What Happened to Manly P. Hall?

I remember someone mentioning something happening to Manly Palmer Hall. I know I searched at the time to find out what exactly it was...but never found it.

What was it that “happened” to him? Anyone know?

Hall was much less of a practitioner than he was a scholar; but a truly excellent scholar he was! He had a remarkable intellect, that was also graced with divine revelation from time to time. If anything “happened” to him, it would most surely be the revelations that he experienced.

What Hall truly excelled at was satisfying the intellectual thirst and spiritual curiosity of the thoughtful Seeker, and righting them on the correct moral Path. A very good beginning in deed…

What he very much lacked was the ability to instruct on metaphysical practice or spiritual revelation for the aspiring practitioner. This was best exampled when he initiated a public feud with his Los Angeles contemporary and well known yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, over the latters instruction to Seekers on basic meditation and breathing exercises. Hall called these practices dangerous and advised his audience against them. Yogananda’s public meditational instruction was quite basic and represented no threat to the beginner. The fact was that Hall was not qualified to instruct on these matters, or even fully participate in them himself. Thus, we begin to witness Hall’s limitations on his subject of instruction in that he loved to rhetorisize on the Mysteries and the greatness of past Masters, but would not sanction or advise modern man to follow that very same Path, in practice.

It is well then to consider Hall a great teacher in theory, but not in practice.

Below is a very interesting lecture of Hall’s which contain some excellent clues to questions many people have here about the past, Universal Laws, and Lessons for us today. There is even a small tie in to what is discussed in Leylines of Life, although the booklet we put out is much more detailed on the matter. Enjoy!

Manly Hall - Atlantis and the Gods of Antiquity

He portrays the world's old religions as a harmonious coexistence of ideas where the initiates learned the meaning of life.

Yet he also states these religions were secretive to keep the information from getting to the vulgar masses.

So how did they all stay on the same page with one another? Maybe they had astral conferences or something?

Plus, history has shown many of these initiates from the ruling class to be just horrible people.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Hall and how he correlates the mysteries. I also too think it is better to see the glass as half full. I just don’t think the periods he points to in human history were some golden age.

Thank you, Rex. That is a very well thought out reply with honest questions and commentary.

He portrays the world's old religions as a harmonious coexistence of ideas where the initiates learned the meaning of life.

I think as one studies the majority of world religions as they were practiced and taught in antiquity, we find that moral codes were nearly identical, myths in many cases were similar or variations on a theme (e.g. see the story of the great flood and Noah in countless cultures the world over, etc.), and even theological and spiritual teachings, while differing in superficial detail, were nearly always identical at the core.

Yet he also states these religions were secretive to keep the information from getting to the vulgar masses.

The religions were not secretive, they were a part of the culture that children were taught and everyone had access to. What you may be referring to are the Mysteries, or so called Mystery Schools, which represented the sublime and deeper aspects of the religion. Modern day examples of this would be Kabbalah for Judaism, Sufi sects and teachers in Islam, Guru traditions in Hinduism, etc. If you asked these folks to describe their deepest teachings, they would/could not tell you in simple terms, and would test the seriousness of your inquiry. You would then, over time, often receive evasive answers to these types of questions or you would be slowly invited to participate in certain functions, rituals, manufactured events physical and metaphysical that would often not be recognized as such by its subject, and various other teaching materials and tools.

Then, as now, people have access to these schools. But like any school of higher education, entrance exams are required. Even if one scores poorly, community colleges are open (although one can still fail there too), as not everyone scores to get into a Harvard or Oxford. But it does take dedication, seriousness, discipline, and commitment. If one does not have these attributes, it is of no use for others in that school to teach, as without that intense focus and dedication, nothing can be learned or retained in the first place; especially when the subject of instruction is advanced. On a related note, and also, an advanced calculus professor at a university is not going to waste their time and effort on someone who has not grasped and mastered the elementary, public, childhood math of arithmetic, let alone algebra and basic geometry. The calculus professor is not ‘secretive’, he just expects you to learn and master the basics and other preliminaries before you come to his class.

I do not think Hall ever used the word “vulgar” to describe the masses. He may have used the word “profane”, as this would be one who was uninterested or not ready to study the Higher Mysteries. For anyone not properly prepared to study these matters would grossly misinterpret and “profane” them. You take an advanced subject when you are not ready, especially one that is moral or spiritual, and that teaching literally becomes a “profanity” through ignorance, misinterpretation, and an unpurified, unexamined, and selfish ego. We see this even in the elementary forms of public religion. Even on a basic level, individuals with twisted and evil intentions will use the words or life of Jesus to justify a genocide (not to mention the common forms of fanaticism and hypocrisy). This is a profanity of great and profound teachings, which reversed becomes a great and profound profanity. And those who would use them in this way are profane. If this is so common among the public and more basic teachings, the advanced teachings are even more likely to be misunderstood and misused, for an even greater potential of damage. Which leads me to this comment:

Plus, history has shown many of these initiates from the ruling class to be just horrible people.

This is what happens when advanced teachings and advanced schools become profaned. It leads to the very worst and most powerful of the ruling elite to commit sophisticated acts of perversity and wickedness on a grand scale. It leads to dark ages, and the fall of empires and civilizations… and occasionally worse…

This occurs when the mystery schools themselves corrupt. It is at this point the Masters of the schools and their teachings withdraw, or it fully rots from within, often with the help of outside pressure and mutual lust for power. Fortunately, however, knowledge learned and power gained after the corruption sets in begins to recede until the school self implodes or dissolves into an empty shell. This is a testament to natural and universal law.

