The Society

Alas and after - Gottfried de Purucker and the PLTS: The Universal, Non-sectarian View Beyond Dogmas, Books and Labels.

Questions and Answers with Kenneth Small.

[Note from the editor: Kenneth Small is to be considered a reliable and unbiased source. For many years he and both his parents, Carmen and Emmett Small, were involved with Point Loma Publications and through this interview we come to know firsthand facts. For earnest students it is interesting to observe that Kenneth sheds a rather different light on Gottfried de Purucker as a person and his work. In 2007 he sent an invitation to the leader of the TS Point Loma-Blavatskyhouse group and his wife to attend the ITC conference in Petaluma, California and introduced them to those who, at the time, were involved with organizing the annual ITC meetings in the USA]  

The Society ALAS KEN 2

 Kenneth Small

  1. Who are you and what was, or still is your involvement with the Theosophical Movement?

 My name is Kenneth Small and I live in California. Growing up in a Point Loma theosophical family, from the exile esoteric group, I was mentored in theosophy from a young age by lifelong students of Theosophy and their inclusive universal view has always inspired me throughout my life. I am in accord with Blavatsky’s view that the Theosophical Movement is a global one and much vaster than the organized theosophical organizations or groups. Blavatsky says, quoting Vaughn:

“A Theosophist,” he says-- “is one who gives you a theory of God or the works of God, which has not revelation, but an inspiration of his own for its basis." In this view every great thinker and philosopher, especially every founder of a new religion, school of philosophy, or sect, is necessarily a Theosophist. Hence, Theosophy and Theosophists have existed ever since the first glimmering of nascent thought made man seek instinctively for the means of expressing his own independent opinions.”[i]

I am grateful to have also experienced deep theosophical wisdom not only within the theosophical view that I was raised in but also within these global perennial traditions. Today I teach ongoing weekly Zen and meditation practice within Buddhist groups in San Diego and perennial wisdom classes.

I initiated a few years ago, the Enso Project, with a small group of friends and associates, where I teach theosophic perennial wisdom, meditation and inner transformation methods. I have given presentations and classes on the perennial wisdom and theosophy at the Krotona Institute, the San Diego United Lodge of Theosophists, lectured at the TSPL, The Hague, presented at the ITC (NYC 2013) on The Voice of the Silence etc. I have during the past three years, established and facilitated the Lomaland Theosophical Community historical archive at San Diego State University. At various times, I have belonged to a few of the organized theosophical groups, including the ULT and more recently the Adyar TS. I have also applied these principles of theosophic wisdom and insight within my natural healing vocation; integrating mindfulness, ethnobotany, herbal and energetic healing modalities.

  1. In the series “ALAS and after” there are many references to the “TS Point Loma-Blavatskyhouse” group (from now on TSPL) based in The Hague the Netherlands. It is not always understood how this Society, which started off in the USA, ended up in The Hague. Could you give us a brief overview of its history?

KS: The Point Loma Theosophical Society-USA, (PLTS) lineages post 1942 until today are often not well understood. A deep schism within the PLTS took place from 1945-1951, which subsequent fragmentation, produced by 1980, as many as seven administratively autonomous, unconnected different groups and autonomous societies. Attempts at unifying these groups have not been very successful with only moderate cooperation possible since that time.[ii]Today, it should be made clear that after Purucker’s death, there are three primary lineages[iii]: The TS Pasadena with linage as follows: Purucker (1929-1942)- Arthur Conger (1945-1951) - James Long (1951-1971) - Grace Knoche (1971-2006) Randall Grubb (2006-current) ; the TSPL- Covina-The Hague with its lineage as follows: Purucker - Conger - William Hartley (1951-1955), an interim ‘council’ under Mrs. Steward (1955-1958). After William Hartley’s death in 1955, Mrs. Steward with the Cabinet elected in 1958 to lead their group, D.J.P. Kok from the Netherlands, who was followed in 1985 by Herman C. Vermeulen (current); and then an additional PLTS non-organized group, which we will call, for lack of a better term, the PLTS exile esoteric group[iv]. For this group, the so-called ‘succession’ ended with Purucker.

  1. In 1909 Robert Crosbie founded the United Lodge of Theosophists, after he had left the Point Loma TS at that time led by Katherine Tingley. What was the main reason for him to start another Theosophical organization?

