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The Theosophical Movement 1875-1925
"To all true Theosophists, in every country and of every race, for they called it forth, and for them it was recorded."
--- viiPREFACE There exists nowhere a collected and authentic recital of the Theosophical Movement of the nineteenth century. Yet, although a scant half century has elapsed since the foundation of The Theosophical Society at New York City, the work there begun has spread into all portions of the civilized world, until the word Theosophy is a familiar term to every educated mind. The teachings known under that name have been more or less investigated and adopted by millions, while its more earnest students who have accepted it as a complete and satisfactory explanation of all the problems of life, here and hereafter, are numbered by thousands in every country and of every race.
In an indirect but none the less powerful manner the teachings of Theosophy have profoundly affected the ideas and ideals of the race on the great questions of ethics, of morality, of religion, philosophy and science, so that today it may be truly said that there is nothing worthy of the consideration of the human mind that has not been leavened by the injection of Theosophical leaven. It is not too much, therefore, to affirm that the direct and indirect influence of Theosophy upon humanity in the course of a single generation has been greater than that of any other system ever promulgated, during as many centuries as the Theosophical Movement numbers decades. And the Movement can as yet scarcely be said to have passed the stage of its germinal impulsion.
The record of the Theosophical Movement is scattered through thousands upon thousands of pages of books, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets and other documents. Many of these are extremely controversial in character, many inaccurate, many contradictory and confusing. The attempt to study, digest, collate and compare the im-
mense literature of the subject is a monumental undertaking. The writers have spent many years in connection with the work of the Theosophical Movement, and their opportunities and facilities have been greater than most. Yet they know only too well the impossibility of doing anything like justice to the subject, or of affording satisfactory replies to all questions of the sincere student of its complexities. The very nature of the subject forbids. For Theosophy, the Theosophical Movement, and the real and true Theosophical Society have, each of them, an esoteric as well as an exoteric side, and the latter can never be fully grasped and understood but through the former.
Some of this hidden side can be touched upon, some documents referred to, some indications submitted, some deductions offered for the consideration of the reflective mind, but for by far the most important portion of the esoteric aspect the student must rely upon his own intuition: for the hidden side of Theosophy can only be arrived at through the hidden nature of the student himself.
Still another difficulty that confronts alike the writers and the sincere student is the fact that many of those who were active in the lifetime of the parent Theosophical Society are still living and now prominent, both in the public eye, and as leaders and exponents of the many conflicting theosophical and occult societies that have sprang up in the past twenty-five years, since the death of the original society. All these antagonistic organizations have their devoted adherents, their own particular tenets and claims of pre-eminence and successorship. The situation exactly parallels that of the early centuries of Christianity. Rival pretensions to apostolic succession, to knowledge, to authority, and to the possession of the keys to the teachings of the Founders confront the inquirer. The danger is imminent that if a better knowledge and understanding of the real teachings of Theosophy, the real mission of the Theosophical Movement, and the real facts in connection with the history of the Parent Theosophical Society, are not made available for
all those who may become interested, the fate that has long since overtaken Brahminism, Buddhism and Christianity will inevitably befall the great Message of H.P. Blavatsky.
For all the reasons expressed and implied, an accessible record of the facts, as accurate a survey of their significance and bearing on the present and on the future as possible, is of the utmost moment to all sincere students and to all earnest enquirers. Themselves members of none of the existing organizations, but profoundly convinced of the surpassing value of the noble philosophy of Theosophy, the writers are moved to this attempt to aid the unimpeded flow of the great stream of the Theosophical Movement, not so much by any belief in their own especial ability as by the conviction that that flow is being impeded and corrupted by the partisanship and pretensions of the leading exponents of the existing societies. It is therefore addressed, not to any society or societies, but to all true Theosophists, whether members of any of the existing organizations or of none, and to all true enquirers everywhere, who may be willing to accept truth wherever it may be found, and to defend it, even looking popular prejudice - and their own - straight in the face.
For the rest, it may be added that the Syllabus which precedes the text will, it is hoped, be found, both by the general reader and the serious student, to be more satisfactory than an index. The abundant direct citations and the collateral references included in the text render superfluous a separate bibliography and will, it is thought, enable those so minded to verify at first hand every minor as well as major subject discussed.
I. CHANNELS OF THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT ................. 1
II. THE PARENT THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY ................... 13
III. "ISIS UNVEILED" ................ 26
IV. EARLY DAYS OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY .......... 42
V. THE S.P.R. AND THE THEOSOPHICAL PHENOMENA .............. 59
VI. THE REPORT OF THE S.P.R. ........... 75
VII. DIVISIONS AMONG THEOSOPHISTS - NEW PUBLICATIONS ............. 94
VIII. ESOTERIC AND EXOTERIC ASPECTS OF THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT ........... 110
IX. H.P.B., OLCOTT, AND JUDGE ............ 127
X. THE FORMATION OF THE AMERICAN SECTION ......... 44
XI. THE WORK OF THE ESOTERIC SECTION ............. 163
XII. MABEL COLLINS AND PROFESSOR COUES ............ 178
XIII. THE COUES-COLLINS CHARGES AND THEIR AFTERMATH .............. 195
XIV. THE NEW YORK SUN LIBEL CASE ........... 211
XV. OLCOTT VERSUS H.P.B. ......... 226
XVI. OLCOTT'S ATTEMPT TO CENTRALIZE ALL AUTHORITY .....244
XVII. H.P.B. TAKES CHARGE OF THE T.S. IN EUROPE ............. 267
XVIII. DEATH OF H.P.B. - HER LAST MESSAGES ........... 275
XIX. THE CRISIS IN THE SOCIETY ......... 293
XX. ATTEMPTS TO SUPERSEDE H.P.B.'S INFLUENCE ........... 302
XXI. GROWING DIVERGENCES - OLCOTT RESIGNS AS PRESIDENT ............ 321
XXII. CONVENTION OF 1892 - OLCOTT WITHDRAWS HIS RESIGNATION ........... 334
XXIII. H.P.B.'S "SUCCESSORS" - THE PUBLICATION OF "OLD DIARY LEAVES" .......... 351
XXIV. CONTROVERSY OVER H.P.B.'s STATUS AS AGENT OF THE MASTERS .......... 380
XXV. ANNIE BESANT IN AMERICA, 1892-1893 ............ 405
XXVI. BEGINNINGS OF THE "JUDGE CASE" .......... 425
XXVII. MRS. BESANT CHANGES SIDES ........... 441
XXVIII. THE AMERICAN SECTION SUPPORTS JUDGE ........ 468
XXIX. THE "JUDICIAL ENQUIRY" IN LONDON ........... 493
XXX. BRITISH CONVENTION DISMISSES CASE AGAINST JUDGE ......... 519
XXXI. THE "EASTERN DIVISION" AND "WESTERN DIVISION" .......... 559
XXXII. WESTMINSTER GAZETTE ATTACKS THE SOCIETY ........ 574
XXXIII. MRS BESANT TRIES TO DRIVE JUDGE OUT OF THE SOCIETY ......... 596
XXXIV. THE AMERICAN SECTION DECLARES ITS AUTONOMY AND ELECTS JUDGE ITS LIFE-PRESIDENT ............. 622
XXXV. JUDGE'S DEATH AND THE TINGLEY "SUCCESSORSHIP ......... 653
XXXVI. PRESENT AND FUTURE OF THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT .......... 689
The Theosophical Movement the story of Spiritual and Intellectual evolution - Religions and systems of thought, governments, sects and parties, landmarks of its cyclical progression through the ages -The Reformation, Free Masonry, the American Republic, the abolition of human slavery, all steps - "divine right" of God and the "divine rights" of kings alike obstacles to progress - all physical evolution preceded and accompanied by intellectual and moral growth - upward impulses due to the inspiration of higher evolved Intelligence - they work through appropriate channels - modern signs of the Theosophical Movement abundantly in evidence - Western interest in oriental philosophy and religion - the great influence of the "Light of Asia" - the tremendous effect of Darwin's "Origin of Species" on prevailing religious ideas of "creation," God and Nature - Buckle's intuitive perception of the rise of new religions and philosophies - the great work of iconoclasts like Ingersoll and Bradlaugh of liberal preachers like Kingsley and Channing - the Bastilles of orthodoxy no longer impregnable - Spiritualism an index of the transitional state of mind in religion - phenomena and forces ignored by Science - the writings of Allan Kardec - Spiritualism devoid alike of morality and philosophy - becomes in a generation the faith of millions - due to awakening psychic faculties - Madame Blavatsky enters the Western arena - her exhibition of powers exercised at will - her totally unknown philosophy of Life - her first efforts made with the Spiritualists.
CHAPTER II. THE PARENT THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY ....... 13
Madame Blavatsky comes to New York in 1873 - meets Col. H.S. Olcott in 1874 at the Eddy farmhouse - she controls the exhibition of phenomena unknown to the spectators - Olcott a prominent lawyer and newspaper writer, a life-long Spiritualist - becomes greatly interested in H.P.B.'s powers and knowledge - introduces her to Wm. Q. Judge, a young lawyer - Olcott and Judge become pupils of H.P.B. - Olcott's book, "People from the Other Word," draws public attention to the phenomenal powers of H.P.B. - her apartment dubbed "the Lamasery" becomes the scene of a never ending throng of visitors and marvel seekers - Olcott proposes a "Miracle Club," which falls through - the Theosophical Society established in November, 1875, by H.P.B., Olcott and Judge other early members - most of them Spiritualists who turn enemies - teachings of H.P.B. entirely opposed to the theories of Spiritualism - many European and Indian Fellows join the new Society - The Arya Somaj and Swami Sarasvati - the original Society democratic in organization - no restrictions on freedom of conscience or liberty of thought - the "Three Objects" of the Parent Theosophical Society - H.P.B. writes "Isis Unveiled," published in 1877 - goes with Col. Olcott to India, leaving Judge in America - rapid growth of the Society in the Orient - early publications and formation of new "Branches," East and West.
