Have not seen editor Michael Gomes new Blavatsky compilation of her ES papers.  If anyone has, how does Gomes Esoteric Instructions book (Adyar TS publishes) compare with Caldwell's Esoteric Papers volume?

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Nice - Always popular - Who's the publisher?

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thankys - nice to have the oral instructions back - Gomes is always good - I think it's nice to have the Esoteric material in a stand-alone book (although I do think it is pedagogically helpful to study them as a part of a 3 vol. SD sequence), less cumbersome.

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Yes, great research on that one - a valuable document - here's an interesting site that deals with certain aspects covered in these highly influential instructions:

http://www.colourmusic.info/clario.htm

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For those interested a hardbound edition of my book is also available at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Esoteric-Papers-Madame-Blavatsky/dp/116982099...

This hardbound edition is sturdy and makes the book more useful and easier to
handle.  Also more long lasting with hardbound covers.

Daniel

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NIcholas, I see that you have posted this about Michael's new book but are you aware that the moderators of this forum don't want HPB's esoteric instructions discussed on this forum??  I was told more than a year ago not to post anything about this subject on TheosophyNexus.  So I am wondering now if they have changed their policy.

Daniel

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Well, Nicholas, I'm hoping the administrators, the moderators will publicly state what the policy is so that everyone on the forum knows what can and cannot be posted or discussed concerning this subject.

I assumed that the policy was meant for everyone and did not apply just to me.

Daniel

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So my question to the moderators is:  Can we post comments about this material or not?

A clarification of the policy here at TheosophyNexus is appreciated.

Daniel

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Yes very important because if we can't its goodbye from me (some may consider this a promise!)

After a brief period on the forum at Theosophy.net I was told not to mention HPB in any post!:

John E. Mead has sent you a message on Theosophy.Net
> Subject: successor to HPB

that phrase is thin ice on this site. We do not deify nor even consider HPB as a true teacher. Please - you can say a similar phrase without her reference.
> Besides, she has been surpassed by many

Turned out this site was a front for some French intellectual (Guenon). Theosophy needs a new name!

Namaste

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All readers of this thread might find the following statement by Michael
Gomes worthy of pondering on:

"In 1894 W.Q. Judge had notified members of his Esoteric School that
HPB's E.S. Instructions were 'no longer secret.'"

Daniel

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If one looks in W.Q. Judge's Diary for Dec. 3, 1894, one finds this entry from Judge:

"Sent Order No. 2 of 94 releasing secrecy on [Esoteric Instructions] Nos. 1, 2, & 3...."

Daniel

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Michael Gomes on How He Edited HPB’s 3 E.S. Instructions
as Published in His New Book

Michael writes:

“…In April 1891 a new edition of the Instructions 1, 2 and 3 was issued from London correcting ‘the many clerical and printer’s errors’ of the earlier printings (‘whenever greater clearness could be gained, words and sentences have been rearranged or changed….)….Approved by HPB, this may be regarded as the authoritative text.”  Pp. xxii-xxiii. 

Then on page xxiv, he writes:

“The present volume presents the student with a faithful rendering based on the 1891 edition of Blavatsky’s Esoteric Instructions.”

Then back on page xxii, Michael tells his reader:

“Editing has been minimal, mainly standardizing the punctuation.  I have added some footnotes and this is indicated in brackets.” 

After having said all of the above, he also adds:

“Annie Besant provided a useful template with her 1897 edition of this material.” (p. xxii)

And then on the next page (xxiii) Michael writes:

“Mrs. Besant’s edited text of HPB’s E.S. Instructions follows closely the 1891 printing.”

Immediately following this sentence, he continues:

“Even Alice Cleather, a fellow of the Inner Group and a voracious critic of Mrs. Besant, had to admit that ‘with two exceptions, almost every word of both E.S. and I[nner] G[roup] Instructions are given intact’ by her.” 

Then Michael tells the reader:

“Comparing Besant’s 1897 edition of the E.S. Instructions with the 1891 London edition, I found
the changes to be minimal, mainly dealing with syntax and word agreement.”

Then he gives one example of Mrs. Besant changing the word “is” to the word “be”.

Daniel

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PHOTOGRAPHIC FACSIMILE REPRINT of the April 1891 Edition of HPB's "Esoteric Instructions"

I have now published as a 144 page paperback book a photographic facsimile of "The Esoteric Instructions" as corrected, edited and approved by H.P. Blavatsky herself.  This edition was published in April 1891.

This is an totally unabridged, unedited reprint of her text.

On the back cover of the book I have given a overview of the history concerning this final edition done by HPB.

To keep the price of the book low, the 3 colored plates of the original are unfortunately only reproduced in black and white.

Also there were some technical issues relating to the colored plates that also could not be easily resolved.

Anyway, if students of HPB want to read the original of these instructions as corrected by HPB in 1890-1891, then this reprint will give you that opportunity.  Also this paperback is fairly easy to handle and hold.

See the link below for more details:

How to Order

http://www.lulu.com/shop/product-22492441.html

Daniel
http://hpb.cc

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 19, 2016 at 7:17pm
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The Writing of The Secret Doctrine. 102 pages

Yes my book (which contains a chronological outline of the writing of The Secret Doctrine) can be ordered at:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/product-22263620.html

This is a quite detailed chronology quoting (sometimes extensively) scores of primary source documents covering the period from 1884 to 1897.  The book presents more first hand original sources on the writing of the SD than any other publication has ever done.  

The book also contains a detailed list of suggested reading on The Secret Doctrine and its study.

Daniel
http://hpb.cc

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 24, 2016 at 10:49am
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In Michael Gomes' new edition of HPB's 3 Instructions, it should be pointed out that he (Michael) writes as follows:

"In April 1891 a new edition of the Instructions 1, 2 and 3 was issued from London....Approved by HPB, this may be regarded as the authoritative version of the text...." pp. xxii-xxiii.

He goes on to say on the next page: 

"The present volume presents the student with a faithful rendering based on the 1891 edition of Blavatsky's Esoteric Instructions...."  p. xxiv.

It should be noted though that Michael does NOT include in the 3rd Instruction any of the text of the "Preliminary Explanations" mentioned above in Nicholas' posting.  In other words all of the "Preliminary Explanations" text has been omitted including the passages about Judge.

Daniel
http://hpb.cc

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 24, 2016 at 2:19pm
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In answer to your question, Nicholas:

I first quote again Michael's key statement which reads:

"In April 1891 a new edition of the Instructions 1, 2 and 3 was issued from London....Approved by HPB, this may be regarded as the authoritative version of the text...." pp. xxii-xxiii.

If indeed, HPB APPROVED this new edition, then as Michael concluded, "this may be regarded as the authoritative version of the text."

That is the point.

Daniel

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 24, 2016 at 2:40pm
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Below are a few brief quotes on how HPB worked on her writings and books with the assistance of her personal secretary, G.R.S Mead during the last 22 months of her life:
------------

...The first hour in the morning after breakfast will ever remain with me a pleasant recollection. Everything was so unconventional. I used to sit on the arm of her great armchair and obediently smoke the cigarette she offered, while she opened the letters, [and] told me what she wanted done....

....She handed over to me the charge of all her keys, of her MSS., her writing desk and the nests of drawers in which she kept her most private papers; not only this, but she further, on the plea of being left in peace for her writing, absolutely refused to be bothered with her letters, and made me take over her voluminous correspondence, and that too without opening it first herself.

She not only metaphorically, but sometimes actually, flung the offending missives at my head! I accordingly had frequently to open all her letters and not only to read them but to answer them as best I could; for this strange old lady cried out with loud outcry to be relieved of the burden of letter-writing, that she might write her articles and books, and would wax most wrathful and drive me out, whenever I pestered her to answer the most pressing correspondence or even to give me some idea of what to reply in her name....

....I knew every book she had in her small library, and yet day after day she would produce quantities of MS abounding in quotations, which were seldom inaccurate.

I remember almost the last day she sat at her desk, going into her room to query two Greek words in a quotation, and telling her they were inaccurate. Now though HPB could in her early years speak modern Greek and had been taught ancient Greek by her grandmother, she had long forgotten it for all purposes of accuracy, and the correction of the words I objected to required precise scholarship. "Where did you get it from, HPB?" I asked. "I’m sure I don’t know, my dear," was her somewhat discouraging rejoinder, "I saw it!" adding that she was certain that she was right, for now she remembered when she wrote the particular passage referred to. However, I persuaded her that there was some mistake, and finally she said, "Well, of course you are a great Greek pundit, I know, but you’re not going to sit upon me always. I’ll try if I can see it again, and now get out," meaning that she wanted to go on with her work, or at any rate had had enough of me. About two minutes afterwards, she called me in again and presented me with a scrap of paper on which she had written the two words quite correctly, saying, "Well, I suppose you’ll be a greater pundit than ever after this!"

