How Discernment Eliminates Esoteric Delusions
Opening pages of the book “The Friendly Philosopher”
An Editorial Note:
All that glitters is not gold. Both popular tradition and theosophy
say that outer reality is mayavic, or illusory. As a result, developing
discernment is an essential factor to anyone who decides to travel
along the steep and narrow path to Truth. In order to have discernment,
one needs to be able to identify – and reject – illusions. Such a task
takes courage. Appeasement with error – usually done in the name of
brotherhood, forgiveness, tolerance or some other high-sounding word
– is a temptation to many an honest, and naïve, student of theosophy.
Attachment to routine also does not help pilgrims choose the truth,
for truth is often inconvenient, politically incorrect and personally
uncomfortable. From this emerge the pseudo-theosophical challenges to
truth-seekers, as individuals, and to the theosophical movement as a whole.
The following text is a collection of quotations from the book “The
Friendly Philosopher”, by Robert Crosbie, Theosophy Company, Los
Angeles, 1945/ 2008, 416 pp. Subtitles (and two notes) are added. The
numbers of pages are indicated in parenthesis at the end of each quotation.
(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)
[1. Condemning the Act, Not the Actor]
The most painful experiences I have had in my Theosophical life have been the witnessing of the negation of Theosophic principles by those professing them and were it not my duty to put you in possession of the facts as I know them – facts representing dangers which lie about us in our quest – I would not have spoken. You asked for the facts; I have to give them as I know them. It should be said that while we condemn the act, we never condemn the actor. The Theosophist must recognize that failures are not irremediable if followed by undaunted struggles upwards, and for professing Theosophists, who to our eyes appear to have strayed from the Path, we know that the time will come when the failure will be recognized, and the struggle back will be hard. Such must necessarily have our pity and sympathy, if we are true to the spirit of the Teachings.
[2. The Duty of Correcting Falsities]
It is no doubt true that many people calling themselves Theosophists have by their folly given false impressions of what Theosophy stands for and means, but that should induce in all Theosophists more strenuous effort to correct the falsities and put the philosophy in its true light. If there were more Theosophists of the latter kind there would not be so much of false impression; so the moral is to swell the number, instead of helping the enemy by withdrawal, or retreat, which is the course of the ill-informed, the coward and the traitor.
[3. A Bird’s-Eye View of the Movement]
We need to bring again and again to the attention of all discouraged or bewildered Theosophists what H. P. B. wrote to Judge in 1888:
“Night before last I was shown a bird’s-eye view of the Theosophical Societies. I saw a few earnest, reliable Theosophists in a death-struggle with the world in general, and with other – nominal but ambitious – Theosophists. The former are greater in number than you may think, and they prevailed, as you in America will prevail, if you only remain staunch to the Master’s programme and true to yourselves.”
[4. Opposition to the Efforts of the White Lodge]
Every effort has been and is being made by the Dark side to impair and deflect the efforts of the White Lodge. And where else can the Dark Forces work so effectively as on and through the personal weaknesses of Theosophists, especially on all those who become in any way prominent – individuals who in their turn affect many. All the many crises in the old Theosophical Society, all the attacks on H. P. B. and W. Q. J., showed a virulence that could not have arisen from mere personal opinion or interest.
Time and again have warnings been given, but few have heeded them; or, if heeded at all, the facts stated have been used against any opposed, without making sure that those who so used them were themselves right.
The defection of Mrs. Besant from loyalty to the Path shown, and to H. P. B. and W. Q. J., was due to such Dark side efforts. In her last message to students, H. P. B. said, “Never is the danger greater than when ambition, and a desire to lead, dresses itself up in the peacock feathers of altruism.” She knew; and in that last Message are many prophecies, some of which have already been fulfilled. She said that the Brahmins are the Jesuits of India. Mrs. Besant fell under the influence of Brahmins and the Brahmanical lines, and their influence can be clearly seen in her evolution and in all the developments in her society. The Dark Ones could not destroy or pervert all the efforts of the White Lodge, but they could, did, and do minimize and corrupt them. In a consideration of all this may be found the explanation of many things that might otherwise be a puzzle. All those who do not follow the lines laid down by the Messengers are certain to be misled. Yet the way is clear; the pity of it is that otherwise sincere and devoted persons will not heed the warnings given; will not study, think, and apply what was recorded for them and their guidance.
