Christianity and the Essenes

Thomas

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The following notes are extracted from a work by Cardinal Jean Danielou SJ on early Christianity. He notes that with the discovery of the Qumran Documents, a picture is beginning to emerge of the interaction between the Essene and Christian communities. A great deal of unscholarly speculation has also poured forth, muddying the waters as those in receipt of a little try to make the most senational mileage (and money) from what they have. These notes stay within the bounds of documented speculation.

The Teacher of Righteousness
The best evidence we have is that he lived in the century before Christ. Many have tried to equate the ToR with Christ himself, but examination of the documents states otherwise. Likewise the message of the ToR was strictly orthodox with regard to Jewish prophetic tradition.

We know that the Qumran community were scattered in 70AD, but the contemporary historian Josephus, at one time an Essene himself, provides a detail of interest: that outside of Qumran itself, many Essenes were scattered throughout Palestine.

In AD70 Qumran was destroyed and many Essenes were massacred. The survivors hid their sacred books in the caves, where they have been only recently discovered, but then where did they go? The Essenes had previously been exiled to Damascus around 60BC. It is therefore not improbable that some went to Damascus to look for members of the community who remained there.

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Christ, we can demonstrate conclusively, was not an Essene - and Christianity is not some doctored Essenism, which first and foremost demands an absolute observance of the Law - in one sense the Essenes make the Pharisees look 'lukewarm' and 'lightweight'.

By his words and actions Jesus of Nazareth would have been considered heretical to their strict observance of the Law.

Nor were the first disciples of Christ, in particular the Apostles, Essenes. With the exception of John, who might have had some contact with them before becoming a disciple of John the Baptist, the others came from a totally different social group: Gallileans in the main, they did not belong to priestly families. Among the Jewish groups of that time the one to which they probably belonged was that of the Zealots, Jewish messianists, who to a great extent were recruited among the common people of Gallilee.

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In Acts Six however we learn of a great company of priests who converted. These priests constitute a group known as the 'Hellenists'. Most famous amongst them is the deacon Stephen, the first Christian martyr, who is accorded a long speech in Acts (7:1-53). The phraseology of this speech offers startling similarities with one of the Essenian manuscripts, the Damascus Document. Why 'Hellenist' is uncertain, but some suggest it is because they spoke Greek.

The Church of Antioch established itself with great rapidity, and with a structure of deacon/presbyter/bishop that was to become the norm. I suggest that this Church simply adopted its Essenic structure.

I might also suggest that these Essenes were the first Christian missionaries, opening new territories into which the Apostles would later journey. When Stephen was chosen, Philip was sent to preach in Samaria before Paul's conversion and thus before his mission to the Gentiles.

The Origin of Gnosticism
Simon Magus founded a movement characterized by a rigorous cosmological dualism which assigns the rule of the actual world to an inferior god, the demiurge, and which maintains that the true God will come to deliver those who belong to Him in order to usher them into a new world. His disciples, Satornil and Carpocrates, brought it to Antioch; and his disciple, Basilides, to Alexandria. The doctrine was further developed in Egypt by Valentine and his disciples. This movement was to continue in Manicheism which would make a world religion of it, stretching from Turkestan to North Africa, and which would persist up to the Middle Ages among the Cathari and the Albigenses.

The Qumran scrolls show there was a current within Judaism in which dualism was very marked, since the world was divided between two opposing princes. Simon was the disciple of a certain Dositheus who clearly seems to have been an Essene. Later Simon was to separate from Dositheus in order to establish a new sect, the Heleniens. This term greatly resembles the term Helleniens which, in addition, designated Essenes. It is therefore very possible that gnosticism, through Simon, may be a radical exaggeration of the Essenian dualism, perhaps as a result of Persian influences - and not attributed to the Greeks (who decried it) or to the Egyptians.

(There is also an argument for Persain, Zoroastrian, influence on the development of dualism within 'orthodox Essenism'; and again a tenuous link between Zoroastrianism and Platonism - Plato was an envoy to Perrsia, was enamoured of Persian culture, and perhaps stripped the anthropological element from Zoroastrianism to arrive at a pure philosophy)

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St Paul
We know that Saul of Tarsus was a Pharisee. His thought however presents characteristics that relate it in a most striking way to the Qumran scrolls. Did Paul familiarize himself with Essenism? A logical answer is that after he was 'struck blind' on the road to Damascus, he was taken to the city and introduced to one Ananias, possibly either an Essenian convert, if not one of the original Hellenists. It was here he was instructed in the Christian doctrine. Ananias and others arranged for his escape when the Jews plotted to kill him.

The basis of Paul's faith is purely Christian: it was the risen Christ who revealed Himself to him in Damascus. But it is unquestionable that he presents this faith in a form that frequently recalls Qumran. This is immediately apparent in many expressions, and underlies the nature by which he expresses his 'true' gnosis.

In Paul there is a personal sense of sin, much more marked than in the Old Testament, a sin that is not personal, but primordial. Only God can justify it: "In His justice He will purify me of human contagion" (DST IV, 33). This notion, original in relation to the Old Testament, does not stem from Pharisaism which is based on the works of the Law. Paul therefore must have got it from the doctrine of Qumran.

"But that in the law no man is justified with God, it is manifest: because the just man liveth by faith" (Gal. 3:11).
"But the righteous will live by faith. This refers to all those who observe the Law in the House of Judah which God will spare from Judgment on account of their sufferings and their faith in the Teacher of Righteousness" (VIII, 1-3).

The comparison is striking, but the difference between them blazons forth. In the one case faith is opposed to the Law and in the other it is linked to the Law. Christian faith is in the redemptive action of Christ which fulfills what is impossible for the Law. Essene faith, on the contrary, is faith in how to fulfill the Law.

Another doctrine, indeed the most characteristic of Qumran, also appears in St. Paul in the struggle between the Light and Darkness. Romans 13:12, 2 Corinthians 6:14, "what concord hath Christ with Belial?" this name, which is found only here in the New Testament, was one frequently used at Qumran, as were others.

St John
If the thought of St. Paul shows a commonality with that of Qumran, the Johannine writings show even more. These relationships, however, are to be explained by different reasons. In fact, it seems that John may have had several occasions to know the Essenian group. For one thing he was a disciple of the Baptist and, therefore, could have known the Essenes before becoming a disciple of Jesus. He belonged to the first Christian community in Jerusalem and his contacts with Essenism may, therefore, be explained further by his membership in the original Christian group which we have already discussed. Later he entered into close relations with the Hellenists of Damascus. And finally we shall see that, in Ephesus, he met many Essenian priests who had been driven out of Palestine after 70 A.D.

The similarities between the Qumran scrolls and the Apocalypse seem to be linked to the contacts between John and the Hellenists. They revolve around certain details. One senses, for example, that John is familiar with the Messianic Testimonia of Qumran and especially those of the Damascus Document.

The Sign of the Cross
In the Damascus Document, Ezekiel, 9:4, is cited. This is the text about the mark on the foreheads of the members of the community of Qumran. It is difficult to determine whether this is taken in a figurative sense or whether it corresponds to a rite. Now the same text is cited in the Apocalypse: "Hurt not the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we sign the servants of God on their foreheads" (7:3). After this there follows the celebrated enumeration: "Ex tribu Juda duodecim millia signati." And further it deals with those "who have not the sign of God on their foreheads" (9:4).

Perhaps here we are at the source of a very ancient Christian tradition, namely that of marking the forehead with a cross.

Ezekiel tells us that this sign had the form of a Tau, and we know that at that time Tau was written in the form of a Latin cross, or Saint Andrew's cross. Now among the very ancient Christian rites of Baptism there exists also that of marking the forehead of the catechumen, who is thereby introduced into the company of the people of God. It is very probable that this is the rite of which St. John speaks. But in this case the sign would originally designate the Name of God of which Tau was the expression.

In Hermas, an ancient Christian writer influenced by Essenism, the expression "to be marked by the Name," while we never come upon the expression "marked by the sign of the cross." It would seem, therefore, that later the sign was interpreted as designating the cross, while originally it was a sign of consecration to the Name of God. And we know that in primitive Christianity "the Name of God" was the expression then current for designating the second person of the Trinity. Since then the mark on the forehead, at baptism, designates consecration to Christ. On the other hand its does not seem impossible to me that the name of Christian, given for the first time to the disciples of Christ at Antioch, may be an erroneous interpretation of the sign Tau which was marked on the forehead and which, as we know, may have had the form of the so-called St. Andrew's cross. Because the form of this cross was the same as the Greek X, the Greeks who did not understand the meaning of the sign might have interpreted it as the first letter of Christos.