CHAPTER III. "ISIS UNVEILED" ........ 26
"Isis Unveiled" a Master Key to the mysteries of science and religion, modern and ancient - dedicated to the Theosophical Society with whose "Three Objects" its teachings are in correlation - discusses the roots of all religion, the negations of science, and the phenomena of Spiritualism - declares all three before a blank wall only to be penetrated by recourse to the wisdom of the ancient sages - affirms the existence of the Wisdom-Religion as the true Source of the Theosophical Movement in all ages - H.P.B. avows her own intimate acquaintance with living Adepts - phenomenal powers over space, time and matter - proves the fallacies of "exact" science by the testimony of its own exponents - all claims of religious "infallibility" mere theological dogmas - raised her voice for spiritual freedom and enfranchisement from all tyranny whether of Science or Theology - postulates a double evolution, spiritual and intellectual - the Wisdom-Religion the only philosophy which can reconcile faith and knowledge - Metempsychosis, in its esoteric sense - the solution of the "missing links" in Science and the mysteries that baffle religionists - ancient Magic a Divine Science - Cyclic Law, or Karma, the explanation of the rise and fall of civilizations - the periodic destructions and renovations of Nature - every problem of existence solved by the Wise Men of old - the secret and unbroken chain of the Adepts of the Great Lodge - the great propositions of Occultism - there is no miracle, everything under Law (Karma) - Spirit, Mind and Matter the evolving Trinity in Nature and in Man - Adeptship versus Mediumship - the Trinity of Nature the lock of Magic - the Trinity of Man the Key that fits it.
CHAPTER IV. EARLY DAYS OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.... 42
The Theosophical Society an attempt to form a human association on the basis of the Lodge of Adepts, pure Altruism - H.P.B. not deceived in regard to the obstacles to be met - sectarian religious prejudices, the great barrier to true Fraternity - the Second Object of the T.S. - the idea of "miracles" and materialistic hypotheses of modern science the great enemies of true knowledge, hence the Third Object - Man inherently perfectible, not a mortal fallible being - Adepts the living proof of the divinity inherent in every man - the Wisdom-Religion can be known and its Adepts found by any sincere man - the real enemies of human welfare - bound to array themselves against H.P.B., her Society and her mission - who those enemies are - orthodox religions, materialistic science, pseudo-scientists, pretended authorities - the mercenaries and parasites of the press - "Isis Unveiled" neither a revelation nor an arbitrary theory - a statement of verifiable facts, physical and metaphysical - rests upon its own inherent worth - the Theosophical Society a body of students - dependent upon self-induced and self-devised efforts to study and apply the teachings of Theosophy - rejected and opposed by the Spiritualists, its natural allies, because of its teachings on after-death states and conditions - greatly helped in the East because of the natural mysticism of the inhabitants - Swami Sarasvati and his Arya Somaj originally sympathetic - Buddhist and Hindu friends gained for the Society in India - Sumangali, Damodar Mavalankar and Subba Row, powerful allies - A.P. Sinnett and A.O. Hume influential friends among the English - The Theosophist founded in 1879 - Olcott's "Buddhist Catechism" published - this and his lecturing tours gain many adherents - Missionary hostility aroused at the success and propaganda of the Society - H.P.B. charged with being a Russian spy and an immoral woman with Col. Olcott for her dupe - other calumnies - charges recanted by enemies first internal disturbance is the London Lodge - Dr. George Wyld's defection - Dr. Anna Bonus Kingsford's "Perfect Way" - her pamphlet assault on Mr. Sinnett's "Esoteric Buddhism" - Mr. Subba Row replies - Mr. C.C. Massey precipitates further troubles - the "Kiddle charges" of plagiarism by the Master - the storm raised in England and France in 1884 - H.P.B. and Col. Olcott go to Paris and London - meet Mr. Solovyoff - Judge comes to Paris, goes to India, and returns to America via London - H.P.B. and Col. Olcott meet leading members of the Society for Psychical Research while in London - the S.P.R. plans to investigate the "Theosophical phenomena."
CHAPTER V. THE S.P.R. AND THE THEOSOPHICAL PHENOMENA... 59
The Society for Psychical Research preceded by the Dialectical Society - that Society investigates Spiritualism in 1889 - publishes its Report is 1870 - concludes phenomena of Spiritualism are genuine - transcend all known laws - should be investigated scientifically - criticisms of the Report by London papers - Professor Crookes investigates Spiritualism - publishes his results in 1872 - Mr. Crookes assailed as savagely as Darwin - no advance in understanding of Spiritualistic phenomena during next ten years - the "Unseen Universe" - the Society for Psychical Research established in 1882 - its chief sponsors Spiritualists - some of them members of the Theosophical Society also - many well-known men and women join the S.P.R. - it begins its investigation of the "Theosophical phenomena" in the summer of 1884 - Olcott, Sinnett, Chatterji and others examined - H.P.B. interviewed - many other witnesses to the phenomena of H.P.B. give testimony - Preliminary Report of the S.P.R. issued in the fall of 1884 - admits the prima facie genuineness of the phenomena - reservations due to the charges just made in India by the Coulombs against the good faith of H.P.B. - declares a further investigation necessary in India - appoints Mr. Richard Hodgson for that purpose - the story of the Coulomb charges of fraud against H.P.B. - H.P.B. ship-wrecked in 1871 - goes to Cairo - meets Madame Coulomb - is succored by her - starts a society to investigate Western Spiritualism - the attempt a failure - H.P.B. returns to Russia in 1872 - goes to Paris and then to New York in 1873 - Madame Coulomb marries in Egypt - meets with reverses - is living in poverty in Ceylon when H.P.B. and Col. Olcott come to India - the Coulombs appeal for aid - go to India - join the Theosophical Society in 1880 - are given employment at headquarters - Madame Coulomb a bigoted Christian and Spiritualist medium - becomes jealous of H.P.B.'s successful mission - tries to extort money from members - circulates slanders about H.P.B. - is brought to "trial" by the members of the Council during absence of H.P.B. and Olcott in Europe in the summer of 1884 - the Coulombs communicate with Madras missionaries - are expelled from the Theosophical Society - are supported by the missionaries - the Coulomb charges published in the Christian College Magazine and in a pamphlet - the outburst occasioned.
CHAPTER VI. THE REPORT OF THE S.P.R. .... 75
Madame Blavatsky resigns from Theosophical Society when Coulomb charges made public - resignation refused by Olcott under pressure - H.P.B. writes London Times and Pall Mall Gazette pronouncing charges a conspiracy - H.P.B. and Olcott return to India at end of 1884 - H.P.B. insists charges most be met by court proceedings against the Coulombs - Olcott and the Hindus oppose legal action - the Adyar Convention declines to defend while affirming belief in her bona fides - Olcott and Sinnett already mistrust H.P.B. - she resigns from the Society and leaves India early in 1885 - Mr. Hodgson in India during the Convention and desertion of H.P.B. by Theosophists - powerfully affected by the luke-warmness and doubts of leading Theosophists - returns to England and submits his report to Committee of S.P.R. - Hodgson's findings adopted by Committee in June, 1885 - Report of the S.P.R. published following December - Conclusions reached - H.P.B.'s phenomena fraudulent - in a long-continued conspiracy to deceive public - Coulomb letters and Mahatma letters written by H.P.B. - declare H.P.B. "One of the most accomplished, ingenious, and interesting impostors in history" - the Report of the S.P.R. examined critically shows it to be wholly ex parte - no safeguards employed to ascertain and render justice - the investigation that of a rival society controlled by Spiritualists - the S.P.R. not interested in philosophy or ethics - avid for phenomena - ignorant of Occultism - contradictions and inconsistencies of S.P.R. Committee shown from its own Report - Committee relies wholly on Mr. Massey's suspicions, the Coulomb charges, and the opinions of the London handwriting experts - Mr. Massey's suspicions shown to be without tangible foundation - the Coulombs shown out of their own mouths to be lying tricksters - the handwriting experts shown as first declaring the Mahatma letters could not have been written by H.P.B. - then, at Hodgson's solicitation, changing their opinion to the contrary - the expert Netherclift shown to have sworn positively in the Parnell case to the opposite of the facts - the motives of all adverse witnesses shown to have been culpable and their testimony impeached - more than one hundred responsible witnesses affirm the genuineness of phenomena witnessed by them - the S.P.R. Committee declares these to have been victims of "hallucination" - Hodgson's findings examined - a mass of suspicions and contradictory conjectures to account for facts testified to - Hodgson recognizes necessity for showing a motive sufficient to account for H.P.B.'s alleged fraud during twenty years - rejects supposition that she was influenced by greed or ambition - submits theory that H.P.B. was a Russian spy - her Society and her phenomena a cloak to conceal her designs against British rule in India.
