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Blavatsky Net - Theosophy

This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.


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Re-Classification Of Principles


IN the May Theosophist (1887), I find the first part of a long explanatory article, by Mr. Subba Row, in which the able author has gone to the trouble of dissecting almost every thing I have written for the last ten years, upon the subject under review.

My first thought was, to leave his "answer" without reply. Upon reading it carefully over, however, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps it would not be safe to do so. The article in question is a manifesto. I am not allowed to labour any longer under the impression that it was only an apparent disagreement. Those members and ex-members of our Society who had rejoiced at Mr. Subba Row's remarks were consequently right in their conclusions, and I--wrong. As I do not admit--in our case, at any rate--that "a house divided against itself" must fall, for the Theosophical Society can never fall so long as its foundation is very strong, I regard the disagreement, even if real, as of no great or vital importance. Yet, were I to fail to answer the strictures in question, it would be immediately inferred that I was silenced by the arguments; or, worse, that I had expounded a tenet which had no basis.

Before I say anything further upon the main subject, however, I must express my surprise at finding the learned author referring to me continually as his "critic." I have never criticized him, nor his teachings, whether orally, or in print. I had simply expressed regret at finding in the Theosophist words calculated, as I then thought, to create false impressions. The position assumed by the lecturer on the Gita was as unexpected as it was new to me, and my remarks were meant to be as friendly as I could make them. For am I actuated even now by any other feelings. I can only regret, and nothing more, that such new developments of ideas should occur just now, after nearly seven years of tacit, if not actual, agreement.

Nor do I find on page 450 of the April Theosophist in my footnote* anything that should imply, even remotely, least of all "probably," that I endorse the views that "a slur was thrown on the original teaching." I had said that "some (Theosophists) argued that it looked like a slur." As for myself, I have too much reverence for the "original" TEACHERS to ever admit that anything said or done, could ever be "a slur" upon their teachings. But if I, personally, am made out "the original expounder," there can be no slur whatever. It is, at the worst, a disagreement in personal views. Every one is free in the Theosophical Society to give full expression to his own ideas,--I among the rest; especially when I know that those views are those of trans-Himalayan esotericism, if not of cis-Himalayan esoteric Brahmanism, as I am now told squarely--for the first time. The words written by me in the foot-note, therefore--"Of course those who do not hold to the old school of Aryan and Arhat adepts are in no way bound to adopt the septenary classification"--were never meant for Mr. Subba Row. They applied most innocently, and as I thought liberally, to every and each member of our Association. Why my friend, Mr. T. Subba Row, should have applied them to himself is one of those mysterious combinations--evolved by my own karma. no doubt--which pass my comprehension. To expect a Brahmin, a Vedantin (whether an occultist or otherwise) to accept in their dead-letter the tenets of Buddhist (even if Aryan) adepts, is like expecting a western Kabbalist, an Israelite by birth and views, to adhere to our Lord Buddha instead of to Moses. To charge me on such grounds with dogmatism and a desire to evolve "an orthodox creed" out of tenets I have tried to explain to those who are interested in Buddhistic occultism, is rather hard. All this compels me to explain my past as well as my present position. As the second portion of Mr. Subba Row's reply can hardly contain stronger charges than I find in the first, I ask permission to state that:--

(I) Neither the original "Fragments of Occult Truths" nor yet Esoteric Buddhism, were ever meant to expound Brahminical philosophy, but that of the trans-Himalayan Arhats, as very correctly stated by Mr. Subba Row in his "Brahminism on the Seven-fold Principle in Man"--"it is extremely difficult to show (to the profane H.P.B.!) whether the Tibetans derived their doctrine from the ancient Rishis of India, or the ancient Brahmins learned their occult science from the adepts of Tibet: or again, whether the adepts of both countries professed originally the same doctrine and derived it from a common source. . . . However that may be, the knowledge of the occult powers of nature possessed by the inhabitants of the lost Atlantis, was learnt by the ancient adepts of India, and was appended by them to their esoteric doctrine taught by the residents of the sacred island (Sham-bha-la). The Tibetan adepts, however, have not accepted this addition to their esoteric doctrine." . . . Thus, the readers of the Theosophist were told from the first (in 1882) that they "should expect to find a difference between the two doctrines." One of the said "differences" is found in the exoteric exposition, or form of presentation, of the seven-fold principle in man.