.......

Daniel

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 24, 2016 at 8:54pm
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HI Nicholas,

What you write is certainly one INTERPRETATION but not the only interpretation.  

OBTW, I am using caps not to assert authority but to simply give EMPHASIS.  

I am using caps like italics.  As given in a dictionary:  "Another customary use of italics is to give emphasis to key words and phrases in a sentence."

Moving on.

But there are other interpretations of these events.

As far as HPB being "very sick" and giving just a nod of the head,
her approval was given in a document which certainly was issued in the early days of April 1891.

And according to the testimonies of the people who were actually there, HPB was NOT sick with the flu until later in the month.

Here is one primary source written by Laura Cooper:

---------

It was on Tuesday, the 21st of April, that I went to stay at Headquarters for the few days, which, owing to the unexpected events that followed, turned into a visit of some weeks. H. P. B. seemed in her usual state of health, and on Thursday, the 23rd, attended the Lodge and remained chatting with the friends who surrounded her for some time after the proceedings of the evening were over; she then adjourned to her room where, according to their habit, members who live at Headquarters followed to sit with her while she took her coffee before retiring for the night. The following day, Friday, passed quietly over, giving no warning that a fortnight from that date our beloved H. P. B. would leave us. The next evening, Saturday, she was very bright. Dr. Mennell called and was perfectly satisfied with her condition. My sister, Mrs. Cooper-Oakley, and I, with one or two others, remained talking with her until eleven o'clock, when she retired with a cheery "Good night all ", apparently in her usual health. The next morning, however, H. P. B.'s maid came early to my room to tell me she had passed a very restless night and had been seized with shivering attacks. I went down shortly after, and the first glance shewed me that she was evidently in a high state of fever. ...

-------------

She was certainly not sick with the flu before the date given by Laura and was therefore capable of giving more than a nod.

Furthermore, HPB does not appear sick and just giving a nod, when she attended the INNER GROUP meetings on March 25, 1891, April 1, 1891, April 15, 1891, and April 22, 1891.  She is giving a great deal of esoteric teaching on all of those dates!  So much for a sick person giving just a nod!  :)

HPB was the teacher, she was in charge.  The people who were around her were there because they wanted to be and they were devoted to her and to her teachings.

Here is HPB's OWN estimation of the people (the helpers) who worked with her at 19 Avenue Road.  It is from one of her letters to Judge dated Nov. 19, 1890.  That is, not written that many months before she finally died:

---------

Well, my dear W.Q.J. if you don't look out it is HSO, whose Yankee vanity & personality will kill the T.S. — in India, at any rate, & thereby weaken America & Europe. I have done my duty & have no more responsibilities except with my own people here, a group that will be true to me till death. And really outside of this I have no other ambition. Nothing can shake me with those whom I teach in dead earnest, for they know, that I know. And, unless you stand by me in this business, I am ready to do with America that which I have done with India, namely, to part company with it by means of a circular as the one I sent to India to the members of the E.S. Shall this suit you? 

------------

Do her words count?

Also look at the primary source documents dated May 27, 1891 and see all the names attached to that document, INCLUDING MR. JUDGE'S NAME.  [see pages 327-334 of my ESOTERIC PAPERS OF MADAME BLAVATSKY.]

All of them considered her THE TEACHER. See the wording of these documents.

All of them who signed their names in these documents had all been attracted to HPB and her teachings.  They all volunteered to help in the work HPB had initiated in England.  Who can doubt their devotion and efforts to help HPB at this time?

Maybe as the years went by, things changed and these people changed but during the time HPB was alive in England, these individuals were devoted to HPB's work.

As to GRS Mead, he volunteered to be her secretary.  He worked for HPB the last 22 months of her life.  HPB accepted his service and no doubt appreciated his labors. She was the teacher, not him. He was her secretary and did her bidding.  She could at any time have dismissed him and found someone more worthy.

You write:

"Curious that a dying woman's words were edited at all."

Again that is your interpretation.

BUT maybe her words were NOT edited.  Maybe she was in charge, she was the Teacher, so maybe she knew what she was doing.  

I have done a chronological survey of all her time at 19 Avenue Road and the primary source documents show that in spite of her sickness, she was constantly working....constantly writing...constantly teaching....

I will try in a few days to share a few of these chrono items.

This is all based on primary source documents most of which were written at the time.

Some food for thought.

Daniel

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 24, 2016 at 10:05pm
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Nicholas,

Yes, I have a copy of this 17 page pamphlet issued in January 1895.

But one must look at this info in light, first of all, to the time period it was published.

1894 was a year of great strife in the TS.  HPB's workers and students were all divided into 2 partisan camps.  Some might say it was a battle between the Judgites and Besantites.  All sorts of claims and counter claims were traded back and forth.  I take no side in these issues.  If anything, I would probably side with the Judge camp.

But putting all that aside, what does this material that you quote actually tell us about what actually happened when HPB was alive?

Documents and information should always be analysed for all sorts of things and the best way to start this process is to ask a series of questions and try to answer them hopefully by research.

First of all, are these actually Mead's words?  

Notice that the wording is "He considered"...."He referred".

Are these notes taken by someone at the meeting?

After this pamphlet was issued in Jan. 1895, did Mr. Mead ever respond to what was alleged here?

And even if one accepts what is said AT FACE VALUE, there are a whole series of other questions that must be asked and hopefully answered.

From my own research based on studying HPB's life during her years in London 1887-1891, I found that the revision of the E.S. Instructions that culiminated in the April 1891 edition of the Instructions COVERED a period of at least 8 months (that is, August 1890 through March 1891.

The stages of the revision can be outlined as follows:

(1) The REVISED MANUSCRIPT stage

(2) The TYPESETTING stage

(3) The PROOFREADING stage

(4) The PRINTING AND BINDING stage

(5) the ANNOUNCING stage.

Again, these stages happened over a period of at least 8 months.

So when we consider this statement:

“ ‘He referred the matter to H.P.B. for her decision;
“ ‘At the time, H.P.B. was in very bad health, and it was exceedingly difficult to attract her attention to any routine business.
“ ‘He was told not to trouble H.P.B. but to “do as you like.”

What stage and time period are we talking about???

Are we to assume that during ALL  THESE EIGHT MONTHS"H.P.B. was in very bad health, and it was exceedingly difficult to attract her attention to any routine business"?

If not, then when did this event happen?  August 1890? Oct. 1890?
January 1891? March 1891?  April 1891?

This is not a superfluous question but actually a crucial question that must be carefully considered and answered.

There are also a host of other questions that need to be considered and hopefully answered.

Was it HPB herself who decided that she wanted the Instructions revised and reissued?

Did she tell Mead to start it?

Are we to assume that over all these months HPB showed no interest in the progress of the project or showed no interest in seeing the revised manuscript?

Was it just Mead himself and all by himself who decided to revise the instructions and he did this with little if any input from HPB?

I can think of at least another 6 or 7 important questions that need to be considered in trying to assess what actually occurred.

It is now after 11 PM and I will continue this posting in another posting in a day or two.

Daniel

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 23, 2016 at 12:38pm
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HISTORY OF THE APRIL 1891 EDITION OF HPB'S ESOTERIC INSTRUCTIONS.

See below

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 23, 2016 at 12:51pm
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A PHOTO OF HPB, MEAD & PRYSE

Below is a photo of HPB, Mead and Pryse.  This photo was probably taken in late September 1890.

HPB with the help of Mead and Pryse was working on her new edition of the ES Instructions.

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 25, 2016 at 8:46am
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In this posting I will repeat one important point and then give interested readers two of the primary texts relevant to this discussion.

First the repetition:

----------------------------

From my own research based on studying HPB's life during her years in London 1887-1891, I found that the revision of the E.S. Instructions that culminated in the April 1891 edition of the Instructions COVERED a period of at least 8 months (that is, August 1890 through March 1891).

The stages of the revision can be outlined as follows:

(1) The REVISED MANUSCRIPT stage

(2) The TYPESETTING stage

(3) The PROOFREADING stage

(4) The PRINTING AND BINDING stage

(5) the ANNOUNCING stage.

--------------------------------

Now below are two primary source documents.

The first one is the ES announcement of the publication of the new edition issued in early April 1891:

Notice in particular in the above document the words:

"Some passages that were, at the time of the issuing of the original matter, of the first importance as dealing with personal matters of the greatest interest in the E.S. and T.S. have now been omitted."

This refers to the Judge material.

So this deletion is not done in a furtive, secretive manner by GRS Mead but is actually mentioned to all existing members of the ES.  More could be said about this point.