CHAPTER VII. DIVISIONS AMONG THEOSOPHISTS - NEW PUBLICATIONS ....... 94
Effect on Theosophists of Coulomb - S.P.R. "exposure" - Olcott goes to Burmah - H.P.B. desperately ill - attempt to unseat Olcott, who returns to Adyar - H.P.B. supports him - but tells him in deserting her the Theosophists have deserted the Masters - H.P.B. resigns and leaves India for Europe - Damodar leaves Adyar and goes to the Masters - the Society in India languishes and falls into public contempt - H.P.B. finds friends and supporters in Europe - Olcott and Indians find they cannot continue without H.P.B. - Convention at close of 1885 invites her to resume her office of Corresponding Secretary - refuses resignation of Olcott who is ready to retire as President - temporary restoration of harmony among Theosophists - H.P.B. in Europe, first in Italy, then Germany, then Belgium - her sickness, poverty, courage, good temper and unremitting exertions - visited by many noted Theosophists - her physical condition desperate for two years - carried to London by Countess Wachtmeister and the Keightleys in summer of 1887 - her presence a great stimulus to Theosophy in England - new publications, the Sphynx, the Lotus and Lucifer - the "Blavatsky Lodge" formed at London - Sinnett publishes "Incidents in the Life of H.P. Blavatsky" as an offset to S.P.R. Report - new books - "Light on the Path" - "Five Years of Theosophy" - "Man: Fragments of Forgotten History" - revival of Theosophical spirit and work - in Asia - in Europe - in America - Judge the heart of the Movement in America - rebuilds the Society - Judge begins The Path in 1888 - secures the establishment of the American "Board of Control" by Olcott - new Branches and Lodges in the United States - Judge forms the "American Section of the T.S." - first really democratic organization in the Society - Judge becomes its General Secretary - the work now in three streams - Judge in America - H.P.B. in Europe - Olcott in India - all in outward concord.
CHAPTER VIII. ESOTERIC AND EXOTERIC ASPECTS OF THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT .......... 110
The "Esoteric Section of the T.S." - the Theosophical Movement has an esoteric as well as an exoteric aspect - the Theosophical Society mere the public experimental aspect of the Movement and its Third Section - the First Section the Lodge of Masters - the Second Section composed of accepted, lay and probationary Chelas or Disciples - the Masters or First Section never publicly known - the Second Section kept secret, but probationers accepted privately - Judge and Olcott the earliest members of the Second Section known - first public notice of the Three Sections in India in 1880 - hints and articles on Chelaship thereafter appear at intervals in The Theosophist - difference between Occultism and Spiritualism - Chelaship and mediumship opposed courses - reasons for secrecy in connection with "Chelaship of the Second Section" - the immense change in the work of H.P.B. and Judge after 1888 - shown in contents of Lucifer and The Path - illustrative articles cited - "the ordeals of Chelaship"-practically exemplified in case of Mrs. Cables and Mr. W.T. Brown - Mrs. Cables a Spiritualist Christian with mystical tendencies - begins publication of The Occult Word - W.T. Brown a "probationary Chela" - becomes a "Rosicrucian" - joins Mrs. Cables - they seek for "communications from the Mahatmas" - receive no "signs" - publish a "manifesto" - H.P.B. replies - shows dangers and requirements of Chelaship - cites Brown's own case in illustration without naming him - Mrs. Cables and Brown leave the Society - failures frequent among candidates for Chelaship - out of hundreds "one only" achieves full success - seven years successful probation the minimum requirement before "communication with Masters" possible on both sides - failure of Theosophists to lead the life.
CHAPTER IX. H.P.B., OLCOTT AND JUDGE ....... 127
H.P.B. the Messenger of the Masters - Judge next to her in importance esoterically - Olcott the public head and front of the exoteric work - Olcott's limitations and obstacles - his own letter quoted - Olcott, the probationary Chela, falls often and upsets his work as President - his attitude toward H.P.B. and Judge - his friendship and intimacy with those who afterward became enemies or traitors - Massey, Prof. Coues - Olcott's slights to H.P.B. - his partiality for Subba Row - friction between Subba Row and H.P.B. over the "Sevenfold Classification" - the contentions in The Theosophist - Judge intervenes in the controversy - internal frictions cause of all external troubles - failure of Theosophists to adhere to First Object and of probationary Chelas to keep their Pledges - could not endure correction at hands of H.P.B. or Judge - "Pledge Fever" real cause of stormy course of the Society - necessity for restoration of the Movement to true lines - Judge advises formation of "Esoteric Section" - draws up its Rules - Olcott torn by fears and doubts - the battle between the "Three Founders" prior to the formation of the "Esoteric Section" - not disclosed till long afterwards in "Old Diary Leaves" - neither H.P.B. nor Judge ever wrote anything personal - never "washed Theosophical dirty linen in public" - story of friction between the Founders unknown to Theosophists at the time - disclosed long afterward by Olcott - "Old Diary Leaves" not a history but an autobiography.
CHAPTER X. THE FORMATION OF THE ESOTERIC SECTION ....... 144
The "critical period" preceding the formation of the "Esoteric Section" of the T.S. - H.P.B. discussed Olcott's nature in a letter to Dr. Franz Hartmann in 1886 - Olcott and others never understood either Masters or H.P.B. - Olcott sincere but "lacks in the psychological portion of his brain" - H.P.B.'s story of per difficulties - trying to aid others to perception of the facts -Olcott tells his story at length in "Old Diary Leaves" - thinks H.P.B. wise, foolish and fanatic - opposes establishment of Lucifer and of "Blavatsky Lodge" - offended at H.P.B.'s course in the Subba Row controversy - discusses H.P.B.'s nature - calls her "insulted and misunderstood Messenger" - then says she "frets and worries over mares' nests" - calls the Judge-Coues controversy a "personal quarrel" - gives his version of the storm preceding the "Esoteric Section" - calls H.P.B. a "mad person," "hyper-excited hysterical woman" - discloses that H.P.B. was prepared to leave the T.S. and form a new Society of her own if he does not reform - the Hindu "Council" frightened at H.P.B.'s stand - more trouble in the Paris Branch - Olcott makes it an excuse to go to Europe in 1888 - to "fight it out" with H.P.B. - first overrules her then rescinds his action - confirms H.P.B.'s "interference" as within her "Constitutional rights" - Olcott receives a letter on shipboard in 1888 direct from the Master - wrongly relates it in "Old Diary Leaves" to the visit in 1884 - the Master's letter a phenomenon indeed - it reproaches Olcott for his attitude and conduct towards H.P.B. - declares that it is she who is their direct agent - affirms that "with occult matters she has everything to do" - warns Olcott to attend to his own business - tells him he will have to suffer for his injustice to H.P.B. - the letter effective for the time being - Judge goes to London and the Three Founders effect a reconciliation - H.P.B. issues public notice of the Esoteric Section, accompanied by an "official authorization" from Olcott - joint note of H.P.B. and Olcott to all Theosophists - Olcott afterwards takes credit to himself for the outcome - "pacifies H.P.B."
CHAPTER XI. THE WORK OF THE ESOTERIC SECTION ......... 163
"Old Diary Leaves" tells the story of Olcott's return to India late in 1888 for the "Adyar Parliament" - his Address to Convention - never set himself up as a competent teacher - the Esoteric Section H.P.B.'s sole responsibility - glosses the European events to show himself the leading actor - the Convention of the American Section in April, 1889, following - a letter read from H.P.B. - Judge's respect and reverence for H.P.B. in contrast with Olcott's attitude - H.P.B.'s letter refers to the Esoteric Section - formed to work for Theosophy under her direction - gives a warning direct from Masters - Altruism Their object - Theosophists must strive for true fraternity - Preliminary Memorandum to candidates for the Esoteric Section - the Pledge required - secrecy, service and, study - the Esoteric Section necessary because the T.S. had proved after thirteen years a "dead failure" and a "sham" - the Esoteric Section not for "practical occultism" - for brotherly union, mutual help, and the salvation of the T.S. - other extracts from the Preliminary Memorandum and Book of Rules.
CHAPTER XII. MABEL COLLINS AND PROFESSOR COUES ......... 178
The Esoteric Section promptly brings about Pledge Fever in the T.S. - the great storm of 1889-90 - Mabel Collins and Prof. Coues the conscious and unconscious instruments - Mabel Collins joins London Lodge is 1884 - a "psychic" with no knowledge of Occultism - medium for "Light on the Path" and "The Gates of Gold" - becomes Associate Editor of Lucifer with H.P.B. - acquires great Theosophical reputation - suddenly dropped from Lucifer in February, 1889 - Prof. Coues of Catholic descent and training - highly educated - noted scientific authority and writer - interested in "psychical research" - joins T.S. at London in 1884 - becomes member of American Board of Control - establishes the Gnostic Branch of the American Section T.S., at Washington, D. C. - aids in establishing an American Society for Psychical Research - tries to control T.S. in United States - Judge's cautions - Coues corresponds with H.P.B., Judge and Olcott, trying to set them at odds with each other - Olcott nearly succumbs - letter from Olcott to Coues - Coues made Chairman at American Section Convention of 1888 at Chiemo - gives the Chicago Tribune a spurious "Mahatma message" - admits it to Judge - denies it to H.P.B. - his letters to Judge and H.P.B. - his hypocrisy and thirst for notoriety and power - H.P.B. replies to him - speaks plainly - refuses to countenance his "messages" or his ambitions - he demands to be made head of the American Section as the price of his allegiance - his offer rejected - not present at the Convention of April, 1889.