(II) Though the fundamental doctrines of Occultism and Esoteric philosophy are one and the same the world over, and that is the secret meaning under the outward shell of every old religion--however much they may conflict in appearance--[since each] is the outcome of, and proceeds from, the universal WlSDOM-RELlGION--the modes of thought and of its expression must necessarily differ. There are Sanskrit words used--"Jiva," for one--by trans-Himalayan adepts, whose meaning differs greatly in verbal applications, from the meaning it has among the Brahmins in India.

(III) I have never boasted of any knowledge of Sanskrit, and, when I came to India last, in 1879, knew very superficially the philosophies of the six schools of Brahminism. I never pretended to teach Sanskrit or explain Occultism in that language. I claimed to know the esoteric philosophy of the trans-Himalayan Occultists and no more. What I knew again, was that the philosophy of the ancient Dwijas and Initiates did not, nor could it, differ essentially from the esotericism of the "Wisdom-religion," any more than ancient Zoroastrianism, Hermetic philosophy, or Chaldean Kabbala could do so. I have tried to prove it by rendering the technical terms used by the Tibetan Arhats of things and principles, as adopted in trans-Himalayan teaching (and which when given to Mr. Sinnett and others without their Sanskrit or European equivalents, remained to them unintelligible, as they would to all in India)--in terms used in Brahmanical philosophy. I may have failed to do so correctly, very likely I have, and made mistakes,--I never claimed infallibility--but this is no reason why the seven-fold division should be regarded as "unscientific." That it was puzzling I had already admitted, yet, once properly explained, it is the right one, though, in transcendental metaphysics, the quaternary may do as well. In my writings in the Theosophist I have always consulted learned and (even not very learned) Sanskrit-speaking Brahmins, giving credit to every one of them for knowing the value of Sanskrit terms better than I did. The question then is not, whether I may or may not have made use of wrong Sanskrit terms, but whether the occult tenets expounded through me are the right ones--at any rate those of the "Aryan-Chaldeo-Tibetan doctrine" as we call the "universal Wisdom-religion." (See Five Years of Theosophy, 1st note to Mr. Subba Row's "Brahminism on the Seven-fold Principle in Man," pp. 177-9.)

(IV) When saying that the seven-fold classification of principles is absolutely necessary to explain post-mortem phenomena, I repeat only that which I had always said and that which every mystic will understand. "Once we pass from the plane of pure subjective (or metaphysical, hence purely theoretical) reasoning on esoteric matters to that of practical demonstration in occultism, wherein each (lower) principle and attribute has to be analyzed and defined in its application . . . to post-mortem life (that of spooks and pisachas), the sevenfold classification is the right one." These are my words, which every spiritualist will understand. Vedantin metaphysicians, denying as they do objective reality or importance even to our physical body, are not likely to lose their time in dividing the lower principles in man, the compound aspects and nature of the phantom of that body. Practical occultism does; and it is one of the duties of those Theosophists who study occultism to warn their brethren of the dangers incurred by those who know nothing of the real nature of those apparitions: to warn them that a shell is not "spirit." This statement of mine I find qualified as "simply absurd." Having never regarded as absurd anything said or written by Mr. Subba Row, I could not retaliate even if I would, I can only pronounce the epithet, let us say--unkind, and demur to the qualification. Had the author to face "practical demonstration" in spiritual phenomena and "materializations of spirits," so called, he would soon find that his four principles never could cover the ground of this kind of phenomena. Even the lower aspect of the principle of manas (physical brain, or its post-mortem auric survival) and of kama rupa are hardly sufficient to explain the seemingly intelligent and spiritual principles (bhut or elements) that manifest through mediums.

(V) It is not consistent with fact and truth to charge me, "the original (?) exponent herself," with changing my conceptions about the nature of principles. "I have never changed them, nor could I do so." In this I claim my right too, as Mr. Subba Row does, to my evidence being "the best and the most direct evidence available as regards my own states of consciousness." I may have used wrong Sanskrit expressions (and even wrong and clumsily put English sentences, for the matter of that)--while trying to blend the Arhat with the Brahmanical occult tenets. As to those conceptions, my "four principles" have to disintegrate and vanish in the air, before any amount of criticism can make me regard my ten fingers as only four; although metaphysically, I am fully prepared to admit that they exist only in my own mayavic perceptions and states of consciousness.

