IMPORTANT NEW ARTICLE – JUNE 2015
Tibetan Master or Christian Priest?
(Uncovering the real inspiration behind the Alice Bailey Books)
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“Maitreya Buddha (the last Bodhisattva, or Vishnu in the Kalki avatar) the tenth “messenger” expected on earth . . . But this will be the One Wisdom and will incarnate itself into the whole humanity collectively, not in a single individual.” (H. P. Blavatsky, “Lamas and Druses,” “H. P. Blavatsky Theosophical Articles” Vol. 3, p. 288)
Some frequent search terms used by visitors to this site are Blavatsky and Maitreya, Theosophy Maitreya, and What did Blavatsky say about Maitreya?
Since so many people have apparently been wondering and asking, it was thought wise to produce this article specifically on the subject.
It may come as a surprise to some but H. P. Blavatsky actually said very little about Maitreya.
The emphasis in the Theosophical Movement on Maitreya did not begin until 1909, 18 years after Blavatsky’s death. This emphasis and focus was begun by a highly controversial English Theosophist named C. W. Leadbeater.
In 1906, Leadbeater had been forced out of “The Theosophical Society – Adyar” in shame and disgrace after admitting under oath to having engaged in highly indecent behaviour with young boys in his care. However, only a couple of years later, Annie Besant – who was soon to become the president of the Theosophical Society – invited Leadbeater back and readmitted him, much to the shock and disgust of many members.
We would rather not go further into this here; suffice it to say that this issue did not end in 1906, as the mass of accusations, eyewitness reports, complaints, court cases, and police investigations continued to hound the rest of Leadbeater’s Theosophical career wherever he went in the world, up to his death in 1934. More information, for those who may wish to research further and who wish to deal with the direct documentation, can be found in The Case against C. W. Leadbeater.
In 1909, soon after having been readmitted and raised to a place of prominence by Besant, Leadbeater claimed that he had discovered via his supposed clairvoyant and spiritual powers that the coming of Maitreya was imminent.
It must be explained that the “Coming of Maitreya” is initially a Buddhist doctrine. It is said that Gautama Buddha stated that the next Buddha would come 5,000 years after him and would be called or referred to by the Indian name of Maitreya. Since Gautama lived 2,600 years ago, this would mean that the Buddha Maitreya is not due to appear on the scene until another 2,400 years from now.
But Leadbeater claimed that Maitreya was first of all going to appear as a Bodhisattva and World Teacher and then sometime later on would succeed Gautama as the Buddha. Even more surprisingly, he announced that Christ and Maitreya are one and the same person. According to him, this being – who he called the “Christ-Maitreya” or “Lord Maitreya the Christ” – was a highly advanced soul living in a physical body here on the physical plane, somewhere in the Himalayas, and that he had spiritually overshadowed and worked through “the Master Jesus” during the three years of the latter’s public ministry. Thus, according to this line of thought, Jesus and Christ are two distinct beings.
Apparently unperturbed by or oblivious to the fact that equating Maitreya with Christ is offensive to the majority of both Buddhists and Christians, Leadbeater declared that the coming of Maitreya – or, in other words, the Second Coming of Christ – was near and that he was intending to make his reappearance on the world scene by means of overshadowing another individual, this time a young Indian man called Jiddu Krishnamurti who Leadbeater had seen playing on the beach near Theosophical Society headquarters in Adyar, India, one day and taken a shine to.
Much to the distress of Krishnamurti’s father – who considered Leadbeater to be a predatory menace and corrupting influence towards all young boys – Leadbeater and Besant eventually managed to seize custody of the boy and the next twenty years were spent carefully grooming and training him – some might instead be inclined to call it brainwashing – for his eventual “mission.” For further details of this period, see “The Elder Brother: A Biography of Charles Webster Leadbeater” by Gregory Tillett or any in depth biographies of Krishnamurti.
Suffice it to say that just as Leadbeater, Besant, and thousands of Theosophists around the world were expecting Krishnamurti to begin publicly fulfilling his role, thus allowing the Coming of Maitreya/Christ to occur, the boy, now grown into an intelligent and capable young man, shocked them all in 1929 by delivering a speech in which he abdicated the position, assuring his listeners that he was not the vessel for “Christ-Maitreya” and that in fact there was no Christ-Maitreya after all, and subsequently separated himself from the Theosophists. When asked some fifty years later to share his reminiscences about Leadbeater, he replied, “All I will say about that man is that he was EVIL.”