KS: Robert Crosbie was initially an extremely enthusiastic supporter of Katherine Tingley and he lived at the Lomaland community with his wife and young family from 1902-1904. Tingley’s focus at Lomaland was “to make Theosophy intensely practical”, with primary emphasis on education, Theosophic expressions of the creative arts; music, art, drama, literature. Also Crosbie, at Lomaland with his family, was one of a very few participants who received a stipend for managing the telegraph. One of the factors that precipitated his leaving was when finances at Lomaland couldn’t sustain this and there also may have been some additional personal issues. This combination of elements led to his leaving Lomaland. He then initially joined a group that earlier had branched off of Tingley, headed by Ernest Hargrove. This didn’t work out, so then Crosbie left it and then started the United Lodge of Theosophists in 1909.

  1. In the TS Adyar (their Esoteric School with its Outer Head is a separate entity) there are no officials who are called “leaders” but there are International Presidents, General Secretaries and National Presidents etc. who are chosen democratically by all members in good standing. With the TSPL this is not the case, because there is a clear line of succession.

KS: Under Purucker, while he was Leader for life, all the national and lodge presidents were democratically elected. Purucker viewed the democratic process as essential and made it clear that he could be removed from office as well.

5 follow up. For many Adyar members and other students this is utterly confusing;, a line of succession starting with H.P. Blavatsky, therefore, when did this line of succession actually materialize and what is its significance, if any?

KS: When Blavatsky formally initiated the esoteric section in 1888, she was the Outer Head of the Esoteric School and Henry Olcott was the President of the TS. The succession issue arose later, when upon Blavatsky’s death she appointed William Q. Judge and Annie Besant co-heads of the esoteric school, so they were both Blavatsky’s appointees and designated esoteric successors. Judge at that time, was also the president of the TS in America.

When the TS split in 1895, Judge was then elected ‘president for life’. It was at this point that the leadership of the outer Presidency of the TS and the esoteric school conflated into one person: William Q. Judge. This then continued within the PLTS, through Katherine Tingley to G. de Purucker. When Purucker became the Leader after Katherine Tingley, he removed from the TSPL constitution some of the more autocratic elements she had placed in the constitution. Purucker left no designated successor upon his death in 1942. The PLTS governing Cabinet, headed by Iverson L. Harris jr., followed Purucker’s written instructions and governed from 1942-45.

The Cabinet waited these three years and as no ‘successor’ appeared, then elected an administrative exoteric TSPL President. Col. Arthur Conger from Washington D.C. who had been President of the PLTS national section was viewed as a good administrator and was therefore selected and voted into office solely as (the exoteric) President of the Theosophical Society Point Loma.

Quickly after his being elected, however, Conger declared himself the Outer Head, and esoteric successor going back to Blavatsky and in contact with the Masters. Then, many of the core members of the esoteric school declined to accept Conger’s claims of esoteric authority, including the last remaining PLTS esoteric student of Blavatsky, Henry T. Edge. Others included the well-known Theosophists: Iverson and Helen Harris, Boris de Zirkoff, Emmett and Carmen Small (my parents) , Helen Savage (Todd), Gordon Plummer, Geoffrey and Ila Barborka, Judith Tyberg etc. Conger promptly proceeded to remove from official duties those who declined to accept his esoteric status and lifelong members were forced to move from the headquarters which had then moved from Point Loma to Covina, California. The subsequent results of this schism was some hundreds leaving the PLTS society between 1945-1951. This is a complex history, with a variety of differing viewpoints and more details can be found within the Theosophical History Journal[v].

  1. Like many others, also De Purucker made clear that “Freedom of Thought” was a must when exploring the teachings. His extensive works were and still are eye-openers for serious seekers.

KS: Yes, he states clearly in many places, both in editorials and in his talks and lectures the essential foundation of freedom of thought within the PLTS, In the appended extracts from his writings, I have given a few examples of his view on freedom of thought in Theosophy. For example, Purucker opposed a declaration in the 1930’s, that was similar to ITC’s Naarden declaration in 2014 to form a Theosophical allegiance based on adhering to a designated list of agreed upon points of doctrine.

6 Follow up 1: It is evident that some are convinced that Purucker’s oeuvre contains some kind of “final word.” This stance leads to the thesis that all other deliberations on Theosophical teachings are mere “interpretations of interpretations.“ From your point view is this attitude correct and although it is speculative, what do you think GdP himself would have thought about this?

KS: Well, I doubt that Purucker would be happy with anyone viewing him as having the “final word” on anything. I would say that mere replication of any sacred text is a way to avoid a genuine and deep emulation or embodying of a truth. While during the 1930’s, Purucker felt he had a ‘mission’ to give what he often referred to as ‘technical Theosophy’, he was always careful and very clear about not fixating on any presentation of Theosophy as a ‘final word’ especially his own writings and talks.

As students of the theosophic Perennial Wisdom, the challenge is in integrating and living this deeper ‘truth’ within our daily life, given our always … limited and evolving … experience and understanding.