(VI) Mr. Subba Row, taking hold of Esoteric Buddhism, the "Elixir of Life," and Man, is pleased to father all their sins of omission and commission on the "Original Expounder." This is hardly fair. The first work was written absolutely without my knowledge, and as the author understood those teachings from letters he had received, what have I to do with them? The "Elixir of Life" was written by its author under direct dictation, or inspection, in his own house, in a faraway country, in which I had never been till two years later. Finally, Man was entirely rewritten by one of the two "chelas" and from the same materials as those used by Mr. Sinnett for Esoteric Buddhism; the two having understood the teachings, each in his own way. What had I to do with the "states of consciousness" of the three authors, two of whom wrote in England while I was in India? He may attribute to the lack of scientific precision in the "original teachings," there being "a jumble." No one would accuse Mr. Subba Row's Bhagavad Gita lectures of any such defects. Yet, I have already heard three or four intelligent persons among our members expounding the said three lectures (those which have already appeared)--in three different and diametrically opposite ways.

This will do, I believe. The Secret Doctrine will contain, no doubt, still more heterodox statements from the Brahminical view. No one is forced to accept my opinions or teaching in the Theosophical Society, one of the rules of which enforces only mutual tolerance for religious views. Our body is entirely unsectarian and "only exacts from each member that toleration of the beliefs of others which he desires . . . in regard to his own faith."

Most of us have been playing truants to this golden rule as to all others: more's the pity.