Now the next primary source is reproduced below:

Here you see part of the opening page of the newly revised edition of Instruction III.

At the very beginning of this instruction is a NOTE stating to all ES members that a portion of the original has been OMITTED.

Again the omission is NOT done in secret with the hope that it will not be noticed by the the regular ES members or by HPB herself.  Instead a note is given at the very beginning of this material stating that certain portions are now omitted. Then follows the 14 pages of this new Introduction.  Surely HPB who had written the original would see in a minute what was omitted.

The prefatory note was probably written by Mead if not by HPB herself.

But I assume some would prefer to believe that HPB during the entire 8 months period of the revision of this material was totally out of the loop, so sick, so inattentive that she showed no interest at any stage to look at and inspect the proofcopy or the finished printed book.

We know in April HPB was also working on The Theosophical Glossary and saw and inspected the first 32 pages in proof.  At that point that was all that the typesetter had finished.

But are we to assume that HPB had no interest or was so "out of it" that she had no interest in seeing or going over the proofs of the new edition of the Instructions or had no interest in inspecting the finished bound volume of the Instructions?

There are numerous primary source documents from this time period of the last 6 or so months of her life showing that she was writing long letters, editing manuscripts of some of her books, attending meetings in which she was giving extensive commentaries and teachings.

So why would she virtually ignore and show no interest in this revision of one of her most important works, her Esoteric Instructions?

Daniel

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on January 25, 2016 at 1:37pm
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I just wonder where the decency is in all this.  

It clearly states; STRICTLY PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.

Why are these being published?

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 25, 2016 at 1:43pm
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Hello Kristan,

In Michael Gome's edition of the ES Instructions published last year, he wrote:

"In 1894 W.Q. Judge had notified members of his Esoteric School that
HPB's E.S. Instructions were 'no longer secret.'"

Daniel

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on January 25, 2016 at 2:15pm
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Ah, I see.

Well, this brings up a lot of questions... Perhaps this isn't the place to discuss this however.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on January 25, 2016 at 4:19pm
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I certainly understand traditions, and certainly understand the need for silence regarding subjects.  This is the most important, as it is to with something else, not related to material and private notes. 

Its not so much a worry of mine, but more or less the subject in general... It seems like a controversy waiting to happen.

An honest student should be recognized, not for the intellectual capacity, but for development and moral strength.  Secrecy is a dangerous path, the wise know how to use it, while others become polarized, the "secret knowledge" can just as quickly ensnare one in an atmosphere of pride and self-conceit.

This is all.

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on January 25, 2016 at 5:10pm
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It was intentionally kept opaque.

It just seems that any discussion of "esoteric papers" seems controversial by nature, that is, regarding some of the opinions and attitudes of others.  

This is all that I meant to say initially.  



Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 25, 2016 at 1:45pm
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Years ago I published Judge's 1894 notice on my website.

Here is the link:

http://blavatskyarchives.com/judgeest2.htm

Daniel

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on January 25, 2016 at 2:16pm
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Thank you.

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 25, 2016 at 1:59pm
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A PHOTO OF SOME OF HPB'S HELPERS AT LONDON TS HEADQUARTERS

First I give HPB's OWN estimation of the people (her helpers or students) who worked with her at 19 Avenue Road headquarters.  It is from one of her letters to Judge dated Nov. 19, 1890.  That is, not written that many months before she finally died:

---------

Well, my dear W.Q.J. if you don't look out it is HSO, whose Yankee vanity & personality will kill the T.S. — in India, at any rate, & thereby weaken America & Europe.

I have done my duty & have no more responsibilities except with my own people here, a group that will be true to me till death. And really outside of this I have no other ambition. Nothing can shake me with those whom I teach in dead earnest, for they know, that I know.

And, unless you stand by me in this business, I am ready to do with America that which I have done with India, namely, to part company with it by means of a circular as the one I sent to India to the members of the E.S. Shall this suit you? 

------------

Now the photo:

Daniel

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on January 25, 2016 at 4:10pm
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The administrators will be publishing a policy statement about the questions raised in this forum.  Please be patient with us as we formulate an answer to  your questions.

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 25, 2016 at 4:48pm
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Gerry,

I don't exactly know what your policy statement will be about or will state but when Nicholas first opened this thread on Michael Gomes' new book on the Esoteric Instructions, I posted the following on this site and the administrators never responded to the questions:

It will be interesting to see what is now posted.

Daniel

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on January 25, 2016 at 5:19pm
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Absolutely agree.

Although some seem to have trouble separating the two :)


Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 25, 2016 at 5:19pm
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HPB and GRS Mead

About an hour ago this bubbled up in my consciousness and I must say that I chuckled.

What bubbled up was the suggestion to look at HPB's LAST message to the American TS Convention
in April 1891.

You can see this message at:

http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/hpb-am/hpb-am5.htm

This short message (the text) is written in the handwriting of GRS Mead with
 the closing salutation and signature written in the handwriting of H.P. Blavatsky.

The message is about William Quan Judge.

And the message was actually read in Boston by Mrs. Annie Besant.

The original  dated April 15, 1891 shows that Madame Blavatsky dictated her words (her message) to GRS Mead, who was her personal secretary.  Mead wrote it down and HPB signed her name.

Whatever else this letter shows, it certainly shows that GRS Mead worked very closely with HPB.  In other words, HPB depended very much on the assistance and the secretarial work of Mead.

Also her main message to this 1891 convention was typed with a few corrections in handwriting. Then HPB signed her full name.

I would not be surprised if Mead probably typed this document.  

Did HPB also dictate this message to Mead who typed it?

The text can be found here:

http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/hpb-am/hpb-am4.htm

Daniel

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 25, 2016 at 9:15pm
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Nicholas,

As I said in a previous posting, let us take the following AT FACE VALUE:

“ ‘The Instructions were being revised for the purpose of printing them;
“ ‘He [Mead] considered that it would be better to issue the Instructions without any reference in them to living persons;
“ ‘He referred the matter to H.P.B. for her decision;
“ ‘At the time, H.P.B. was in very bad health, and it was exceedingly difficult to attract her attention to any routine business.
“ ‘He was told not to trouble H.P.B. but to “do as you like.”

An important question to ask is well, when did this happen?
When was this specific episode of sickness?  When did Mead try to get her input?

I think we find a clue in what you quote of James Pryse's testimony:

“ ‘The above agrees with what I recollect of ... the statement of G. R. S. Mead made to me at the time he gave me the revised copy for reprinting No. III Instructions." Italics and bold added.

So what stage of the revision process was this?

Again I list the various stages:

(1) The REVISED MANUSCRIPT stage

(2) The TYPESETTING stage

(3) The PROOFREADING stage

(4) The PRINTING AND BINDING stage

(5) the ANNOUNCING stage.

The typesetting stage appears to have been done October thru December, 1890.

Once a typeset copy was in existence, why would HPB not have examined this
proof copy?

On THE SECRET DOCTRINE, B. Keightley reports that:

"HPB read and corrected two sets of galley proofs, then a page proof, and finally a revise in sheet...."

And witnesses said during this time HPB was also in "bad health."

Now fast forward to 1891 (the time period under consideration).

C.F.W. (Claude Falls Wright) in London writes on February 28, 1891:

"... [The Theosophical Glossary is] NOW BEING PROOF-READ [caps added], and ...will be issued in another month or two at the latest."

