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III. Exploitation


In the last chapter I referred to direct experience of theosophical teachings as facts in Nature. I mentioned the experience of discipleship and Krishnamurti's wholesale condemnation of this most ancient, universal and beautiful ideal. Reasons for condemnation of misapplications of this ideal can readily be seen. There are dangers associated with every great adventure, whether material or spiritual. Everest has its ice-walls, crevasses, avalanches, its fierce gales, and its blizzards. Men have perished in attempts to reach the summit. Happily, however, the dangers do not discourage others imbued with the same great spirit of adventure, of sublime aspiration. Indeed, the dangers themselves add to the attractiveness of all great quests.

So also the Everest of the soul, the mountain top within. The ascent of man towards great spiritual heights, aspiration to know and learn from Those Mighty Ones Who abide upon their summits – this great adventure also has its perils. Here, too, the path leads "twixt cliffs of ice and iron" as every determined aspirant soon discovers. Since Krishnamurti so strongly discountenances the whole idea of the Way of Holiness, the Path of Discipleship and Initiation, let us look at some of the perils which beset the Soul who seeks to tread that path.

First, it is important to remember that these dangers are not inherent in the path of discipleship itself. They arise from individual perversions of the ideal. Recognition of the possibility of such errors in no way constitutes derogation of one of the noblest ideals by which the mind of man can be inspired.

What are the dangers, if any, inherent in the


experience of contact with a perfect man? Foremost, perhaps, idolatry – the worship of a perfected personality – its elevation to the position of a god. Against this the Masters have steadfastly warned those who aspire to serve under Them. But it must be admitted that aspirants have been known to fall into this error – one which is readily understandable in view of the enormous evolutionary gulf between the god-like perfection of the Adept and the human limitations of the devotee.

Next of the dangers are pride, self-conceit, the "holier than thou" attitude.

Next, the warping of the growth of the Soul. The power of the Adept is said to be so great, His light so dazzling that there may be a danger that the Soul should lose its own individual integrity and become a slavish imitation of that which seems to it so noble, so high. If I understand him aright, this is Krishnamurti's chief objection to the concept of discipleship. He would seem to suggest that, instead of growing by his own inherent power, according to his own spiritual design and towards his own unique attainment, the individual might attempt slavishly to imitate the Master and so miss the experience of making manifest his own spiritual creativeness and of attaining to his own unique fulfilment.

Personally, whilst recognising the others – indeed, observing signs of them in the followers of Krishnamurti – I doubt profoundly the existence of this last danger, particularly when the teacher is a true Adept. The sun does not impart to or impose upon the plant its own glory; Such is an impossibility even to the sun. Sunshine assists the plant in the production of its own unique flower, its own fragrance and its own seed.


So also the Master, Who is to the disciple as a spiritual Sun in Whose radiance his powers rapidly unfold.

Even if we grant the existence of all these dangers, they do not justify, I submit, the wholesale condemnation either of the Way of Holiness itself or of the aspiration of the Soul of man to discipleship. Concerning the wisdom, love and compassion of the Master Himself by Whom and in Whom that aspiration is fulfilled, it is indeed difficult to justify the uncompromising denunciations of Krishnamurti. Justice, reason, gratitude and respect all seem to me to be outraged in such a condemnation of those Adepts Who at this time still take, and from time immemorial have taken, disciples.

Great World Teachers, such as the Lord Buddha and the Lord Christ, Themselves encouraged men and women to seek the heights to which They had ascended. To aid them, These Great Ones drew men near Themselves as disciples. Many others among the company of the Adepts perpetuate this practice. Many great servants of humanity have borne testimony to the priceless value of the experience of entering directly the Presence of a perfected man. It 'would seem reasonable, therefore, to conclude that despite the dangers, there are inestimable advantages to the individual and to the race in the attainment by man of the stages of soul growth known as discipleship, Initiation and Adeptship.

It is indeed strange that Krishnamurti, who has written books of the greatest wisdom and beauty on this very subject, who has personally led many to the feet of the Masters, should in this later phase of his activities now condemn that which once he so highly praised. It is evident that a


most radical psychological change has occurred in him. In that change most probably lies the whole secret of so much that is difficult of comprehension in the later phase of his life and work.

