The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Discussion on literature other than by the Star of Azazel.
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Re: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Postby obnoxion » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:48 pm

Nefastos wrote:This sectarianism, as sod Obnoxion calls it, is very thought-provoking. Were the theosophical masters biased? Were they ignorant of some aspects of the greater work? After all, KH constantly reminds Sinnett that he is but a student himself, working for his own master with deeper wisdom and wider vision. And/or was there, at the time, an actual downward path presence at work among the luminaries of the dugpa sect, thus having some effect on that whole Buddhist school? Cf. at some historical points we can very well see that, for example, the Catholic church really has become as a very downward path organization, factually accomplishing extremely downward path atrocities because of its corrupted spiritual leaders; that without making the whole history of the said church a descending (= cruel & dishonest) one. Still the theosophical rhetorics often prefers that kind of simplifications.
I suppose we can only speculate on these matters. On the one hand, it does seem that KH's retreat was at or near the area of Ladakh, which could be said to be a major Drukpa stronghold outside of Bhutan, and it still is one of the only ares of Jammu and Kashmir where Buddhists outnumber Mohammedans. So, generally speaking, it is quite common for such vital centers to draw all sorts of individuals and groups - including, perhaps, pseudo-tantric sects similar to "The 18 Robber Monks" of Tibet, who would fit the Theosophical (and Lynchian) description of a dugpa.

Then, again, during the 19th century the Dorje Shugden Cult would have been still included in the Gelukpa fold, which could possibly be quite effective incentive to shun all red hats. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorje_Shugden_controversy) Though in this case the red hats would mean the most ancient school of Buddhism it Tibet, the Nyigma. It this light, it is a queer fact that the most important and popular Dalai Lama before the 13th and the 14th, was "The Great Fifth", who had very strong ties to Nyigma School.

As you said, there is also a preference for simplifications in theosophical rhetorics. Come to think of it, has not Blavatsky somewhere condemned the Hindu Tantras as a whole to be mainly black magic..? So it is a many-layered question.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Re: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Postby Nefastos » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:51 pm

obnoxion wrote:Come to think of it, has not Blavatsky somewhere condemned the Hindu Tantras as a whole to be mainly black magic..?


Indeed she did:

Blavatsky (in her Esoteric Instructions) wrote:His Essays are almost entirely based on Tantra works, which, if read indiscriminately by a tyro in Occultism, will lead to the practice of most unmitigated Black Magic.
Blavatsky (in her Esoteric Instructions) wrote:The Saivagama in its details is purely Tantric, and nothing but harm can result from any practical following of its precepts. I would most strongly dissuade a member of the E.S. from attempting any of these Hatha-Yoga practices, for he will either ruin himself entirely, or throw himself so far back that it will be almost impossible to regain the lost ground in this incarnation. The translation referred to has been considerably expurgated, and even now is hardly fit for publication. It recommends Black Magic of the worst kind, and is the very antipodes of spiritual Raja-Yoga. Beware, I say.

But also:
Blavatsky (in her Esoteric Instructions) wrote:The Tantras read esoterically are as full of wisdom as the noblest occult works. Studied without a guide and applied to practice, they may lead to the production of various phenomenal results, on the moral and physiological planes. But let anyone accept their dead-letter rules and practices, let him try with some selfish motive in view to carry out the rites prescribed therein, and - he is lost. Followed with pure heart and unselfish devotion merely for the sake of the latter, either no result will follow, or such as can only throw back the performer. Woe, then, to the selfish man who seeks to develop occult powers only to attain earthly benefits or revenge, or to satisfy his ambition; the separation of the Higher from the Lower Principles and the severing of Buddhi-Manas from the Tantrist's Personality will speedily follow, the terrible Karmic results of the dabbler in Magic.


Claiming that "tantra" and "occultism" are polar opposites might seem strange if we know anything about tantra, especially when Blavatsky's own esotericism comes from "tantric Buddhism" of Tibet. But she, with her teachers, clearly sought to build a certain kind of nomenclature in order to establish a more spiritual approach to magic. In this terminology, "tantra" meant practices untamed by reason and sexual abstinence, themes so important in theosophical occultism. Let us remember that the time was much affected by European colonialism & its worship of the idea of order. Theosophical thinking blossomed right before the idea of subconscious made its breakthrough, and this lack of one important tool can be said to be one of its greatest hindrances. Theosophical teaching speaks much of different planes of consciousness, but yet fails to realize the holistic truth that it itself implies. Emphasis is strongly on direct control. Thus the ardent condemning of the more feminine shakta, tantra & shamanistic approaches.