CHAPTER XIII. THE COUES-COLLINS CHARGES AND THEIR AFTERMATH ......... 195
Coues sends a letter to the Religio-Philosophical Journal of May 11, 1889 - Bundy, Coleman, Michael Angelo Lane and Mabel Collins enlisted in Coues' campaign to ruin Judge and H.P.B. - Coues' letter jeers at the "Theosophical mahatmas" - quotes a letter from Mabel Collins - says he never met Miss Collins personally - wrote her first in 1885 asking real source of "Light on the Path" - she replied that it was "dictated to her by one of the adepts" of H.P.B. - no intervening communication - now "unexpectedly" he receives letter which he gives - Miss Collins declares her original statement false - knows nothing of existence of any Master - made her false statement because H.P.B. "begged and implored" her to - the Coues-Collins' charges critically examined - show Coues a conscienceless schemer and Mabel Collins a mediumistic dupe of Coues - their combined testimony proved false from their own evidence - collateral and chronological facts show baselessness and impossibility of allegations in regard to H.P.B. - aftermath of events - Mabel Collins sues H.P.B. for libel - her own attorneys dismiss the suit on being shown a letter of Mabel Collins in H.P.B.'s possession - the real mysteries involved in the origin of Collins' "inspired" books - Mabel Collins a "failure in occultism" - dismissed, with M.A. Lane, from the Esoteric Section - Coues never a member of the Section - admission refused him.
CHAPTER XIV. THE NEW YORK SUN LIBEL CASE ......... 211
Professor Coues' case taken up by Judge - the Executive Committee of the American Section expels Coues from the T.S. - the Convention in April, 1890, approves the expulsion - the Gnostic Branch dischartered - Coues plans revenge - the New York Sun joins in the fray - calls H.P.B. an "impostor," lauds Coues for exposing her "humbug religion" - followed by full page interview with Coues - he rehashes all the old slanders on H.P.B. - charges Judge with duplicating in America H.P.B.'s frauds in England - the "mahatmas" a hoax and their "messages" invented by H.P.B. and Judge - charges H.P.B. with immorality - Judge brings suit for libel against Sun - H.P.B. follows - her letter in The Path - no evasion of the issues - the Sun fights the case for two years - no evidence obtainable to support the charges made - the Sun publishes in 1892 a full retraction and repudiates Coues - retraction accompanied by publication in Sun of a long article by Judge in defense of H.P.B. - Sun says editorially "Mr. Judge's article disposes of all questions regarding Madame Blavatsky as resented by Dr. Coues" - the Sun libel case a complete vindication of H.P.B. - infamy of subsequent reiteration of exploded slanders by Count Witte and Margot Tennant - Coues disgraced by outcome of suits - retires to obscurity - importance of the Coues-Collins-Sun battle - should be familiar to all students.
CHAPTER XV. OLCOTT VERSUS H.P.B. ........ 226
Esoteric aspect of the Coues struggle - cycles in Theosophical Movement - the Three Founders the personification of the Three
Sections of the Movement - a breach between the Sections in the first ten years - Olcott and others' failure to defend H.P.B. in 1885 the sign of the rupture - first doubts - then dissent and dissimulation - then temporising - then repudiation of the Occult status of H.P.B. - the long list of "failures in occultism" in the first thirteen years - Coues counted on Olcott's support - Olcott becomes frightened at possible consequences to Society and himself - refuses to align himself with his colleagues but does not openly support Coues - blinded by jealousy and vanity - "Old Diary Leaves" discloses Olcott's inner attitude and struggles - his "pitched battle" with H.P.B. in 1888 over the Esoteric Section - due to his inner doubts and fears - thought H.P.B. and Judge were engaged in "the building up of a new structure of falsehood, fraud and treachery in which to house new idol" - takes Richard Harte back to India with him - Olcott's comments in "Old Diary Leaves" on the events from 1888 to 1890 - obsessed with the importance of the Society - of himself as its President-Founder - changes in the Constitution and articles in The Theosophist - engineered by Olcott to make himself supreme - tries to relegate H.P.B. and Judge to "their proper place" - "Revised Rules" adopted by the "Adyar Parliament - Judge and H.P.B. oppose - supported by the American and British Sections.
CHAPTER XVI. OLCOTT'S ATTEMPT TO CENTRALIZE ALL AUTHORITY ............ 244
1888-1890 - the long campaign waged by Olcott and his lieutenant Richard Harte - coincident with the Cones' assaults - the uproar in the Society - H.P.B. and Judge the target for attacks within and without the Society - The Theosophist wages war on the independence of the Sections - belittles the Esoteric Section - threatens the dissolution of the American and British Sections - lauds "Adyar" as "the centre of the Movement" - long series of derogatory articles - The Theosophist the sole source of information in India - attempts of H.P.B. and Judge publicly and privately to restore harmony - Bertram Keightly's foolish letter to Harte - Judge writes direct to Olcott - re-affirms the issues at stake - declares H.P.B. the heart of the Society as well as the Movement - Olcott refuses to publish Judge's letter - gives extracts and defends Harte - declares himself the head and front of the Society and the cause - H.P.B. takes action - her article in Lucifer, August, 1889 - "A Puzzle from Adyar" - she reprints some of Harte's fulminations - "Pure nonsense to say that she is 'loyal to the Theosophical Society and to Adyar'" - "loyal to death to the Theosophical Cause" - "There is no longer a 'Parent Society'" - "It is abolished and replaced by an aggregate body of Theosophical Societies, all autonomous" - will leave the Society at the first sign of disloyalty to the Cause - and will lead those who remain true.
CHAPTER XVII. H.P.B. TAKES CHARGE OF THE T.S. IN EUROPE ............. 267
Esoterically, the great storm of 1888-90 due to the clash between human and divine nature - the Objects of the Movement practical, not theoretical - the gulf between the views of Olcott and his party and those personified by H.P.B. and Judge - Olcott once more sobered by "A Puzzle from Adyar" - realizes he has gone too far - fears for his beloved Society - determines to go once more to England - realizes that to rise in rebellion means to ally himself with Coues - arrives in England late in 1889 - met as always by H.P.B. with affection and charity - heart warmed by the treatment accorded him - his fears allayed for the moment - makes a tour of the British Isles - issues an "Order" delegating his Presidential powers for Europe to H.P.B. and an "Advisory Council" - "Bombay Conference" adopts stirring resolutions in support of H.P.B. during Olcott's absence - fresh Paris troubles after Olcott's return to India - he once more interferes and issues Presidential ukases - the British and Continental Theosophists rise up in arms - Mrs. Annie Besant joins the Society - becomes associate editor of Lucifer and President of the "Blavatsky Lodge" - she heads the insurrectron against Olcott's papal actions - unanimous demand that H.P.B. take direction of affairs in Europe - H.P.B. bows to the will of the European Theosophists - issues a Notice in Lucifer assuming full authority and responsibility for Society in Europe - names it "The Theosophical Society in Europe" and declares for democracy August,1890 - cables Olcott of her action - Olcott saves his face by accepting the facts and repudiating the factors.
CHAPTER XVIII. DEATH OF H.P.B. - HER LAST MESSAGES ........... 275
H.P.B. dies May 8, 1891 - Her life an open book to friend and foe - remains today as much a mystery as then - Theosophists never studied her life in the light of her teachings regarded personally even by her most devoted followers - judged at second hand on hearsay and opinion by the world and by Theosophists - weighed by trifles - her teachings and her works the true evidence of her Mission and her nature - no fact adduced by her ever overthrown by counter-evidence - her theories as unimpeachable as ever - her life and her message absolutely consistent - her followers and detractors weighed in same scale make a sorry showing - her Messages to the American Theosophists prove her sage and prophet - her "dying declaration" - "My Books" - "Isis Unveiled" a Message from the Masters - every word of her teachings from the Masters of the Wisdom - no charge against her ever substantiated - her inexhaustible philanthropy - the price she paid to serve mankind.
CHAPTER XIX. THE CRISIS IN THE SOCIETY .......... 393
The great crisis following the death of H.P.B. - in the exoteric Society - in the Esoteric Section or School - how the crisis was met - Judge goes to London - summons a meeting of the "Council of the Esoteric Section" - the Council meets May 27, 1891 - considers documents left by H.P.B. - affirms Judge H.P.B.'s representative - H.P.B.'s last words "Keep the Link unbroken" - Council goes on record Esoteric School should be continued on lines laid by H.P.B. - Judge and Annie Besant to conduct the School - Council issues confidential circular to all members of the E.S.T., signed by all - Council resigns - address of Mrs. Besant and Judge as Outer Heads to the School - claim no authority over the members save such as delegated by H.P.B.
CHAPTER XX. ATTEMPTS TO SUPERSEDE H.P.B.'S INFLUENCE .............. 302
Position of the Esoteric Society following H.P.B.'a death - Olcott comes to London to attend Convention of British-European Section - great gathering of leading Theosophists - London Lodge not represented at Convention but sends letter - London Lodge declares its independence - action tacitly accepted by Convention - speeches of Col. Olcott - Mrs. Besant - Mr. Judge - entire harmony and concord - Lucifer memorial articles - the workers scatter - Mrs. Besant takes charge of Lucifer - her great work publicly - Judge returns to America - Olcott to India - his "triumphal procession" - Mrs. Besant's proclamation of the nature and status of H.P.B, in Lucifer, 1890-91 - her famous speech in St. James' Hall, August 30, 1891 - "A Fragment of Autobiography" - declares she has received messages from the Mahatmas since the death of H.P.B. - the furore aroused - Olcott "views with alarm" the declarations made - his Address to the "Adyar Parliament" December, 1891 - H.P.B. "not as perfect a channel as some others" - protests "against all attempts to create an H.P.B. school sect or cult" - Judge sounds the true note for all Theosophists - "first Solidarity, and second, Theosophical education" - "Jasper Niemand" publishes a message from the Masters in The Path, August, 1891 - Olcott stirred up - writes Judge - Judge publishes article on 'Dogmatism in Theosophy' - Society founded to destroy dogmatism - quotes H.P.B. - real object Universal Brotherhood - not dogmatism to study, teach and apply Theosophy - members have equal rights to affirm or reject any doctrines - but no right to impose their private views on others - or promulgate them as official tenets of the T.S.