[5. Charles Leadbeater, Annie Besant and Selfish Magic]
It has been said that he who speaks of seeing and meeting the Master thereby loses touch. My judgment would be that if, as is said, “Leadbeater had stood face to face with the ‘Great Initiator’,” it would never have been spoken of by him, and no other would know the fact. Leadbeater sought to be recognized as a great teacher and in order to break into other realms of nature used most abhorrent means – black magic, in fact. One may be sure that anyone claiming Adeptship is not an Adept, and this in the very nature of things. Apply this to Leadbeater and Mrs. Besant, who are continually making public claims in this direction. The question arises: how much is real, how much for effect, how much self-delusion? The imagination is the image-making power and may create a glorified image of oneself. I am sorry it all occurred, for in the public mind Theosophy is connected with it, and many strange things are assumed to be Theosophy.
[6. Theosophy, Masonry and “Theosophical” Co-Masonry]
There has never been anything said that I know of by either of the two Messengers  about Co-masonry.
W. Q. J. is the only one who has spoken specifically in regard to Masonry as “a great and important part of the Theosophical Movement.” And the context of his article, “The Theosophical Movement,” as well as the circumstances of its publication, will give a true idea as to the part Masonry has played in the past in the work of the Theosophical Movement.
The Theosophical Movement includes all efforts that lead to human freedom and enlightenment. Masonry has played and is still playing an important part in the world. For first, its main idea is the Brotherhood of Man, even though in a limited and restricted sense; second, Masonry debars from its lodges all considerations of politics or religions, recognizing those to be the greatest provocatives of dissensions; third, it is the implacable enemy of religious intolerance, and is at the present day engaged in a death struggle with the Catholic church of Mexico and South America. It was through Masonry and Masons that the United States of America was made possible.
So Masonry was and is a great and important part of the Theosophical Movement. Yet there are more important things than Masonry. If it had been sufficient for the needs of humanity, there would have been no need for Theosophy.
But what has either Masonry or Theosophy to do with “Co” masonry? Each must answer that question for himself.
[7. How Masonry Was Infiltrated by Jesuits]
I was looking over the magazine article you mentioned. (….) The article made me think of the way the Jesuits side-tracked Masonry. They entered it, obtained its secrets, invented “higher degrees” to draw attention from what lay hidden in the original ones, and gradually made it innocuous, and incapable of leading to the knowledge that they feared. Much that is going on and has gone on in the [. . . .] society  has the appearance of leading into innocuous desuetude. This is the mode of working of Brahmano-Jesuitical forces, and the ordinary thinker is unable either to perceive, or credit it if warned. It is not believed that there are Dark Forces and their agents in the world, and that they war within that which they would destroy; that they dress themselves up in “sheep’s clothing” so as to be unsuspected. But it is too true. Every failure to establish the Wisdom-Religion is to be traced to the work of the Dark ones among the unsuspecting stupid “sheep,” who are appealed to through their weakness and led astray. There is no panacea for stupidity and ignorance but self-knowledge, discrimination; anything that leads away from them leads to desolation. Would that there might be some way by which eyes could be opened to a wise and proper consideration of all things. Yet, if one should publicly point out these things, “untheosophical” would be the least charge laid at his door. All that we can do is to accentuate the difference between the Eye Doctrine and the Doctrine of the Heart with full exemplification. The . . . . talk glibly of these, but in the words of Kipling, “what do they understand?” Those in that society who have the “heart-desire” may find that doctrine, but the mass have it not, and are kept from its consideration by every means.
[8. The Duty of Esoteric Students]
You say that our attitude toward these things seems to many like “condemning” others. It is the duty of esoteric students to unmask error and hypocrisy; to face lie with truth; not as personal criticisms but as facts against misstatements. It is assumed in charity that one who wrongs the Truth does so in ignorance; but the custodians of Truth voice it in the face of lie, ignorance and error, and take every opportunity possible to correct erroneous impressions. Theosophy is in the world for that purpose.
[9. Lack of Concentration is a Problem to Many]
There are many “good souls” who do not know their own minds, and hence have no solid basis in Theosophy while accepting it as the only thing worth knowing. They cannot “stay put” any where. We don’t have to hunt them up – they come to us right along. If we had to look for them we might let them go by, as not being of the right kind or from some other ostensible reason. There are hundreds who have gone off on one wrong track or another. They all have some good traits – Karmic inheritances; but these do not bring Wisdom nor Will. They need guidance, not leadership. Study and work is their only salvation and we can help them all to the degree that our Karma and theirs permits, if only by example. Our work is with all Theosophists.
[10. Several Layers of Motives]
Speaking of those who have fallen by the wayside, it is quite true that “the greater the height the greater the effort to preserve equilibrium”; but this applies particularly when the height is an intellectual rather than a spiritual one, and where the motive is tinged with a desire for self-advancement regardless of the paramount duty to selves. Very often the ostensible motive is not the real one, and in this we frequently deceive ourselves. Ambition also comes in; the desire for the approbation of our fellows may cloud our vision in our effort to maintain it. There are many temptations, some of which may come disguised as angels of light. Our best safe-guard is an unselfish desire to benefit others, with no anxiety about our own progress, while striving all the time to make ourselves the better able to help and teach others.