The Theosophists that were both close friends and those who mentored me in my early study of Theosophy were all lifelong residents of the Lomaland community. Additionally they were also participants and some held significant positions within the esoteric school at Lomaland[vi] and Purucker’s inner group. I only mention this to make clear that those within this core group knew Purucker as a person very well, worked and collaborated with him both as a teacher and in friendship.

Purucker was a deep contemplative, who had been rather obscure within the Lomaland community, who after he succeeded Katherine Tingley as the PLTS Leader, felt he had a mission to revitalize Theosophy within the broader Theosophical Movement. He frequently stated that crystalizing one’s mind around a topic within theosophy regardless is always a danger and to ‘break the molds of mind’, that no teaching , as given, is the final word. Even going so far as to suggest that higher views always move past the more limited one. Purucker’s approach was equally an approach of Blavatskian based Theosophy, yet based on the inner necessity of what could be called, ‘process Theosophy’; always universal, inclusive, non-dogmatic, compassionate.

In Purucker’s Esoteric Teachings[vii], his thoughts on Forgiveness and Impersonal Love, the Paramitas, the Path of Compassion are the foundation of the path. He makes clear that the fulcrum is higher awareness in awakening to our inner or higher SELF; wisdom and compassion harmonized together. It is this direct relationship to our inner awakening that is primary and for example any direct link to the ‘Masters’ an individual inner matter, possible within the intuitive aspirations of each person and not needing of any outer intermediary.

6 Follow up 2: Also, could you describe what kind of person Purucker was in his day to day activity?

KS: Purucker’s favorite aphorism was from Horace: Est modus in rebus, ‘there is a proper measure in all things’ or balance point. Purucker was a deeply contemplative person always spending the last later hours of the day before sleep in meditation. He lived his life this way and in his daily interactions with those who worked closely with him he was a very kind, considerate person, never a micro manager and who entrusted those in positions of responsibility to engage in their respective roles fully and completely relying on their own inner guidance. For example, my father, Emmett Small, was editor (with Marjorie Tyberg) of the Theosophical Forum, and Purucker, with his full schedule, fully trusting the editors, would often only read the issue after it was printed. To individuals within the PLTS or even the esoteric school Purucker never interfered in the sanctum of students inner spiritual guidance. He never directed students with anything like: “The Masters have told me x, y, or z and therefore you need to do so.” He was continuously reducing any mode of seeking outward ‘authority’ and in his letter of instructions to the Cabinet (1935), he made clear that any successor should be chosen based on their qualities and that anyone claiming contact with the Masters should be automatically excluded from consideration. It is also important when reading his printed writings that almost in their entirety they are transcribed stenographic reports of this talks. In the case of letters, they were all dictated verbally to his secretary Elsie Savage (Benjamin) and then she would type them out etc. This explains his ‘wordiness’ at times, as there was little editing done.

The Society ALAS KEN 3 Emmett and Carmen Small 1988 1

Ken's parents: Emmett and Carmen Small (1988) A life dedicated to Theosophy

  1. In the TSPL/The Hague there is a strong belief that, what they call the original writings as found in the core literature, should never be edited or modified, but kept in their original state, even if there were to be grammatical errors. (quote from a presentation by the leader of the TSPL: ”Better to break the grammar rules than breaking the basic concepts of Theosofia.” To watch this presentation click HERE) This approach fully ignores the fact that language as such is dynamic and over time subject to change and meaning. The English language for example has gone through major linguistic developments over the past centuries.(Read: “A brief history of the English language”, click HERE). As a publisher and scholar, what is your opinion?

KS: While I cannot speak for the TSPL-The Hague, I can give a brief outline of the TSPL during Purucker’s time. (1929-1942) Purucker gives as the basis or view: “Chelaship is a matter of being..”[viii] In his teaching he is constantly balancing wisdom, compassion and method and pointing out what is perhaps the biggest obstacle in the study of Theosophy; what he termed the ‘entification of abstractions’.

This sounds obscure, but is very simple: labeling and memorizing some terms or ideas doesn’t make them REAL in our direct experience. Purucker frequently pointed out that we must endeavor to move beyond mere terminology or diagrams and the danger is to artificially infuse these mere mental abstractions with a life they don’t have. This is to mistake the finger pointing to the moon, for the moon itself.

Purucker often describes the dangers of mental fixation and he used the term ‘bibliolatry’[ix] to point out the pitfall of those who worship the book, for when a student uses any book or text, as a final pronouncement of THE truth. He clearly stated that rigid fixation on the ‘written word’ from any teacher however exalted, would indicate that the TS had become a sectarian and narrow cult, if it would ever fall into this mode.[x]

Purucker was a polyglot and he had a very thorough grasp of the Sanskrit language and he translated from Sanskrit the Bhagavad Gita and from Latin, Seneca’s Researches into Nature, for example. During that time at Lomaland they began to correct the errors in Sanskrit made for example in earlier editions of the Theosophical writings of Blavatsky and others.