With Blavatsky & her Tibetan supervisors, also Subba Row – an Adwaitee Hindu & co-writer of Secret Doctrine, so a very theosophically influential author – considered tantric worship to be tainted & evil.

Unlike many humanists seem to think today, being familiar with another form of spirituality does not necessarily bring its appreciation. It is as easy for a deeply understanding Hindu to hate the false doctrine of another Hindu or a Buddhist to loath a Buddhist of another sect that it is for a Christian, follower of the incarnated principle of love & self-sacrifice, to condemn a fellow Christian. These are all too human traits, and I too notice in myself the similar sterness: they are the fellow Satanists & occultists whom I tend to criticize most severely.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Postby obnoxion » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:36 pm

Thank you so much for these clraifications!
Nefastos wrote:Unlike many humanists seem to think today, being familiar with another form of spirituality does not necessarily bring its appreciation. It is as easy for a deeply understanding Hindu to hate the false doctrine of another Hindu or a Buddhist to loath a Buddhist of another sect that it is for a Christian, follower of the incarnated principle of love & self-sacrifice, to condemn a fellow Christian. These are all too human traits, and I too notice in myself the similar sterness: they are the fellow Satanists & occultists whom I tend to criticize most severely.
Indeed! - not more than a month ago I complained in our Finnish forum, how it sometimes seems easier to relate to some Christian Hermit who lived in a desert 2000 yers ago, than to one's Satanist Brother...
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Re: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Postby Yinlong » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:38 pm

Very wise words, ponderings and discussion, fratres Nefastos & Obnoxion - joy to read and think myself too. And again - perhaps we have again proved that every era and epoch requires its counter-force, main force, and third force. Like every era requires it's christ, anti-christ and gods of profound abyss and high up in the sky. ;)
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Re: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Postby Nefastos » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:32 pm

Onwards then.

The next two letters are short, so I will go through the third as well. In letter no. 50 (August 1882) KH feels "terribly pulled down (mentally)". He refers to his "quiet, contemplative life", during which he has never before faced such opposition that he now faces in Hume: "I cannot go on like that, passing my life in useless protest." KH's master, the Chohan, is also mentioned, and the latter calls the whole business – in which European students seem to be loyal & thirsty for knowledge but are said to be actually just selfish & arrogant – "comedy". "For the first time during my life I think I feel really disheartened", KH writes, emphasis his.

Letter no. 51 (August 22, 1882) mentions briefly, as did the last one, Alice Bailey's later master Djual Khool. Both letters are asked to kept private, so, more tomb-robbing here... but I think even the adepts' bones have whitened enough in 135 years. In this letter KH ponders on how the probation period of the students are tried out, and lets the reader understand that the pupils are in a way consciously "deceived" in order to draw out their true nature in such a situation. In short, it seems that the brotherhood is quickly separating those with the fundamentally healthy attitude toward spirituality from those who just want to taggle alone while remaining sceptical or untrustworthy.

As I said, letter no. 52 (autumn 1882) is longer one. It first discusses A.O. Hume, whom Sinnett has seen to be defended, and whose prideful and jealous nature KH then depicts. The letter then goes on to human principles, of which first had to be given a partial schema: the seven principles were spoken of in the Isis Unveiled as a trinity. (Cf. SoA's model where the seven principles form the basis, but there are also hidden principles on their own dimensional axis.)

KH wrote:It was H.P.B[lavatsky], who, acting under the orders of Atrya (one whom you do not know) was the first to explain in the Spiritualist the difference there was between psyche and nous, nefesh and ruach — Soul and Spirit. [...] It was then that she was ordered to write Isis — just a year after the Society had been founded. And, as there happened such a war over it, endless polemics and objections to the effect that there could not be in man two souls — we thought it was premature to give the public more than they could possibly assimilate, and before they had digested the "two souls"


Understandably connected to this was also the doctrine of reincarnation, of which the Isis Unveiled was quite quiet, for the theosophical doctrine of reincarnation is conditional and includes only the highest principles.