John again
The Gospel of John is entirely constructed on the theme of the conflict between light and darkness. This is made clear in the very first lines: "In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" ( John 1:4-5). Now this is nothing else but the leitmotif of Qumran.

We could explain it by the similarity of imagery. But there also exist similarities of detail so that many singular expressions whose original background up to now has been sought here and there, in Hellenism, among the Mandeans and the Gnostics, now seem to have found their literary place of origin. This is a discovery of capital importance which shows that the backdrop of John's thought is Jewish - not as many would posit, Hellenistic, nor Gnostic - but Essene, Jewish asceticism.

Let us give some examples of these Essenian atavisms:
"the children of light" ( John 12:36) are mentioned in the Manual of Discipline ( I, 9; III, 24).
"light of life" (John 8:12) Manual of Discipline (III, 7),
"he that walketh in darkness" (John 12:35) Manual of Discipline (III, 21),
"he that doth truth" (John 3:21) Manual of Discipline (III, 21),
"works of God" (John 6:28) Manual of Discipline (IV, 4).

The point here is that Christianity fulfilled the Old Covenant, and fulfilled the Messianic expectation of the Essenes, for 'those who haad they eyes to see'.

Thomas
 
Thank you for posting this, Thomas. I find it all very interesting, especially viewing the Essenes as a common root for Christian culture, Gnosticism, and Manicheism. Wasn't Augustine a Manicheist (?) before converting to Christianity? Some day I will take time to learn more about this.

gotta run!
lunamoth
 
Yes - He was into Mani, and then Platonism, before his conversion.

What is equally interesting is that Philo Judaeus lived in Alexandria from 20 BC to 40 AD and wrote of the 'Therapeutae', Jewish mystical ascetics who lived on the shores of Lake Mareotis in Egypt, and Egypt is where the Essene Teacher of Righteousness is said to have gone.

When the Holy Family took the child into hiding in Egypt, it would be nice to think they found refuge there.

Then we can tie the Desert Fathers (and Mothers) to these pre-Christian mystics, and later (perhaps tie in the Sufis, for the name 'Sufi' has been tied to many etymological sources, but the most widely accepted is it derives from "suf" meaning wool, Moslem ascetics copied the garb of the Desert Fathers.

Thomas
 
I believe the jury is still out regarding the possibility of Jesus of Nazareth having been an Essene. I, for one, maintain that it was so, and I am inclined to believe that his family was an Essene family. Frankly, it does not disturb me in the least that "various authorities" have attempted to demonstrate otherwise. Certainly, they have their agenda.

I also continue to believe, though with room for questioning, that it was Jesus of Nazareth who lived from ~105BC to ~72BC ... and not some other figure, whether Jesus ben Panther, or "The Teacher of Righteousness." I would be interested in hearing more about the latter, however. Having an interest in the Wisdom Tradition, every contributor should be considered.

Peace,

andrew
 
Hi Andrew -

I believe the jury is still out regarding the possibility of Jesus of Nazareth having been an Essene.

I regard Jesus' stance to the Essenes as being the same as his stance with regard to Judaism per se - He is the Fullfillment of the Covenant.

By his words and moreso his actions, however, he cannot be considered a teacher of Essene doctrine - he transgressed against all the rules, and he preached a doctrine of peace and forgiveness. The Essenes were quite a militant order. I think the more evidence comes to light from Qumran, the less Jesus can be considered an Essene.

and I am inclined to believe that his family was an Essene family.
Well, there is no evidence for this, although it appeals to me also. Even so, their association with the Essenes would have been 'peripheral' I think, as the higher ranks of the Essenes were celibate. Jesus, of course, had an extended family. However, much like yourself (I think) I would like to think that the Holy family lived in the Spirit of Truth.

I also think that had he been an Essene he would have chosen his apostles from those ranks. He didn't, which would imply either he was not an Essene, or that the Essenes rejected his message. As the Essenes can be seen to have converted quite readily later, it suggests to me they were unaware of him.

I also continue to believe, though with room for questioning, that it was Jesus of Nazareth who lived from ~105BC to ~72BC ... and not some other figure, whether Jesus ben Panther, or "The Teacher of Righteousness." I would be interested in hearing more about the latter, however.

I would say that the weight of evidence is against the former case. Any argument that can be applied to the veracity of orthodox scripture should apply in this context, and in a fair trial, I believe the orthodox comes through. As a Christian, of course, I would always question the agenda of those who seek to find some other account - and every esoteric school has its own 'version' of the truth. If there were just one alternative, then there might be a case, but there are many, and each as weak as the other.

With regard to the Teacher of Righteousness and Jesus Christ:

Undoubtedly there are certain similarities - both had been persecuted by the high priests but this was the common fate of many prophets. Resemblances in their vocabularies is but a question of expression that reflect the religious idiom of the time.

The Teacher of Righteousness is of the lineage of the priesthood, Jesus is "the Son of David;"
The Teacher of Righteousness avoids all contact with sinners like a contagion, the other, on the contrary, lets them approach Him and welcomes them;
The scrupulous legalism of the Teacher of Righteousness contrasts with the astonishing freedom of Jesus.

"No text," Millar Burrows has written, "allows us to assert that the Teacher of Righteousness be considered as the Messiah."

The Teacher of Righteousness lives in expectation of the Messiah, the fundamental assertion of the New Testament is in Christ who declares that He is the Messiah and that with Him the Kingdom of God has arrived, the Judgment fulfilled, the Resurrection present, and the gates of Heaven opened.

In the second place another fundamental assertion of the New Testament is concerned with the death and the Resurrection of Christ. The good tidings is not that the Messiah is about to arrive, but that Christ is risen.

The Teacher of Righteousness did not suffer a violent death, and it is absolutely certain that it is nowhere claimed that he was resurrected. Moreover, even should it be admitted that he was put to death, it is nowhere asserted that his death had a redemptive value. What matters with the Teacher of Righteousness is his message; with Christ, what matters is His work of salvation.

In the Teacher of Righteousness is his deeply-rooted sense of being a sinner and his desire for purification. One of the most extraordinary characteristics of the person of Jesus Christ is that in Him one never finds the slightest feeling of being a sinner. And this not only in explicit phrases: "Who among you will accuse Me of sin?" but in the very character of His behavior. If, moreover, the sense of sin is the distinctive trait of truly religious figures so that its absence is always suspect, its absence in Jesus, in whom everybody recognizes an incomparable religious quality, is an extraordinary enigma.

Another characteristic of the Teacher of Righteousness is his consciousness of the infinite distance that separates him from God. Nothing else gives his words such a deep religious resonance. Now if there is one point that is certain in the story of Christ it is that He claimed divine prerogatives, not only by His words but by His entire behavior. It was because of such affirmations that He was accused of blasphemy and finally condemned. "Who except God alone can remit sins?" said the Pharisees, thereby testifying that in their eyes the action of Christ remitting sins was equivalent to claiming divine authority, a pretension which, being made by a man, was the greatest crime in the eyes of the Jews.

It is the very opposite of the attitude of the Teacher of Righteousness.

Lastly, not only is the first Christian community centered around the death and resurrection of Christ, as the fundamental event in all history, but it makes Christ the object of its cult by bestowing upon Him the divine title of Kyrios. Now in no wise can we see how the actions or person of the Teacher of Righteousness might have had a similar status in the Essenian community. Philo and Josephus were able to give a complete account of the Essenian doctrine without even mentioning the Teacher of Righteousness. One simply cannot imagine something like this with respect to the Christian faith. Moreover, the very idea of a cult dedicated to the Teacher of Righteousness in Qumran is highly improbable. He is but a prophet honored after his death. He is the support, not the object, of faith.

Thomas
 
I believe the jury is still out regarding the possibility of Jesus of Nazareth having been an Essene.
I saw a program not to long ago which indicated that Nazareth didn't even exist till long after Jesus left the earth... It was one of many questions that hit me during the program, any thoughts here?
 