Earlier during the time of Katherine Tingley, Fred J. Dick, the Irish Theosophist who knew Blavatsky, when he lived at Lomaland, he worked on the editing of typographical and linguistic errors in the editions of Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled, which was then published at Lomaland. There has often been a tussle or even competitiveness between different Theosophical groups and sub groups about the ‘purity’ of the teachings. Often the curious litmus test of who is most authentically ‘pure’ seems to have devolved upon who kept the ‘original’ writing, the most original, even down to keeping mistakes in spelling or broken fonts or faded pages reproduced from the ‘original’. When this fixation on literalism arises, the inner more spiritual creative qualities subside.

  1. How important is it that the various Theosophical currents stay in touch with each other in order to exchange knowledge? … without any preconditions?

KS: Open exchange without any ‘conditions’ is essential. The last ITC I was able to attend was the one held in New York City in 2013. I experienced that ITC gathering as a beautiful example of inter Theosophical exchange and dialogue with a clear universal basis and view pervading the presentations and proceedings. Meeting new friends in Theosophy at that gathering was an enjoyable experience. However, I was unable to attend the ITC in Naarden in 2014, as I was laid up recovering from a broken femur. If I had been there, I would have seriously questioned the Naarden Declaration and personally I would not have supported it. In my view it moves into the direction of limiting freedom of expression and exchange in Theosophy. While not quite establishing a core group of teachings to agree upon as William Kingsland proposed in the 1930’s, which Purucker declined to support, it moves, I feel, too close in that limiting dogmatic direction.

The basis is Universality of view and openness of inquiry. So I question whether the original PLTS/Purucker would have accepted the Naarden Declaration as written. This needs to be explored more carefully and fully. The designating of ‘what is core theosophy’ opens up the idea of a fixated ‘creed’ and is actually counter to a basis for open exchange and unification. I believe this is not an approach to organizing or unifying at all but rather automatically cuts off the openness of universal view and therefore freedom for deeper inquiry which is essential.[xi]

An example of this broader openness is the website of the Australian TS (Adyar) where there can be found broad and inclusive listing and links for theosophical study resources from all the different Theosophical teachers (Blavatsky, Judge, Besant, Purucker, Leadbeater etc. are listed).[xii]

Elsie Savage Benjamin, who was Purucker’s personal secretary commented (1977) in her CFL Bulletin[xiii] that there is:

“The need of using both mind and heart … Theosophy has no dogmas that a student must believe in. HPB encouraged unorthodoxy as desirable ‘but within certain limits’. In other words, not everything one chooses to believe is necessarily theosophy. On the other hand, in a group of 5 students who have had years of study, there could easily be five different conceptions of a point at issue. Or even more if opinions are changed after listening to another’s view.”

Again the emphasis is non dogmatic with an open universal flexible view. I have extracted some quotations from the writings of Purucker on these various subjects of freedom of expression, non-sectarianism, the universal view and how to approach in the study of theosophy in what follows.

  1. Lastly, if you could make a wish for the Theosophical movement as a whole, what would that wish be?

I would wish for more development of what could be called ‘Engaged Theosophy’ or ‘Theosophy in Action’, with more emphasis on education, the creative arts and humanitarian service. At this times, the Adyar TS has the ‘Theosophical Order of Service’ with its many activities and there is the great educational effort in the Philippines of the Golden Link College, the School of Theosophy at Krotona and also the newly forming Adyar Theosophical Academy. These are great examples to emulate. I would hope for these kinds of ‘compassion in action’, which are so needed in the world today, to be developed more broadly in all Theosophical organizations.

FOOTNOTES:  

[i] Blavatsky C.W. II pp 500-507

[ii] The last attempt to unify the ‘Point Loma’ fragments was initiated by Emmett Small in the early 1980’s. A large gathering of 3-4 hundred took place in the Netherlands but neither the TSPL-the Hague or TS Pasadena participated and the effort did not produce significant results.

[iii] At least two or three additional autonomous groups in Europe with direct lineages to the PLTS exist currently. (2021)

[iv] When I have been asked about the Point Loma Esoteric School post 1945 until today (2021), I have answered as follows: “It neither ended nor formally continued.” Emmett Small (1903-2001) was the secretary of the inner group under Purucker at Lomaland and continued as the secretary of this group post 1945. Some of the well-known members of this group, from Purucker’s time, were Boris de Zirkoff, Gordon Plummer, Iverson and Helen Harris, Helen Savage Todd, Geoffrey and Ila Barborka, Elsie Savage Benjamin, George Cardinal LeGros etc. In the post 1950 period the members of this esoteric group belonged to any Theosophical organization of their choice or none at all, yet maintained their esoteric linkage and activity. So when I have been asked about the Point Loma Esoteric School, I have answered: ‘it did not close nor formally continue’ , which of course means that it has continuation.

