Thursday, June 9, 2011

David Reigle on Blavatsky

For over thirty years David Reigle has been contributing to the growing understanding of Mme. Blavatsky. His researches into Sanskrit and Tibetan sources have been utilized by many. So, whatever he has to say on the subject is of interest. The following is a June 6, 2011 post of his commenting on the post on a theosophical website:

I have as much respect for HPB as anyone, but if we are to speak about truth and illusion in Theosophical literature, it may be best to start with truth and illusion in HPB’s own writings. Her writings are full of errors. A large number of these are the errors of writers of her time, whom she copied. For example, in your previous posting, “Masters and the Movement,” this sentence is found:
“The lines above seem to contain key information as to contacts between Masters and the movement after the year 1900. This is the year when the Aquarius Age began, according to a clear and documented statement made by H.P. Blavatsky (‘Collected Writings’, TPH, volume VIII, p. 174, fn).”

For many years, I, too, took the above-referenced statement of HPB’s as giving the correct starting year of the Aquarian age, thinking that it came from the direct knowledge of her Mahatma sources. But then I found it in one of Gerald Massey's large books that HPB had reviewed. She had copied it from there almost verbatim.

It now becomes very questionable whether her teachers actually endorsed this date. When we see this type of thing happening again and again, I must conclude that large amounts of what are regarded as HPB’s own views are in fact just the views of other writers of her time that she copied. The mere fact of her repeating what was then taken as fact does not necessarily endorse its accuracy. Many, many of these can today be shown to be errors.

It would not be fair to attribute these errors that she copied from others to her. Everyone of her time necessarily did the same thing. Any book from 1888 can be shown to be full of such errors. Our task should first be to sort out truth and illusion in HPB’s own writings. We need to sort out what she merely copied from others, and what she actually put forth as truth. After all, she never claimed omniscience, but repeatedly denied it. She was the first to say that her own books are full of such errors (see her article written shortly before her death, “My Books”).

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