From the archives of some theosophical e-mail lists.

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Mythic History, an interpretation of HPB in context of Sufi and alchemical tradition.

In a message dated 11/5/00 9:44:59 AM Eastern Standard Time,
Paul Johnson writes:

Everything that is wrong is my relationship as *an author* to *organizational leaders* and more especially to a small cadre of orthodox Theosophical apologists who regard themselves as some kind of ideological watchdogs, gatekeepers, definers of historical reality.

...correction, make that "of mythic history." I think maybe HPB was like good physicist (with warts). No experiment has clear results. Mixed with information is noise. The training of a physicist is how to separate information from noise. Early this is done by methods for calculating error but later it more like an instinct that methods help confirm. People have many desires and impulses and motivations even in spiritual life. Much of this is inner noise and only some of it is attuned to information. HPB's books may be rigged like some bardo experience or karmic mirror. Who the reader is, is what reader gets as feedback. Only when we can learn to separate inner noise from inner instinct for what is true will we be the reader who sees past the noise in the mirror/book to get the real information. Reading HPB may itself be initiatic experience. Only qualification is no one else can give it to you. Eliminate inner noise and you will no longer be charmed by noise purposefully put in book as test/baffle. Otherwise, no matter how long you read HPB book, no matter how many lectures you give on it, no matter how many lodge offices you have held, and no matter who in the higher parts of organization you know, book will still be closed book to you who does not over come your inner noise. One kind of inner noise that I as physicist am very aware of is the "true believer/give me security in my beliefs" noise. I know this especially because physicists are supposed to try to test and disconfirm the theory they love.

Thus, at least with respect to physical theories, the good physicists learn a measure of inner detachment. But if the noise of the need of a true believer is what a reader brings to HPB book as the governing force within reader, that reader gets true believer junk/noise back. Powers that be are not in control of their own inner noise. So as power-possessors of locked books to their style of reading, they seek to sell their interpretation instead of help unlock book. I have seen books like this in middle east.

Alchemical books are like this. They are junk to wrong reader. Since some of the leaders of some of these strange movements were not inwardly developed enough to fully read (make sense of) such books, one sign discriminating between a crackpot fake alchemical book that at first sight made no sense and an authentic alchemical book that gradually opened up to the reader who in his reading transforms himself in this hermenuetical bardo (bardo of Hermes) by changing himself in order to make more sense of book was watermarks underneath the title bookplate at least in books published by Boehme's circle and alchemists in Prague before the 30 years war. Some alchemical books that are true treasures are neglected as undecipherable or nonsense. Some that are junk have very funnily been given Jungian interpretation when stupid symbol they mistakenly think is archetype is really coat of arms (early modern and medieval countries did not have your USA, USSR, UN, but coast of arms).

I once heard Jungian make himself a buffoon in Vienna talking about the deep psychic alchemical symbolism of symbol. He did not notice that on wall high near ceiling behind his podium was Hapsburg Bishop of Vienna coat of arms (his deep symbol of quarternity of self he was lecturing on.) He could not understand the giggles and why there were no questions afterward.

It was in Rosicrucian political pamphlet warning about attack of Catholics by referring to coast of arms. Naive Jungian thought he found RC spiritual yoga manual. Again, Sufis have things called puzzle books. When you leave your sheikh, sometimes in some orders a puzzlebook is given to you with the saying, read this all of it every week, when the reader is ready, the book will open. When the book is open, come see me. Everybody now reads as if they are pit mining. They say they have to extract the information and distill it. Book in such mind set (same mindset that has ecological problems resulting from it) is only raw material to be exploited in information extraction. If such was Sufi puzzle book, no matter how many times read, it would be really closed book and soon be judged as junk and throw aside. Some books are designed to be like bardo initiation that open to the degree that the reader is ready and otherwise remain closed. Maybe HPB wrote such book and TS leaders are guardians of the closed book ideology as its true interpretation. The bullcrap dynamics encountered by K certainly would be the same crap that would keep a Sufi puzzle book from being rightly understood by an attempted TS reader. Show them the white light and their own inner dynamics make them encounter wrathful deities. With Prague alchemical books and some Sufi puzzle books, to read them truly as books open to reader requires the reader to submit to the teaching in the book (not content, but how book is written, organized, purposely frustrating certain psychological styles as manifest in how they read) that changes the reader.

I know for fact that Gurdjieff's Beelzebub Tales is like such a Sufi puzzle book dumbed down for westerners who are at all low time level of spiritual undevelopment as life couch potatoes. He made it hard to read for some types of characters but not as hard as he could have. Authentic alchemical books and Sufi puzzle books are much harder. yet, status climbers (not good readers in this inner transformative sense) aspiring to get their need for attention and prominence fed often become the official true believers guarding the official interpretation. The western Christians had much faded practice that was version of this. That was the meditatio called lectio divino. By contrast, the intensity of struggle, of developing inner feel for what within oneself blocked access to book that was purposely designed to block one with that impulse, the intensity of using book as agonistic mirror of inner forces that work against reaching true comprehension, is like bardo by comparison. This book initiation of Sufis really caught on in eastern Europe because solid transmission lineages of giving teaching under carefully monitored conditions was not possible, and plus, there was this new technology, printing, that became the economic base for hermeticists and Pietists. Then 30 years was blew all away. Even if spiritually qualified person/reader should luck out and find a copy of one of these authentic alchemical books, he would be out of luck unless it was manufactured in exact same way as original. Some symbols were filled out by watermarks besides watermarks indicating this book came from authentic source). Some Russian editions of old Imperial Russian were made this way of some old alchemical books with watermarks by Great Orient Lodge whose printers help use watermarks to show a ruble was official ruble and not counterfeit. But even then, leaders of lodge liked salad all over the front of their suits rather than real inner initiation. So, books closed to those leaders too.

Grigor Vahan Ananikian