[v] The Theosophical History Journal volume 8, no 1, January 2000, The Conger Papers 1945-1951:
https://theohistory.org/issue-archive/volume-viii/

[vi] Boris de Zirkoff was secretary of the PLES first degree and co-editor with Helen Harris of Purucker’s twelve Esoteric Teachings books , Helen Harris (recording secretary of the PLES), W. Emmett Small, (secretary of the Inner Group/Third Degree of the PLES. Col Arthur Conger was elected the administrative exoteric leader of the TSPL in 1945. After his election, Conger claimed esoteric succession, contact with the Masters and to be the Outer Head of the esoteric school. Boris De Zirkoff, Helen Harris and Emmett Small were formally expelled by Col. Conger from the TSPL during his regime, for not accepting his claim of esoteric status and contact with the Masters. See The Theosophical History Journal volume 8, no 1 January 2000, The Conger Papers 1945-1951:
https://theohistory.org/issue-archive/volume-viii/

[vii] Purucker’s Esoteric Teachings series consists of twelve booklets. It was published in condensed form as Fountain Source of Occultism by Theosophical University Press and in complete series by Point Loma Publications in 1980’s. It is now available from the Theosophical Society Point Loma/the Hague.

[viii] Esoteric Teachings v. 1 The Esoteric Path: Its Nature and Its Tests p 16

[ix] Bibliolatry see de Purucker Messages to Conventions p 196

[x] Non-Sectarian reference: Messages to Conventions by G. dePurucker; edited and compiled by Emmett Small, Covina, 1943, pp 181-2

[xi] This issue came up during the 1930’s with the ‘Back to Blavatsky’ group with William Kingsland and some United Lodge of Theosophists supporting a designated series of doctrinal points of teaching to equate with Theosophy. Purucker and the Lomaland theosophists in the 1930’s opposed such a list of teachings that were proposed to agree and unite upon as ‘core theosophy’, for the reason that freedom of speech in theosophy is an essential component to prevent dogmatic fixation with sectarian narrowing and decline. For this reason, I doubt that Purucker and the post Lomaland PLES group would have supported the recent Naarden declaration because it begins to move in this direction of dogmatic limitation. See Messages to Conventions by G. de Purucker pp 198-199, 241-243, p 246, p 182, p 104-105, p 94, p 92, pp 88-89, p 42, p 39 etc.

[xii] The Theosophical Society in Australia (Adyar)

http://www.austheos.org.au/clibrary/bindex-0.html

[xiii] The Corresponding Fellows Lodge Bulletin (from issue 375 September 1977) edited by Elsie Savage Benjamin was issued monthly with over 400 issues and distributed to subscribers from all Theosophical groups and individuals. She was Purucker’s personal secretary during his time as Leader of the PLTS from 1929-1942.

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APPENDIX 1  

G. de Purucker

The Society ALAS KEN 4

In his office at Lomaland early 1930's

The T.S. A Living, Growing Organism

Caution Against Dogmatic Sectarianism

(Excerpts from Messages to Conventions - pp 181-2)

“The Theosophical Society, please remember, is composed of all the Theosophists who unite to make it. There is no organization more worthy nor superior to the men who compose it; it is precisely the men who compose it who make it. The standing, spiritual and intellectual, of the Theosophical Society is gaged by the men and women who compose it, and it will be just as low or just as high as we individuals make it, because of what we ourselves are. To the degree that we as individuals follow with fidelity the grand and beautiful instructions that we have received, to the degree that we show in our own lives how much inner growth we have achieved -- otherwise, what we ourselves have learned and have grown to, and having learned are prepared to pass on to others: to this degree will our Society be high or low, and will retrograde or march steadily forwards.