Deflated but undaunted, Leadbeater continued to promulgate the notion that “Lord Maitreya” would soon be returning but the exact details of how this was now going to take place grew somewhat hazy and poorly defined. A staggering 15,000 members left “The Theosophical Society – Adyar” during this period. Leadbeater died a few years later but not before attempting to organise and announce the Coming of the “World Mother” – apparently a sort of Second Coming of the Virgin Mary – via a young Indian woman who he claimed was the chosen vehicle for this purpose, just as Krishnamurti supposedly had been for the coming of the “World Teacher.”
But by this time a relatively large number of Theosophists, realising that Leadbeater was either a conscious fraud or just highly deluded, had stopped paying attention and giving credence to his various schemes and the idea never got off the ground.
Several years after the 1909 announcement, a devout Christian woman from England named Alice Bailey joined “The Theosophical Society – Adyar” and began enthusiastically studying and accepting Leadbeater and Besant’s teachings. A few years later, however, she parted company with the Theosophists and began her own organisation, known as the Lucis Trust and the Arcane School. Over the course of thirty years she wrote and published over twenty books, almost all of which she claimed to have been directly inspired and dictated by a Tibetan Master called Djwhal Khul.
Just as Besant and Leadbeater had chosen years previously to reject, discard, and suppress the original Theosophy teachings of H. P. Blavatsky and to present their own instead, the version of “Theosophy” found in the Alice Bailey books is pure Leadbeater/Besant stuff and contradicts all the Blavatsky teachings at almost every point, having next to nothing in common with them. For more details in this regard, please see the articles 14 Good Reasons to Question the Alice Bailey Teachings, The Pseudo-Occultism of Alice Bailey, Original Theosophy and Later Versions, and the very lengthy but extremely detailed and conclusive Tibetan Master or Christian Priest?
From her very first book, Bailey showed her faith in Leadbeater by promulgating the teaching that the Second Coming of the Christ-Maitreya was close at hand. Always written in a distinctly Christian tone, Bailey’s books developed an increasing emphasis on this theme until by the time of her death in 1949 she was writing about little else. She informed her readers that Maitreya had made a definite decision at the Gemini Full Moon of 1945 to reappear publicly on the world scene in person as soon as the necessary preparations could be made.
He was apparently intending to fly in an aeroplane from his retreat in Asia and give mankind the new spiritual teaching it needs in order to bring about the civilisation and force of the New Age of Aquarius, although it was implied that he was not actually likely to do this until some time after the year 2025 and that until then it was the “immediate and pressing” task and duty of the Bailey followers to let the whole world know about it and to smooth the way for the auspicious event by daily reciting a type of prayer titled “The Great Invocation.”
Although Bailey – who readily admitted of her own accord that she was a committed Christian and a former evangelical Christian missionary – naturally preferred the name “Christ” to “Maitreya” and thus referred to him in many of her books solely as “Christ,” she nevertheless made it clear that she agreed entirely with Leadbeater about Christ and Maitreya being one and the same.
Over the last few decades numerous individuals have come and gone, all claiming to be Maitreya, just as many pretenders have come and gone throughout history claiming to be Jesus.
At the same time, the Alice Bailey followers and other pseudo-Theosophists continue to spread their Leadbeater-esque teachings, whilst Alice Bailey enthusiast Benjamin Creme in London assures his large international following that the Christ-Maitreya has already returned and has been living secretly in London since 1977, waiting patiently (when not flying around in his “special starship”) for the day when he can at last reveal himself to the world. Meanwhile, hundreds if not thousands of channelling enthusiasts flood the internet daily with what they announce as being the “latest messages” – all contradicting each other – fresh from Maitreya, for whom each of them claims to be the chosen mouthpiece.
All this nonsense, this sheer fantasy and psychic delusion, goes directly back to C. W. Leadbeater, a man who has done more harm to the cause of modern spirituality than many have yet realised.
We have provided this overview of the whole affair in order to show by contrast just how extremely different are the genuine Theosophical teachings on Maitreya from this later material. Before we look at the little that H. P. Blavatsky had to say about Maitreya, we should clarify that the particular Theosophical Society which was ruled by Besant and Leadbeater is actually only ¼ of the entire Theosophical Movement at large.