Hi Will -
The town, set off the major trade routes, would never have amounted to much. It's not mentioned once in the Old Testament, too small to be noted in the list of settlements of the tribe of Zebulon (Joshua 19:10-16). Nor is it listed in the 45 cities of the Galilee by Josephus the historian, nor in the 63 towns of Galilee mentioned in the Talmud. This is probably what led to the idea that it did not exist.

During the Jewish War, Galilee was the center of resistance to Roman authority, and Nazareth and Japhia were both recorded as destroyed in 67AD by the Roman general Titus, for giving aid to Jewish rebels.

Nazareth it seems did not have a good reputation. They were lax in their devotions as determined by the authorities in Jerusalem. This laxity was to one of the objections to Jesus being the possible savior of the Jews (who demonstrated a profound freedom with regard to the law) - hence Nathaniel in John 1:46 "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"

So we know from both Temple and Roman sources there was something there.

I might also add that never has so much contemporary evidence been available to research as there is today - so often such comments are made in the absence of evidence to the contrary. Recently in excavating the foundations of an Israeli prison for a wing extension, they have found the floor of a handsome building decorated with a Christian mosiac which dates very early, which is 'interesting' because it shows a 'rich Christian' from a very early date.

I have also heard, but cannot evidence, thnat there's more 'proof' for the existence of Jesus Christ as an historical figure than there is for Buddha or Mohammed - and more is uncovered each year.

What staggered me was being told by a Theologian that there are documents from the Patristic era (1-7th century) which have yet to be translated, simply for the lack of skills and resources to undertake the task.

Thomas
 
In Rome, in the year 93, Josephus published his lengthy history of the Jews. While discussing the period in which the Jews of Judaea were governed by the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate, Josephus included the following account:

"About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared."
- Jewish Antiquities, 18.3.3 §63

There was long held the view that this was a Christian interpolation into the original text. Recent studies, however, come down in favour of the text being original and from Josephus' hand.

Thomas
 
Hi Andrew

I also continue to believe, though with room for questioning, that it was Jesus of Nazareth who lived from ~105BC to ~72BC ... and not some other figure, whether Jesus ben Panther,

There has been continued discussion of the relation, if any, between Jesus of Nazareth and Yeshua ben Panther/Pandira (100+BC) and Yeshua ben Stada (100AD) and others - complicated by the fact that Jesus was not an uncommon name - but I don't believe any informed authority argues beyond coincidence, and in later cases Rabbinical anti-Christian polemic.

I know that some esoteric schools (as did my own) try to make this point, but realistically they are refuted by Jewish and Moslem as well as secular and Christian sources.

Thomas
 
Thomas said:
In Rome, in the year 93, Josephus published his lengthy history of the Jews. While discussing the period in which the Jews of Judaea were governed by the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate, Josephus included the following account:

"About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared."
- Jewish Antiquities, 18.3.3 §63

There was long held the view that this was a Christian interpolation into the original text. Recent studies, however, come down in favour of the text being original and from Josephus' hand.

Thomas
Then again ... Blavatsky and others counter that, as follows:

"This paragraph (of sixteen lines in the original) has two unequivocal assertions and one qualification. The latter is expressed in the following sentence: "If, at least, it is right to call him a man." The unequivocal assertions are contained in "This is the ANOINTED," and in that Jesus "appeared to them on the third day alive."History shows us Josephus as a thorough, uncompromising, stiff-necked, orthodox Jew, though he wrote for "the Pagans." It is well to observe the false position in which these sentences would have placed a true-born Jew, if they had really emanated from him. Their "Messiah" was then and is still expected. The Messiah is the Anointed, and vice versa. And Josephus is made to admit that the "first men" among them have accused and crucified their Messiah and Anointed!! No need to comment any further upon such a preposterous incongruity (Dr. Lardner rejects it as spurious, and gives nine reasons for rejecting it), even though supported by so ripe a scholar as Renan." [Isis Unveiled, ii. 328]

In this instance, I don't mind letting HPB do my thinking for me, as I'm not well-versed in this area. She, however, was ... as this excerpt from Isis Unveiled shows.

I find another quote from Isis to be of use, qualifying as it does, everything that Josephus will be (made to) utter:

"The [Secret, or Esoteric] doctrine itself being the result of whole millenniums of thought, is therefore the joint property of Adepts of every nation under the sun. Nevertheless, the Zohar teaches practical Occultism more than any other work on that subject; not as it is translated and commented upon by its various critics though, but with the secret signs on its margins. These signs contain the hidden instructions, apart from the metaphysical interpretations and apparent absurdities so fully credited by Josephus, who was never initiated and gave out the dead letter as he had received it. [Isis Unveiled, ii. 350.]

Indeed, the bias is often against esoteric groups, or authors, or anyone who threatens the status quo, maintaining (as the latter does) - a rather delicate and precarious order - but not one, imo, for the better in this day and age. I suppose such thinking makes me a bit of a conspiracy theorist. Acknowledged, and glad to be one. For to me, we aren't dealing with theory, just simple, demonstrable - fact.

Still, Josephus has much historical insight to offer, but so far I prefer the writings of Philo Judaeus a bit more. I hold that Philo's contributions continue unto the present day, having appeared in print shortly after being received in recent decades ... by yet another - of God's Messengers. This progressive revelation - continuing not only since the days of Mohammad .... but unto this very moment, this very day - is part & parcel of God's dialogue with His Children. For if He does not speak to us thus (as well as to each individual, within the hidden chamber of the heart) ... then He does not exist (in my reckoning) at all! :eek:

I guess this takes us a bit away from the Essenes, but I'm not sure if I'm interested in quoting a half dozen researchers and "experts" to counter another set of experts in trying to prove that Christ may have had an Essene background (training & preparation). I maintain, not that he was a "good little Essene," you see - for I'm not sure he fully satisified any group - least of all the Pharisees and Sadducees. That Christ had preparation in an Essene family, is all I suggest ... not that he fulfilled all their (Essenian) expectations and prophecies.

And as I have mentioned on other threads, many ideas about the mysterious background (and missing years) of Jesus of Nazareth may be controversial and challenging for some folks ... but there is ample evidence that they are as tenable as more conventional views - and perhaps far more likely! For instance, the idea that he visited Egypt & was initiated into the Egyptian Mystery Tradition, and that he also visited India & various monasteries of Tibet. These possibilities (and for me, certainties) ... must not be dismissed with a simple brush of the hand - just because they are inconvenient. And even if 90% of the DaVinci Code ends up being inaccurate, at least that kind of writing serves a purpose - in helping us to look at things from a different angle, with fresh insight. So, so .... sorely needed these days.

Namaskar,

andrew
 
Hi Andrew -

In this instance, I don't mind letting HPB do my thinking for me,

Well, you know my opinion of HPB and the pseudo-esoteric milleau from which she, like so many others, sprang.

That Christ had preparation in an Essene family, is all I suggest ... not that he fulfilled all their (Essenian) expectations and prophecies.

Which is in fact no more than I suggested myself - but I am obliged to acknowledge we have nothing but speculation upon which to found it. The point I did make was that 'full' Essenes were celibate - but that he could well have grown up in an Essene 'atmosphere'.

My own view is that, knowing what the Holy Couple knew, I would not be surprised if they sought refuge among mystics who might best be situated to help them (if not him) comprehend the Mystery.

And as I have mentioned on other threads, many ideas about the mysterious background (and missing years) of Jesus of Nazareth may be controversial and challenging for some folks ... but there is ample evidence that they are as tenable as more conventional views - and perhaps far more likely!

Then bring forward your 'ample evidence' and let's see how likely it is.

In my view the most profoundly esoteric notion is that he spent his years experiencing the day to day life of the common humanity among whom he was Incarnate. Jesus did not wear his Incarnation like a cloak, it was a life and death experience as it is humanly lived.

For instance, the idea that he visited Egypt & was initiated into the Egyptian Mystery Tradition, and that he also visited India & various monasteries of Tibet. These possibilities (and for me, certainties) ... must not be dismissed with a simple brush of the hand - just because they are inconvenient.

It is not a matter of inconvenience, but of incongruity.

In the Lucan infancy narrative (and we have ample grounds to speculate that Luke heard the words of the Theotokos herself) we find Simeon and the prophetess Anna both offering prophecy with regard to the child as the expected Messiah - in addition to Zacharias and Elizabeth - all which signify the fact that Christ is the fulfillment of the Jewish expectation and the Judaic Tradition.

