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Letter to the Editor

Paula Kehoe

Dear Quest Magazine,

I am writing in response to the Summer 2011 Issue. First of all, congratulations to the Theosophical Society for the inspiring recent events with the Dalai Lama and for his message on the Kinship of the World's Faiths. His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke to our hearts and reiterated the Brotherhood of Man as one of the Theosophical Society's key pillars.

The concept of the Kinship of the World's religions and this great summer gathering serves to make the article, Mahatmas Vs Ascended Masters stand out in quite an awkward way. Of all peoples, shouldn't the very students of the Masters and the Ancient Wisdom be able to reach out the hand of brotherhood to one another? Shouldn't we be able to dialogue, to explore, to weigh and measure the teachings and the practices and to see what works and holds true? Shouldn't we actually be delighted to meet one another?

Let me give you my past history and explain more of my thoughts. As a child of eleven, I came into contact with a book meant for my mother that outlined the "revelation" of the Masters thru Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. This book named KH and Morya as her teachers and as "masters" and went on to inspire a mere child to find these teachers. I was searching for them in libraries and books stores ever since.

I attended Loyola University as an 18 year old. Shortly thereafter I also discovered a book by Kuthumi called Studies of the Human Aura. Later, I realized that the book was published by The Summit Lighthouse and that these teachings were given by KH after his transition and through the consciousness of Elizabeth Clare Prophet who served as a "messenger".

I joined the Summit Lighthouse and was a staff member of the Chicago Teaching Center and also a staff member in California. I was part of the Headquarters move to Montana and lived through the "shelter cycle" and beyond as Elizabeth Clare Prophet tried to guide the organization into a more balanced activity.

Through all this time I have kept up my interest and support for Theosophy, which as I saw it, and indeed was taught, is the parent or precursor for the Summit Lighthouse. I am currently a TS Member. We see these teachings as a continuing stream through which the Great Brotherhood is seeking to alleviate the ignorance and suffering of mankind who incarnate and live without ever understanding why and wherefore and what comes next.

I have always felt such compassion for people who are hurtled into embodiment, live out their lives in haste, and confusion and often sorrow when their teachers and the truth of the mystery of life is just beyond the veil.

Bear with me as I make a number of points in response to Pablo Sender's article.

First, just because the Mahatmas KH and M were physically alive when they began their correspondence with Sinnett, Olcott, AO Hume, Madame Blavatsky and Leadbeater, doesn't mean that they could not or would not continue their teaching of these people after they made their transition, or took their next initiations.
CW Leadbeater, whom Mr. Sender refers to and recommends in his article, in his book The Masters and the Path, describes the higher initiations of these Mahatmas. The Arhat achieves the Fourth Initiation. The Fifth Initiation which creates the Adept or Asheka level as the Buddhists call him, creates a liberated life, a free being. Leadbeater goes on to say that Christian symbolism calls this Initiation the Ascension or the attainment of Adeptship. Leadbeater says that the Adept does ascend clear above humanity but can choose, as did Christ, to return, teach and help. (page 204,Masters and the Path)

In another section of this same classic by this well respected clairvoyant, Leadbeater describes the spiritual festival of Wesak and how at this special time the entire Spirit of the Brotherhood, both ascended and unascended, work together under the Buddha for mankind's sake.

Secondly, there is an interesting concept in spiritual history of "dispensations". In the Summit Lighthouse, it was taught that the Masters founded the TS Society at the end of the time in history when most of the Ancient Wisdom Teachings were only taught in secret. For this reason, the Masters did not initially want the Mahatma Letters published, and truly these letters were published without their consent. The teachings in these letters can be hard to understand if they are taken out of context, which they often are.

In the light of this idea of dispensations, we were taught that the I AM Movement and Agni Yoga were both efforts by the Brotherhood to make the Teachings more widespread. It has been said that the simple presentation of the I AM movement by Guy Ballard served to allow many people to understand - and even more importantly to apply - the difficult and complex Theosophical teachings. The Magic Presence correlates to the Theosophical Society concept of the Monad, the higher mental body to the Ego, and the soul is the portion of man evolving here in the physical plane. The I AM Movement taught the concept of spiritual evolution and the path to a mostly Christian populace that were ready for an "upgrade" in understanding.

I have a picture of Guy and Edna Ballard's altar where the pictures of Morya and Kuthumi are clearly visible. As Theosophy went into a tailspin of sorts after the departure of Krishnamurti and many TS members were confused and reeling, both the I AM Movement and the Agni Yoga group reached out to people in a new way.

