Samizdat

"Samizdat: Publishing the Forbidden."

On the Mahatmas

“The fact that the Masters were living human beings made their revelations of cosmic and spiritual truth, say the Theosophists, more valuable than alleged revelations from hypothetical Gods in other systems of belief. That their knowledge is, in a manner of speaking, human instead of heavenly or “divine” should give it greater validity for us. The Mahatmas were, it is said, in direct contact with the next higher grades of intelligent beings standing above them in the hierarchical order, so that their teachings have the double worth of high human and supernal authority. This, occultists believe, affords the most trustworthy type of revelation.”

–Alvin Boyd Kuhn,  A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom, pg. 85.

Esotericism

“…the esotericism of the doctrines was, in a manner, an automatic safety device. The teachings would appeal to those who were “ready” for them; their meaning would soar over the heads of those for whom they were not suited.”

–Alvin Boyd Kuhn,  A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom, pg. 84.

Sometimes You Find What You Seek

“For once there is thunder he never heard, light he never saw, and power which trifles with time and space.”

–Alvin Boyd Kuhn,  A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom, pg. 17.

Simmel on Secrecy and Secret Societies

“The structure of the group is often with the direct view to assurance of keeping certain subjects from general knowledge. This is the case with those peculiar types of secret society whose substance is an esoteric doctrine, a theoretical, mystical, religious gnosis. In this case secrecy is the sociological end-unto-itself.” Simmel, “Sociology of Secrecy,” pg. 476-7.

–Kocku von Stuckrad, “Secrecy as Social Capital,” in Andreas Kilcher, Constructing Tradition, Means and Myths of Transmission in Western Esotericism, 2010, pg. 239-42.

–Georg Simmel, “The Sociology of Secrecy and of Secret Societies,” American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 11, Issue 4 (Jan., 1906), pp. 441-498.

 

Legendary Histories

“The claim had to be substantiated through the construct of a history stretching back to Adam and the very beginning of mankind through a chain of transmitters of the art of geometry, or the Royal Art as it was called by Anderson. This chain of initiates included not only Biblical figures such as Noah and his three sons Japhet, Shem and Ham, Moses (called General Master-Mason and Grand Master), and King Solomon; but also persons like Pythagoras, Euclid, Archimedes, Vitruvius, and Augustus, a history leading from antediluvian times, through antiquity and the middle ages all the way to the eighteenth century. The similarity with philosophia perennis is striking: the legendary history of Freemasonry shares the discourse found in philosophia perennis that the transmitted knowledge represents a continuity of true wisdom through history.”

–Henrik Bogdan, “The Sociology of the Construct of Tradition and Import of Legitimacy in Freemasonry,”  in Andreas Kilcher, Constructing Tradition, Means and Myths of Transmission in Western Esotericism, 2010, pg. 227.

http://books.google.co.th/books/about/Constructing_Tradition.html?id=rs0GkfXNqmwC&redir_esc=y

The Lost Volumes of The Secret Doctrine

There was a third and a fourth volume of Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine, which never made it into print. The third volume was typed by third parties, so it is independently confirmed that it existed. Where is it now? The third volume dealt with the “lives of the great occultists down the ages.” The fourth volume was allegedly “almost entirely written, but likewise went to oblivion instead of to the printer.” Where are its drafts?

Kuhn writes:

“The whole book professes to be a commentary on the Stanzas of Dzyan, which HPB (Helena Petrovna Blavatsky) alleged to be a fragment of Tibetan sacred writings of two types, one cosmological, the other ethical and devotional. The Secret Doctrine elucidates the former section of the Stanzas, and her later work, the Voice of the Silence, the latter. The Stanzas of Dzyan are of great antiquity, she claimed, drawn from the Mani Koumboum, or sacred script of the Dzungarians, in the north of Tibet. She is not sure of their origin, but says she was permitted to memorize them during her residence in the Forbidden Land. They show a close parallel with the Prajna Paramita Sutras of Hindu sacred lore.