Who was doing this proof-reading??
The answer to this question is provided by Mead himself.
"....[HPB]  saw the first thirty-two pages in proof [i.e., the proof copy typeset 
by the printer from H.P.B.'s original manuscript or copy]."
So if Madame Blavatsky was starting to proofread the Glossary in Feb. 1891, why wouldn't she be examining the proof copy of the new edition of her ES INSTRUCTIONS??
A typeset copy of the Instructions was available by January 1891.
If she had examined this copy, why wouldn't she have seen the NOTE at the beginning of Instruction III?
And in early April 1891, why would she not have seen the ES announcement with her
own Approval signature?
Again I quote the testimonies of two people who were there in April 1891.  These testimonies show HPB alert, talking, working at her desk, engaged, etc. etc.
Laura Cooper testifies:
---------
It was on Tuesday, the 21st of April, that I went to stay at Headquarters for the few days, which, owing to the unexpected events that followed, turned into a visit of some weeks. H. P. B. seemed in her usual state of health, and on Thursday, the 23rd, attended the Lodge and remained chatting with the friends who surrounded her for some time after the proceedings of the evening were over; she then adjourned to her room where, according to their habit, members who live at Headquarters followed to sit with her while she took her coffee before retiring for the night. 
The following day, Friday, passed quietly over, giving no warning that a fortnight from that date our beloved H. P. B. would leave us. The next evening, Saturday, she was very bright. Dr. Mennell called and was perfectly satisfied with her condition. My sister, Mrs. Cooper-Oakley, and I, with one or two others, remained talking with her until eleven o'clock, when she retired with a cheery "Good night all ", apparently in her usual health. 
The next morning, however, H. P. B.'s maid came early to my room to tell me she had passed a very restless night and had been seized with shivering attacks. I went down shortly after, and the first glance shewed me that she was evidently in a high state of fever. ...
-------------
GRS Mead testifies:
I remember almost the last day she sat at her desk, going into her room to query two Greek words in a quotation, and telling her they were inaccurate. Now though HPB could in her early years speak modern Greek and had been taught ancient Greek by her grandmother, she had long forgotten it for all purposes of accuracy, and the correction of the words I objected to required precise scholarship. "Where did you get it from, HPB?" I asked. "I’m sure I don’t know, my dear," was her somewhat discouraging rejoinder, "I saw it!" adding that she was certain that she was right, for now she remembered when she wrote the particular passage referred to. However, I persuaded her that there was some mistake, and finally she said, "Well, of course you are a great Greek pundit, I know, but you’re not going to sit upon me always. I’ll try if I can see it again, and now get out," meaning that she wanted to go on with her work, or at any rate had had enough of me. About two minutes afterwards, she called me in again and presented me with a scrap of paper on which she had written the two words quite correctly, saying, "Well, I suppose you’ll be a greater pundit than ever after this!"
.......
Are you contending that "H.P.B. was in very bad health, and it was exceedingly difficult to attract her attention to any routine business" during all these months?  or some variation of this?
If you are making such a contention or some variation of it, then I ask you and other interested readers to look at the documents at this link:
Take a look at all the instructions and teachings that HPB gave at these Inner Group Meetings.
Notice THE DATES  of all these meetings and just glance over the page after page that was being
given during this time period by HPB herself, this unhealthy woman.
I think she was pretty alert, awake and on top of it even when she
was sick to judge by the pages of esoteric information that she gave to her students at these 
meetings!!!
Food for thought.  
Daniel
 

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 26, 2016 at 8:23am
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"The work was finished to H.P.B.'s satisfaction...."
James Pryse testifies that he established The Aryan Press in New York City for W.Q. Judge and printed the ES Instructions in book-form.
Then he writes:
"...in response to a cable from H.P.B., I went to London to do the same work there, and started the HPB Press."
Pryse sailed from New York City for London on Sept. 4th, 1890.
Elsewhere Pryse tells us:
"I started the H.P.B. Press [in London] ...to reprint the E.S.T. Instructions....It was slow work, as I did nearly all of it myself."
"For a time I had an outside compositor, and Thomas Green, a lawyer's clerk, in his spare hours helped me fold the sheets for binding."
Pryse adds:
"The work was finished to H.P.B.'s satisfaction...."
So from the above testimony, we see that it was HPB herself in August 1890 who wanted the ES Instructions reprinted and requested Pryse to come to London to undertake the printing of these important writings.
Surely HPB considered this an important project.  
Why was GRS Mead also involved in this project?
Simply because he was HPB's  personal secretary as well as the ES secretary.  She had appointed him to these positions.
And she depended heavily on him to do all sorts of things involved in her literary endeavors during the time period under consideration.
I could list at least 4 or 5 literary projects that she was working on at the time and Mr. Mead was assisting her.
So he was involved in HPB's revision of the ES Instructions because she wanted him to be.
The photo BELOW shows James Pryse and GRS Mead with Madame Blavatsky in the garden area at 19 Avenue Road, London.  Photo was probably taken in late September 1890.
Daniel
Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on January 26, 2016 at 5:41pm
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Hi everyone. My reply here is on behalf of the administrators of Theosophy Nexus, in order to address concerns raised about and within this discussion.

Let me begin by saying that Theosophy Nexus is intended to be an independent community of theosophical students who can learn and share insights and questions with each other for the betterment of the world at large and for each other. The administrators of this site, of which I am one, have no desire to censure or silence its members to conform to some narrow ideological position. Nor are we interested in taking sides between the various theosophical organizations, their stated views, etc. We all know how much trouble certain subjects have created for the modern theosophical movement and how brotherhood and unity—as simple and straightforward as these ideas are—have been illusive goals for theosophists.

The goal of this forum is to maintain good will and fellowship amongst all members of the site while authentically pursuing the ideal of universal brotherhood, rather than pursuing our own personal or organizational interests. Topics like successorship and the Esoteric Papers (as just two examples) have proven to be divisive, controversial and disruptive to this unity in the past and present. The Esoteric Papers are sensitive because many of our members belong to theosophical organizations which respect these writings and have pledged to maintain their private nature. Although we realize that most if not all of this material is now openly available on the internet, having them published and discussed openly on our forum is troubling for some and offensive to others of our membership, a number of whom have contacted the administrators on this topic. We feel it is important to express these concerns to the participants of this discussion and ask for their forbearance and discretion in regard to these sensitivities as they proceed, so as not to prevent those who have expressed these sensitivities from participating. Circumstances like this test all of us in regard to our commitment to fellowship and good will, and we hope that all members will be receptive of our approach to this subject as administrators.

In regards to the subject of this discussion, we would like to clarify our position on one specific matter:

From time to time we come upon statements claiming that these Esoteric Papers “have been made public,” as a blanket-statement. Those who make the claim, however, that these papers are now public and authorized to be so, tend to prefer to leave out or give little consideration to the references in Mr. Judge’s circular (which itself was addressed to pledged members), that there are however certain exceptions and restrictions that come along with his statement. We would like to take this opportunity to present Mr. Judge’s statement below, but due the nature and sensitivity of the material we feel obliged, for the benefit of some of our members, to withhold some of those exceptions. [underlines have been added by us for emphasis]

“E. S. T. - ORDER NO. II OF 1894.
144 Madison Ave., New York, Dec. 3, 1894.
To the members of the E.S.T.
COMPANIONS AND FRIENDS: — In accordance with order received from the Master, I hereby declare that Instructions I, II and III of this School are no longer secret, with the following exceptions:
(a) The ***
(b) The plain and colored Diagrams and Plates and their explanations.
(c) The Correspondences.
(d) The ***.
The above four are not relieved from privacy and cannot be discussed with non-members.
The books should not be shown to non-members. Members of the E.S.T. who have not accepted Order No. I of November 3d, may be made aware of this release of secresy whenever it may seem fit to you. Freedom of use or discussion of Instructions I, II and III should not go publicly to the extent of giving out the books or reading from them; but references to them and their contents, with absolute regard to the exceptions noted, is permissible.
If the source of statements or ideas derived directly from those three Instructions be asked for, it may be stated that they are from the teachings given out in the E.S.T. which it is now permitted to make public.
Fraternally yours,
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE.”

Though certain members of the E.S. have taken liberties with this statement, it is clear however that the so-called “made public” notice was not at all intended as a blanket-statement; witness “The books should not be shown to non-members.” Of course, this is now all water under the bridge and the world has had plenty of opportunity to access this material as it has indeed for a long time become publicly available. However, to reiterate, in view of the above statement by Mr. Judge, the admins of Theosophy Nexus prefer to honor the wishes of some of our members to keep the publication and discussion of this material on our site a matter of privacy and away from the public eye. For us, it is simply a matter of courtesy.

In considering this issue, we have decided to allow this particular discussion to remain, but will close it to further replies at the end of the week. This will allow each participant to share any final thoughts they may have and wrap-up the specific discussions taking place. For those wishing to add final thoughts or further comments in this discussion, please try to do so with utmost respect for the membership at large.

Any response or argumentation to what has been stated here can be taken up with the administrators privately, by sending a message to ModeratorTN, using the “message” feature here on Theosophy Nexus.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 27, 2016 at 9:40am
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Nicholas Weeks in his last & final Theosophy Nexus posting [see BELOW] has decided to terminate his membership on Theosophy Nexus.

His member's page and 100s of his valuable postings to this forum have all vanished.

I have known Nicholas for many years.  He is a very devoted Theosophist who has contributed much to the Theosophical Movement.  Nicholas and his wife Dara Eklund worked very hard at putting Volumes 13, 14 and 15 of HPB's COLLECTED WRITINGS into print. Also he helped Dara with her work on the 4 volumes of WQ Judge's Collected Writings.

I know Nicholas will continue to make valuable contributions to our greater understanding of Blavatsky, Judge and Theosophy.