Its amazing to realize that the I AM Movement galvanized hundreds of thousands of Americans to gather and pray, decree, make fiats, meditate and strive to make contact with the Brotherhood all through the 1930's and through World War Two. The Supreme Court threw out the "mail fraud" case to which Mr. Sender's article refers. Since the I Am Movement was being hounded by the government for not being able to "prove" that the Masters exists, I would think TS has more in common with the attacked side in this case. Christianity could have been next to prove Jesus ever historically existed.

This brings us to another point in the Quest article that the "Ascended Masters" and their students focus on personal wealth, health, and success in contrast to the World Service ideal that the Brotherhood put forward in Theosophy. This point is very mistaken. The Summit Lighthouse taught their students to serve mankind through many avenues. The accumulation of spiritual knowledge is never enough to transform personal consciousness or to change the world for the better.

Just as HPB would laugh at the idea of her perfection, I think it would be silly for us to set a standard or expectation of perfection for the I AM Movement, the Summit Lighthouse, or any of their Messengers. Perfection is the not the key - striving, good will, compassion, and spiritual fire are the keys to working for the Brotherhood.

Each of these groups or dispensations shares the commonality of striving to be perfected in these qualities, to seek perfection or to judge ourselves harshly for failing to be perfect would only serve to undermine what the masters have asked of us.

The article's point on karma and whether it can be balanced or transmuted seems ironically like a fundamentalist Christian viewpoint rather than the perspective of a theosophist. Transmutation does not mean totally dissolved - it means changed. I think the story of Nineveh in the Old Testament shows a very good example of how a people face a prophecy of their oncoming return of karma, change their ways and transmute their karma. If there was no ability to transmute our thoughts or emotional patterns, then the Buddha in all his wisdom was wasting his time misleading us with the twin verses of the Dhammapada.

Who can say whether a concentrated act of will, vision, fohat and love cannot help a student rise in consciousness and thereby change the flow of cause and effect? Why do Buddhists say their mantras, Hindus chant and Catholics pray the Rosary? Recent spiritual teachers have given new teachings on the Science of the Spoken Word and the invocation of the Violet Flame. Under the umbrella of the TS and the idea of "there is no religion higher than truth" - why don't we discuss, debate, and perhaps experiment with these new teachings rather than be disdainful, and perhaps even fundamentalist in our approach to them? I think this response is not what I would expect from theosophists.

Finally, let's think about why the Brotherhood decided to reveal themselves to modern men in the first place? Was it a step that mankind had reached and some were ready for? I think so. I think the Teachings of the Brotherhood are meant for this age to be "mainstreamed" and that the Theosophical Society could learn a few things from the "messenger" groups that have introduced these Teachings to many people in this last century.

We have a historical precedent for contact with the Brotherhood. Each spiritual seeker must use discernment and be very careful as to the source of spiritual experiences as the ever-present danger of self-delusion and wishful thinking is a real challenge. However, I think it is a mistake to put all possibility of current contact with the Masters aside. As Jesus taught, "my sheep know my voice." We do know these true Teachers and Masters and can discern their presence.

I believe that the Brotherhood can protect itself from encroachment by naughty elementals, impersonators on the astral plane, and even from the error of kriyashakti--which I believe is a very mistaken concept when applied to Mr. Leadbeater, Annie Besant, HPB herself, or Elizabeth Clare Prophet and the Ballards.

Finally, and as a point of beginning, I think we can agree with the simple statement "What is, is and what isn't, isn't." The master Morya exists and there are students in each of these groups that love and follow his wisdom. Whether he is in embodiment or ascended is immaterial to whether or not he exists. As spiritual seekers climbing that spiritual ascent, that internal mountain to meet the Masters in consciousness, I think we do it better emulating brotherhood and co-operation rather create some "flesh and blood" religion of these teachings that drives wedges between the masters' students. We have a world in crisis; we don't need to manufacture them between ourselves.

A world is waiting for us to act like the Masters we profess to follow, in kindness and brotherhood, and in striving.

I hope this will open more dialogue and action,

--Paula Kennedy Kehoe
Paradise Valley, Montana


Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America 100/1 (Winter 2012): 4-5 & 8. Published on Alpheus with the permission of the author.


Above is the longer, original letter to the editor. A shorter version was published because of space constraints.

See also response by Govert Schuller.



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