--H. P. BLAVATSKY
Theosophist, August, 1887


*See "Classification of Principles,"
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List of Articles
1888
1890!
African Magic
Ahkoond of Swat
An Astral Prophet
An Unsolved Mystery
Ancient Doctrines Vindicated
Ancient Magic in Modern Science
Animated Statues
Answers to Queries
Antiquity of the Vedas
Apollonius Tyaneus and Simon Magus
Are Chelas "Mediums"?
Are Dreams but Idle Visions?
Arya Samaj
The Babel of Modern Thought
Black Magic in Science
Blessings of Publicity
Bright Spot of Light
Buddhism, Christianity and Phallicism
Buddhism in America
Can the Double Murder?
Can the Mahatmas Be Selfish?
Case of Obsession
Chelas
Chelas and Lay Chelas
Chinese Spirits
Christmas Then and Christmas Now
Civilization, the Death of Art and Beauty
Claims of Occultism
Classification of "Principles"
Count St. Germain
Cross and Fire
Cycle Moveth
Denials and the Mistakes of the Nineteenth Century
Devil's Own-Thoughts on Ormuzd and Ahriman
Diagnoses and Palliatives
Dialogue on the Mysteries of the After Life
Dialogues between the Two Editors
Do the Rishis Exist?
Does Vaccination Prevent Smallpox?
Dr. Beard Criticized
Dreamland and Somnambulism
Drift of Western Spiritualism
Dual Aspect of Wisdomhe
Echoes from India. What is Hindu Spiritualism?
Eddy Manifestations
Editorial Comment
Editorial Appendix
Eighth Wonder
Electric and Magnetic Affinities between Man and Nature
Elementals
Elementaries
Esoteric Axioms and Spiritual Speculations
"Esoteric Buddhism" and its Critic
"Esoteric Buddhism" and the "Secret Doctrine"
Esoteric Character of the Gospels
Fakirs and Tables
Fall of Ideals
Fate of the Occultist
Few Thoughts on Some Wise Words from a Wise Man
Force of Prejudice
Fragments
French View of Women's Rights
Genius
Grand Inquisitor
"H. M." and the Todas
H. P. Blavatsky on Precipitation and Other Matters
H. P. Blavatsky's Masonic Patent
Have Animals Souls?
Hindu Widow-Marriage
History of a "Book"
History of a Planet
Holmes Controversy
Holmes Controversy(continued)
Huxley and Slade
Hypnotism
Hypnotism, and Its Relations to Other Modes of Fascination
Imperfections of Science
Indian Metaphysics
Intro-Version of Mental Vision
Is Creation Possible for Man?
Is Denunciation a Duty?
Is Foeticide a Crime?
"Is it Idle to Argue Further?"
Is Suicide a Crime?
Is the Desire to "Live" Selfish?
Is Theosophy a Religion?
"Isis Unveiled" and the "Theosophist" on Reincarnation
Isis Unveiled and the Vishishtadwaita
"It's the Cat!"
Jews in Russia
Kabalah and the Kabalists
Kabalistic Views of "Spirits"
Karmic Visions
Knout, The. As Wielded by the Great Russian Theosophist
Kosmic Mind
Lack of Unity among Spiritualists
Lamas and Druses
Land of Mystery
Last Song of the Swan
Le Phare de L'Inconnu
Leaven of Theosophy
Leo Tolstoi and His Unecclesiastical Christianity
"Let Every Man Prove His Own Work"
Life and Death
Life Principle
Literary Jottings on Criticism, Authorities, and Other Matters
Lodges of Magic
Logic versus Peripatetic
Madame Blavatsky on "The Himalayan Brothers"
Magic
Mahatmas and Chelas
Memory in the Dying
Mind in Nature
Missing Link
Missionaries Militant
Mistaken Notions on "The Secret Doctrine"
Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs
Mote and the Beam
Mr. A. Lillie's Delusions
My Books
Mysterious Race
Nature's Human Magnets
Negations of Science
New Cycle
(New) York against Lankester. A new War of the Roses
"Not a Christian"!
Note on Eliphas Levi
Note on "Memory"
Notes on some Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenets
Notice to Mediums
Number Seven
Number Seven and Our Society
Occult or Exact Science?
Occult Phenomena
Occultism or Magic
Occultism versus the Occult Arts
Old Hindu Ships
Old Philosophers and Modern Critics
On Pseudo-Theosophy
On The New Year's Morrow
"Oppressed Widowhood" in America
Organisation of the Theosophical Society
Origin of Evil
Our Cycle and the Next
Our Three Objects
Paradoxical World
Parting Words
Persian Zoroastrianism and Russian Vandalism
Pertinent Queries
Pertinent Questions
Philosophers and Philosophicules
Popular Idea of Soul-Survival
Posthumous Publication
Practical Occultism
Pralaya of Modern Science
"Precipitation"
Premature and Phenomenal Growths
Progress and Culture
Protest
Psychic and Noetic Action
Psychic Warning
Psychology - The Science of the Soul
Puzzle from Adyar
Puzzle in "Esoteric Buddhism"
Queries and Answers
Questions Answered about Yoga Vidya
Re-Classification of Principles
Rebuke
Recent Progress in Theosophy
Reincarnations in Tibet
Reply to Our Critics, A.
Republican Citizen
Retort Courteous
Roots of Ritualism in Church and Masonry
Russian Atrocities
Sacred Tree of Kum Bum
Science of Life
Science of Magic
"Scrutator Again"
Search after Occultism
Seeming "Discrepancies"
Seventeen-Rayed Sun-Disc
She Being Dead Yet Speaketh
Signal of Danger
Signs of the Times
Six-Pointed and Five-Pointed Stars
Society Without a Dogma
Some Scientific Questions Answered
Spiritual Progress
Spiritualism and Occult Truth
Spiritualism and Spiritualists
Spiritualism in Russia
Spiritualistic Tricksters
Star-Angel-Worship in the Roman Catholic Church
Stars and Numbers
Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan
Substantial Nature of Magnetism
Tetragrammaton
Theories about Reincarnation and Spirits
Theory of Cycles
"Theosophical Mahatmas"
Theosophical Society: Its Mission and Its Future
Theosophists and their Opponents
Theosophy and Spiritualism
Theosophy or Jesuitism?
Thoughts of the Dead
Thoughts on the Elementals
Tibetan Teachings
Tidal Wave
"To the Readers of 'Lucifer'"
Todas
Transmigration of the Life Atoms
Trickery or Magic?
Universe in a Nut-Shell
Views of the Theosophists
War in Olympus
Warning to Mediums
Was Cagliostro a "Charlatan"?
Washing the Disciples' Feet
What Are the Theosophists?
What is Occultism?
What is Theosophy?
"What Is Truth?"
What of Phenomena?
What Shall We Do for Our Fellow-Men?
What's in a Name? - Why the Magazine is called "Lucifer"
Which First - the Egg or the Bird?
Why Do Animals Suffer?
Why I Do Not Return to India
Why the "Vahan"?
"Word with Our Friends"
World-Improvement or World-Deliverance
Year is Dead, Long Live the Year
Year of Theosophy
Yoga Philosophy
 
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