Later in his own words "know ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" (2:49) testify to the fact.

Again, all this falls under the HPB mantle. And might I add that alongside India, Egypt, Albion, Persia, Tibet as places of instruction, equally 'informed' sources also offer Dolphins and Beings from various stellar nebulae as the source of his wisdom. Then we must factor that he lived 100 years prior to the common date, or 100 after it, that he never lived at all but is a myth, that he is an amalgam of myth, that he is the same being as various other personalities, but real and mythological, and that he was simply deluded.

And they all claim 'proofs' for these possibilities.

If I accept one, then I am obliged to accept them all; or I say 'show me the evidence'.

And even if 90% of the DaVinci Code ends up being inaccurate, at least that kind of writing serves a purpose - in helping us to look at things from a different angle, with fresh insight.
based entirely upon fantasy. Fantasy is not a fresh insight, it is a delusion. That kind of writing serves only one purpose, its intended purpose, to line the pocket of the author. If you look at crit. lit. lists you will see that he wrote the same novel 4 times, once around a computer conspiracy, then again around a medical conspiracy, then again around business (I think) and then again around religion ... and jackpot!

So, so .... sorely needed these days.
I disagree. I think a reality check is what is required.

I would, however, recommend Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose, Focault's Pendulum, the Island of the Day Before - but then he is not an easy read.

Thomas
 
Thomas said:
Well, you know my opinion of HPB and the pseudo-esoteric milleau from which she, like so many others, sprang.
I'm afraid, as I read into [size=-1]Guénon ... that I have tracked down part of the strong bias against Blavatsky (and Theosophical esotericism) to which I refer. I am only saddened[/size] that the experiences of this man so embittered him to what otherwise might have been a Wellspring of Wisdom. Alas, he turned away too soon, as do so many. I am not an astrologer, yet I feel confident that a thorough study of his chart (from an esoteric angle) would reveal the cause (for his choices, and experiences). Let me emphasize my point by borrowing a few lines from Alexander Pope:
A little learning is a dangerous thing ;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring :
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.​
Andrew said:
And as I have mentioned on other threads, many ideas about the mysterious background (and missing years) of Jesus of Nazareth may be controversial and challenging for some folks ... but there is ample evidence that they are as tenable as more conventional views - and perhaps far more likely!
Thomas said:
Then bring forward your 'ample evidence' and let's see how likely it is.

In my view the most profoundly esoteric notion is that he spent his years experiencing the day to day life of the common humanity among whom he was Incarnate. Jesus did not wear his Incarnation like a cloak, it was a life and death experience as it is humanly lived.
First, I would refer you to these two recent posts from the Catholicism, Ecumenism & Salvation thread:

http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/showthread.php?p=53977#post53977

http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/showthread.php?p=53986#post53986

Here, I mention works such as those of Nicholas Notovich (The Unknown Life of Jesus), though I understand there are a handful of individuals who have also witnessed the records in Tibetan monasteries firsthand. There is Swami Abhedenanda, whose book, Kashmir O Tibetti, details his visit to the Himis convent (source of Notovich's manuscript), and includes a Bengali translation of 224 verses closely agreeing with Notovitch's.[size=+1]
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But the most satisfactory confirmation for me comes from the journals and writings of Nicholas Roerich. I cannot post here, due to space constraints and forum rules, a lengthy entry that Roerich made into his journal, but the entire 2nd half of the following webpage is of profound interest ... and speaks plainly to those - with eyes and ears. Please visit.

Also, my second post (linked above), includes a direct quotation from the book, Vision of the Nazarene, which I have mentioned many times on these forums. I almost hesitate, at this point, since it might seem I have some kind of obsession with this writing. Perhaps it is so, since I hold it as the words of Jesus himself - not 2000 years ago, twisted & mistranslated (by knaves, to make traps for fools) ... but less than a century ago, and recorded by an English-speaking man, who had no agenda of his own (indeed, he published anonymously, desiring no recognition for his service, and no following of all-too-eager devotees). At any rate, in the quote in that post, the Syrian Master speaks of records that would not be discovered for several years, and I think it is likely that his reference is to the Dead Sea Scrolls. It almost seems obvious, and indeed - they still puzzle the "experts." Yet in time, if only after the Reappearance, Truth will out!

Andrew said:
For instance, the idea that he visited Egypt & was initiated into the Egyptian Mystery Tradition, and that he also visited India & various monasteries of Tibet. These possibilities (and for me, certainties) ... must not be dismissed with a simple brush of the hand - just because they are inconvenient.
Thomas said:
It is not a matter of inconvenience, but of incongruity.

In the Lucan infancy narrative (and we have ample grounds to speculate that Luke heard the words of the Theotokos herself) we find Simeon and the prophetess Anna both offering prophecy with regard to the child as the expected Messiah - in addition to Zacharias and Elizabeth - all which signify the fact that Christ is the fulfillment of the Jewish expectation and the Judaic Tradition.

Later in his own words "know ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" (2:49) testify to the fact.
Incongruity? Beg pardon? Where have I suggested that Christ is not the Messiah? It is not with this simple statement of fact (apologies, statement of fact regarding my own faith & belief) that I have issue, nor with the holding of such a belief by Christians almost universally and worldwide. Rather, it is the "members only club" mentality - the exclusivity and resulting separativeness - with which I take issue.

What I question is not that Jeshua ben Josef chose an incarnation among the Jewish people, in order to serve as the vessel of the Christ ... thereby enacting the Will of the Father, as every Christian will likely concur. I simply believe that the Drama being enacted is more basic, more essential, and more universal than simply pertaining to one small segment of Humanity. To me, "God's People" are all people ... and I believe that any argument (however well-intentioned) that sets out to prove this assertion wrong - is ill-founded (because born of the wrong motive) from the outset.

Thus, Ecumenism means everything to me, and demonstrating that Christ came not simply to the chosen few ... but to all of Humanity - is paramount. But I need not delve far, since I almost take is as a given that any sincere pursuit of the Truth of this matter ... will meet with the reward promised by the Master.

And that answer, once given - is not of the nature to shut out, or exclude other religions, worldviews, and approaches to Divinity ... but rather, it seeks to include, and to synthesize. To suggest that the answer is itself whole - is a dangerous assertion, imo. For to utter this, you would need be in possession of the Highest Secrets, of the Innermost Mysteries, which is akin to saying, as did Christ, "I and my Father are ONE." CHRIST was able thus to utter, and - I am convinced (nay, certain) - so have been others before and since. Yet unless I am mistaken, none of us on this forum ... have yet attained to those Higher Realizations. We may each claim our own faith, and we may even differ on details (more than semantics, yes, I realize). But we are, none of us as yet, Enlightened.

What Christ taught, and showed to us through his actions - living and moving as he did, among the sick & poor - is that within each of us dwells the Divine Spirit (the ONE, the Father). Christ showed us how to cultivate this spirit, and He demonstrated (in his own Person) what the Fullness of such a state looks like (a state of At-One-Ment with God, or "the Kingdom of God," as He put it). He told us that we, too, would attain to such a state, though to do so would not be easy (nor, indeed, expected of us in but one sojourn upon this earth). And I believe Christ gave us a method - by which each & every one of us might achieve our Purpose, and progress spiritually toward the goal (and Greater Purpose) for which Our Heavenly Father .... is Himself incarnate - upon, and within, this planet ("For in Him we live, and move, and have our being").

Now not all of what Christ taught, even among the masses, was easy to hear - for he taught the Truth. Yet, not everyone understands the same way, even within a small village, let alone the busy streets of the Roman Empire. And Christ knew that His words would reach far & wide - for as I say, He came to the World, and not just to Galilee. So He made every effort to speak intelligibly to a world which, as some might agree, often misses what really matters most. Thus he chose parables, which he also explained.