There are two doctrines spoken of in the Wisdom Religion, viz., the doctrine of the Eye (or Head) and the doctrine of the Heart; the doctrine of the Eye is the intellectual one, the doctrine of the Heart is spiritual, where knowledge springs up spontaneously within. It is this latter which you crave, and which I can assure you Theosophy will lead you to. There is no need to grope, nor stagger, nor stray, for the chart that has led many to the goal is in your hands in the philosophy of Theosophy. And let me say here to you: do not be too anxious; abide the time when your own inner demands shall open the doors, for those Great Ones who I know exist see every pure-hearted earnest disciple, and are ready to give a turn to the key of knowledge when the time in the disciple’s progress is ripe.
[11. Confronting Errors of Every Kind]
We need only Loyalty – loyalty to the work, loyalty to our convictions, loyalty to each other in full faith and confidence that each is a part of the other and of all. So shall we be united in one thought, one will, one feeling.
This does not mean indiscriminate acceptance of everything and everyone. The attitude of “namby-pambyism” is but a pseudo-tolerance. Carried to its legitimate conclusion, this false idea of brotherhood” would signify that sin, sorrow, suffering, error, all religions and all philosophies are all right; that every body is doing the best he can, and the best he knows how to do, and cannot do any different, and that all are steps of learning.
Humanity sins, sorrows, suffers and dies a thousand deaths; because of what? Just IGNORANCE. Theosophy is TRUTH and as such can have no alliance with any form of error and remain Truth. If partial philosophies could save the world there would be no need for the sacrifices of the Masters.
For those who never knew Theosophy, or whose minds are so crooked in action that they cannot receive it, there should be pity and compassion. But pity and consideration for their false positions cannot call for a surrender of our discrimination – for a surrender of what we know, and of what it is our purpose to live and to know.
I am no believer in diluted Theosophy. The Masters did not dilute it. We either carry on Their work or we do not; there is no need for hypocrisy nor self-deception. Others in the world, not able to perceive the Oneness of Theosophy, nor its bearing at the present time, may and do use portions of it – some of them, it is to be feared, to their own condemnation and the further bewilderment of mankind. Are they right, or to be praised or “tolerated”? Is it not the bounden duty of those who know, to hold aloft the White Standard of Truth? It must be so, else how could an enquiring one perceive it? Theosophy has to be held aloft in such a way as to confront errors of every kind, with their handmaidens of cant and hypocrisy.
[12. Truth Courts Every Possible Investigation]
Tolerance is good, if understood rightly; but there are many strange ideas in regard to it. Some think it to be intolerance to point out to others holding different views any errors of statement or fact. But Truth never yet agreed with error, nor does error agree with error; Truth agrees only with Truth. So if we firmly believe, and are convinced by fact and reason, that we are in possession of Truth, it would be a false tolerance which would withhold it in the face of error. Truth exists in the world for the purpose of destroying error. Error is dogmatic and does not court close investigation. Truth courts all and every possible investigation, and, calm in its certitude, examines everything upon its merits, tests it by the standard of Truth.
[13. Nothing Against Persons]
Yes, it is war; but not against persons. War for the Truth – the eternal ideas, the eternal thought in the Eternal Mind; war against error, cant and hypocrisy. When the Eternal Verities are presented to the world, they are always presented through persons. Some worship or lean on the persons; others curse, defame or belittle them; none of these look at what is brought forward and handed on. So, too, when error is pointed out, it has to be designated and names used to specify; again, the thoughtless see an attack upon persons. In an age of “personality,” the ordinary mind cannot see beyond it, unless care is taken on each occasion to explain it. The war is to help “personalities” to become “living souls.” It is the Mahabharata – the Holy War. Ideas are ideas by whomever written or expressed; so, they can flow through anyone who is in the right condition.
[14. Mercy and Justice Cannot Be Separated.]
You have asked me for comment on the questions sent in by our English brother; particularly, as to “Karma being as merciless as the Bible-God.” But does he consider that Mercy is not opposed to Justice, and that the fullest justice is the same as the fullest mercy? Some take the meaning of Mercy to be a permitted escape from the results of wrong-doing; but this would not be Justice, nor would it be merciful to those injured by the wrong-doing. He should remember the definition of Karma: an undeviating and unerring tendency in the Universe to restore equilibrium, which operates incessantly. Karma is inherent law and its operation must therefore be impersonal. Some might take this to be “merciless,” but that would only be because they desire escape from consequences that are unpleasant.
 “Two messengers”: Helena P. Blavatsky and W. Q. Judge. (CCA)
 A reference to the Adyar Theosophical Society during the 1895-1934 period. (CCA)
In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.