Daniel
http://hpb.cc

-----------------------------------------------------

Theosophy Nexus <mail@theosophynexus.com>

Jan 26 at 8:20 PM

To danielhcaldwell@yahoo.com 

Message body

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on January 27, 2016 at 12:06pm
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For the record, Nicholas chose to delete his own content on his way out, using an automated feature offered when cancelling an account. This deleted all his comments and all discussions that could be deleted without deleting the content of other members. The admins played no role in the deletion of content.

Permalink Reply by barbaram on January 27, 2016 at 6:07pm
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Well, this is very sad. 

I see nothing wrong with an open exchange of opinions.  I learned much about the background of the ES instructions in the past few days.  Nicholas is a dedicated Theosophist and contributed a lot to the Nexus.  I hope he comes back soon.   

Permalink Reply by Casady on January 28, 2016 at 11:26am
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Disappointing to see Nicholas go - and his valuable contributions erased - his thread on Blavatsky's sources was particularly valuable for my own research -lots of important original discoveries.

The new policy on the esoteric instructions seems reasonable - I tend to used them only because I find them helpful in clarifying a lot of the basic theosophical concepts, in a similar way to how Barborka uses them.

What to say about the controversial topics stemming from 120 years ago? I had no problem with the recent discussions, which I was following because I found them informative from a purely historical perspective -

I guess they're still controversial because there are still some unresolved issues - I try to stay relatively neutral on most of these questions - I think at some level, it would be nice to have an online space to hash out these controversial questions in an informed and responsible manner, because they are still relevant in certain respects - maybe open a special private forum group for those interested ... fare thee well Nicholas

Permalink Reply by Peter on January 28, 2016 at 11:34am
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I agree with you Barbara.  It is very sad.  Sad that someone like Nicholas should feel the need to leave the group in this way, and both sad and disappointing that restrictions should be made on discussing material that is already in the public domain and which has been for many, many years..

Nicholas is a sincere and dedicated theosophist, just as you say.  He has been a valuable and wise contributor to this forum, in which he has probably made the largest contribution of posts in the last few months.  I am particularly sad to see him leave us.

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on January 28, 2016 at 12:32pm
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Very truly spoken Peter.  

Just a side note, as Jon had mentioned;

"The Esoteric Papers are sensitive because many of our members belong to theosophical organizations which respect these writings and have pledged to maintain their private nature."  

Peter says;

"...sad and disappointing that restrictions should be made on discussing material that is already in the public domain and which has been for many, many years.."

Hence presently, the problem.  For some this issue might just be an academic interest or the right for information.   While for others it is a moral and ethical dilemma.  A Pledge is nothing to trifle with- yet, withholding important information from devoted and honest students is just as much, if not more of a moral and ethical issue.  It might be nigh time from some to consider this.

Peter says this material has been in public domain for many years, true… The material isn’t original- as the teachings are found deep within other texts, some even clear as day.  However, the technical vocabulary might be uniquely theosophical. 

It is important to be respectful to others ideas of pledges and secrecy, however, it is just as important to provide honest and truly devoted students with material that might be of tremendous value for further understandings.

I am in favor of secrecy, prudence, and above all, discretion.  It is wise not to speak carelessly about sacred topics for many reasons- especially on public sites as this.  Yet, I am in favor of Brotherhood, aid, and guidance. Nothing is kept from those who, with all their heart and devotion, Try.  We should do well to recognize this, as there is always a helping hand present. 

It is indeed sad to see Nicolas leave, especially over this.  All the more reason for others to consider this issue, which at the time seems to be far deeper than the information presented within the letters.

  

Permalink Reply by Peter on January 28, 2016 at 1:29pm
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Hello Kristan

I think you've touched on some of the underlying dilemmas very well.  

Obviously we need to discuss theosophical and sacred matters respectfully and keep in mind that we all have sensitivities about certain subjects and beliefs that we each hold.  We also need to be cautious that our own sensitivities do not become the arbiters of what other students of theosophy should be allowed to discuss.   

A pledge I have made is a pledge I must keep but it is not an obligation I should place on others.  

When I said this information has been in the public domain for many years i was referring to the ES Instructions in particular rather than other texts where such teachings may be found.  As Judge wrote in 1891:

'Publication by others of the Instructions relieves no one from the pledge of secrecy. Such a publication will do no harm, as the Instructions tend to promote spiritual growth and arouse high aspiration: on their face they do not divulge occult secrets, although deep students can, by looking beneath the surface, find in them that which H.P.B. wished to impart.'

(Echoes of the Orient III, 441)

This is not a discussion topic I had intended to participate in until Nicholas left.  So, with respect I don't have anything else to add on this topic.

I see Daniel has just posted the above quote, but I think it is worth repeating.

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on January 28, 2016 at 12:39pm
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Thanks for your comments here. I would like to clarify one aspect of this, in the name of mutual understanding.

It should be understood by all that Theosophy Nexus has always had some minor restrictions on which material can or cannot be discussed here. We instituted general policies in the beginning because we had seen the pitfalls of both extremes—both "no restrictions" and "tyrant-like restrictions"—from other theosophical forum sites, and we wanted to be sure that we could provide a space for genuine theosophical discussion while avoiding two main issues:

1. sidetracking ourselves from the central teachings and ideas of theosophy, to avoid which we restrict our study to certain authors, subjects, etc. This is always a fine-line to walk, and it too means that certain "public domain" items likely won't find their way into the discussions here, or at least not prominently. Thus far, we've been very happy with the way this has worked out on Nexus, and the membership has been very receptive and professional when dealing with the few instances where restrictions had to be made.

And,

2. we needed to try to avoid making some theosophists/students feel unwelcome or setting up issues that may cause some to object to what is being discussed. This is the area where the current discussion falls within, and we really have deliberated for years on the question of the ES Instructions in this regard. We feel the decision we came to now is fair, balanced and appropriate, without being harsh or taking one side too strongly. We've tried to consider all members involved, and we really had hoped that all would find our compromise acceptable. After all, all we have essentially done here is ask members to be considerate of the feelings, beliefs and sensitive areas of other members.

In general, this is one reason why we also choose to focus so much of the energy and thought on Nexus into our study groups, where certain overarching themes or topics or books could be chosen for study and all can feel welcome to participate fully in genuine theosophical discussion. An "open forum", such as this one here, is always a little more tricky for moderating and administrating, and over the years we've tried to be as hands-off as possible. As you have all witnessed, it is very rare that we admins ever step in to take action on posts or comments; very rare. There have been only a handful of instances in our 3.5 years of activity on Nexus, which is outstanding and beyond any expectation for an online forum. We step in in this capacity almost exclusively when we perceive that some of our membership are troubled by something, and then we simply do our best to mitigate the issue, with Brotherhood as the most important element of consideration. In the case of these ES Instructions, we wanted to place that brotherhood far above and beyond all other concerns. One can indeed find these instructions online or in print easily, can study them and discuss them with fellows easily: our restriction here is really no restriction at all in that sense. In keeping brotherhood at the top of our priority list here on Nexus, placing a minor restriction on the discussion of this one topic seems appropriate and worthwhile. And we hope all members here will understand the position we're in and the action we've taken.

With such a varied group of theosophists/students here, there is bound to be little things like this that will come up, little disagreements and so on—this surely won't be the last one—but we can proceed through these together if we all keep brotherhood, mutual respect and consideration at the forefront. There is nowhere else online where members of all major theosophical organizations/lodges have been able to study and associate together with such ease and focus and consideration as Nexus, and for that we are very happy. That to us is success.

Thanks again everyone. I hope this helps everyone understand our position a little better.

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 28, 2016 at 1:22pm
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A Quote to Thoughtfully Consider about the ES Instructions

This quote was given to me by one of my correspondents today who suggested I might post it here on TheosophyNexus:

"“Publication by others of the Instructions relieves no one from the pledge of secrecy.  Such a publication will do no harm, as the Instructions tend to promote spiritual growth and arouse high aspiration…”   Echoes, Volume III, P. 441.

This is from a E.S. notice dated the summer of 1894 and signed by both:

William Q. Judge and Annie Besant.

I hope all members on this forum will actually meditate on this.

Daniel

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 28, 2016 at 1:39pm
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Another quote worthy of pondering on.  Peter just wrote it!

"Obviously we need to discuss theosophical and sacred matters respectfully and keep in mind that we all have sensitivities about certain subjects and beliefs that we each hold.  We also need to be cautious that our own sensitivities do not become the arbiters of what other students of theosophy should be allowed to discuss."

Italics added.

Daniel
http://hpb.cc

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on January 28, 2016 at 2:31pm
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Thanks for sharing, Daniel and Peter and others.