Near the end is once again some information about this "allowed deception" also mentioned in the last letter:

KH wrote:I am afraid he is right, from the standpoint of our rules and customs. They are anti-European, I confess. With the exception of the telegram, M\ never wrote Fern but one letter, the five or six other letters in his handwriting emanating from the Dugpa — who has charge of Fern.


So it seems that according to the letters, the student on the path of probation quite literally has his inspiring "angel and demon", godparents of both kinds, and receives blessing not only from his master-to-be, but also from an evil godmother, a "dugpa". Both of these unseen forces would, naturally, like to make use of an energetic aspirant in their work.

There's also a word of encouragement – and perhaps, a warning – given to a modern neophyte as well:
KH wrote:Oh, my friend, with all your faults and your rather too lively past, how much, how immeasureably much higher you stand in our sight than our "I am," with all his high "splendid mental capacity," and outwardly pathetic nature concealing the inward absence of anything like real feeling and heart!
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Postby obnoxion » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:04 pm

I will do the next letter tomorrow.
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Re: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Postby obnoxion » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:54 pm

The 53rd letter is begun with a quote from Elizabeth Barret Browning's (1806 - 1861) "A Vison Of Poets". According to Linda M. Lewis, the author of "Elizabeth Barret Browning's Spiritual Progress" (University of Missouri Press, 1998, page 78), one of the themes of this poem is the recurreing thought of Barrett's, that "only women and men who have suffered... have earned the right to speak for a Suffering God". K.H. also compares himself to Warren Hastings (1732 - 1818), the first Brittish governor in Bengal (1772 - 1785). It might be of interest that Hastings played a part in the production of the first translation of the Bhagavad-Gita into English 1785, and he wrote the introduction for the first edition, available here: https://ia902701.us.archive.org/21/item ... mbgoog.pdf

From this letter I would like to focus on the teachings on the Dugpas. There are two interesting quotes:

Fern is in the hands of two clever — 'dwellers of the threshold' as Bulwer would call them — two dugpas kept by us to do our scavengers' work, and to draw out the latent vices — if there be any — from the candidates; and Fern has shown himself on the whole, far better and more moral than he was supposed to
Then M.'s letters (the production of the amiable dug-pa, in reality ex-dugpa, whose past sins will never permit him to fully atone for his misdeeds) distinctly say: — "do, either so and so, or in such a way"; they tempt him, and lead him to imagine that in doing no injury to any human being and when the motive is good every action becomes legal!! I was thus tempted in my youth, and had nearly succumbed twice to the temptation, but was saved by my uncle from falling into the monstrous snare
These quotes pose interesting questions:

1) To what extent are the dugpas kept in service of the White Lodge?
2) How would you see the spiritual state of a partially atoned ex-dugpa?
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Re: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Postby RaktaZoci » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:33 pm

Hello All, I'm doing my best to get back to the fold as I'll present to you letter no. 54. This was a slightly longer one and is addressing lots of what was happening inside the organisation of the TS, what has been done and how things should be worked out in the future.

Once again there is critisism towards the teachings of the Masters. I was a bit puzzled of whom they are talking of, but I assume it is Mr. Hume (once again). He seems to sort of play only for his own team and seeming to want control over a number of things in the TS. There is a brief warning of someone called Fern and how he (?) should not be trusted.
KH wrote:"Try to save him, if possible, my dearest friend; do your best to convert him to truth and unselfishness."
There is talk of other individuals, which I'm not familiar with, such as C.C.Massey. I was slightly intrigued by KH's mention:
KH wrote:"I certainly objected having my letters printed and circulated like those of Paul in the bazaars of Ephesus — for the benefit (or perchance derision and criticism) of isolated members who hardly believed in our existence."
But then again:
KH wrote:"I will never refuse my help and cooperation to a group of men sincere and ardent to learn; but if again, such men as Mr. Hume are to be admitted, men who generally delight in playing in every organized system they get into, the parts played by Typhon and Ahriman in the Egyptian and Zoroastrian systems — then the plan had better be left aside."
In the light of this I began to ponder on the publication of the book we are having this reading group of, and that I'd recall there being some critisism on the part of the TS of the publication of these Mahatma letters. Does any one of us have any opinion on this? Personally I think there is no harm in the publication, because I believe (emphasis on the word) that those who have the ability to read the message between the lines are able to fill their cups with wisdom, as for others who lack the necessary cipher will remain clueless.