May the gods in high heaven ever prevent, through our efforts both collectively and individually, the Theosophical Society from becoming a mere sect, depending upon a book or books, however grand this or these may be in themselves; may they prevent our pretending to live alone on the Word received from our predecessors; but we may continue to grow from within ourselves and become independent thinkers and workers steadily raising the level of ourselves and therefore of the Theosophical Society

May the gods in high heaven ever prevent, through our efforts both collectively and individually, the Theosophical Society from becoming a mere sect, depending upon a book or books, however grand this or these may be in themselves; may they prevent our pretending to live alone on the Word received from our predecessors; but we may continue to grow from within ourselves and become independent thinkers and workers steadily raising the level of ourselves and therefore of the Theosophical Society. Let our beloved Society continue forever to be a living, growing organism through which pulses the inspiration of our blessed God-Wisdom. We can best render our homage of immense reverence and devotion to our Teachers, higher and lower, by striving to improve ourselves as individuals, as individuals to advance ourselves in all things great and good, and as individuals to become independent, strong characters. If we can do this, then we shall for ever be able to retain and to manifest to others those principles of conduct which have ever graced the lives of the noblest of our predecessors, and this likewise will insure that our Theosophical platform shall be ever free, growing, in all the best senses of the word, and therefore becoming ever more truly a nobler platform for the elaboration and dissemination of Theosophy to the world.”

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APPENDIX 2

 G. de Purucker

Freedom of Conscience, Thought and Speech in the T.S.

(Messages to Conventions pp 193-4)

“Keep the teaching unadulterate and pure for the future” -- Oh how these words ring in my heart; for it is what I want too; and yet I feel impelled and compelled to call your attention to a very serious danger here. Agreeing absolutely with the principle of the thing, I must call attention to the danger, and it is this: In striving to retain the purity of the teachings of our blessed God-Wisdom, let us never drop into the dogmatic attitude, which will spell the death of free conscience, free thought, free speech, sane and legitimate freedom of all kinds, in the T.S. By all means retain the purity of the teachings, it is the grandest thing we can do; but never refuse to a man his right to speak, and to speak freely, even if you know what he says is not true, or distorted. The principle of freedom is so precious, it must never be forgotten.

It was just there that the primitive Christians stumbled and became in time a dogmatic sectarian church: Desiring to keep the teachings of their Avatara-Master pure, unadulterate, simple and glorious as he gave them, they laid down certain dogmatic rules, credos, tests, somewhat like the fourteen points, twelve points, sixteen points, etc., etc,. that we have heard of recently [William Kingsland and others in the 1931 ‘Back to Blavatsky’ association - KS] in Theosophical matters -- a sure way to start a creed; and so anxious were people thereafter that all Christians should conform to these as it were codified laws of belief, the codification of belief, that they utterly forgot the inherent right of the human soul to think and to think freely. Thereafter you have the Christian dogmatic church, and immediately they began to wax strong. Why? Because they all had one simple form of belief, and exoteric united force behind that belief.

But what you lose when you get unity and force and nothing else? You lose everything of greatest value. Force is only good or even decent if it is the force of the spirit, which means no imposition of will upon any other mind: the force of conscience, the force of truth, the force of abstract right, the force of justice. That is the only force that is excusable inhuman affairs. Any other force is from hell.

So let us therefor never allow the establishing within our own ranks of a dogmatic testing (which is but a creed) of other men’s understanding of what we all, including these other men, hold so dear. It may be quite possibly true that these other individuals are brilliant, it may be even intuitive; and we can be grateful for the results of their studies and meditations; but to establish any form of testing by which others should believe, is to work a mischief that at all costs ww shouls avoud. 

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APPENDIX 3 

G. de Purucker

The Society ALAS KEN 5

 On board the Dutch steamer S.S. Niew Amsterdam October 1931 

Countering Bibliolatry

 “Theosophist is who Theosophists does.”

“...anyone who has looked into the luminous deeps of his own spiritual consciousness, and who is wholly at one with the bright essence of being which he find there, will have no difficulty finding the proper pathway to follow”

 Messages to Conventions - Back to Brotherhood  p196-7  extracts

“It is shameful that Theosophists who teach brotherhood and who preach it so glibly, should fail to practice it themselves; and in the instances where this occurs should shelter behind plausible excuses of doctrinal texts, and should support themselves by random passages drawn from Theosophical text-books, much as in the same manner as the Christian sects in the past have disgraced themselves by adhering to what were supposed to be points of rigid doctrine.

It is not bibliolatry based on our Theosophical text-books which makes the genuine Theosophist. It is not shutting ourselves within the narrow and restricted bounds of egoistic and self-sufficient organizations which will prove those doing so to be genuine Theosophists, nor are they true to the teachings of the Masters and of their Messenger H.P. Blavatsky, who preach and teach Theosophy, but refuse to practice it. “Theosophist is who Theosophists does.”, once wrote H.P. Blavatsky, and wiser words were never written. Mere brain-mind acquaintance with Theosophic text-books does not prove the genuine Theosophist. The genuine Theosophist is he who has love for mankind in his heart, combined with a deep knowledge of the Theosophical teachings, and who carries these teachings into actual practice in his daily affairs. It if brotherhood: first, last, and all the time, that should be the guiding principle in life, not only of each Theosophist’s own life, but of the policy guiding any Theosophical organization; and anyone who has looked into the luminous deeps of his own spiritual consciousness, and who is wholly at one with the bright essence of being which he find there, will have no difficulty finding the proper pathway to follow. …