CHAPTER XXI. GROWING DIVERGENCES - OLCOTT RESIGNS AS PRESIDENT ........... 321
The old issues once more aroused - The Theosophical Movement one thing - the Theosophical Society quite another - the criteria applicable to Theosophical history - Altruism the self-professed Object of the Fellows of the T.S. - Altruism and Theosophy the self-pledged objectives of the members of the E.S.T. - Fellows of the T.S. must be weighed in the scales of their own conduct, not that of others - members of the Esoteric Section by their allegiance to their voluntary Pledges, not by worldly standards - the war of ideas within a year after H.P.B.'s death - official report of the Adyar Convention of 1891 - Olcott's Presidential Address - great importance of Olcott's declarations - Judge meets the issue - publishes article on "The Future and the Theosophical Society" - quotes a letter of H.P.B.'s - her vision of the coming strife - "a few earnest Theosophists" - "in a death struggle with nominal and ambitious Theosophists" - the dangers now the same as always - the Society not a "School for Occultism" - must flourish on its moral worth not on phenomena - members must be "true to themselves" - Judge corrects Olcott's Presidential remarks on H.P.B. - Judge declares H.P.B. knew she was going - decries attempts to create bogies - a thunderbolt in the Society - Olcott resigns the Presidency - Judge publishes official correspondence and takes charge as Vice-President, March, 1892 - secret of Olcott's sudden resignation a mystery to this day - the hidden facts disclosed - Olcott indiscreet at London in summer of 1891 - charges of "grave immorality" made by Miss Muller - Mrs. Besant excited by the charges - comes to New York to see Judge - demands Judge force Olcott's resignation - Judge writes Olcott - suggests he resign if charges are true - Olcott denies charges but tenders resignation - Olcott's fatal blunder - proud and sensitive - cannot endure contumely and calumny - Judge writes him loyally.
CHAPTER XXII. CONVENTION OF 1892 - OLCOTT WITHDRAWS HIS RESIGNATION ......... 334
Convention of American Section held in April, 1892, immediately following Olcott's resignation - great growth of the Section - letters from Olcott read - Judge reviews the year since H.P.B.'s death - pays tribute to Annie Besant - convention resolutions in regard to Olcott - Olcott requested to withdraw his resignation - request cabled to Olcott - Olcott replies must wait to hear from
all the Sections - Convention re-elects Judge General Secretary - votes for Judge for President in case Olcott adheres to his resignation - American Convention's recommendation to British Convention for July, 1892 - advises same action in regard to Olcott's resignation as its own - Mrs. Besant gets out private circular urging Judge for President - Olcott writes to British Convention - intimates willingness to withdraw resignation - Convention nevertheless votes for Judge and to accept resignation - Olcott in a quandary - encouraged by Judge - Judge sends him message from Masters - Olcott decides to withdraw resignation and remain President - Judge publishes Olcott's notice and informs American Branches.
CHAPTER XXIII. H.P.B.'s "SUCCESSORS" - THE PUBLICATION OF "OLD DIARY LEAVES" ........... 351
Adyar Parliament at end of 1892 - Olcott's Presidential address - explains his resignation as due to ill-health - ready now to continue to the end as a "sacrifice demanded by the best interests of the Society" - names Judge as his successor - adverts once more to "Adyar" as the centre of the Movement - admit Adyar Convention merely an informal gathering - "only 5 Branches out of 145 really doing satisfactory work" in the Indian Section - Indian Branches mainly exist on paper - First Object makes no appeal to Indian membership - trouble in the E.S.T. - due to Mrs. Besant's private circular preceding Convention of British Section - Judge issues notice in the E.S.T. - the School has no connection officially with the T.S. - members free to act according to their own judgment - Mrs. Besant's private circular stirs up Olcott's friends - her action ascribed to Judge's influence - Mrs. Besant issues circular to the Esoteric School explaining her action - Judge's effort to shield Mrs. Besant - and restore harmony in the Society and the E.S.T. - why the circular was jointly signed - members too prone to follow authorities - would not "cultivate self-reliance and develop the intuition" - the bane of "successorship" - H.P.B. declared in "Isis" that "apostolic succession is a gross and palpable fraud" - the "successorship" idea among Theosophist after H.P.B.'s death - Duchesse de Pomar hailed as H.P.B.'s "successor" - then Annie Besant in England and Judge in America - Judge tells the reporters "H.P.B. was sui generis" - "she can have no successor" - claims of mediums and "Occultists" to be H.P.B.'s "successor" - the case of Henry B. Foulke - Judge's two letters on the subject to the Wilkes-Barre Times - Mrs. Besant reprints Judge's letters in Lucifer - Olcott declares himself on "successorship" claims - "Blavatsky nascitur, non fit" - Olcott begins the publication of "Old Diary Leaves" in The Theosophist for March, 1892 - their effect on the Society and the Movement - "Old Diary Leaves" ostensible purpose to give a "true history of the Theosophical Society" - the actual motive to pull down H.P.B. to the common level - the real animus not disclosed till 1895 - contradictory views of H.P.B. held by Olcott and others - the "real H.P.B." unknown to Olcott - some hints for the intuitional-minded on "our Brother, H.P.B."
CHAPTER XXIV. CONTROVERSY OVER H.P.B.'s STATUS AS AGENT OF THE MASTERS ......... 380
Constant belittlement of H.P.B. publicly and privately - emanates from Olcott and Sinnett - could not endure her pre-eminence - Judge's difficult situation - bound to defend H.P.B. - realizes must antagonize prominent leaders - steps taken in the E.S.T. - "We have not been deserted" - "Authorship of the 'Secret Doctrine'" - other articles in The Path - the old controversy between Mr. Sinnett and H.P.B. - "The earth chain of globes" - London Lodge lectures - W. Scot Elliott claims "inspiration" - Alexander Fullerton's faux pas - Judge disclaims responsibility for Fullerton - corrects misconceptions in The Path - Judge quotes Masters' certificates on the "Secret Doctrine" - letter from Masters to Francesca Arundale - shows conditions in London Lodge as far back as 1884 - Miss Arundale's letter unknown to members at time - the controversy becomes violent - Judge writes on "Masters, Adepts, Teachers and Disciples" - Sinnett comes out in the open - declares H.P.B. "under other influences" than Masters - affirms he is still is communication with Mahatmas - Judge and Mrs. Besant try to quiet the storm while upholding H.P.B. - Olcott speaks in praise of Sinnett - the situation by the early fall of 1893 - a sharp and sheer cleavage over teachings - and over status of H.P.B. as agent of the Masters.
CHAPTER XXV. ANNIE BESANT IN AMERICA, 1892-3 ......... 405
Mrs. Besant invited to visit India again in fall of 1892 - goes to America instead - her American tour a great success - returns to England loud in praise of Mr. Judge - Olcott writes the American Convention in April, 1893 - raises the "hero worship" bogy once more - Judge speaks as General Secretary American Section - disclaims all hero worship and dogmatism - but insists those who reverence H.P.B. have perfect right to express their views - warns against official promulgations on matters of individual opinion - Mrs. Besant upholds members' rights to freedom of individual belief and expression - W. Scott Elliott's claims to "inspiration" discussed - "authority" in the T.S. - no doctrines "authoritative" - all must stand on their own merit - Mrs. Besant quotes H.P.B. on freedom of opinion in the T.S. - E.T. Sturdy takes a hand - Sturdy a member of the E.S.T. - objects to claims of "messages from Masters" - Mrs. Besant writes on "Gurus and Chelas" - opposes Sturdy's views - the whole subject of "Mahatma messages" once more to the fore - claims of "Jasper Niemand" in The Path article - claims of Mrs. Besant to recent "messages" from Masters - Mrs. Besant now the foremost figure in the Society - Olcott and Sinnett worried over Mrs. Besant's championship of Judge and H.P.B.
CHAPTER XXVI. BEGINNINGS OF THE "JUDGE CASE" ......... 425
Mrs. Besant publishes in Lucifer for April, 1893, Judge's letter to Olcott in 1891 about the "Jasper Niemand" message - Sturdy's article really a reply to Judge's letter to Olcott - Olcott joins in the fray - "N.D.K." writes in The Theosophist - challenges Judge's statements in the letter to Olcott - Olcott reprints Sturdy's article including paragraphs omitted by Mrs. Besant - Walter R. Old and S.V. Edge - Old a member of the "E.S.T. Council" - Edge assistant on The Theosophist - they write in The Theosophist on "Theosophic Freethought" - the article a veiled attack on Judge - they tell of the "Mahatma Message" at the "E.S.T. Council" meeting of May 27, 1891 - they question the bona fides of Judge and the genuineness of the "message" - Old and Edge undoubtedly inspired by Olcott - the question of "Master's seal" - the whole subject of "messages from Masters" discussed - H.P.B.'s statement - "Occult phenomena can never be proved" - The publication of "Theosophic Freethought" - a violation of the E.S.T. pledges of Old and Edge - taken up by Mrs. Besant in the Esoteric Section - Old and Edge suspended from membership in the E.S.T. in August 1893 - the circular issued to members of the E.S.T. by Mrs. Besant and Judge - Olcott follows up the attack on Judge and H.P.B. - the White Lotus Day meeting at Adyar May 8, 1893 - the quandary of Olcott and his allies - can Judge be unseated in confidence of members? - H.P.B. cannot be "buried" while Judge lives - Judge invincible with Mrs. Besant's support - the problem to win over Mrs. Besant against Judge and H.P.B. - beginnings of the conspiracy against Judge.