But Christ taught in secret, and this we know because it is thus stated in the Gospels. He taught much in this way, to his disciples, preparing them to go forth and likewise share Wisdom, Light & Love with the whole world. He certainly knew that the Apostles would make mistakes - as they did even when He was immediately present. But he also gave clear instructions to his Apostles that certain teachings should not be revealed ... simply because the masses were not ready. I sympathize with the Christian who feels that somehow s/he is missing out - as indeed, I have noticed that some people become terrified if they think a secret is being kept from them - and it is a shame that this is how the esoteric Wisdom has often been treated. For this, I do largely look to the church as an institution - for verily, there has always been a status quo to be kept, even from the days when Christ still moved openly among us. But the secrets kept are those which guard and guarantee our lives, our greatest of spiritual values, and even, I would suggest, our very existence. That forces inimical to our spiritual (or other) well-being exist, I do not doubt (and know from experience), but it is precisely these forces which would have us believe that there are no secrets. There had better be - or we're all in for a nasty surprise.

Thomas said:
Again, all this falls under the HPB mantle.
If I cannot remove your bias against HPB (and just how much of Isis have you read, I might ask? or of the SD?) ... then I will gladly hold up the writings of a dozen or more other authors, plenty of whom even disagreed with various of HPB's teachings & assertions ... yet each of whom also fully embodies (to the best of that individual's earthly capacity) the Aquarian Spirit of Service - which qualified HPB's life from start to finish.

Such Service, as its outstanding characteristic or quality, will invariably be found to be utterly selfless ... as it is rendered out of a true love for all that lives & moves, without bias - and without asking anything for itself. To live thus, and no more, is precisely what Christ asked of us. I do not assert that any of these Servers were perfect (least of all HPB!) ... but in my experience, I do find that each was a perfect Christian (follower of the Good Law). And what does it matter - if one is scorned by the small-minded, slandered and maligned. Thus was Christ treated, and likewise, His Messengers.

Thomas said:
(DaVinci Code)
Thomas said:
based entirely upon fantasy. Fantasy is not a fresh insight, it is a delusion. That kind of writing serves only one purpose, its intended purpose, to line the pocket of the author.
Not so! Even if the author's intent was thus, do we not say ... The Lord works in mysterious ways? Then truly, if but mostly bunk - and if but to line his pocket's - still, Dan Brown's contribution will play its part. The discussions it has sparked, the fresh investigation & inquiry into matters where the experts have been so hasty to pronounce case closed (!) ... are worth far more than the errors, the fantasies, even the wrong motives of the author. I do not justify his motives, I simply suggest that the Divine Design has a place within it ... even for fluff!

Andrew said:
So, so .... sorely needed these days.
Thomas said:
I disagree. I think a reality check is what is required.
Last time I checked, what we cling to as "reality" ... is just a tiny portion of THAT WHICH IS (or His varying means, modes, & methods of expression). Once upon a time, our world was flat. And it was the center of Cosmos, and we were alone here on this ball of dirt. And the human race was splintered & fractured - like a mosaic, whose pieces are scattered in disarray. Now what is clever, is that I did not consciously insert the deeper meaning into what I just wrote. But it is there. And it is very telling ... as I look back upon that sentence.

And so I can close by saying that - the pieces are coming together. There is a broom, sweeping clean the floor ... and in that since, something may be lost. But that is not our focus. And my intent, is only to acknowledge Who holds the broom, and Whose House - we have entered. (Again, a subtlety.) There is a Peace ...

Thomas said:
I would, however, recommend Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose, Focault's Pendulum, the Island of the Day Before - but then he is not an easy read.
Eco ... eh - didn't like him. Focault's Pendulum was interesting, good fiction. But I'm afraid this student of the Kabbalah ... is still working on Torah.

Shalom,

Andreas
 
Thomas said:
And might I add that alongside India, Egypt, Albion, Persia, Tibet as places of instruction, equally 'informed' sources also offer Dolphins and Beings from various stellar nebulae as the source of his wisdom. Then we must factor that he lived 100 years prior to the common date, or 100 after it, that he never lived at all but is a myth, that he is an amalgam of myth, that he is the same being as various other personalities, but real and mythological, and that he was simply deluded.

And they all claim 'proofs' for these possibilities.

If I accept one, then I am obliged to accept them all; or I say 'show me the evidence'.
A bit more on topic, I wanted to address this part of your last post separately. Yes, I do think that Jesus visited Egypt, possibly even bringing his disciples with him. Else they certainly traveled there with him in the Subtle World. Egypt was already a vastly ancient center of Initiation, and the occult focus of the Adept Hierarchy (until its relocation to the Himalayas, more recently).

The British Isles, I do not know, though I believe juantoo has an interest there. I have run across the statement (made by David Anrias) that the Christ now holds the etheric body of St. Patrick ... which suggests that he may well have overshadowed the latter in much the same way as he did the Syrian Initiate. Personally, this line of inquiry greatly appeals, and I become more & more fascinated just pondering it ...

Persia and the farther East? I feel certain that Jesus traveled thus, and have provided ample enough evidence to corroborate my position. He taught the Brahmins and the sadhus of India, and became as unpopular among the priesthood there ... as with the Sanhedrin of Palestine. Yet he also was as beloved by the common folk, and was equally recognized as the vessel of the Christ - being prepared, day by day, for his upcoming greater responsibilities.

And with all this, I agree - only a carefully orchestrated background, and the most spritually nurturing of environments ... could have prepared him for the trials of his later life. While I look to the Essenes and Therapeutae as providing much of this preparation, it was also certainly his "experiencing the day to day life of the common humanity among whom he was Incarnate" ... which provided him the opportunity to work out God's Plan for & upon this Earth. It is, after all, in the doing (as each of us is bound to discover).

Certainly we emanate (traveled from, or were spritually born within) the Pleiades. Humanity's history, as that of any planet, will trace itself back to Cosmic Centres ... if we reach far enough. And the Pleiades are the source of everything we know of as the material worlds (under governance of the 3rd Aspect). Sirius, on the other hand, is the destiny of the majority of Humanity, we are told. It is also the overshadowing source of Love-Wisdom that mirrors, in Cosmic scale, our tiny Earth Hierarchy (or `Christ and His Church'). Thus, Sirius is for us the Cosmic Christ - and the great Star of Initiation, which the Egyptians knew (as Sothis). The Sirian Logos, we are told, stands far, far in advance of our own Solar Logos ... perhaps as far as our own Logos stands as regards our Humanity.

But what is all of this? It is a Cosmology, esoteric and Sacred, which none of us can as yet verify; nor can we disprove it. Thus, if choose to study such teachings, we must simply consider these ideas as possibilities - and yet, within just such a framework I have seen much that I have always held dear fit into greater (and more meaningful) perspective. Take, for example, the Seven Rishis of Ursa Major. These, we are told, emanate ALL that we experience of the Seven Cosmic Rays. Now every Christian who has read Revelation is familiar with these, referenced there as the Seven Spirits before the Throne. And yet, such a phrase also relates to the tiny, microcosmic reflection of these great Cosmic energies - the Seven ArchAngels, or Sacred Planets. They are the Seven Prajapatis, the Amshaspends, the Elohim, the Mind-born Sons of Brahma, the Dhyani Chohans ... and are known in every esoteric tradition (with its exoteric reflection, or outward religion).

I find that the Ageless Wisdom helps to frame all of this, since otherwise, any single effort to arrive at greater understanding will become limited, sooner or later - by the very vehicle being used to convey this Wisdom. This does not mean that Esoteric Buddhism, and its outward reflection as the various Buddhist traditions, for example, isn't complete unto itself, or that it doesn't serve a purpose. And likewise as we turn to any faith or tradition (and its esoteric complement). It just means that God's Truth, His Love, and His Wisdom is all-encompassing ... and therefore, we could not possibly have already received the fullness of His ever-unfolding Revelation to us.

And to me, this is part of the Beauty, and Joy, of being alive! It is knowing (or at least, remaining very confident) that I don't have all the answers, I don't fully understand the Mysteries of Being ... and really I don't even have much of a clue - except that the more I seem to think I glimpse (bringing added Joy, Wonder, and Awe) ... the more I realize how small I really am, and how teeny, teeny, tiny a part of IT ... we are!

Yet, am I thus diminished by realizing that the Cosmic Christ has other planets, and Humanities which are as vastly evolved beyond our own ... as we are beyond an ant colony? :) No! I am simply intrigued, and even more mystified, and even deeply reassured - that no matter how mucked up ... things get, on this little planet of ours, we have a place - in the Greater Scheme.