It is more correct to refer to that particular organisation as the Adyar Theosophical Society or “The Theosophical Society – Adyar” in order to avoid giving the impression that it is THE Theosophical Society. In fact there are three entirely different and unrelated international organisations called “The Theosophical Society.” One of them has its headquarters at Adyar in India whilst another has its headquarters at Pasadena, California and the other, formerly based at Point Loma, California, has its headquarters presently in the Netherlands. There is also the United Lodge of Theosophists, itself a worldwide association. Of these four main branches of the modern Theosophical Movement, it is only the Adyar Society which accepts the Leadbeater/Besant teachings; the other three have nothing to do with them and have remained committed to H. P. Blavatsky and William Quan Judge.
For a brief overview of these organisations and the distinctions between them, please see The Four Branches of the Theosophical Movement.
What H. P. Blavatsky said and taught about Maitreya, and the themes that have been connected with Maitreya by others, can be condensed into the following points and explanations, with references for those who want to explore in more depth:
* “No true Theosophist” will ever accept the notion of an incarnated, bodily Christ or the “Second Coming” of such a being. (“On Pseudo-Theosophy” article)
* Those who believe that the Christ is a person or an entity are “ignorant.” (“The Esoteric Character of the Gospels” article)
[It goes without saying that HPB never equated Christ with Maitreya as beings. This was all Leadbeater’s invention. According to HPB and the Masters who taught and trained her, “Christ” is only the name for a spiritual Principle. Their view of Jesus, on the other hand, can be found in our article titled Theosophy on Jesus.]
* The Buddhist teaching of the coming of Maitreya, the future Buddha, actually refers to the same future event as the coming of the Kalki Avatar prophesied in the Hindu scriptures and the Soshiosh or Saoshyant of the Zoroastrian tradition. They are different names for one and the same thing. (“The Theosophical Glossary” p. 202)
* It is true, as the Hindus say, that the Kalki Avatar (i.e. the Buddha Maitreya) will not appear on Earth until the very end of the Kali Yuga. The Kali Yuga is the “Dark Age” through which mankind is presently passing. It began 5,000 years ago “at the moment of Krishna’s death” and will not end until sometime around the close of the Sixth Root Race. We are currently still in the Fifth Root Race and even the dawn of the Sixth Root Race is still thousands of years in the future. (“The Secret Doctrine” 1:384, 2:483)
* No more “Saviours of Humanity” can appear now during the remainder of the Kali Yuga. All the spiritual knowledge and teaching man needs has already been given out; it is up to him to make some effort and actually use it. (“The Secret Doctrine” 1:384, 2:483)
* Physical, sexual procreation “is but a passing phase” in human evolution. It will gradually alter later on in this present Fifth Root Race and will slowly disappear altogether during the Sixth Root Race. It is indicated in the Hindu scriptures such as the Vishnu Purana that when the Kalki Avatar comes at the end of the Kali Yuga, procreation will then be solely by spiritual means rather than physiological. And – “The most learned Occultists assert this because they know it.” (“The Secret Doctrine” 2:406, 415, 420, 483)
[As for the duration of the Kali Yuga, the teachings of HPB and the Masters follow the Hindu chronology which says that the Kali Yuga is a period of 432,000 years. Since it began only just over 5,000 years ago this means that there are almost a full 427,000 years remaining of it! But more than once in “The Secret Doctrine” HPB states that the real numbers, figures, and calculations have to remain secret and entirely esoteric and cannot be given out. So we are not required to always abide strictly and literally by the extraordinarily vast Hindu chronology but even so it is plainly apparent from what is said that there are still thousands of years remaining of the Kali Yuga and that the end of the Sixth Root Race and dawn of the Seventh Root Race – the time when Maitreya will appear – is an immensely long way off, seeing as we’re still in the Fifth Root Race.]
* In the entry for “Maitreya Buddha” in “The Theosophical Glossary” (p. 202) HPB expresses the point at which Maitreya is due in a different way from her other writings: “Esoteric philosophy teaches that the next Buddha will appear during the seventh (sub) race of this Round.” The insertion of “(sub)” appears to change the meaning and one might think that perhaps she’s saying that instead of being due at the start of the Seventh Root Race it will be the seventh sub-race of our present Fifth Root Race. But this would only be speculation and, even if it were so, that would still be at least 50,000 years in the future, from what “The Secret Doctrine” teaches us about sub-races. Her insertion of “(sub)” does not make things clearer in any way but it does have the effect of making us realise we should not take any particular statement as being the “final word” on this or any other matter.