There is talk of sort of bending the mindset of the Masters (on Hume's behalf) to better suit the view of the masses. This idea I personally dislike, as seems the author. A good point that KH makes is that an aspirant should first digest and understand the given teachings and only after this would he/she be permitted to more. This is very much the problem on our present time, with basicly limitless information sources being available, but no-one to guide one through it. An important point indeed.

Then there is lots of talk about suspicion towards HPB and, once again,her caused phenomena. I feel that the conversations circles a little bit too much on this matter, but perhaps the time period in which the letters were written, demanded attension to this particular subject. HPB is blamed to be an impostor by CCM (and others). There is quite lengthy explanation on KH's behalf that this is not the case and that HPB actually credited the tidings to anybody but herself, even though her mindset played an important role in the process. This process eventually becoming a burden to her.
KH wrote:"And thus she kept on killing herself inch by inch, ready to give — for our benefit and glory, as she thought — her life-blood drop by drop, and yet invariably denying before witnesses that she had anything to do with it. Would you call this sublime, albeit foolish self-abnegation — "dishonest"? We do not; nor shall we ever consent to regard it in such a light."
Further:
KH wrote:"In your opinion H.P.B. is, at best, for those who like her despite herself — a quaint, strange woman, a psychological riddle: impulsive and kindhearted, yet not free from the vice of untruth. We, on the other hand, under the garb of eccentricity and folly — we find a profounder wisdom in her inner Self than you will ever find yourselves able to perceive."
This reminded me of:
Voice of the Silence wrote:"Saith the Great Law: "In order to become the KNOWER of ALL SELF, thou hast first of SELF to be the knower" To reach the knowledge of that SELF, thou hast to give up Self to NON-Self, Being to Non-Being, and then thou canst repose between the wings of the GREAT BIRD"
Then, there is brief disclosure on why certain individual failed the tests by the Masters and HPB, such as the afore-mentioned Fern, CCM and S.Moses.

The rest of the letter is more or less KH's plans on how to organize the TS in the future, separating the branches more from the Parent society, if they only vow to respect the original founding principles. There not much of an interest here, apart from the historical point of view.

There is an amusing anecdote, though, of KH's rendezvous with a certain, almost toothless, goat, who happened to munch on certain important letters, as he had in haste and carelessness dropped them. He was, fortunately, able to restore these munched parts and the story ended happily:
KH wrote:"Hence I thanked the goat heartily; and since he does not belong to the ostracised Peling race, to show my gratitude I strengthened what remained of teeth in his mouth, and set the dilapidated remains firmly in their sockets, so that he may chew food harder than English letters for several years yet to come."
I feel that there is some nice symbolism at work here.. ;)

I will close with a very wise quote from the Master:
KH wrote:"Occultism is certainly not necessary for a good, pure Ego to become an "Angel" or Spirit in, or out of the Devachan since Angelhood is the result of Karma."
Peace be with you, brothers and Sisters!
die Eule der Minerva beginnt erst mit der einbrechenden Dämmerung ihren Flug.
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Re: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Postby Nefastos » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:28 pm

RaktaZoci wrote:There is a brief warning of someone called Fern and how he (?) should not be trusted.


The main episode with Fern was discussed in the letter 53.

RaktaZoci wrote:A good point that KH makes is that an aspirant should first digest and understand the given teachings and only after this would he/she be permitted to more. This is very much the problem on our present time, with basicly limitless information sources being available, but no-one to guide one through it. An important point indeed.


Yes, and now the demand for patience is even more evident. The very mass of esoterical teaching has quickly become a wall of hindrance, confusing, stupefying and – astonishing but true – sometimes actually stopping altogether the personal striving of a would be neophyte. We are living a time in which everybody practically lives on the very threshold of the proverbial Alexandrian library, and yet there are no more people actually entering it than there were in the times of these letters, or before. Thus the real obstacle is nearly always our lacking Will – perseverance & passion for Truth. Which I think is one of the main reasons why the true adepts live incognito. They see that there is no point trying to give more Great Revelations, but rather, they seek to slowly cultivate a human mindset that would be more apt to actually receive such.

RaktaZoci wrote:
KH wrote:"Occultism is certainly not necessary for a good, pure Ego to become an "Angel" or Spirit in, or out of the Devachan since Angelhood is the result of Karma."