CHAPTER XXVII. MRS. BESANT CHANGES SIDES ............. 441
Judge and Olcott personify the opposing issues - the First and Second Sections versus the Third Section - esoteric aspects of the Movement versus the exoteric - "The Judge Case" - the external phase of the battle - the momentous year of 1893 - Bertram Keightley the unconscious agent in the subornation of Mrs. Besant - Keightley originally a staunch supporter of H.P.B. - gets in trouble with Mabel Collins - sent by H.P.B. to America in 1890 - poses as her "representative" - H.P.B. issues famous Notice of August 9, 1890 - disavows Bertram Keightley's "teachings" - says Judge her "sole representative" - recalls Keightley to Europe - sends him to India - he becomes General Secretary Indian Section - becomes an adherent of Olcott's - falls under influence of G.N. Chakravarti - Chakravarti a "psychic" - poses as a "Chela" - Keightley comes to America in spring of 1893 - attends American Section Convention - invited by Judge to select Brahmin and Buddhist Delegates to World's Parliament of Religions at Chicago Fair - Chakravarti chosen - Judge's efforts to allay Brahminical hostility to the T.S. - he warns of "A plot against the Theosophical Society" - Keightley a close friend of Mrs. Besant - he goes to England from America - works on Mrs. Besant - she begins to grow suspicious of Judge - Chakravarti comes to London - Mrs. Besant becomes one of his worshipers - adopts "ascetic" practices - her intimacy with Chakravarti - Mrs. Besant, Miss Muller, and Chakravarti come to America to attend the "Parliament of Religions" - the great success of the Parliament - Mrs. Besant and Chakravarti share honors as the great feature of the "Parliament" - Mrs. Besant succumbs to the lures held out - goes to India in the fall of 1893 - her visit there a regal triumph - how Olcott set the stage - his contemptuous review of Judge's Ocean of Theosophy - prepares the "Adyar Convention," Christmas, 1893 - his Presidential Address - laudatious of Mrs. Besant - sees in Mrs. Besant a messiah from the Masters - the epiphany of Mrs. Besant - intimates a coming storm - understood to refer to Judge - the secret meeting behind the public address - the Christmas night conclave at Adyar in 1893 - Mrs. Besant, Col. Olcott, Walter R. Old, and others plan the assault on Judge - the meeting unknown to the members - Mrs. Besant chosen to hurl the thunderbolt prepared - she writes a formal letter to Olcott Feb. 6, 1894 - makes charges against Judge - demands investigation - next day Olcott writes officially to Judge - demands he resign or stand trial for "misusing Mahatmas' names and handwritings."
CHAPTER XXVIII. THE AMERICAN SECTION SUPPORTS JUDGE .............. 468
The real issue Theosophy or the Society - Chelas or mediums - Brotherhood or sectarianism - how Judge acted on receipt of Olcott's "ultimatum" - addresses a circular March 15, 1894, to all members of the T.S. - lays bare, the facts - refuses to resign - announces his readiness to meet any charges - denies any wrong-doing - admits receiving and delivering messages from Masters - declares them genuine - never courted publicity - says no one but a genuine chela can determine what is or is not a "message" - the charges a distinct violation of Constitution of Society - make a dogma out of Masters and Messages - an assault on liberty of conscience - will meet his accusers - Judge's circular widely distributed - its frankness and fairness in meeting all issues - Bertram Keightley and George Mead receive copies of charges and Judge's reply - their sense of honor and fair play outraged - they address an open letter to Col. Olcott as General Secretaries of Indian and British Sections - charge Olcott with violation of Constitution and the principles of Brotherhood - declare the matter at issue one of personal opinion and barred from constitutional attack - Olcott follows up his first letter to Judge with another - invites Judge to "prove himself innocent" and suspends him from Vice-Presidency - sets the "trial" to be held at London in July, 1894 - Mrs. Besant leaves India to return to England and carry the fight against Judge before the British Section Convention - the American Section Convention meets in April, 1894 - unanimously votes confidence in Judge - re-elects him General Secretary - charges Olcott with violation of the Constitution - demands that if Judge's "messages" are investigated those of Sinnett, Mrs. Besant, Col. Olcott and others be also investigated at the same time - declares for freedom of opinion and belief in the Society - votes to reimburse Judge for the expenses he has been put to because of the charges against him.
CHAPTER XXIX. THE "JUDICIAL ENQUIRY" IN LONDON ........... 493
Olcott's position in spring of 1894 - determined to "fight it out to the hilt" this time - feels master of the situation due to alliance with Mrs. Besant - his other aids - Walter Old's help - Old determines to return to England with Mrs. Besant - Old an astrologer and "psychic" with many English friends - Olcott's panegyrics on Mrs. Besant - his signed article in The Theosophist on Mrs. Besant - his attitude toward Judge contrasted with his deification of Mrs. Besant - makes Mrs. Besant his viceregal agent - grants her carte blanche in Australasia - the significance of this - Olcott and Mrs. Besant natural autocrats - no idea of democracy - the bombshell of Keightley and Mead's rebellion - this situation reversed - Olcott now fearful of defeat - consults his advisers - sends out a new Official Notice - tries to explain situation - announces his decision to go to England - his "explanation" examined - the battlefield transferred to England - The "Judicial Committee" meets at London in July, 1894 - Mrs. Besant, Olcott and others confer - the case thrashed out in Committee - Judge attends the session of the Committee - remains silent - Committee in hard case - points raised by Judge inescapable - Judge announces his readiness to be "tried" - the Committee controlled by Besant and Olcott - they fear Judge can "prove his innocence" if tried - they reverse themselves - Olcott makes a speech - declares case cannot constitutionally be tried - the Committee decides it has "no jurisdiction" - the action taken a complete exposure of the animus of the persecution - the "Enquiry" a farce.
CHAPTER XXX. BRITISH CONVENTION DISMISSES CASE AGAINST JUDGE ........... 519
Effect of the decision of the "Judicial Committee" - Theosophists at London for the British Convention sense the wrong done Judge - Mrs. Besant and Olcott try to "save their face" - they demand a "Jury of honour" - Judge's reply - where are the competent "occultists"? - who can tell whether a "Message" is or is not genuine? - Mrs. Besant proposes the matter be placed before the British Convention as a "Jury" - Judge promptly consents - Mrs. Besant and Judge read Statements to the Convention - Mrs. Besant admits the charges due to "personal hatred" of Judge by "certain persons" - Old and Edge indicated as the "guilty persons" - Mrs Besant denies responsibility - says she sponsored charges for "Judge's sake" - admits Judge is in communication with Masters - says the "messages" in the "Master's script" - but says she believes Masters did not "directly" precipitate them - acquits Judge of dishonorable intentions - apologizes for her share in the case - asks Judge's forgiveness "for wrongs done him" - Olcott adds a footnote to Mrs. Besant's Statement - says he asked her to make the charges - betrays himself - Judge makes his Statement - says he did not couple Mrs. Besant's name with the charges to save her - denies "forging the handwriting of Mahatmas" - admits having delivered Messages - affirms their genuineness - refuses to say how they were done - denies right of anyone to make unverifiable charges - says anyone can receive Messages who "lives the life" - never tried to influence others - says handwriting, seals and "precipitation" not a "proof" that Messages are from Masters - forgives his enemies - Mrs. Besant's and Mr. Judge's Statements analyzed and compared - the British Convention unanimously accepts the Statements made and declares the "Judge case" a "closed incident" - the "Occultism and Truth" circular distributed after adjournment of the Convention - Mrs. Besant's Lucifer article on the "Judicial Enquiry" - her evasions and misrepresentations - the signers of the "Occultism and Truth" circular - show who were behind the persecution of Judge - what "possessed" his defamers - were Mrs. Besant, Olcott and the rest deliberate malicious assassins of reputation of Judge? - they were "occult failures" - could not discriminate between truth and falsehood - moved by the same self-righteous relentlessness as religious bigots in all times - Olcott's Parthian shot after the Convention - his article on "T.S. Solidarity and Ideals."
