Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Mahatma Letters, Pt 2

Joy Mills in her commentary on the Mahatma Letters, Reflections on an Ageless Wisdom, refers to letter 88 (letter 10 in the 2nd and 3rd editions) as “Certainly one of the most challenging letters in the entire series.” The missive, copied by Sinnett from one sent to A.O. Hume from K.H., deals with questions relating to God and evil. The parts dealing with God (which is rejected as un loup garou—a werewolf, a fantastic creature) had already found voice in a book by Baron d’Holbach, a French-German author of the Enlightenment, later translated into English, where they are taken verbatim.

The statement that opens their remarks: Neither our philosophy nor ourselves believe in a God, least of all in one whose pronoun necessitates a capital H, would have come as no shock to anyone who knew Mme. Blavatsky. In 1877 she wrote to a correspondent: I completely reject the idea of a Creator or a Supreme God, who is in the least concerned in the government of this world. The remarkable thing is the attitude of the Mahatmas to religion:

And now, after making due allowance for evils that are natural and cannot be avoided —and so few are they that I challenge the whole host of Western metaphysicians to call them evils or to trace them directly to an independent cause—I will point out the greatest, the chief cause of nearly two thirds of the evils that pursue humanity ever since that cause became a power. It is religion under whatever form and in whatsoever nation. It is the sacerdotal caste, the priesthood and the churches; it is in those illusions that man looks upon as sacred, that he has to search out the source of that multitude of evils which is the great curse of humanity and that almost overwhelms mankind.

This will come as a surprise to people who believe that Blavatsky’s work was about showing that all religions lead to God. Actually her position is that there was an ancient Wisdom-Religion which modern religions are distortions of. This puts the Mahatmas quite at odds with an organization whose objective is to encourage the study of comparative religion. No doubt HPB will be blamed for getting it wrong. But there are rumblings in academia that may support her view. Stephen Prothero, a professor at Boston University, has recently written a book titled God is Not One, stressing that “It is misleading—and dangerous—to think that religions are different paths to the same wisdom,” the Introduction of which can be read here.  

Joy Mills’ commentary on the Mahatma Letters avoids the controversy and makes no mention of the views of the Mahatmas on this issue.

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