* Maitreya is “the last of the Avatars and Buddhas” and will “re-establish righteousness upon earth.” (“The Secret Doctrine” 1:470, 2:483)
* All Avatars and World Saviours are incarnations, in a certain sense, of the Universal Logos. This will also be the case with the coming of the Buddha Maitreya. (“The Secret Doctrine” 1:470)
* There is some type of mysterious connection or possibly even a sort of identicality between Maitreya and Aryasangha, also known as Asanga. The latter was an Arhat and direct disciple of Gautama Buddha in India 2,600 years ago. He went on to found “the first Yogacharya School . . . the early Yogacharya school of pure Buddhism, which is neither northern nor southern, but absolutely esoteric. . . . none of the genuine Yogacharya books have ever been made public or marketable.”
Yogacharya – also written Yogachara and Yogācāra – is well known as a school of Buddhist philosophy but it is only the later exoteric Yogacharya school which the public knows anything about. The original esoteric Yogacharya school has always remained purely esoteric and both its existence and teachings unknown to the masses. HPB and her Masters and Adept Teachers of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood belong to the esoteric Yogacharya School of Buddhism (see The REAL Esoteric Buddhism). This was founded by Aryasangha but virtually the same description and details as are given for Aryasangha in “The Theosophical Glossary” are also given in the entry for Maitreya where the latter is also described as having been an Arhat during the time of Buddha and later founding “an esoteric philosophical school.”
In Tibetan Buddhist tradition, it is always said that Aryasangha had a close connection with the future Buddha Maitreya and that during his periods of intense meditation he rose to other realms and there received special teachings from Maitreya which he later recorded in five main books known as the “Five Books of Maitreya.” As we said in the article Buddha Nature, one of these books – the Uttara Tantra or Ratnagotravibhaga, which has recently been translated and published in English – is a particular favourite with the Masters. But there is also a secret Book of Maitreya referred to by HPB, which she made use of (as she wrote to A. P. Sinnett) when writing “The Secret Doctrine” with the Master K.H. and the Master M.
HPB clarifies: “Chagpa-Thog-mad is the Tibetan name of Aryasanga, the founder of the Yogacharya or Naljorchodpa School. This Sage and Initiate is said to have been taught “Wisdom” by Maitreya Buddha Himself, the Buddha of the Sixth Race, at Tushita (a celestial region presided over by Him), and as having received from Him the five books of Champaitchos-nga [i.e. the Five Books of Maitreya]. The Secret Doctrine teaches, however, that he came from Dejung, or Shambhalla, called the “source of happiness” (“wisdom-acquired”) and declared by some Orientalists to be a “fabulous” place. . . . [Tushita] is no fiction located in transcendental space. It is a bone-fide locality in the mountains, or, to be more correct, one encircled in a desert within mountains.” (“The “Doctrine of The Eye” & The “Doctrine of The Heart,” or The “Heart’s Seal” article)
* Regardless of who and what Maitreya might actually be as an entity, the future event known symbolically and allegorically as the “Coming of Maitreya” or “Coming of the Kalki Avatar” will not be the appearance of an individual Avatar or personal Messiah figure as is often thought. It will instead be the incarnation of the “Supreme Wisdom” (Adi-Buddhi in Theosophical terminology) into the whole of humanity collectively.
To quote again from HPB’s “Lamas and Druses” article: “Maitreya Buddha (the last Bodhisattva, or Vishnu in the Kalki avatar) the tenth “messenger” expected on earth . . . But this will be the One Wisdom and will incarnate itself into the whole humanity collectively, not in a single individual.” She then states that no more is permitted to be said or explained about this because the time for further elucidations has not yet come.
She does however shed just a little more light on it in something she wrote to the Abbé Roca: “It is said that after the Kalki-Avatar (“He who is expected” on the White Horse, in the Apocalypse) the Golden Age will begin and every man will become his own guru (spiritual teacher or “Shepherd”) because the divine Logos, whatever name it may be given [“Whether it be Krishna, Buddha, Sosiosh, Horus or Christos, it is a universal principle”] will reign in each regenerated mortal. There can be no question, then, of a common “Shepherd” unless that Shepherd be entirely metaphorical.” More can be read from this source in Christos – The Christ Principle.