This scheme, evolution as 't has been laid out within, and for, our Solar System ... can be studied. It has been presented, many times over. Even lost to this world of ours, by ancient civilizations - more times than we can count. And this says nothing of prior rounds, and schemes that are (best left) buried in the dark night of time. We forget for a reason, and right now it is our Blessing that we are allowed to focus almost entirely upon the present day, and the need of the hour.

I do not doubt that dolphins are beautifully intelligent, and wondrously playful creatures. They symbolize something to us - which I would encourage anyone skeptical to investigate ... open-mindedly. ;) But I may not believe that they dictate cosmic wisdom to us as our space brothers, or what-have-you, just as I do not swallow whole the various channelled writings of 98% of the New Age community. These, also, I feel certain - serve their role, and have their place. But we are asked to discriminate, in the spiritual sense, as we pursue our spiritual quest. And not without reason did Christ send forth his disciples with the injunction: Be ye, therefore, wise, as serpents, and harmless, as doves. These Dragons of the Wisdom, with Christ as their head, are with us as always. This, from my experience, I have found to be true.

Once I viewed the idea of interaction with other human evolutions (even within our own system, let alone others) with the utmost of intrigue, and perhaps uneasiness - even suspicion (or apprehension). But the more I've learned of our (American) government's cover-ups, and continued deceiving of the populace (fearing the reaction of religious conservatives, and the general panic of the unprepared masses) ... the more I've gained perspective. Of course we've been visited, and almost certainly assisted, in the building of our civilizations (not to mention various monuments). Why should this be the least bit strange? The Amish help each other with barn-raisings all the time. It is the neighborly thing to do. Alas, we often preach much of the Christian message, yet living - in today's society, in many of our large cities - as Christ advocated 2000 years ago ... would certainly lead to an early demise. Or is it - just that, times have changed, and we have failed to adapt our spiritual wisdom ... to the need of the hour.

Alas, we leave the same old stones - unturned. And I would turn them. But only because I have been shown, although certainly, I was also shown - order, pattern, purpose ... and so often we forget that a greater Will is at work. We perhaps counter it, more often than we realize - though here, I can only speak of myself for certain. We must learn not only to get "out of the way," but also when and how to get In the Way. Taoist Wisdom, Buddhist (Zen) Masters, Christian koans.

I will eventually have to sleep, but we've all occasionally noticed how lucidity can manifest after deprivation. Perhaps the rest is best left to a journal entry. I do hope I've made some sense, though ... After all, even a stone speaks to a wise man. Or to be a bit less vague, remember the Buddha's Flower Sermon. Christ, also, gave similar discourses.

In Love & Light,

andrew
 
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Matthew 7:18

I'm afraid, as I read into Guénon ... that I have tracked down part of the strong bias against Blavatsky (and Theosophical esotericism) to which I refer. I am only saddened that the experiences of this man so embittered him to what otherwise might have been a Wellspring of Wisdom.

OK - then let me quote this from your 'wellspring of wisdom':

H P Blavatsky:
"Our goal is not to restore Hinduism, but to sweep Christianity from the surface of the earth"
Published in "The Medium and Daybreak" London, January 1893, p23.

Annie Besant:
it is necessary "above all to combat Rome and her priests, fight against Christianity all over the world, and chase God out of Heaven."
Closing speech at the Congress of Free-Thinkers, Brussels, September 1880.

I reject the claims of Theosophical Society as fraudulent in every degree - and none moreso than their purported ecumenism which seeks to turn the seeker away from every authentic tradition, and towards its own service.

It is indeed a pseudo-religion, with everything the term implies.

Alas, he turned away too soon, as do so many.
Nice try, but nonsense.

Guénon's presentation of a traditional metaphysics is widely acknowledged as beyond compare by almost every authentic spiritual tradition. No-one has ever accused him of any order of deception or manipulation, fraud or confabulation.

He was a near contemporary of HBP, and a student of 'Papus' who introduced Theosophy to France, and was well versed in the European esoteric scene that centered on Paris, and the Theosophical Society, as well as Freemasonry. His critique of Theosophy, set against the background of the esoteric currents of the day, has no match, and his disclosure of the fraudulence of its esoteric and ecumenical foundation is unequalled - basically because he knows in depth the principles by which esoterism operates, and he knew at first hand many who sought to subvert the truth towards theirt own glorification, and was unforgiving in his exposure of the falsehoods and fallacies of those he saw had a secret agenda to lead honest seekers away from truth into error.

I apologise for my tone, but the time has come to draw a line in this discussion. Your appeal to ecumenism, counched in a way to stir the sentiments of the reader, is fundamentally dishonest if you wish to call yourself an esoterist. There is nothing ecumenical about Theosophy or Blavatsky, who's presentation of the truth is nothing but an attack on those very traditions that have carried those truths through the centuries.

If you want me to list the proven cases of deception, I shall. Let us start with the 'Letters from the Mahatmas' - when investigated by the Society for Psychic Research:
"That not only was the evidence insufficient to establish the genuineness of the alleged marvels, but that evidence furnished partly by my own inspection and partly by a large number of witnesses, most of them Theosophists, concerning the structure, position and environment of the Shrine, concerning "Mahatma" communications received independently of the Shrine and concerning various other incidents, including many of the phenomena mentioned in the Occult World, besides the numerous additional suspicious circumstances which I have noted in the course of dealing in detail with the cases considered, renders the conclusion unavoidable that the phenomena in question were actually due to fraudulent arrangement."

Later testimonies included admissions of fraudulent practice by those in support of HPB that today read as laughable, were they not so tragic.

---

Nicholas Notovich (The Unknown Life of Jesus), though I understand there are a handful of individuals who have also witnessed the records in Tibetan monasteries firsthand. There is Swami Abhedenanda, whose book, Kashmir O Tibetti, details his visit to the Himis convent (source of Notovich's manuscript), and includes a Bengali translation of 224 verses closely agreeing with Notovitch's.
A proven fraud.
http://sociologyesoscience.com/esoterica/fantspy.html

Vision of the Nazarene, which I have mentioned many times on these forums ... since I hold it as the words of Jesus himself - not 2000 years ago, twisted & mistranslated (by knaves, to make traps for fools) ... but less than a century ago, and recorded by an English-speaking man, who had no agenda of his own
A member of the Theosophical Society.

Please, Andrew, let this stop.

Thomas
 
Thomas said:
OK - then let me quote this from your 'wellspring of wisdom':

H P Blavatsky:
"Our goal is not to restore Hinduism, but to sweep Christianity from the surface of the earth"
Published in "The Medium and Daybreak" London, January 1893, p23.

Annie Besant:
it is necessary "above all to combat Rome and her priests, fight against Christianity all over the world, and chase God out of Heaven."
Closing speech at the Congress of Free-Thinkers, Brussels, September 1880.
Allow me to return the favor, and quote Carl Sagan on Hypatia:
"The last scientist who worked in the [Alexandrian] Library was a mathematician, astronomer, physicist and the head of the Neoplatonic school of philosophy--an extraordinary range of accomplishments for any individual in any age. Her name was Hypatia. She was born in Alexandria in 370. At a time when women had few options, and were treated as property, Hypatia moved freely and unselfconsciously through traditional male domains. By all accounts she was a great beauty. She had many suitors but rejected all offers of marriage. The Alexandria of Hypatia's time--by then long under Roman rule--was a city under grave strain. Slavery had sapped classical civilization of its vitality. The growing Christian Church was consolidating its power and attempting to eradicate pagan influence and culture. Hypatia stood at the epicenter of these mighty social forces. Cyril, the Archbishop of Alexandria, despised her because of her close friendship with the Roman govenor, and because she was a symbol of learning and science, which were largely identified by the early Church with paganism. In great personal danger, she continued to teach and publish, until, in the year 415, on her way to work she was set upon by a fanatical mob of Cyril's parishoners. They dragged her from her chariot, tore off her clothes, and, armed with abalone shells, flayed her flesh from her bones. Her remains were burned, her works obliterated, her name forgotten. Cyril was made a saint." (emphais mine)
Would that this kind of thing were more rare in christian history, or that it did not continue into our present day, when thousands KILL in the name of this "God of Love." But alas, it is not so.

My friend, if HPB set forth to eradicate this kind of Christianity ... which I prefer to call churchianity (and worse) ... from the face of the Earth, then it is but further proof that she was doing mankind a favor. Indeed, this is the devil's scourge, visited upon us since even before the Good Master took his leave. As a popular bumper sticker indicates, "God, save me from your followers!!!"

