Dear all,

As of today the article "Jean
Overton Fuller, Master Narayan, and the Krishnamurti-Scott-Anr...
"
will be available on the Alpheus web site.

Summary

The focus is on a relatively unknown Theosophical master who was known
to H.P. Blavatsky and H.S. Olcott under the name of Narayan. Around 1910
some Theosophists in Adyar thought they had met this master in the
person of a blind yogi named Nagaratnaswami in the little village of
Tiruvallam about 70 miles west from Madras. Almost a 100 years later
Jean Overton Fuller in her biography on Krishnamurti revived this claim
in the context of an extended and open discussion she and I conducted
about the Theosophical writers Cyril Scott and David Anrias, who both
provided very critical Theosophical assessments of Krishnamurti.

The case is that David Anrias claimed to have been in contact with
Narayan and to have received these criticisms of Krishnamurti from him
and, through him, from other masters as well. Jean Overton Fuller
thought that Narayan was just too old to have been alive in the early
1930s to be able to give Anrias the communications in question and
therefore Anrias' claim can be dismissed as either fabricated or
erroneously projected, which also would provide the grounds to dismiss
Cyril Scott, because Fuller thought that Scott received his Krishnamurti
criticisms from Anrias. Her reasoning was based on the
Narayan-Nagaratnaswami identification by deducing the age of Narayan
from primarily what was known about the blind and quite old
Nagaratnaswami and secondarily from another blind yogi by the name of
Tiravala, who Fuller also identified with Narayan.

My counter-argument, as developed in this paper, is to show that the
identification does not hold for several reasons and to make my case I
collected as many reports and claims by Theosophists about Narayan that I
could find. In the abstract I formulated the conclusion of the paper as
follows: "As a result it became clear that the identification of
Narayan with Nagaratnaswami did not hold and it therefore invalidates
Fuller's attempt to derive the age of Narayan from Nagaratnaswami, which
would also invalidate her skepticism about a possible Narayan-Anrias
connection." Even though the conclusion might sound slim and maybe only
relevant in the context of the conversation Fuller and I conducted, most
of the interesting parts of the paper came up during the discovery
process and are hopefully intrinsically intriguing regardless of the
conclusions.


Academe
and Esotericism: The Problem of Authority


An important part of the above article addresses methodological issues
involved in the academic investigation of esotericism. This was
primarily done with the help of the philosophical tools developed within
the phenomenological movement. Another author addressing these issues,
but from a more experiential point of view, is Richard Smoley. I’m
pleased to release here his talk presented at the Association for the
Study of Esotericism at Davis, California in June 2006 titled “Academe
and Esotericism: The Problem of Authority.” The author makes the case
that academicians are unnecessarily reticent in partaking of experiences
enabled by the esoteric tradition. It is as if, he states, academia is
collecting and classifying all printed works about wine, but never
venturing into tasting it and have a first-hand experience of its many
facets.

Govert Schuller
Naperville
July 18, 2010

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