I think it's important to understand that no one is placing restrictions on what students of theosophy should be allowed to discuss. No one has that authority over any one else. But, on this one little particular website (just one among many), with its particular membership and particular intended goals, it's a subject that causes more difficulties than good in our opinion: as is demonstrated by this very ordeal we're all dealing with now. All theosophists are free to find and read and study and discuss the ES Instructions to their heart's content (links to the digital and book copies of those works are "just a google away"). No one has any right to force someone to not study something, and no one is trying to. That is really not what we're dealing with here. What we're dealing with is solely what is best for the community on Nexus and our shared, inter-organizational and trans-organizational sense of brotherhood and respect for one another. In the present case, one side is being asked to give a little, a very little, in the name of that brotherhood. I personally do not think that is too much to ask.

It is well for students to consider the quotes repeated above, and to consider all viewpoints, but I would further ask that all members sincerely try to place brotherhood at the forefront of their thought and consideration of this matter here on Nexus, really consider this situation from the perspective that brotherhood is more important than anything else, that it is the primary goal of anything and everything theosophical, and then, come to your own conclusions as to what course of action is best.

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 28, 2016 at 2:25pm
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Another point or two to thoughtfully ponder on.  

I do not know who are the members on TheosophyNexus whose sensitivities were deeply bothered by the discussion of the ES Instructions on this forum.  They remain unknown and have posted nothing on this forum expressing their own views.  All has been conveyed through the administrators.  And the new policy was formulated without asking the entire membership of this forum for their input and viewpoint.

For example, Nicholas might have wanted to express his views if actually given a chancebefore the policy was decided.  He had no chance to do this as far as I know.  Did anyone else have a chance besides the people with certain sensitivities? No one asked me.

But let me relate what I experienced some 10 years ago.

When I published The Esoteric Papers of Madame Blavatsky  in early 2005, some Theosophical  students wrote me "protesting" that I should not have published these private papers which HPB had originally intended only for her esoteric school students.

These students told me that this publication is an "injustice" to HPB and the Mahatmas and that I had created "bad" karma for myself. 

Since my book was published by an American publisher and was not connected with any Theosophical group or forum I really wondered why they should even care!  But they seemed highly motivated to write me and tell me what a terrible thing I had done! And wanted to tell me about all my bad karma!

How did I bother them or impose on them and what they do or read or study??

I should also point out that some of these students who strongly objected to my publishing of HPB's esoteric papers  admitted to me that they also had access to these esoteric papers of H.P.B. and even read and study them

Therefore one might seriously ask: 

Who has given permission to these present-day students to read and study these esoteric papers which were originally published by H.P.B. decades before they were even born?

HPB died in 1891 and Judge in 1896.

None of these present day students had taken the pledge and been given permission by either HPB or Judge to read these instructions.

In light of that fact, one might consider what Dr. H.N. Stokes, a Blavatsky student, once wrote:

"If .... [HPB's esoteric documents] are [still] private documents today, no one without a diploma of sanctity and a special permit from the Mahatmas is more entitled to read them than any others, or to discourage others from doing what he does himself when it suits his purpose ... ."  Bold added. 

Daniel

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on January 28, 2016 at 10:28pm
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Dear Friends

The above post inadvertently makes our point. (As a fellow administrator I participated in and stand with Jon and the other administrators in this decision.)  The controversy and hard feelings that Daniel experienced with the publication of his book 10 years ago is precisely the controversy and hard feelings we are working so hard to avoid here. 

It is unnecessary trouble for us given the voluminous non-controversial theosophical writings at our disposal.

It is a controversy we neither seek to debate or discuss because it is about subjects that people in our group do not want to debate or discuss. It is that simple. 

Even if our members who object wanted to debate this issue with fellow members they are not at liberty to do so.

Most students of the Esoteric tradition and the Mystery Schools of the past are familiar with this predicament. How can you argue about subjects a person is pledged not to talk about? The answer is obvious, one cannot.

People who want to discuss this or other subjects not discussed on the Theosophy Nexus can create their own forums and online discussion groups. The Tnexus was started because we could not find something like this elsewhere.  People are welcome to do the same.

We choose to do otherwise for the purposes of group harmony and for the good of the whole. We do not think that is asking too much.

 Our group and this site is  intended to be an investigation into the philosophy of theosophy and its application to the struggles of our fellow man.  If that aim is kept in view all the rest will sort itself out.

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 29, 2016 at 1:50pm
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Gerry,

In your posting above, you write:

" The controversy and hard feelings that Daniel experienced with the publication of his book 10 years ago is precisely the controversy and hard feelings we are working so hard to avoid here."

Yes I did experience "hard feelings" from the writers who wrote me telling me all the negative things that I had done.

It should be pointed out that my book The Esoteric Papers of Madame Blavatsky was published by a non-Theosophical publisher Kessinger Publishing.  The book was not published or sponsored by any Theosophical group.  I was not trying to force anyone to approve of the book or read it or anything like that.

Yet apparently when a number of individuals (I guess pledged members of some unnamed present esoteric school) found out that the book was available in America and the rest of the world, they were certainly not shy about creating "hard feelings" about what I had done.

I certainly had no hard feelings.

So I can somewhat understand the current situation here on Theosophy Nexus but the 2005 experiences were not on Theosophy Nexus.  

I guess these individuals in 2005 just couldn't tolerate that I had done what I had done, that is, publish 673 pages of esoteric documents!

Thank the gods that I was not a member of any of their groups where they could suppress or censor what I had done.

OBTW, when I published in 2012 my book MRS. HOLLOWAY AND THE MAHATMAS which contained never before published private letters of HPB and the Master KH, I also received a good number of letters from some Theosophical individuals apparently bent out of shape and protesting that I had no right to publish private letters of HPB and the Masters.

Daniel
http://hpb.cc

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on January 29, 2016 at 2:16pm
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Hi Daniel. I definitely feel for you for the difficulties you've faced with the backlash from the projects you've been involved with. The must have been (and be) difficult for you, as I imagine for you these projects hold a very special place in your heart. As you know you're certainly not the first theosophist to face these things, nor likely the last.

I'd like to pose a couple of questions that have been on my mind, hoping you'll be willing to address them. Can I ask whether you were aware that there were people who held these materials in such a place in their hearts, who believed them to be private and felt a great degree of sanctity towards them, and who might be troubled by your publication, prior to publishing, and whether you reached out to them in advance of releasing the publication? Was there an effort made on your behalf to cause the least pain towards such people while considering your decision to publicize?

Secondly, I'd like to ask what you felt were/are your motives in publishing the materials? i.e. what is it that made you feel that it was necessary or crucial to publish them as you did? In your view, what is the value of making these and other materials broadly public at this time?

Perhaps your answers to these kinds of questions can help bridge some of the divide within this issue and the overall discussion of these instructions and your publications. It does seem that some people would like to discuss this matter more fully here on Nexus, so I think these kinds of questions would be a good place to start, if you're willing.

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 29, 2016 at 2:53pm
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What were my motives in publishing the ES materials?

Jon, thanks for your above words.

I will be more than happy to answer your 2 questions.

I will first answer your second question: 

What were my motives in publishing the ES materials?

I actually have answered this question before in an article and I reproduce below the gist of my words from that article.

----------------------

...I want to try to give the interested Blavatsky student some insight into some of my thinking about HPB's esoteric papers and why I published them.

The reality of the situation is that in 1897 Mrs. Annie Besant published the bulk...yes the bulk of HPB's Esoteric Instructions and Inner Group teachings in the third volume of The Secret Doctrine.  This 1897 volume has been reprinted probably at least 6 or 7 times in the last 108 years.

The 3rd volume of the SD was even published in the 1980s under a different title as a Quest Book by the Theosophical Publishing House (Wheaton, Illinois) and more recently reprinted by Kessinger Publishing.

Therefore during these intervening 108 years thousands of readers, inquirers, seekers and Theosophical students have read these esoteric papers of Madame Blavatsky in this third volume of the SD.

And probably the vast majority of readers and students who were introduced to this material in this third volume had no idea that these were possibly still private and confidential papers that should never have been published.

Read Annie Besant's own note about these papers to be found on page 434 of the third volume:

"Papers I. II. III. of the following were written by H.P.B and were circulated privately during her lifetime, but they were written with the idea that they would be published after a time. . . . . The 'Notes of some Oral Teaching' were written down by some of her pupils and were partially corrected by her, but no attempt has been made to relieve them of their fragmentary character. She had intended to make them the basis for written papers similar to the first three, but her failing health rendered this impossible, and they are published with her consent, the time for restricting them to a limited circle having expired."

Notice Mrs. Besant's words: "...they are published with her [HPB's] consent."

I'm not asking anyone to believe what Mrs. Besant said. But my point is that thousands of readers have probably read these words of Mrs. Besant and simply assumed they were true.