Now, I do my utmost to see the light amidst the darkness, and despite Christianity's failings, I hold to the G.K. Chesterton philosophy. Truly, Christianity as such has not yet been tried ... but when, if ever, it finally is - then I am confident we shall all meet with the deliverance - individual and planetary - which we have been promised. Until then, I laud the efforts of those such as HPB and Annie Besant, who were champions of the Christ and His Work toward Reappearance in days gone by - and who paved the way for the imminent return of the same in days to come.

Annie Besant, it is true, was an avowed atheist before her conversion, as it were, to Theosophy. I, myself, have read works such as that from which you quote ... from early in her career - and would have been appalled, myself - did I not have the spirit of charity and understanding within my heart. For, I know not to judge a man (or a woman) and his worth - based on isolated incidents alone, or upon the mistakes that any of us is prone to make from time to time. Besant, after all, held up Krishnamurti as the World Teacher - long after the World Teacher Himself had been forced to abandon his vehicle and erstwhile student. Yet in ways, this was a loyalty of hers, and an understanding reluctance to toss in the towel, given the long years, and hard work of preparation ... that had gone into the failed venture, not to mention her respect for Jiddu K.

I am a bit perturbed that you would draw from Besant's pre-Theosophical days in hoping to demonstrate that her spirit was anti-Ecumenical, and anti-Christian. Let us remember, Thomas, that the meaning of Theosophical ... is `Wisdom of God' - just as theology is concerned with God's study. And true Theosophy, just as true Christianity, predates Blavasky by many, many centuries. Yes, many Christians might find it strange that Christ was KNOWN to Humanity long before Jesus of Nazareth ever walked the earth ... but if this is too much for the profane, then better to keep to the common fold. I do not suggest that Esotericism is meant for everyone, for was it not said, "Many will be called, but few will be chosen."

Thomas said:
I reject the claims of Theosophical Society as fraudulent in every degree - and none moreso than their purported ecumenism which seeks to turn the seeker away from every authentic tradition, and towards its own service.

It is indeed a pseudo-religion, with everything the term implies.
Let us approach it thus: I believe you have found - what is for you - an authentic path. But is so only for you, and perhaps also shared by your various companions. Tell me why now - why is it ... that I can accept that you walk the path that is meant for you, and I can say this without condescension, for truly in my heart I believe your path to be as valid as mine (!) ... yet I can challenge you to state likewise, and already know - that you cannot utter the same?

I would ask you to think on that. I do not mean to be personal, for your path is yours. But I challenge anyone who must define himself, or his own spiritual standing, by setting himself apart - from others. In ANY form, or fashion. I am certainly guilty of the same, and I admit it freely. But I seek consciously to include, and not to exclude, save where the chaff can clearly be shown as divisive and separative in spirit. For Christ WAS a man about Ecumenism ... and frankly, I am mystified that you will not see me on the level in making such a statement. It would be well to leave HPB and the entire (modern) Theosophical movement out of this ... for I can easily reference any number of eminent scholars and theologians of the early Christian Era who equally demonstrated this spirit of UNITY - predating, coincident with, and post-dating early Christianity. Yes, let the elitism stop. I do agree with your closing sentiment .... (but I think the `Fathers' might not!)

As for Guenon, I should only prefer to see the great good in what he did, the service(s) he rendered, and the unquestionable contributions that he made in his field - and in the spirit of Ecumenism. I would remind you that, as Wikipedia presents it, "Guénon championed the validity of other religions as vehicles of the one same Truth, though designed for the acceptance of different cultures." This is certainly what Blavatsky did, and I say again, your bias shows your ignorance ... of her true mission, as well the methods that she was required to employ ... often to defeat her very adversaries - in the Church, in the genuinely dark schools of the hidden arts ... and from the ignorance of the majority of those around her. She spoke in blinds, and in riddles, and made no effort to hide this fact - but rather, she cautioned her students to seek out the Truth to which she could but point. I feel confident that, with study and patience, I could see the good in what Guenon sought out to accomplish (even if I may disagree on various points). Can you do the same for HPB? Christian. Indeed? This is not how I recall the Good Master advocating "charity" (read - Love, or Agape).

Thomas said:
I apologise for my tone, but the time has come to draw a line in this discussion. Your appeal to ecumenism, couched in a way to stir the sentiments of the reader, is fundamentally dishonest if you wish to call yourself an esoterist. There is nothing ecumenical about Theosophy or Blavatsky, who's presentation of the truth is nothing but an attack on those very traditions that have carried those truths through the centuries.
No no, if you would draw the line, draw it between your knowlege and your ignorance. I admit my lack of knowledge and expertise with regard to scholars such as Guenon ... or even in areas such as the familiar opinions concerning the Essenes. Really I do not know what the experts think. But I am curious to learn, and open to new ideas regarding the possible relationship between Jesus and this mystical community.

Now I must simply insist that you do likewise. You really do not know much about HPB, save what has come to you through biased sources ... and I see that you would be as willing to believe the hearsay (gossip) and petty character attacks as those who launched them in HPB's own day! This is unacceptable. I do not think this thread is the proper place for such a debate, but it is extremely discourteous and UN-Christian of you - to be a party to the slander of one who served the Christ as did His own Apostles, and who KNEW THE MAN from firsthand meeting. Dear Friend, I can vouch for this from certainty. I think the Ray energies involved here - not to mention karma (or tradition), and the various Forces at work here ... are against us. I fear that anything I might have to say now would but entrench you deeper within your choice of opinions ... and I can but accept full responsibility for the lack of tact in trying to appeal to your Reason. Indeed, Faith is exempt, I'm afraid, and I can go no further ... even if I desired.

The bias was there to begin with, I realized. I am just disappointed that I could not help to lift the veil. You are a strong, and influential thinker, and I think I have done you a disservice by failing to appreciate, respect, and accept ... a background (!) that all but necessitates that you see things thus.

Thomas said:
If you want me to list the proven cases of deception, I shall. Let us start with the 'Letters from the Mahatmas' - when investigated by the Society for Psychic Research:
concerning "Mahatma" communications ... renders the conclusion unavoidable that the phenomena in question were actually due to fraudulent arrangement."

Later testimonies included admissions of fraudulent practice by those in support of HPB that today read as laughable, were they not so tragic.
If you so wished, you yourself could meet the same Mahatmas that Blavatsky met, lived with (or near, briefly), spoke with regularly, wrote for (as their amanuensis), and Served gladly and unfailingly to the last - since such Service rendered was also a direct service both to Christ, and to Humanity.

These Mahatmas have been contacted by every sincere student of Esotericism who has bothered to take the Inward Journey and follow this Path long enough - to meet with its natural result. Many a student has even met his master (inwardly, if not in person) - and essentially known the Master as such - yet has then come upon the difficulties that result from a hastened spiritual evolution ... and sadly, turned away from the challenge (until another lifetime & opportunity, not indefinitely). Few, perhaps, are those Messengers as yet - in this New Era - who have been apportioned the task of delivering the New Covenant, or providing the next chapter in Progressive Spiritual Revelation. Yet such Messengers exist, into the present day, and can likewise be found, if one sets aside bias ... and can abandon the forgone conclusions of those who too hastily have judged what they could not understand.

I will let this drop - because if pursued, it would not be conducive to further discourse. We are at an impasse, and as I said before, I can but bow, and Salute ... and - even knowing that we serve the same Cause - depart in Silence.

I will not further attempt to vindicate one whom in your eyes, has already been judged, and found wanting. The True Sight I must leave - up to you and your Maker.

---

Thomas said:
Please, Andrew, let this stop.
The elitism will, and must, stop. I can best play my part by tossing in a wrench, occasionally, when the machinery (and machinations) of any given Establishment become unbearable and oppressive. And despite the Light of Dawn (Golden, if this meaning is lost ... thanks to those you should be going after on your witch hunt) ... it remains the case that the darkness of ignorance still enthralls. Truly, a few words of Wisdom, cleverly placed, are enough to topple even the tallest Tower of Lies - for we know that its foundation is not sound.

Shall you silence Truth? No. Not even her Messengers. I have failed to point the way. Perhaps I will focus more on walking it.