CHAPTER XXXI. THE "EASTERN DIVISION" AND "WESTERN DIVISION" .......... 559
The calm after the storm of the "Judicial Committee" in July, 1894 - the lesson of the "Enquiry" - "occult phenomena cannot be proved" - no part of the business of the Theosophical Society - phenomena no evidence of morality or ethics - can be performed by mediums and "black magicians" as well as Chelas and Adepts - H.P.B. 's mission philosophical and ethical - not to supply a demonstration of the Occult Science - her phenomena incidental and unavoidable to her Mission - phenomena never made public by either H.P.B. or Judge in first instance - the "Judge case" a testing out of the "Esoteric Section" - further extracts from the Preliminary Memorandum - rules and purpose of the E.S.T. - conduct of Olcott, Besant, et. al., gross violation of their own Pledges in Occultism - clear evidence of their total failure as "probationary Chelas" - the warnings given to Mrs. Besant in the school - aftermath of the "Judicial Enquiry" - how the matter was settled for the time in the E.S.T. - the joint circular of Mrs. Besant and Mr. Judge to the Members, August, 1894 - its history and re-organization recited - the agreement reached - Mrs. Besant to conduct the "Eastern Division" and Mr. Judge the "Western Division" - "time must be allowed" for the restoration of tranquillity - Mr. Judge the real Agent of H.P.B. in the School - Mrs. Besant "Recorder of the teachings" - her failure as "Recorder" - her corruption of the "Secret Doctrine" - her spurious Third Volume - her boldness in publishing misrepresentations of fact and philosophy - she puts an utter falsehood in the mouth of H.P.B. - declares H.P.B. "Professed faith in the gods" - Mrs. Besant's loss of ethical balance whenever her statements questioned or her actions impugned.
CHAPTER XXXII. WESTMINSTER GAZETTE ATTACKS THE SOCIETY ........... 574
The situation in the early fail of 1894 - Judge returns to America - Olcott and Keightley return to India - Mrs. Besant goes to Australia - Walter Old remains in England - renews the fight on Judge - evidences of collusion - Old provides Edmund Garrett with ammunition - Garrett opens a grand assault in the Westminster Gazette - ridicules Theosophy - pokes fun at Olcott and Mrs. Besant - calls them dupes of H.P.B. and Judge - Garrett as honest man - avows his animus - declares himself enemy of Theosophy - his purpose to destroy T.S. - his series of articles published in book form - their tremendous circulation and effect - Old writes the Gazette - admits his complicity - regrets to drag in Mrs. Besant and Olcott - exposes his enmity to Judge - confesses unwittingly the secret conference at Adyar, Christmas, 1893 - the "Judge case" planned then by Old, Besant, Olcott and others - decries H.P.B. as well as Judge - the enemies of Judge moved by "pride and wounded vanity" - the steps taken by Judge after the Westminster Gazette attack - his letter to the New York Sun and the Gazette - his famous E.S.T. Circular of November 3, 1894 - "By Master's Order" he tells the E.S.T. members the whole story - "black magic" versus "white magic" - Mrs. Besant the unconscious tool and victim of Chakravarti - the real issue between the Brahminism of the Orient and the Theosophy of H.P.B. - the Society will stand or fall by H.P.B. - deposes Mrs. Besant from her Co-Headship in the E.S.T. - Judge informs Mrs. Besant in Australia by cable of his action - Mrs. Besant's circular from Colombo, December 18, 1894, in reply to Judge's - defies Judge - misrepresents the facts of the Meeting of May 27, 1891 - declares herself "H.P.B.'s successor" - Mrs. Besant's circular analyzed - its falsity shown.
CHAPTER XXXIII. Mrs. BESANT TRIES TO DRIVE JUDGE OUT OF THE SOCIETY .......... 596
The war on Judge breaks out more fiercely than ever - Mrs. Besant proceeds to India - publishes long article in Madras Mail - sends violent attack on Judge to the London Daily Chronicle - attends the Adyar Convention at end of December, 1894 - Olcott's Presidential Address - calls Judge a medium - Mrs. Besant introduces Resolutions against Judge - demands that Judge resign - her bitter speech - the whole proceedings plainly planned in advance - the long list of denunciatory speeches - Muller's infamous remarks - not a voice raised in defense of Judge - not a demand for fair dealing - Mrs. Besant's Resolutions unanimously adopted - next day's Indian Convention - more denunciation of Judge - Resolutions adopted demanding an "explanation" from Judge or his expulsion from the Society - coincident steps in England - George Mead first deprecates Old's and the Westminster Gazette articles - then hears from Mrs. Besant - then begins the "Clash of Opinion" in Lucifer - publishes letters from Old and others assailing Judge - prints Mrs. Besant's Indian attacks on Judge - Bertram Keightley follows suit - Alexander Fullerton like Mead in between two fires - first for Judge and then against - Mrs. Besant's former triumphal tour of India repeated - she returns to England in April, 1894 - issues her pamphlet "The Case Against W.Q. Judge" - demands his expulsion from the T.S.
CHAPTER XXXIV. THE AMERICAN SECTION DECLARES ITS AUTONOMY AND ELECTS JUDGE ITS LIFE-PRESIDENT ............. 622
Proceedings in America - Judge writes the Westminster Gazette and New York Sun - deals with situation fully and frankly - publishes "The Prayag Letter" in The Path for March, 1895 - declares it a genuine "message from the Masters" - the history of the "Prayag Message" - originally sent in 1881 - from Masters to Brahmins - sent through H.P.B. - Judge throws down the gauntlet to his adversaries - says whole "case" against him due to his defense of H.P.B. - makes public that Olcott, Mrs. Besant, Sinnett and others have been making privately same charges against H.P.B - invites Col. Olcott and Mrs. Besant to make public statement regarding "The Prayag Letter" - The "Message" is full - Mrs. Besant replies in Lucifer - "I do not regard the message as genuine" - Olcott comes out in the open - his "Postscript" in the Supplement to The Theosophist for April, 1895 - "the message a false one" - "the simple theory of mediumship" accounts for H.P.B. - Sinnett says "I never in my life called Mme. Blavatsky a fraud" - the proof positive out of Sinnett's own mouth that be did just that - the original of the "Prayag message" in the handwriting of H.P.B. - the original was in Sinnett's hands all the time - published since his death in The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett - both Judge and H.P.B. vindicated completely the text of the Mahatma Letters - the American Convention of April, 1895 - The Convention adopts Resolutions to withdraw officially from the T.S. and become The Theosophical Society in America - adopts a Constitution - elects Judge President for life - draws up a Letter to the forthcoming British Convention - text of the Letter - the British Convention meets July 4, 1895 - tables the Letter from the American Theosophists - split in the British Convention - Olcott issues another Executive Notice - admits legality of the action of the American Convention - cancels all diplomas and charter of Americans - refuses all official intercourse - expresses good-will - Judge's "Reply" to Mrs. Besant's "Case against W.Q. Judge" - the "Cases" analysed - never any evidence against Judge - the whole "Case" rests on suspicions and "psychic revelations."
CHAPTER XXXV. JUDGE'S DEATH AND THE TINGLEY "SUCCESSORSHIP" .......... 653
After the split in 1895 - Mrs. Besant alters the "Pledge" - puts her own and Leadbeater's writings on a par with H.P.B.'s - Judge holds true to the line - but sickens and dies March 21, 1896 - The Tingley "Successorship" myth - E.T. Hargrove and others hold a "General E.S.T. Meeting," March 29, 1896 - they announce to the members that "Judge left an occult heir" - the circular of April 3, 1898 - the statements of the "Council" and the "Minutes" of the meeting of March 29 - the identity of the "Successor" to be kept secret for one year - the whole claim rests on "messages" from the dead W.Q. Judge - not a scrap is the physical handwriting of the living W.Q. Judge produced then or since - the real explanation - the secret meeting at Mrs. Tingley's home on March 26, 1898 - the American Theosophists accept the Tingley "Successorship" - the Convention of 1896 - Mrs. Tingley disclosed as the "Successor" - the "Crusade - frictions begin - Hargrove resigns - another secret meeting at Mrs. Tingley's home - the "Universal Brotherhood" planned - the Convention of February, 1898 - Hargrove and his friends "bolt" the Convention - the war of recriminations - the members follow Mrs. Tingley - Hargrove's "E.S.T." circular - the degradation of both wings of the old Society - offshoots from Tingleyism - Hargrove's "T.S. in A." - the "Temple of the People" - the "T.S. of New York" - Dr. Buck and "The T.K." - Mrs. Alice L. Cleather and her "pupil" - the "Blavatsky Association" - the Besant-Olcott fragment - Leadbeater the "power behind the throne" of Mrs. Besant - Leadbeater admits infamous teachings to boys - resigns from the T.S. - Olcott dies - Mrs. Besant claims "Successorship" to President-Founder - More charges and counter-charges - Leadbeater invited back to the T.S. - the "Coming Christ" - the "Liberal Catholic Church" - complete reversion of the T.S. - its offshoots - Dr. Rudolph Steiner and the "Anthroposophical Society" - Max Heindel and his "Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception" - other "Occult" societies.
CHAPTER XXXVI. PRESENT AND FUTURE OF THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT ............. 689
Has the Theosophical Movement been a failure? - Cyclic Law - Centenary efforts since fourteenth century - H.P.B.'s mission the fifth - Mediumship and psychism inevitable concomitants of the public Movement - the Movement has not failed - spread of Theosophical ideas - they permeate religion, philosophy, and science today - the signs and evidences - the real aim of H.P.B. achieved - the Masters never fail - what of the future of the Theosophical Movement? - 1925 its nadir point - the first and Seconds Sections still active as always - signs of their work - Nirmanakayas - true Disciples known by their fruits - Edmond Holmes - "The Creed of Buddha" - the Angarika Dharmapala - B.P. Wadia - Julia H. Scott - Robert Crosbie - the United Lodge of Theosophists - the magazine Theosophy - the "changing Buddhi-Manas of the race" - due to incarnation of the pioneers of the "Sixth Sub-Race" - the destiny of the Movement until 1975.