And without knowing more about the inner history of the Esoteric School, how would any of these readers be in a position to even start to ascertain the validity of Mrs. Besant's statement.

But the end result is that countless students of Madame Blavatsky's teachings have found a great deal of food for thought, insight and inspiration in those esoteric teachings as given in Vol. III of the SD.

More than 25 years ago I remember first encountering and studying this material and I believe I learned a great deal and even had a few of those insights for myself.

It was only later when I delved more deeply into the history of the Theosophical movement that I discovered that some Theosophical students questioned Mrs. Besant's assurance quoted above.

But.....even if every student and reader who ever read and studied the esoteric papers as given in Vol. III had also found out later that possibly these papers were not suppose to have ever been published, what pray tell should or could they do?

Are they suppose to erase from their minds all the study, insight and inspiration that they may have gained from these pages in Volume III?

How (and why) do you close the barn door after the horses have already run away?

The bottom line is that the bulk of HPB's esoteric papers are out there and have been in the public domain for 108 years.

Probably somewhere in the world as I type these words, some inquirer or new student has purchased a copy of this volume III and is starting to read these esoteric papers of HPB's.

Later I also discovered allegations that Mrs. Besant had edited and changed some of the text of these esoteric papers. Since I believed these papers were important and part of Mme. Blavatsky's literary heritage, I wanted to know more about these allegations of tampering and editing.

Why?

I thought if Mrs. Besant has tampered with these papers then maybe this changing/editing of words may have also changed HPB's original meaning.

Naturally I wanted to see the originals to verify for myself if the allegation of tampering was true or not.  And if the tampering allegation was true, I also wanted to see and study the originals so that I would not be laboring under various misunderstandings/misimpressions based on Mrs. Besant's alleged editing.

If the reader had been in my shoes, he/she may have thought differently. I don't know.  

But in summary, my intention was to discover and preserve the unedited versions of these papers not only for myself but also for other sincere, serious students.  

As the years went by, the uppermost thought in my mind was to set the record straight, to preserve for posterity the earliest available original, unedited versions of HPB's esoteric papers.

Therefore, if this endeavor of mine and the subsequent publication of The Esoteric Papers of Madame Blavatsky creates negative karma for myself, then I will bear with it for in the long run I think the publication of this 2005 volume is productive of much lasting good.....

----------------------

Jon, I will have to take some time to think about and write a proper response to your first question but at least you have my answer to the 2nd question.  I could add more reasons I suspect but I'm sure this is enough in answer to your second question.

Daniel
http://hpb.cc

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on January 29, 2016 at 4:19pm
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Thanks for all this information Daniel.   Much appreciated.

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 29, 2016 at 5:02pm
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Jon, one more reason for publishing ESOTERIC PAPERS OF MADAME BLAVATSKY.

In 1980, Boris de Zirkoff published HPB's ES Instructions in Volume XII of THE COLLECTED WRITINGS series published by TPH, Wheaton, Illinois, USA.

Unfortunately, this edition has several problems.

Here is what I wrote on p. 78 of my ESOTERIC PAPERS:

This also motivated me to publish the better and earlier version.  As Michael Gomes says in his 2015 edition, the edition printed by Boris de Zirkoff can be identifed as the 1894 (or 1895) edition but the text in this later edition is abridged and edited and does not correspond to the original editions of 1889-1890.

That's why I tried to produce as many original documents as possible in photographic facsimile in ESOTERIC PAPERS.

Daniel
http://hpb.cc

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 29, 2016 at 4:04pm
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Jon, I will try to give a short answer to your first question which basically reads:

Did you reach out to them [these people, this group] in advance of releasing the 2005 publication?

Since these individuals don't usually tell outsiders like me that they have copies of these documents or that they are in fact actually members of a certain esoteric school, it would be hard to ask them all that you are suggesting.

But moving on.....

Look at this WorldCat record:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/esoteric-instructions/oclc/224254678&...

Scroll all the way down to see all bibliographic information.

In 1993 I published in a very limited edition in 3 spiral bound volumes a whole cache of HPB's ES documents titled THE ESOTERIC INSTRUCTIONS.

Among the people who got copies, I sent copies to 3 members of this group.

2 of these individuals are well-known.

The replies I got were actually positive.  Thank you Daniel they said.
They were even surprised that I had discovered documents they had apparently never seen.  They had copies of some of this material but not all of it. And as far as I know two of them were members of this esoteric school/group.

I will not be more specific.  

I remember talking on the phone to one of them on several occasions.  He asked various questions about the documents and said if I found more please share copies with him.

It was only in 2005 when I put the material in the book published by Kessinger that certain other individuals (whom I assume belong to this same esoteric school) wrote me complaining, etc. etc. as I related in a previous posting.

Does this help?

I will provide more info and reasons if you want me to.

Daniel
http://hpb.cc

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on February 1, 2016 at 11:17pm
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Thanks for your reply here Daniel, and for your candidness in sharing your motivations and thoughts about these materials. Much appreciated.

Permalink Reply by Samantha Province on January 29, 2016 at 1:56pm
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If there are some students who have taken an oath not to debate or discuss these papers (have they really?) then it is certainly incumbent on them not to debate or discuss them. Nothing in this thread compels them to break their silence.  Since this is the case I don't see why this oath of secrecy should be unilaterally imposed on everyone else on the forum. I also don't believe the cause of brotherhood is served by quashing honest debate. This just pushes the issues below the surface; it doesn't address it.

barbaram raises an important question. What is the type of thinking that supports this kind of unfraternal behavior? I think its fundamentalism. Sad to say, this kind of an outlook can even coexist with the motto "There is no religion higher than truth."

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on January 29, 2016 at 2:33pm
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Hi Samantha. I understand what you're saying, and can certainly see your perspective here. I think perhaps though, there needs to be an effort to "walk a mile" in the shoes of those on the other side of the situation. Perhaps imagine something that you feel to be private, something deeply spiritual, deeply important to you, and then imagine that thing being broadcast without your approval. Ultimately, if we approach the situation with brotherhood at the pinnacle of our concerns, it matters little whether or not we agree with the way someone feels about the materials, but matters more how we interact with them, whether we show them care and consideration.

I agree that there is a degree of "fundamentalism" within the modern theosophical movement, and often a good deal of stubbornness within many lodges and groups, and at times I find that troubling as well. But I try to remember how important theosophy is to people, how it reaches to our very core, and how sacred our involvement in the movement is to so many of us. When dealing with something so central to ourselves, I think it requires extra care in our interactions. We may not all agree, or even remotely understand the policies, pledges etc. of different theosophical groups, whether public or private, but I think we can all relate to the sanctity that such people and groups feel towards what they're doing. Perhaps that can help us feel less sad or troubled or frustrated with the different ways people practice theosophy.

It's considerations like these that we as admins discussed when deciding how to deal with this topic on Nexus. We have attempted to find a middle way (always the toughest path to find), where people could still feel free to discuss (notice that we have not deleted or muted this discussion so long as members feel it is necessary), and where people who do feel troubled by the discussion can still feel at home on Nexus, so that they can still partake in other discussions. It's a tough balance, but I think we are finding our way to it together.

This issue represents a long-standing one among theosophists, and between theosophical organizations/lodges, and if we are to thaw the ice of it, I believe we'll need to all bring our best selves to the discussion. If open and honest debate is desired, we can do our best to facilitate, within certain boundaries. I posted a response to Daniel above that, I hope, may allow such a debate/discussion to occur. We need not discuss the particulars of the ES Instructions, nor share the details of them here, so as not to further trouble some members, but perhaps we can discuss the why of both sides: i.e. why one side feels they should be public and why one side feels they should not. Perhaps that will help us find our way through the mess, and allow each side to be and feel heard and respected.

Permalink Reply by Samantha Province on January 30, 2016 at 3:25pm
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Thanks for your reply John. :) I can certainly understand the sort of feelings people hold about this material; I think this sense of the sacredness of it is shared by all the students of theosophy here. My real issue here is preciselythat one side is trying to control the way other people practice theosophy. The initial discussion, however, impinged on no one's practice.

I think this discussion we are having is a good one and I really do appreciate the openness. I hope it will bring forth good fruit.

Permalink Reply by barbaram on January 29, 2016 at 12:56pm
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As a student of Theosophy who is not associated with any particular TS groups, I can say - something is very wrong. 