Genuine Theosophical fraternization is the polar antithesis of mere sentimentality or emotionalism. The very core of the spirit of fraternization is the seeing in others of the same lofty Theosophic sentiments that exist among ourselves; it is the feeling, likewise, that other Theosophists can, as much as oneself, have the spirit of devotion to truth and the love of high-minded and honorable dealing. Fraternization will be a farce unless it is based on principles of mutual confidence, mutual trust, and on genuine brotherly love.”

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APPENDIX 4  

G de Purucker

 “Keep the processes of thought and one’s consciousness , constantly fluid”

Esoteric Teachings, vol. 9: Death and the Circulations of the Cosmos II p 38-39.

There is a vast suggestiveness in these few hints given of far higher and more difficult teachings; and the student is earnestly requested to ponder over them, striving to keep his thoughts fluid, and not be tempted to let his mind crystallize about some ‘brilliant idea’ and thus imagine that he has fully ‘got it’. When the student feels this, he is in danger of losing correct grasp or comprehension, for this feeling arises in the activity of the astral-material brain-mind, which dearly loves to ‘pigeon hole’ facts, carefully to docket bits of information, and then, to use a popular phrase, ‘to get ones ideas in order.’ Well, I admit, readily enough, that having one’s ideas ‘in order’ is very necessary, provided, however, that the even more necessary truth is not lost sight of, to wit: Keep the processes of thought and one’s consciousness , constantly fluid, thus avoiding the danger of mental crystallization, and the perilous self-satisfaction of feeling that there is ‘not very much more to learn about it.’

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APPENDIX 5 

G. de Purucker

The Society ALAS KEN 6

After a talk in the Temple of Peace at Lomaland. Photo taken by Marguerita Sirén, 1930. (early color photo) 

The Approach to Truth

Man in Evolution by G. de Purucker, edited by Helen Savage Todd, chapter 1, pp. 1-6. Point Loma Theosophical University Press 1941

It is truly a wonderful universe in which we live! And yet how little we know of it- even of our own Mother Earth! What brought it into being? What is its past? What is its vital inner and to most of us its invisible structure? What is its destiny? And what of man, its child? Yet there is an answer to these questions, an explanation which by its nature is wholly satisfactory both to the spiritual part of us and to our intellect. It is an explanation of the facts of being which is wholly true, which is not based upon the changing viewpoints of men who, however noble and earnest they may be, are nevertheless researchers only, going ahead warily step by step in their most laudable endeavor to know more of the mysteries of Nature. It is an explanation which has been handed down from immemorial time by great Seers, men with wide and profound spiritual vision, who have penetrated behind the many veils of the outward or phenomenal universe, who have sent their spirit with its accompanying consciousness, deep into the womb of Being, and have brought back conscious records of what the universe is behind the veils of the outward seeming, and have handed it on down through the ages to their disciples, earnest and truth-seeking men, desiring to know the truth at all costs.

This transmitted truth, this coordinated explanation of things, is given to the world today under the name of Theosophy. It is not based on dogmatic statements. It does not demand of anyone an unquestioning and blind adherence to some or to any declaratory assertions made by anybody either now or in the past; but it calls upon everyone to study what he reads or what he hears, and from that earnest and self-revealing study, to draw out for his own benefit, as well as for the benefit of his fellows, for his own self development and understanding, as well as the self development and understanding of his fellows, the truths which those who have advanced beyond the average understanding of men have told us that they have found and experienced in these teachings. Test these teachings yourselves. Study them honestly, and above all abide by the honest decisions which you yourselves will draw from your study. We say this for one reason more than for any other: in thus exercising your inner faculties of will and judgment and intuition, you open within yourselves doors to the entrance of spiritual rays; you open the doors by which the radiant truth may enter your souls, because you aspire towards truth, and that is a spiritual exercise of the noblest kind.

If, on the other hand, you wish to follow mistaken paths, if you wish to turn to the Left-hand, as we say, rather than to the Right-hand, if you desire to kill your intuition, then be satisfied with the dicta of someone else; accept what others teach to you as dogmatic truth. Yet, indeed, no true spiritual teacher ever so teaches. None ever so taught. Always is the appeal made to the soul and intuition of the listener. This is one of the tests by which you may know the true teacher from the false, one of the tests by which you may know Religion from a religion, Truth from barren dogma.   