There are of course charges that she invented the Stanzas herself or plagiarized them from some source. Max Müller is reported to have said that in this matter she was either a remarkable forger or that she has made the most valuable gift to archeological research in the Orient. She says herself in the Preface:

“These truths are in no sense put forward as a revelation; nor does the author claim the position of a revealer of mystic lore, now made public for the first time in the world’s history. For what is contained in this work is to be found scattered throughout thousands of volumes embodying the scriptures of the great Asiatic and early European religions, hidden under glyph and symbol, and hitherto left unnoticed because of this veil. What is  now attempted is to gather the oldest tenets together and to make of them one harmonious and unbroken whole. The sole advantage which the writer has over her predecessors, is that she need not resort to personal speculation and theories. For this work is a partial statement of she herself has been taught by more advanced students, supplemented in a few details only, by the results of her own study and observation.”

–Alvin Boyd Kuhn,  A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom, pg. 110.

Why Constitute a False God when you have a Real Universe?

“Many old idols must be dethroned, chief of all being that of an anthropomorphized Deity, with its train of debasing superstitions.

“And now,” says K. H., “after making due allowance for evils that are natural and that cannot be avoided . . . 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 whatever 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.

“Ignorance created gods and cunning took advantage of the opportunity. Look at India and look at Christendom and Islam, at Judaism and Fetichism. It is priestly imposture that rendered these Gods so terrible to man; it is religion that makes of him the selfish bigot, the fanatic that hates all mankind outside his own sect without rendering him any better or more moral for it. It is belief in God and Gods that makes two-thirds of humanity the slaves of a handful of those who deceive them under the false pretense of saving them. . . . .

Remember the sum of human misery will never be diminished unto that day when the better portion of humanity destroys in the name of Truth, Morality and universal Charity the altars of their false Gods.”

“Neither our philosophy nor ourselves believe in a God, least of all one whose pronoun necessitates a capital G. . . . Therefore we deny God both as philosophers and as Buddhists. We know there are planetary and other spiritual lives, and we know there is in our system no such thing as God, either personal or impersonal. Parabrahm is not a God, but absolute immutable law, and Ishwar is the effect of Avidya (ignorance) and Maya (illusion), ignorance based on the great delusion. The word “God” was invented to designate the unknown cause of those effects which man has ever admired or dreaded without understanding them, and since we claim–and that we are able to prove what we claim–i.e., the knowledge of that cause and causes, we are in a position to maintain there is no God or Gods behind them.”

“The causes assigned to phenomena by the Mahatmas, he says, are natural, sensible, supernatural, unintelligible, and unknown. The God of the theologians is simply an imaginary power, that has never yet manifested itself to human perception. The cause posited by the Adept is that power whose activities we behold in every phenomenon in the universe. They are pantheists, never agnostics. The Deity they envisage is everywhere present, as well in matter as elsewhere.”

“In other words we believe in Matter alone, in matter as visible nature and matter in its invisibility as the invisible omnipresent omnipotent Proteus with its unceasing motion which is its life, and which nature draws from herself, since she is the great whole outside of which nothing can exist. . . . The existence of matter, then, is a fact; the existence of motion is another fact, their self-existence and eternity or indestructibility is a third fact. And the idea of pure Spirit as a Being or an Existence–give it whatever name you will–is a chimera, a gigantic absurdity.

“Why constitute a false God when you have a real Universe?”

“I do not protest at all, as you seem to think, against your theism, or a belief in abstract ideal of some kind, but I cannot help asking you, how do you or can you know that your God is all-wise, omnipotent and love-ful, when everything in nature, physical and moral, proves such a being, if he does exist, to be quite the reverse of all you say of him? Strange delusion and one which seems to overpower your intellect!

–Alvin Boyd Kuhn,  A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom, pg. 89-90.

Emerson and the Katha Upanishad

“The first stanza of Emerson’s poem “Brahma, Song of the Soul,” runs as follows:

“If the red slayer thinks he slays,

Or if the slain thinks he is slain,

They know not well the subtle ways

I keep, and pass and turn again.”

Could the strange ideas and hardly less strange language of this verse have been drawn elsewhere than from the 19th verse of the Second Valli, of the Katha Upanishad, which reads?:

“If the slayer thinks I slay; of the slain thinks I am slain, then both of them do not know well. It (the soul) does not slay nor is it slain.”

–Alvin Boyd Kuhn,  A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom, pg. 16.

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