psychical Research in 1996 retracted the findings of their 1885 report on fraud.

Blavatsky was a highly controversial figure, and attitudes toward her were typically polarized into extreme camps, one uncritically idolizing her as a holy guru and the other expressing complete disdain for her as a charlatan.
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helena_Blavatsky

If we take the middle ground that Blavatsky is neither a holy guru nor a complete charlatan, the next thing to ask might be what exactly it is of Blavatsky's work that has value as a teaching. What is it that Blavatsky expresses more clearly or accurately than other sources? What is it in Blavatsky's writings that is of importance?

Blavatsky's writings seem to be voluminous, and her style somewhat convoluted and complex. She may have been the first to popularize some Sanskrit or Tibetan terms to European audiences, but what those terms mean has probably been expressed more clearly and accurately in more recent scholarship. Would anyone today go and read all 12 large volumes of Sir James Fraser's The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (published 1906-1915) for an understanding of his thesis that "old religions were fertility cults that revolved around the worship and periodic sacrifice of a sacred king [. . .] mankind progresses from magic through religious belief to scientific thought"? Fraser, who was immensely popular in his time, now seems to be of less pressing interest. The study of myths and comparative mythology has progressed since Fraser's time. Could the same be true for Blavatsky's prodigious outputs, or is there something of importance in Blavatsky's writings that she has expressed better than anyone else since?
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
angelburst29 said:
In the past, I did an extensive comparison study on H.P. Blavatsky's work and Theosophy. This is my conclusion ...

Theosophy is a blend of distorted forms of Hinduism and Buddhism with Western occultism.

Pretty much.

An additional factor in my general distaste for all of it is a thorough study of the Middle Platonists, running into NeoPlatonism and how those people formulated their ideas and passed them on to become the foundational nonsense for so-called "western occultism". It was a big industry of charlatanism then and now. And, as I've pointed out before, most so-called "psychic powers" are genetic abilities that remind us of what humans were once and have almost nothing to do with spirituality. On the occasions when the genetics combine with the claims of the charlatan, a lot of excitement ensues claiming "proof". We have to remember that co-occurrence is not causation. Each case must be examined individually.

Finally, the world is in such a situation at present that no one really has the luxury of idle study of old, ineffective systems just to pass the time.
 
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