Monthly Archives: August 2017

Maya

What is Maya?

Maya is a word you will come across in studying many New Age writings including those of Helena p. Blavatsky (HPB), Alice A. Bailey (AAB), Joseph J. Dewey (JJD), and others. On the Theosophy Wiki it is described as:

Maya … is a Sanskrit word that in Indian religions has multiple meanings. Usually translated as “illusion” (from mā “not” and yā “this”), it points out the fact that we do not experience the reality but only a false image perceived by our minds, as when one pursues a mirage in the desert or mistakes a rope for a snake. 

HPB wrote in the Secret Doctrine about Maya:

The Universe is called, with everything in it, Maya, because all is temporary therein, from the ephemeral life of a fire-fly to that of the Sun. Compared to the eternal immutability of the One, and the changelessness of that Principle, the Universe, with its evanescent ever-changing forms, must be necessarily, in the mind of a philosopher, no better than a will-o’-the-wisp. Yet, the Universe is real enough to the conscious beings in it, which are as unreal as it is itself.  -.S.D. Vol 1, Page 274, HPB

Alice A. Bailey mentioned Maya over 200 times in her writings, two of which are:

The word Maya is one which has to be properly understood by you in order that you may catch the spirit of the ancient philosophy. The derivation that is given for the word is Ma + Ya or not that. Maya is therefore a power that makes a thing appear as what it is not, or a power of illusion that arises out of limitation in the ancient concept of a true unity periodically appearing as multiplicity by the power of Maya that coexists with that unity.  –A Treatise on Cosmic Fire , DIVISION C. SEVEN ESOTERIC STANZAS. – Part 8, AAB

But as the wheel turns and experience after experience is entered into, the desire nature reaches. Form consequently ceases, objective manifestation is no longer sought after, and liberation from maya or illusion takes place. -The Light Of The Soul , BOOK IV. – ILLUMINATION – Part 1, AAB

Joseph J. Dewey describes Maya as one of three deceptions:

The three deceptions are not that complicated. It is important, however, that you understand them well enough so you can explain them in your own words without quoting some other teaching.

The first is Maya and you must pass through this deception before you can go on to the second which is glamour. Then you must pass through glamour before you can unravel deception.

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Jesus Christ

Alice A. Bailey and the Overshadowing of Jesus Christ

Alice A. Bailey (AAB) had some interesting things to say about what she described as the overshadowing of Jesus Christ. She quotes Helena P. Blavatsky (HPB) to introduce the concept of a human being “overshadowed by a great adept”:

“When a man has reached a certain development and can be of service to the world, cases occur when he is overshadowed by a great adept, or—as in the case of H. P. B. —by One greater than an adept.” -A Treatise on Cosmic Fire , 3. THE SOLAR ANGELS, THE AGNISHVATTAS. – Part 3

Then she goes on to say that this was the case with Jesus

“…a disciple will return into incarnation occasionally so as to fit into the plan of a greater than himself.  When a messenger of the Great Lodge needs a vehicle through which to express Himself, and cannot use a physical body Himself, owing to the rarity of its substance, He will utilise the body of a disciple.  We have an instance of this in the manner the Christ used the body of the initiate Jesus, taking possession of it at the time of the Baptism. Again when a message has to be given out to the world during some recurring cycle, a disciple of high position in a Master’s group will appear in physical incarnation, and be “overshadowed” or “inspired” (in the technically occult sense) by some teacher greater than he.”

A Treatise on Cosmic Fire , VI. EFFECTS OF SYNTHETIC MOTION – Part 1

The idea is that Jesus of Nazareth, a human being, was overshadowed by the Christ – a greater being – and together in one body they accomplished the mission that is recorded in the New Testament. Author Joseph J. Dewey (JJD) wrote on this overshadowing that:

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The Old Testament

Alice A. Bailey on the Old Testament

Alice A. Bailey (AAB) in her Unfinished Autobiography wrote of the Old Testament that:

“I asked myself a few days ago what part of the Old Testament was worth preserving. Much of it is dreadful, cruel and only because the literature is found in the Bible does it pass the post-office regulations. I decided that the ten commandments must be preserved, one or two of the Bible stories such as the love of David and Jonathan, the 23rd Psalm and the 91st Psalm with a few others and about four chapters in the Book of Isaiah. All the rest was largely useless or undesirable, …”  -The Unfinished Autobiography , CHAPTER III – Part 1

Symbolically she says the Old Testament stands for the “lower man”:

“The Old Testament stands for the natural lower man, the virgin Mary aspect, carrying within itself the promise of the Messiah, of Him Who shall come. The New Testament stands for the spiritual man, for God made flesh, and for the birth of that which the material nature carried and veiled for so long.” -From Bethlehem To Calvary , CHAPTER THREE – The Second Initiation . . . The Baptism in Jordan – Part 1

Love of Jehovah is taught with threats and immortality is not emphasized, per Alice A. Bailey:

“The word ‘love’ as it concerns relation to other people is lacking in their [Jews] religious presentation, though love of Jehovah is taught with due threats; the concept of a future life, dependent upon conduct and behaviour to others and on right action in the world of men, is almost entirely lacking in The Old Testament and teaching on immortality is nowhere emphasized; salvation is apparently dependent upon the keeping of numerous physical laws and rules related to physical cleanliness; …” -Problems Of Humanity , CHAPTER IV – THE PROBLEM OF THE RACIAL MINORITIES – Part 1

Personally I think she may be going a little overboard in these criticisms. In the days when the Jewish Tanakh (or written Torah) was coming into being just about all peoples were – by today’s standards – exceedingly cruel and materialistic. That people, at least in the civilized world, are much different in their views today is what we should properly call “evolution,” that is, spiritual evolution.

There are certainly enlightened passages in the Old Testament, for example

“And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” -Leviticus 19:33-34

Are the Israelites depicted as cruel and violent in the Old Testament? Yes, of course, but that was the norm of the day and they were probably no crueler or more violent than the peoples around them, and in many way more advanced. They were trying to wean themselves off of idols, although that was a the time still very much a work in progress.

It might also be remembered that centuries after the Tanakh was closed (nothing new to be added) that the Romans were still forcing slaves to murder each other in gladiatorial games.

Continuing with AAB on the Old Testament she has some less than charitable things to say about the Jewish people:

“He [the Gentile] regards the Jew as a follower of an obsolete religion; he intensely dislikes the cruel and jealous Jehovah of the Jews and looks upon The Old Testament as the history of a cruel and aggressive people—apart from the Psalms of David, which all men love.” -Problems Of Humanity , CHAPTER IV – THE PROBLEM OF THE RACIAL MINORITIES – Part 1

There is quite a bit more that she writes about the Jews (see in quotes to follow). I think she in some ways represents the views of many Christians of her time, although it can be argued that her views are more complex and charitable than they might superficially appear.

Finally she wrote, and I think very accurately, that “The more ancient the Scripture, the greater, necessarily, the distortion” (see quote below)

Below are the mostly abbreviated quotes on the Old Testament I found in the writings of AAB. In many cases to really get the context you will need to click on the link to the Lucis Trust site:


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