There is Truth in the universe. What is that Truth? It is the universe itself, or rather the nature of the universe as manifested in the operations of that universe, which is thus self-expressing itself. Its laws are the courses of action of that universe manifesting itself in cosmic terms; and a true philosophy, a true religion, a true science, attempts to interpret these essentials in formulations of thought. The illuminated human intellect can so interpret these essentials because we, as off springs of the universe, have all the faculties and powers latent in us that the universe has, expressing themselves in us as our own powers and faculties. Thus we have the organs to understand the universe, and this understanding comes to us through the unwrapping of the enshrouding veils of our nature.

Now the faculty of understanding is something we can evolve. This does not mean that we must build up an organ of understanding much as a man will build a house of wood and bricks. Not at all. Our understanding is within us, not without us; and we grow to understand ever more clearly because of our increasing growth in self-consciousness, the manifesting of the inner light that is within each one of us. Therefore has every Teacher said: Look within! Follow the path leading inwards! You can go on for all eternity inwards, with ever increasing knowledge, gaining ever increasing light, gaining ever increasing spiritual and intellectual life, and incidentally gaining ever increasing joy deepening into bliss; because the universe is harmonious; it acts according to an ethical order; it acts strictly according to the laws of the harmony innate in itself -laws of harmony which are not imposed upon it, but are born of itself, which are its own character, its own nature, which furnish the consistency in action that we see in the universe- its so-called laws. Know these laws; then you will know Truth. Each one of you thus becomes the pathway to truth, because in you lies the understanding. The thing to be understood lies likewise within yourself. And in following this pathway within yourself leading to spiritual and later to divine goals, you unravel riddles, you solve all problems, you gain all possible knowledges of everything there is to know.

Hence, if you want to prove all things, then do it in the manner that Paul of the Christians said, and that all other great philosophers and thinkers have said: Cultivate within yourself your inner faculty of understanding; and this can be done by deep thinking, meditation, refusal to accept others' say-so, by the exercise of will-power in an inflexible determination to solve questions for yourself, cost you what it may.

Each one of you, each for himself, is a key to all the portals of the universe. By following the pathway which reaches from your own heart and mentality, along the lines of your spiritual being, always inwards, you attain an ever closer approximation towards that sublime goal which on account of your expanding consciousness grows ever greater and larger and seems to be ever receding into some higher and grander truth; literally into that universal life in whose roots every human being takes his origin, verily the Heart of the Universe itself.

Yet, though truth comes ultimately from within, we can learn much from the fruitage of the mature thought of another mind. Even though it is an importation into our mind and is not the fruitage of our own inner revelation, we can learn much from what great and good men may tell us if we take it into ourselves and honestly ponder over it and seek to understand it.

A man comes to me and tells me something, and says, "This is a truth." I should say to him, "I will examine it; it may be true, but it is not true to me until I have proved it by submitting it to the tests of my own inner consciousness. When l have proved it, then it is true to me, but I am going to bring to bear upon your statement every faculty that I have within me: spiritual, intellectual, mental, psychic, emotional, yea, and those minor faculties in which we live on this our present sphere of matter, and which collectively form what we call the brain-mind- fancy, instinct and common reason." Then if I find that the statement is true, I am willing to accept it, and I will accept it, and I will thank him for having brought me something that I did not know before.

What did Paul of the Christians mean when he said to "prove all things and to hold to that which is good"? Who is the judge of the good? Is it not the inner faculty of judgment and understanding? Or are we going to take somebody's say-so and prove all things that come to us by that some body's say-so? If so, we are merely testing one dogmatic declaration by another dogmatic declaration, and this we positively refuse to do.

Anything you accept from outside, you take either on trust or on faith, unless you have the faculties developed within yourselves of judgment, discrimination, intuition, and understanding, these four being fundamentally one. Is it not therefore clear that the information enabling one to prove all things is the developing of the inner eye, so to speak? Where else on earth, or in the heavens, or in the regions under the earth, could such an infallible touchstone be found?

Hence, if you want to prove all things, then do it in the manner that Paul of the Christians said, and that all other great philosophers and thinkers have said: Cultivate within yourself your inner faculty of understanding; and this can be done by deep thinking, meditation, refusal to accept others' say-so, by the exercise of will-power in an inflexible determination to solve questions for yourself, cost you what it may.

Such mental and spiritual exercise develops the faculties within you; or, to put it more truly, tears down the barriers preventing those faculties from expressing themselves; tears away the veils from before the face of the inner spiritual sun, whose rays are those inexpressibly fine things within yourself. Do this and exercise yourself in it, and as surely as the sun deluges the earth with light will you attain to what you are seeking, the faculty of proving all things by knowing them for true or for false. There is the whole thing in a nutshell.

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