Even though, our time has become so exhaustingly secular, than a little bit of occultism (mysticism, transcendentalism, faith) would be painfully needed by the world where even exoteric religion has become more and more profane. Majority of individuals may believe in life after death, sure, but all their beliefs are so isolated because of the corruption of shared spiritual cosmologies that they have very little impact on the engine of our Karma: ethics.

obnoxion wrote:These quotes pose interesting questions:

1) To what extent are the dugpas kept in service of the White Lodge?
2) How would you see the spiritual state of a partially atoned ex-dugpa?


1) It seems that the Theosophical idea of the White Lodge is actually very close to collective superego of humankind, even though it is incarneted or semi-incarnated by "nirmanakayas" or very highly advanced individual adepts. Seen in this way the "dugpas" would be subconscious and the "White Lodge" would be the superego, which must play together in a waking mind of common humanity in order to actually advance it. Of course, this is just one part of the whole cosmic chess or the mosaic floor of the long chamber of initiation challenges.

2) I'd say it depends on what is meant by "partially". I mean, is the compromise done with one's intention, or with one's past. (Or with one's subconscious or karma, to keep in the analog above. I mean: in case there are actual disabilities that factually close some spiritual doors useless in that incarnation.) If no real compromise with intention has been made, I think such a dugpa can be in a loftier spiritual state than many occultists with brighter spiritual capital. An atoned dugpa would most likely live very ardently his personal, emphasised Kali Yuga, during which he can get intense results because he has reason to do spiritual Work intensely. He, at least, knows that the spiritual world is true: that might become a great asset for going through all those extreme obstacles he will be facing.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Reading Group)

Postby Smaragd » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:01 pm

Main theme of the letter 55 revolves around Sinnets faith towards the Inner Circle, which might have been shaken by the Coulomb affair. Sinnet had his loyalties, hero-worship and credulence under magnifying glass. Maybe the reason KH tried to help him is partially because the caused inner trial is not thought to come naturally, but from outside influences, not connected to Sinnets personal karma. This idea recently flashed in the letters open up the free will thinking behind, at least, the Mahatmas understanding of karma. Other parties choices affecting you isn’t seen necessarily integrated part of your karma, though they may open a window to deal with it. Trying to see the world through immanence kind of steers the wheel towards more integrated cause and effect matrix, but karma and pre-destined outcome are a bit weird bed fellows, though interesting pair for sure.
Mahatma Letters wrote:You should be more than ordinarily careful when you get back not to encourage sensitiveness in your household, not to admit more than can be helped the visits of known mediumistic sensitives. It would be well also to burn wood-fires in the rooms now and then, and carry about as fumigators open vessels (braziers?) with burning wood. You might also ask Damodar to send you some bundles of incense-sticks for you to use for this purpose. These are helps, but the best of all means to drive out unwelcome guests of this sort, is to live purely in deed and thought. The talismans you have had given you, will also powerfully aid you if you keep your confidence in them and in us unbroken. (?)
Instructions for cleansing an abode off excess elementaries draw beautiful lines from aesthetics and symbols towards the beings that are sensed with the psyche, but whose name associates with material elements. Also the cleansing symbols, at least the lesser ones, are made with material supplies for the use of what we sense with the psyche.
It seems sensitives attract the elementaries like blood attracts sharks on an open water. Tales of vampyres also come to mind, stories that undoubt has found their initial birth by sensitive writers observing the psychic surroundings.

Mahatma Letters wrote:There is always that danger if one has neglected to ascertain whether the words and sentences rushing into the mind have come all from within or whether some may have been impressed from without. I feel sorry to have brought you into such a false position before your many enemies and even your friends. That was one of the reasons why, I had hesitated to give my consent to print my private letters and specifically excluded a few of the series from the prohibition. I had no time to verify their contents — nor have I now. I have a habit of often quoting, minus quotation marks — from the maze of what I get in the countless folios of our Akasic libraries, so to say — with eyes shut.
I wonder how the Akasic libraries and sentences coming from ”within” or ”without” work. Tapping in to the subconscious flows while writing might be thought as coming from within but doesn’t seem to be clearly separated from the learned, not for me atleast. Maybe the clearer separation between the two ”personas” — the higher and the lower self — make difference here.

L.C.H. = Laura Carter Holloway-Langford is a medium we’ll propably encounter again in the letters.

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