I see over and over again the rise and fall of different Theosophy groups.  I was hoping the Nexus would be exempt from such upheavals  but I guess not.   The pattern will continue until we examine our core beliefs and values that support this kind of divisiveness.  Till we confront these issues, I doubt the Theosophy Movement will go very far.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on January 29, 2016 at 2:01pm
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Thanks Barbrara. I think you touch on some important points. I would say, that so long as human beings are in such an imperfect state as we are now, there will inevitably be upheavals, whether in theosophical groups or any other kind. It is the nature of the struggle we mutually find ourselves in, and it is why brotherhood and unity is so difficult for us. The "upheavals" really have little to do with theosophy per se, but everything to do with the battle between our higher and lower natures, between our Self and ego. These little issues are where we discover how deeply our study has impacted us in our hearts.

I believe that if we look close enough and pay close enough attention, we'll begin to realize that it is not the external things, the seeming causes of the troubles, that are important, but rather that the important thing is how we each individually and together mutually deal with the struggle of working together. Ultimately, the issue here has little to do with the ES Instructions themselves, but rather with our individual and group priorities—i.e. which is more important to us: brotherhood or the "right" to do what we please; shared respect and mutual care or our interest in the "esoteric"; unity among theosophists or "party lines" and organizational dogmas; etc.? Our challenge, I think, is to heed the call to our higher nature and respond with brotherhood above all other concerns. The ES Instructions are not important at all when measured against that, and nor is any other concern, and perhaps that is what we as theosophists need to more fully realize. Whether we be theosophists or not, the supreme challenge of being human at this stage of our shared journey is practical brotherhood. Can we truly prioritize brotherhood "when the rubber meets the road", or just speak of it?

In regards to the reach or success of the Theosophy Movement, I imagine that our shared experiments, like Nexus, like the organizations/lodges, etc. are pretty small fish in the big picture. The Movement itself is timeless and reaches everywhere and it's in good hands. I think we can all trust in that. The task for people like ourselves is, I would imagine, more about learning to really work well for and with each other, than it is to further the movement. Or, to put it another way: in reality the Movement depends very little upon us for its success.

I think if we begin to "put ourselves in our place" and humbly realize that our little endeavors aren't that important, that we're not that important, then it becomes easier to favor brotherhood over any little endeavor we find ourselves in. By doing that we strip power away from ego. And I think that applies to folks who find themselves on either side of the present issue. I know it has been chiefly on my mind while considering this present discussion.

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on January 29, 2016 at 2:42pm
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No one has mentioned the relevance of time. Let us take a moment and consider, how does the 19th century Theosophist differ from the 21st century Theosophist?

Let us understand that times have changed.  What has stood then might no longer stand now.  The format of study group has practically become electronic- this is a very signifiant topic.

I think this thread should be reviewed by many people and taken into deep consideration.  This is truly an issue as seen by many peoples experiences and observations.  

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on January 29, 2016 at 2:46pm
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A very important point Kristan. Thanks.

Permalink Reply by Mona Stratos on January 29, 2016 at 2:44pm
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It is my position as a long time ULTer, that those who have pledged secrecy should remain silent. Those who have not and have through their own self induced and self devised efforts, contacted these teachings in whatever way, should be free to speak of them and discuss them in the furtherance of knowledge and unity.
Permalink Reply by Mona Stratos on January 29, 2016 at 3:18pm
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All things fall under the sway of karma. Either we believe in karma or we do not. There is no in between position that can be taken. It needs to be applied to everything or nothing at all.
Permalink Reply by Peter on January 31, 2016 at 4:18am
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I had thought the aim was to bring this discussion to a close, which is why I had not wanted to get drawn into it - especially so, when it appeared that such a discussion will make no difference to the administrators' decision.  It’s always difficult for group leaders of any kind to strike a balance when there is a wide range of views and conflicting beliefs.  I appreciate this can be a difficult path to tread.  That said, I would like to add just a few thoughts to the good points that members who feel uneasy about this decision have already raised.

The ES Instructions and Inner Group teachings of HPB were, in large part, first published and placed in the public domain long before Daniel published his own editions. As he reminds us: Annie Besant first published them in 1897 as part of ‘The Secret Doctrine volume 3.’  This was 119 years ago.  G.de Purucker gave many teachings and talks based on the ES Instructions and explicitly refers to them. These have been in publicly published works for at least 40+ years.  Many students of theosophy around the world have discussed and explored the esoteric teachings both in private and in public over the last century.  I mention this only so that we do not overly focus on Daniel and his reasons for publishing.  

In a Movement whose primary motto is ‘There is no religion higher than truth’ (as Samantha has already mentioned) we shouldn’t be surprised to find students of theosophy who value open and frank discussion (respectfully done) and who seek to advocate this in whatever forum they might find themselves.   This doesn’t necessarily mean they are against balance and harmony or that they are insensitive to other people’s views or to the dilemma of group leaders.  It's just that they see openness and the pursuit of truth as a highly important theosophical value - one worth advocating and actively striving for.  The notion that students of theosophy should be free to discuss and explore all the teachings of theosophy that are in the public domain in “the furtherance of knowledge and unity” (as Mona nicely puts it) is a theosophical principle that is dear to many who hold the above views.  

We have already seen William Judge’s joint 1894 statement with Annie Besant that the presence of the esoteric instructions in the public domain “will do no harm, as the instructions tend to promote spiritual growth and arouse high aspiration.”  We might ask, then, is it in the interests of Brotherhood or in the welfare of fellow students for one group of individuals to seek to prevent the open study of teachings which have been in the public domain for over 100 years and which will do no harm but will instead promote spiritual growth and arouse high aspiration?

Students of theosophy on all sides of this debate have values and aspirations that are dear to their hearts - a veneration of the sacred along with heart felt values are not qualities that belong only to one group of people.

Whenever a compromise is sought between those who hold opposing views it is not unreasonable to hope that both sides will learn to ‘walk a mile’ in the shoes of the other.

Warm regards to all - whatever your views,

Peter

Permalink Reply by Daniel Caldwell on January 31, 2016 at 9:01am
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Peter,

You do an excellent job of putting a key issue, if not the key issue, before the readers of this forum and this particular thread.  I hope all readers will ponder on what you have said.

As far as my publication of the ES papers is concerned, my main concern was to try to provide Blavatsky and Theosophy students with better editions of HPB's ES writings.  That is why I gave photographic facsimiles of the various papers and documents whenever possible.

As I said earlier in this thread the ES text provided by Boris de Zirkoff in Collected Writings, Volume 12 is abridged and edited when compared with the original unedited HPB editions of 1889-1890. 

Plus in my book I was also able to publish more of HPB's miscellaneous ES letters, etc. which had never seen the light of day.  I wanted all of HPB's writings to be preserved and saved and available to students.  That is why when I found a complete copy of HPB's Inner Group teachings I worked very hard to have it published so all students could benefit from this text.

The same would apply to THE SECRET DOCTRINE DIALOGUES and more letters of HPB and KH that had never been published.  When I discovered these unpublished materials I worked hard to see that they would see the light of day.  See http://blavatskyarchives.com/caldwellunpublavmat.htm#discovered

Daniel

Permalink Reply by Casady on January 31, 2016 at 12:29pm
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Interesting discussions - it does seem that this question continues to touch some fundamental issues in regards to the Theosophical Movement, nice to see such thoughtful debate- below is a link to a book review I did of Daniel's 2005 EI book, which might be useful as it gives a brief overview of the fairly complicated publication history - in particular with it's relation to the SD3-which of course has been amply written about by others  (please note, however, that I'm by no means an expert on TS history - and the views of the reviewer, are simply the personal opinions of the reviewer, probably quite conservative by today's standards):

http://theosophyproject.blogspot.ca/2015/09/book-review-madame-blav...

Permalink Reply by Peter on February 1, 2016 at 1:07am
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Hi Daniel,

Yes, I'm sure members will ponder these thoughts along with other, differing, views. This group contains some very thoughtful, serious students of theosophy.

Your mention of  de Zirkoff reminds me of how easy it is to forget to mention the obvious.  Of course, the ES Instructions have also been available since 1980 as part of volume 12 of H.P.B’s Collected Writing, published by the Theosophical Publishing House.

I think you've created a very valuable resource with your web site - one that must have taken a great deal of effort, in all kinds of ways. 

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on February 1, 2016 at 11:24pm
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Hi everyone. One final post here on behalf of the administrators of the forum. It looks like everyone has had a chance to weigh in and share their thoughts and opinions, and we're very thankful for all of you who took the time to do so. A lot of very good points were made, and a good amount of information and references shared. This ought to be enough to give anyone interested a foothold into the issue.

We'll continue to do our best to respect all members of the site, and we highly appreciate the good-will and brotherhood we've seen throughout this discussion. Thanks again everyone. As explained in our earlier post, we'll now close this discussion to future comments.

Any further comments, suggestions or objections can be communicated privately via the “message” function on this site. Please address any such messages to ModeratorTN. Thanks for your understanding.