So how did they all stay on the same page with one another? Maybe they had astral conferences or something?

Astral conferences, as you amusingly call them, generally did not occur across different cultures. :wink:

But in response to your first question, I would begin to reply with questions on a similar line. How is it that different cultures, never coming in contact with one another, independently discover and advance upon the sciences of math, astronomy, architecture, agriculture and so on? Or, more specifically, how does the function of simultaneous invention or multiple discovery work? To quote Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker Magazine, May 12, 2008:

One of the first comprehensive lists of multiples was put together by William Ogburn and Dorothy Thomas, in 1922, and they found a hundred and forty-eight major scientific discoveries that fit the multiple pattern. Newton and Leibniz both discovered calculus. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace both discovered evolution. Three mathematicians “invented” decimal fractions. Oxygen was discovered by Joseph Priestley, in Wiltshire, in 1774, and by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, in Uppsala, a year earlier. Color photography was invented at the same time by Charles Cros and by Louis Ducos du Hauron, in France. Logarithms were invented by John Napier and Henry Briggs in Britain, and by Joost Bürgi in Switzerland.

“There were four independent discoveries of sunspots, all in 1611; namely, by Galileo in Italy, Scheiner in Germany, Fabricius in Holland and Harriott in England,” Ogburn and Thomas note, and they continue:

The law of the conservation of energy, so significant in science and philosophy, was formulated four times independently in 1847, by Joule, Thomson, Colding and Helmholz. They had been anticipated by Robert Mayer in 1842. There seem to have been at least six different inventors of the thermometer and no less than nine claimants of the invention of the telescope. Typewriting machines were invented simultaneously in England and in America by several individuals in these countries. The steamboat is claimed as the “exclusive” discovery of Fulton, Jouffroy, Rumsey, Stevens and Symmington.


See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_discovery

I do not suppose such a vast number of scientists throughout human history had “astral conferences”, but there are metaphysical functions present, which I shall mostly not elaborate on here for brevity. But I will say that if facets of the same Truth and science can and has been learned or discovered independently across time, space, and culture, even simultaneously, why would not the great spiritual sciences and Truths not be discovered and advanced in a like manner?

I will close with a partial explanation of excerpts courtesy of Ralph Waldo Emerson, from his Essay, History:

There is no great and no small To the Soul that maketh all: And where it cometh, all things are; And it cometh everywhere.

I am owner of the sphere,
Of the seven stars and the solar year,
Of Caesar’s hand, and Plato’s brain,
Of Lord Christ’s heart, and Shakspeare’s strain.

There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has be-fallen any man, he can understand. Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent.

The world exists for the education of each man. There is no age or state of society or mode of action in history, to which there is not somewhat corresponding in his life. Every thing tends in a wonderful manner to abbreviate itself and yield its own virtue to him. He should see that he can live all history in his own person. He must sit solidly at home, and not suffer himself to be bullied by kings or empires, but know that he is greater than all the geography and all the government of the world; he must transfer the point of view from which history is commonly read, from Rome and Athens and London to himself, and not deny his conviction that he is the court, and if England or Egypt have any thing to say to him, he will try the case; if not, let them for ever be silent. He must attain and maintain that lofty sight where facts yield their secret sense, and poetry and annals are alike. The instinct of the mind, the purpose of nature, betrays itself in the use we make of the signal narrations of history.

The transmigration of souls is no fable. I would it were; but men and women are only half human. Every animal of the barn-yard, the field, and the forest, of the earth and of the waters that are under the earth, has contrived to get a footing and to leave the print of its features and form in some one or other of these upright, heaven-facing speakers. Ah! brother, stop the ebb of thy soul, — ebbing downward into the forms into whose habits thou hast now for many years slid. As near and proper to us is also that old fable of the Sphinx, who was said to sit in the road-side and put riddles to every passenger. If the man could not answer, she swallowed him alive. If he could solve the riddle, the Sphinx was slain. What is our life but an endless flight of winged facts or events! In splendid variety these changes come, all putting questions to the human spirit. Those men who cannot answer by a superior wisdom these facts or questions of time, serve them. Facts encumber them, tyrannize over them, and make the men of routine the men of sense, in whom a literal obedience to facts has extinguished every spark of that light by which man is truly man. But if the man is true to his better instincts or sentiments, and refuses the dominion of facts, as one that comes of a higher race, remains fast by the soul and sees the principle, then the facts fall aptly and supple into their places; they know their master, and the meanest of them glorifies him.

I will not now go behind the general statement to explore the reason of this correspondency. Let it suffice that in the light of these two facts, namely, that the mind is One, and that nature is its correlative, history is to be read and written.

Thus in all ways does the soul concentrate and reproduce its treasures for each pupil. He, too, shall pass through the whole cycle of experience. He shall collect into a focus the rays of nature. History no longer shall be a dull book. It shall walk incarnate in every just and wise man. You shall not tell me by languages and titles a catalogue of the volumes you have read. You shall make me feel what periods you have lived. A man shall be the Temple of Fame. He shall walk, as the poets have described that goddess, in a robe painted all over with wonderful events and experiences; — his own form and features by their exalted intelligence shall be that variegated vest. I shall find in him the Foreworld; in his childhood the Age of Gold; the Apples of Knowledge; the Argonautic Expedition; the calling of Abraham; the building of the Temple; the Advent of Christ; Dark Ages; the Revival of Letters; the Reformation; the discovery of new lands; the opening of new sciences, and new regions in man. He shall be the priest of Pan, and bring with him into humble cottages the blessing of the morning stars and all the recorded benefits of heaven and earth.