[For background on Annie Besant's 4-page Reply (reproduced below) to W. Q. Judge's Nov. 1894 E.S.T. circular, see: The Theosophical Movement 1875-1950, Chapter XVI, especially pp. 241-246; and Henry S. Olcott's Old Diary Leaves, Volume V, Chapter XIX, "Mr. Judge Denounces Mrs. Besant," especially pp. 252-260. --- BAO Editor.]
I received yesterday, December 18th, from Mr. W. Q. Judge, a circular dated from New York, 3rd November, 1894. I had previously received, on November 14th, in Australia, a curt telegram from Mr. Judge informing me that he had notified the School that he was sole Head of the E.S.T. with control of everything by "Masters Orders." I did not reply to the telegram, as it said the notification to the School was made, and there was nothing for me to do until I knew what notification had been issued. All the further information I had was contained in telegrams to the Australian papers, stating that I was expelled by Mr. Judge from the Theosophical Society in consequence of the exposures in The Westminster Gazette. The public disgrace seriously interfered with the end of my Australian work, but it fortunately came nearly at the end of the tour; fortunately also it came ere I left Australia; and there reached me telegrams and letters from our Lodges promising fullest support and unanimous loyalty.
I make the following comments on the circular sent to me, and I add certain statements that the members may judge with both circulars before them. I deeply regret the delay in communicating with you, but Mr. Judge issued the circular when I was in New Zealand, and it only reached my hands yesterday afternoon. I post this to-day to catch the London mail. That the time chosen gave Mr. Judge three months for action while my mouth was closed, is therefore no fault of mine.
1. I do not know if the statements as to Mr. Judges part in the foundation of the E.S.T. are or are not true. H.P.B. never mentioned to me the alleged facts, except the one that Mr. Judge had not taken the ordinary pledge, he being already pledged.
2. The statements as to the I.G. and myself are misleading, because incomplete. I complete them. H.P.B. did, when I left her, give me a sealed statement, constituting me Chief Secretary of the I.G. and Recorder of the Teachings. She also wrote to Mr. Judge stating that I was her "Successor," when she had to leave us, and Mr. Judge read that extract to our little group at Avenue Road when he came over after her death, as constituting --- with her statements as to himself --- the basis for the future arrangements. (On this matter of H.P.B.s wishes as to the work I may be able to tell you more presently, but I cannot delay this circular.) Her dying gift to me was the ring she always wore --- of which she had given me a duplicate in 1889. Ere leaving for America I asked her if I might discuss the I.G. Instructions with Mr. Judge; she answered: No, not unless he took the I.G. pledge. When he came to London after her death I told him this, and the first of the spurious "messages" was the assent to his question if he might enter the I.G. without taking the pledge. It seemed to all of us natural and right that he should come in, and we joyfully welcomed him. The Instructions of H.P.B. to the I.G. were written down by each member, and these notes were handed to George Mead and myself, we always writing them down promptly, and H.P.B. often looking over the completed version, so as to ensure accuracy. There are other papers of teaching left in my hands by H.P.B. and in her own writing.
3. On my own value or worthlessness (pp 3, 4) I have naught to say, beyond what I was bidden by H.P.B. to assert (else would I be silent) that I am a disciple of her Master, and know him independently of her, I add, without her permission, that her blessed hand opened to me the path to His Feet.
4. pp. 5-9. The "plot," so far as I know, is the purest delusion. What is said of Mr. Chakravati I know to be false, and I can but feel the profoundest pity and sorrow for him who uses the holy name of the Master to cover such a charge. Believing in Karma as I do, compassion renders anger impossible. The statements about myself are untrue, but they matter but little.
5. The statement on p. 9 as to "inside facts" is to me a little surprising. At the beginning of February, 1894, Mr. Judge wrote to me, saying the time had come for me to be the sole head of the E.S.T. and rejoicing in my closer touch with the Masters; a little later, on the 12th February, I had a peremptory telegram from Mr. Judge, sent to me through Mr. Chakravati, bidding me issue notice to the School that I took it over. I did not act on either letter or telegram, and shortly after Mr. Judge, having meanwhile received my letter telling him that I knew he had deceived me, telegraphed again, cancelling the telegram I had received on February 12th.
6. As to East and West, I follow H.P.B. Her Master is an Indian, Master K.H. is an Indian, her writings show her love for India, she named her School the Eastern School. Ere she died, she approved my seeking in India the help of which I was to be deprived by her approaching death, and that help came to me as she said. The importance put by the Masters on India may be seen in what Master K.H. writes on it in the letters quoted in The Occult World. The Eastern Occultism that was good enough for her is good enough for me. But I will be no party to setting West against East, nor East against West; the Great Lodge works for Humanity; IT seeks to bind men together, not to stir up racial passions; IT includes Masters of different nationalities. What to us are these battle cries of divided hosts? From the Supreme Self flow all human souls; the Egos are embodied wherever their Karma leads them; not for us the heresy of separateness; from the Diamond Soul all colours flash.
The "E.S.T. Order" on page 12 I reject. I shall pursue my work quietly, with such of the council left by H.P.B. as think it right to work with me. Mr. Judge thinks it right to rend the School in twain, and I can only go on steadily as I have learned. We have come to the parting of the ways. I recognize no authority in Mr. Judge. Not from his hands did I receive my work; not into his hands may I surrender it.
And, now, brothers and sisters, you must choose your road, grievous as the choice must be to you. Mr. Judge casts me aside, breaks the last tie between us that remained. Read carefully his circular, and if your intuition tells you that it breathes the compassion which judges not a brother, the all-embracing love that draws all men together, the chivalrous honour that seeks no advantage over the absent; then follow your intuition, and obey what to you is the Masters holy voice; to such I say: "Brothers, go in peace, and may the infinite mercy of the Great Lodge guide into the path of Truth all who seek to tread it through the Maya of the physical and psychic planes."
To you who will stand where H.P.B. left us together and work with me, I have also a word to say: "Remember the ancient rule: Hatred ceaseth not by hatred at any time: hatred ceaseth by love." Follow peace and charity; attack none; blame none; impute no evil motives; cast not back reproaches. There are now two Schools not one in outer organization; but what if our love, that is not bounded by outer organization, should nourish a seed of unity and preserve it alive for happier times? Let us put all our energy into the work, let us love and serve the Masters and pray Them that if we blunder in our service the involuntary fault may speedily be shown to us by pain. The Good Law sweeps on unerringly; let us rest on Them in whom it is embodied.
This circular is sent to all members of the E.S.T. in both Divisions. Members in Europe must, within a week of their receipt of it, notify the Corresponding Secretary, 19, Avenue Road, London, N.W., whether they remain with me or go after Mr. Judge. Members in India and Australia must, posting their letters within one week of their receipt of it, notify me, addressing Mrs. Annie Besant, Benares City, India, N.W.P. Those who do not answer will be struck off the register, but will be restored, if they write within one month of receipt of this circular.
Members in America must notify the Corresponding Secretary as above, if they wish to work with me; otherwise it will be taken for granted that they follow Mr. Judge. No member can belong to both Schools.
December 19th, 1894.