The other reasons which he himself gives for his condemnations of his own earlier ideas and teachings are also difficult to follow. He seems to assume that everyone who seeks the way of discipleship does so through motives of fear, of desire for comfort or escape from reality, for spiritual rewards and for gratification of selfconceit. Yet he himself, in common with all other authoritative writers, states in his earlier books upon the subject of the spiritual life that these motives would themselves constitute impassable barriers on the path of discipleship. He, therefore, both denies to every aspirant to spiritual light a state of purity of heart and accuses each and every one of them, from the first disciple on earth to the most recent, of the stupidity of being moved by motives which would inevitably render their quest abortive from its inception – a strong and sweeping accusation indeed I

Krishnamurti even goes farther than this – very much farther. He constantly uses the word "exploitation" as a kind of philosophic club with which to smite the heads of all those who have ever sought and still seek to help others along the path which leads to the Masters' feet. In this category he presumably includes the Adepts Themselves.

Discussing the utter incompatibility of his teachings with those expounded by theosophists, he is reported to have said recently in Mexico: "You cannot give poison from one side and the remedy from the other; that is to say, give with one hand what I call poison – organisation, discipleship, Masters; and with the other the remedy


– the remedy against fear, against lack of understanding and intelligence. On the one hand you say: Religions are marvellous, necessary; and authority also is necessary for spiritual growth; you say that it is necessary that you should become disciples of the Masters. And then you turn and speak of Krishnamurti who is opposed to all that. One thing is a poison and the other is something that is real; I do not wish that the two things should be mixed."

Apart from the declaration that Theosophy, Masterhood and the Masters are poison and by inference all active theosophists from the remotest ages to the present day are poisoners, one might well enquire for his basis for the words "authority also is necessary for spiritual growth." During twenty-seven years of membership of The Theosophical Society I have heard only the contrary. Man reaches fulfilment by virtue of the release of the life and light within him; this is what I have learned during a prolonged study of Theosophy and long association with theosophists.

If we are to take Krishnamurti literally, all great spiritual leaders from the beginning of the world, all saints and holy men, all teachers of the Ancient Wisdom, all who have given and still give their lives for the helping of humanity, are exploiters of the people. He will not grant them one virtue. He calls their teachings poison, and their principles pernicious. By assumption, all the great body of spiritual teachers, who have appeared in the world up to now, are all rogues and self-seeking hypocrites, whilst he alone among them is pure. An astounding phenomenon, indeed!

What is the student to think in the face of such an amazing situation as this? I do not


answer. I invite answers. I seek understanding; but in the seeking very definitely I am not going to cast away the highest, the holiest, the most beautiful experiences of life. I cannot turn my back upon the great teachers, ancient and modern, who have shed their light upon the world. To do so would be both grave discourtesy and base ingratitude.

Since, however, I have so long admired and respected Krishnamurti, I give serious attention to his accusations. Particularly do I give attention to his use of the word "exploiters" in connection with such people as Madame Blavatsky, Colonel Olcott, Dr. Besant, C. W. Leadbeater and their successors. I have looked at these people with unbiassed eyes. I have watched closely for any signs whatever of self-seeking and "exploitation" in the conduct of their lives and in their relations with their fellowmen, especially with those who have felt most intimately drawn to them. Dispassionately and with every opportunity of knowing the facts, with Krishnamurti's arraignment before me, I have presumed to judge The Theosophical Society, its founders, its leaders and all those tens of thousands who love and serve under them. I give my verdict unhesitatingly.

It is: "Not Guilty."

I believe that these people are working for one object only – to bring to the world the realisation of the fact of the Brotherhood of Man and the other sublime teachings of the Ancient Wisdom.

Furthermore, I affirm that in spite of the difficulties which certain of Krishnamurti's teachings create, in spite of the vituperative attacks of one


who has been much beloved by them, they are succeeding.

A study of modern thought, scientific, philosophic and spiritual, demonstrates unmistakably that the sixty-four years of work of The Theosophical Society in promulgating these truths is bearing fruit. Happily the mind of modern man is gradually – all too gradually, but quite definitely – becoming theosophised. And in this lies the hope and the safety of the world in the face of the threat of cataclysmic war.

Historians of the future will, I feel sure, see in this relatively small Society of ours a movement of immense significance for the whole of humanity. Further I affirm that anyone who denies this can only do so because they have neither realised the true work of The Theosophical Society nor gained any due comprehension through study of the sublime teachings of Theosophy.







Copyright © 2001 - G.W. Schüller