And that sums up everything H. P. Blavatsky ever said and taught about Maitreya.
There are two main objections which are sometimes raised in regard to the above. Some people say, “Oh but we’ve had enough of the Kali Yuga now. We need the Golden Age now instead of the Dark Age. We won’t really have to put up with thousands of more years of Kali Yuga . . . it’s time for the Golden Age, the Satya Yuga, to begin!”
To this we would respond: “Do you really think that your own personal wishes and emotional view of the matter can overpower the great Cyclic Law and alter its destined course? None of us wish to prolong the Kali Yuga but we have no say in the matter. The Law always works and proceeds exactly as it should and doesn’t stop in its tracks just because we little human beings are fed up with the course it’s taking. The Kali Yuga will end at its appointed time and not before . . . and that appointed time is still thousands of years off.”
Yet there is a possibility of the New Age of Aquarius, which has already begun, becoming a sort of Golden Age within the Kali Yuga, the Dark Age. But this does not mean the Kali Yuga (which is a much larger and longer cycle than the Aquarian Age) has ended or will end anytime soon. According to Theosophy, it most definitely has not. More can be explored on these themes in Theosophy on The New Age of Aquarius.
An objection often raised by Alice Bailey students and by followers of C. W. Leadbeater, Torkom Saraydarian, Benjamin Creme and others, is, “It wasn’t the right time during HPB’s lifetime to announce that the reappearance of the Christ-Maitreya was close at hand. She knew all about it but she purposely never said anything about it because she wasn’t permitted. That’s why it was the role of the later Theosophists to mention it and to start spreading that teaching.”
To such sophistry we would respond: “What evidence or proof do you have for this other than the fact that it conveniently allows you to casually brush aside all the major and glaring discrepancies in an attempt to give more weight to your own preferred beliefs? And secondly, does it genuinely not bother you that this central belief and teaching of yours originates from such a person as C. W. Leadbeater? Unpleasant and unfortunate as it is, his behaviour and activities are a fact which you can’t deny or hide from, no matter how much you may try. Or do you believe that the Masters use such people as that as their agents and messengers, in spite of their repeated statements in writing that chelaship requires the utmost moral purity?”
It was H. P. Blavatsky who coined the term “Pseudo-Theosophy.” In her article of that name she made some rather prophetic statements and remarked that it would be better for the Theosophical Society to lose almost all its members than to be “made a spectacle to the world through the exaggerations of some fanatics, and the attempts of various charlatans to profit by a ready-made programme. These, by disfiguring and adapting Occultism to their own filthy and immoral ends, bring disgrace upon the whole movement.”
She went on to say that “If the “false prophets of Theosophy” are to be left untouched, the true prophets will be very soon – as they have already been – confused with the false. It is nigh time to winnow our corn and cast away the chaff,” adding that both “the false prophets, the pretenders” and “their weak-minded dupes” must be challenged, because “We do not believe in allowing the presence of sham elements in Theosophy.”
In a letter written not too long before she passed away to her colleague and co-founder of the modern Theosophical Movement, William Q. Judge, HPB wrote, “The night before last, however, I was shown a bird’s eye view of the present state of Theosophy and its 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 numbers than you may think, and they prevailed as you in America will prevail, if you only remain staunch to the Masters’ programme and true to yourselves. And last night I saw [the Master M.] and now I feel strong – such as I am in my body, and ready to fight for theosophy and the few true ones to my last breath.”
And also: “These are some of our most insidious foes. Under cover of the philosophy of the Wisdom-Religion they manage to get up a mystical jargon which for the time is effective and enables them, by the aid of a very small amount of clairvoyance, to fleece the mystically inclined but ignorant aspirants to the occult, and lead them like sheep in almost any direction. . . . Karma reaches them when least expected. But is it possible for our Society to stand by and remain respected, unless its members are prepared, at least in future, to stand like one man, and deal with such slanders upon themselves as Theosophists, and such vile caricatures of their highest ideals . . . ?” (H. P. Blavatsky, “Five Messages to the American Theosophists” p. 15-16, Second Message)
~ BlavatskyTheosophy.com ~
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IMPORTANT NEW ARTICLE – JUNE 2015
(Uncovering the real inspiration behind the Alice Bailey Books)