Namaskar,

protokletos
 
Let us approach it thus: I believe you have found - what is for you - an authentic path. But is so only for you, and perhaps also shared by your various companions.
Two billion-odd Christians at the last count. Then there are the Jews, Moslems, Buddhists, Hindus ... ... ...

Tell me why now - why is it ... that I can accept that you walk the path that is meant for you, and I can say this without condescension, for truly in my heart I believe your path to be as valid as mine (!) ...
No you don't. Don't try and kid a kidder.

yet I can challenge you to state likewise, and already know - that you cannot utter the same?
No I will not, because theosophy is not an authentic path. Authenticity or validity of a Way lies with God who reveals it, not with your 'mahatmas' - especially when the evidence of the mahatmas, altong with every other theosphical society authority - has been demonstrably proven to be fraudulent.

Thomas
 
Just to clarify for any who might be following this -

I regard as 'authentic' and thereby 'valid' any 'Way' that can demonstrate a Revelation as its foundation (be it in the form of a text or a person) for within the context of revelation not only is there a disclosure of the Divine Nature (as it appears to man) but more importantly a promise of Union, and crucially a means and a method by which one might attain to such a union.

I regard as 'invalid' (to say the least) any 'Way' that seeks to deceive and thus divert the seeker away from the Revealed Ways which He has shown to all men at all times.

Thomas
 
Then Thomas .... by your own definition ... I must only conclude, that with some notable and noteworthy exceptions ... your precious Roman Catholic Church ....

... IS NOT a valid path of approach to Truth & Wisdom. Deity, perhaps, yes - and in that sense, the former (since these are essentially indistinguishable). But acording to your definition of "valid" and "authentic," a sincere seeker should clearly look elsewhere.

I believe, that given the history & track record of the severe blasphemies, the vile murders, the Inquisition - continuing as it does to the present day, the widespread pedophilia (almost a rule, rather than an exception), the clear absue of authority, the ridiculous & absurd blind obedience to Papal dictate which in many cases has led to reprehensible results ... the list goes on and on .... and these are just off the top of my head at the moment ...

... amidst all of this, I almost find it a miracle - (yes, this is the word I think I intend) - a miracle ... than even to this day, the Chohans, and Masters (Ascended, verily - but what would you know of that?) ... remain behind the scenes in the RCC, pouring their loving influence through its several true Christian adherents (among whom, at the moment, I almost cannot imagine counting myself).

My friend, I try to see the best in this tangle of deceptions, lies, and vices that blasphemes the Almighty & all that is Holy by its sale of indulgences and vicarious atonements. I would rather focus on the positive. But dear man, you are happy to throw the baby out with the bathwater ... and instead of overlooking a character defect (present abounding within all of us) here & there, you would rather judge an entire spiritual MOVEMENT, and in one fell swoop, dismiss the very Christ you presume to know & worship, as well as his God, his Church, and I'm afraid, the greatest presence for GOOD left remaining in this sad world.

Well you know, as I say, 'tis your right. And, yes, we have the right to be wrong. Regarding HPB & the Mahatmas, this is exactly what you are. But even with the tyrannies and blasphemies of your RC Church, I would still go to my grave believing (until you can convince me otherwise) that as your chosen path, and in the way you almost surely choose to practice it ... it is valid, and yielding of Good Results in your own life, not to mention in the lives of many of its worldwide followers or adherents.

Now I may have provoked the ire of such as Quahom, and other Roman Catholics, and this was not my intent ... though I wonder - is that what you would like? A little more ammunition, or at least the inevitable intervention of a moderator? After all, we are here to discuss ... and debate, or argue philosophically, where such is welcomed. But - I do NOT think it is healthy, desirable, or helpful to simply tear away at one another's cherished beliefs, experiences, and chosen approach to Deity (Truth, Wisdom, Enlightenment, greater understanding, and so on). And little more can likely be said without running that risk, or overstepping our boundaries.

Personally, I think "live & let live" is not enough, and I do think Respect is called for. That is why, despite my feelings about the RCC and her sad history, I am able to distinguish between the bad apples as you like to say, and the good wood left in the tree. If the tree can be salvaged (and I am not sure, but like to hope so) - then good. But you don't find me enumerating the NAMES of her many, many detractors.

Unfortunately, you have not only seized upon Helena Petrovna Blavatskaya at your scapegoat... but you have also attempted to capsize the entire vessel which she helped to steer - and continues to do even today. Now your opinions are yours, but I shall trust that the world - and the earnest, sincere, open-minded seeker ... will make his or her own decisions if & when s/he confronts the evidences for & against things like reincarnation, astrology, and the existence of Advanced Humanity (ie, the Elder Brothers, or `Mahatmas' - Great Souls).

Thus, the ship sails on. And though this may not be the proper thread to discuss it, I personally look forward in the future to sharing more about the Great Ones ... at least as I have heard ... and if appropriate, as I have experienced. It's this simple. You may as well suggest that the modern automobile does not exist. Or that ... the endangered species of various tigers do not exist - simply because, you have never seen one, and nor have most of us.

You know, there are people who argue that the Nazi Holocaust never took place, as well as the proverbial flatlanders. Join their ranks, why not?

I'm not the type to sit thinking "I told you so," but I do kind of wonder, unlikely as it might be ... were you shake hands with a Mahatma walking down the street, would you know it?

This notion that God doesn't continue Progressive Revelation unto the present day, sending forth His Messengers of varying spiritual standing (including Masters) to help a needy world ... I find it lamentable. But if you would rather count beads until the Messiah Re-Appears, go for it.

As a final word, the following excerpt from Alice Bailey's teachings is appropriate here:
[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]H.P.B., [Alice's] predecessor, stated in certain instructions sent out to the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society that she bitterly regretted ever mentioning the Masters, Their names and functions. A.A.B. has been of the same opinion. The Masters, as portrayed in the Theosophical Society faintly resemble the reality and much good has been done by this testimony to Their existence, and much harm by the foolish detail at times imparted. But They are not as pictured; They do not issue orders to Their followers (or rather devotees) to do thus and so, to form this or that organization nor do They indicate some persons as of supreme importance as being in incarnation, knowing full well that disciples and initiates and Masters are known by their works and deeds and not by their words and have to prove their status by the work accomplished.

[/font][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]The Masters brought before the general public by such movements as the I AM movement are a travesty of the reality. The Masters portrayed in the many theosophical movements (since the time of H.P.B.) are not distinguished by intelligence and show little judgment in the choice of those whom the organizations claim are initiates or important members of the Hierarchy.

[/font][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]Knowing all this and having watched the ill effects of the usual teaching given anent the Masters, A.A.B. has gone to extremes in order to present the true nature of the Hierarchy, its goals and personnel and has sought to lay the emphasis - as does the Hierarchy itself - on humanity and on world service, and not on a group of teachers who, even if they have transcended the usual personality problems and experience in the three worlds, are still in process of training and are preparing themselves (under the tuition of the Christ) to tread the way of the higher evolution, as it is called. The name given to us by some disciples in Tibet gives the due to our point of attainment. They call the Hierarchy the "society of organized and illumined minds" - illumined by love and understanding, by deep compassion and inclusiveness, illumined by a knowledge of the plan and aiming to comprehend the purpose, sacrificing their own immediate progress in order to help humanity. This is a Master.
[/font]​
I regret that you would forsake them, and also that you would sway others from deciding for themselves whether or not such beings might exist - more numerous than the one generally accepted by everyday Christians. But again, not even how we present various ideas - but also which ideas we present ... is our choice.

Andrew
 
Taijasi,

I'm not a mod for this forum but it does seem to me that this thread, in addition to being very much off track, is getting away from the spirit of the Christianity forum COC altogether.

my 2 c,
lunamoth
 
Lunamoth,

I agree ... it just seems that my proverbial olive branch gets repeatedly shredded as I extend it. Indeed, how would you like someone saying point-blank:
Your spiritual path is invalid, please abandon it.
I can agree not to see eye-to-eye, but as I have repeatedly stated, I acknowledge the validity of nearly any spiritual path ... save those that cause explicit harm ... even if I don't agree with such a path. And heck, if you are a masochist, maybe even that is your own business.

So again, why the impasse? THIS - is perhaps the difficulty I have with the "members only" mentality ... and the reason I stay away from Christian forums as a rule.

Regretfully,

Andrew
 
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