Chapter ITHE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT
Channels of the Theosophical Movement
In its larger aspect the Theosophical Movement is the path of progress, individually and collectively. Wherever thought has struggled to be free, wherever spiritual ideas, as opposed to forms and dogmatism, have been promulgated, there the great Movement is to be discerned. Organized religions, systems of thought, governments, parties, sects - all have their origins in efforts for the better co-operation of men, for conserving energy and putting it to use. They all in time become corrupted and must change, as the times change, as human defects come out, and as the great underlying Spiritual and Intellectual evolution compels such alterations.
Luther's Reformation must be counted as a part of the Theosophical Movement. Masonry has played a great and important part in it, and still does to some extent, for however restricted in application, however its great symbolism may have been forgotten or obscured, Masonry none the less stands for tolerance, for religious and intellectual liberty, for charity. The formation of the American Republic with its noble Declaration of Independence, its equality of all men before the law, its ideals of brotherhood and freedom from sectarian religious partialities must be accounted a great forward step in the Theosophical Movement. And with the abolition of human slavery in all the great Western nations during the course of the nineteenth century, another great step in the emancipation of the race must be acclaimed. The "divine right" of an orthodox God speaking through
a vested clergy was rebelled against in every voice raised against the Catholic hierarchy. The "divine right" of kings was overthrown by the American and French Revolutions. The "divine right" of one man or set of men to enslave another or others was the real issue involved in the American Civil War, and the emancipation of the serfs in Russia. Nationalism, socialism, universal suffrage, struggles between classes, between labor and capital, are all physical and metaphysical efforts toward freedom from bondage, however they may be mistaken, misguided, misled, perverted to selfish and destructive purposes and ends.
The principle of an underlying Spiritual and Intellectual evolution proceeding apace with its visible manifestation in physical effects, will disclose unerringly that the formation of the Society and the injection of the literature of Theosophy into the mind of the race must have been preceded and accompanied by collateral efforts and resultants. Those indirect preparations must necessarily be as varied as the varieties of human experience and belief regarding fundamental things. And those preparations do not issue in the first instance from any human invention or discovery, although the characters of certain individual human beings can be and must be the channels, conscious or unconscious, for the play of higher forces and the inspiration of higher Intelligence. The course of all evolution is first Spiritual, then Mental, then Personal to certain gifted individuals. From these latter it permeates gradually the race mind, impelling the whole mass forward and upward, in however slow or slight degree. "Evolution" appears as physical only to those who do not look beneath the surface of events. The real process of Nature is ever cyclic: from the highest to the lowest on the invisible side of Nature; correspondingly from the lowest to the highest on the visible side, as human vision is at present exercised in the fields of religion, philosophy and science.
Indirect but none the less potent and necessary concomitants of the spiritual and psychical aspects of the Theosophical Movement should therefore be looked for
in all directions. One of these was and is the great tide of interest in Oriental religions and philosophies. Until the work of Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was well under way none but the conqueror, the merchant, the missionary and the philologist, each immersed in his own especial objects, had any concern with the Far East. The mass of the populations of the Western world were farther removed from the living East with its immense but alien wealth of metaphysical acquisitions, than from the dead and by-gone stores of ancient Greece and imperial Rome. Generally speaking, it was unknown and unsuspected that the great leaders of early European civilization, no less than their modern successors, had in fact derived their inspiration and their learning from the exhaustless treasury of Oriental thought and practice.
Beginning with Wilkins near the close of the eighteenth century, a series of translations of the ancient and venerated "Bhagavad-Gita" had successively been brought out in England, in Germany, in France and in the United States. The riches of the Vedanta philosophy had thus to some extent become accessible to aspiring minds in the West. Copies came into the possession of Thoreau and Emerson. Emerson's fame as a lecturer and writer and the nobility of his character made of him one of the most potent vehicles for the dissemination of the great and timeless ideas of the East. Through his life and work countless younger minds were given a freer range and truer basis, and by so much freed from the sterile and narrow dogmas of sectarian Christianity. Religion was seen by many not to be confined nor due to sects or special revelations. The celebrated "Brook Farm Community" spread far and wide transcendental aspirations and increased the thirst for freedom from the bondage of prevailing ideas.
Sir Edwin Arnold's "Light of Asia" was published in 1879, and read by hundreds of thousands in Europe and America. Myriads of minds gained for the first time, some true idea of the noble ethics and philosophy of Buddhism, and were amazed to find that for centuries antedating the time of Jesus his moral teachings had been
imparted in their plenitude, coupled with a philosophy unknown to the Christian world at anytime. Scholarly men began to give some heed other than purely scholastic to Oriental experience as embodied in its age-old literary remains. Despite the general contempt for "heathen" people and the exclusiveness of ignorance that had so long obtained, Western explorers began in earnest to adventure in search of the hereditary metaphysical possessions of the Orient, much in the same fashion as other Western adventurers had long exploited by conquest or by theft the physical treasures of the sacred East. Wilson's translation of the "Vishnu Purana" and Dr. Max Muller's edition of the "Sacred Books of the East," were part of the fruitage thus made accessible in the West.
When Charles Darwin's great work, "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," appeared in 1859, a powerful voice was raised against the deeply imbedded ideas of miracle and special creation by an omnipotent personal God, as engraved by centuries of dogmatic theologies. Mr. Darwin's work was not intended as an attack either on revealed religion or the dead-letter creeds, but was limited to the presentation of an immense accumulation of ascertained facts in natural history, and to the submission of inferences drawn with inescapable logic from the facts thus far amassed. It was perhaps the most brilliant example in history of sustained inductive reasoning. It showed and proved physical man to be no "special creation," but an evolutionary part of the "natural order of things." "The Origin of Species," and its supplement, "The Descent of Man," published in 1871, were purely scientific works in the best sense of the term. The "Darwinian theory" was received by the educated world with profound interest, followed by a tidal wave of revulsion as its bearing and effects upon current Christian dogmas and interpretations of the Bible were perceived. It was attacked on every hand and its author was subjected to every form of ridicule, slander and calumny that religious bigotry, ever the most fertile in malice and malevolence, could invent. Never-
theless, as scientific students verified its compilations of physical facts and tried conclusions with its logic, the theory gained headway in spite of all the storms of opposition. Its author lived to see his facts admitted, his conclusions accepted and adopted in whole or in part, even by his detractors. Corrupted and grotesquely distorted as the Darwinian theory has been in the intervening years, and however limited in its view of "evolution" from the standpoint of Occult philosophy, it none the less remains to this day the greatest advance in scientific hypotheses since the time of Newton, and aided largely in making possible the presentation of the triple evolutionary scheme outlined in the "Secret Doctrine." Whatever the defects of the Darwinian theory, they are due to no lack of honesty, zeal nor industry on the part of its great author, but rather to the limitations of his mode of research and to the inherent defect of all inductive reasoning. So immense has been the effect of the Darwinian theory of evolution on the ideas prevailing without question a generation ago, that it is very difficult for the average mind of today to realize how this theory of physical evolution could ever have been questioned, denied, opposed, vilified.
In his "History of Civilization in England," a work foremost among the contributory factors we are discussing, Mr. Henry T. Buckle sums up these lessons of the past which, in our opinion, are equally a prophecy of the future of Theosophy and the Theosophical Movement, however unconscious Mr. Buckle may have been of the immense reach of the spiritual and intelligent Agencies at work behind the scenes of human life. In the first volume of his work, which appeared in 1857, Mr. Buckle writes (p. 257):
"Owing to circumstances still unknown there appear from time to time great thinkers who devoting their lives to a single purpose are able to anticipate the progress of mankind, and to produce a religion or a philosophy by which important events are eventually brought about.
But if we look into history we shall clearly see that, although the origin of a new opinion may be thus due to a single man, the result which the new opinion produces will depend on the condition of the people among whom it is propagated. If either a religion or a philosophy is too much in advance of a nation, it can do no present service, but must bide its time until the minds of men are ripe for its reception.... Every science, every creed has had its martyrs. According to the ordinary course of affairs, a few generations pass away, and then there comes a period when these very truths are looked upon as common-place facts, and a little later there comes another period in which they are declared to be necessary, and even the dullest intellect wonders how they could ever have been denied."
The student of Theosophy knows that the "circumstances still unknown" to Mr. Buckle, but which he intuitively recognized to exist, are in fact due to the Karmic provision of Spiritual and Intellectual evolution. Under Karmic Law, at transitional periods in the cyclic progression of Humanity, great Adepts restore to mankind through both direct and indirect channels some of the Wisdom once "known," but which in the lapse of time has become lost or obscured during the complexities of physical and personal evolution. For it must not be overlooked by the student that these Elder Brothers are themselves a part of the very stream of evolution in which we belong. As such, They take an active, albeit undisclosed and but too often unperceived, share in the government of the natural order of things. And although this part of the operation of cyclic law is often delayed and defied by the ignorance and prejudice of mankind in general, each rise and fall of civilizations is succeeded by a regeneration and further progression.
Other constructive factors in the preparatory work of the Theosophical Movement in our time may be seen in the great and sudden leap (from the standpoint of racial
and national cycles) in invention, discovery, trade, the means and methods of transportation, manufacture, and utilization of all the raw materials in Nature - all making in one way and another for inter-dependence, inter-communication, inter-respect in the great human family, and the consequent breaking down of the barriers of Nature, of human insularity, and separateness: a harrowing of the soil, whether by the means of war or peace, as a necessary prelude for once more sowing in that soil the seeds of Brotherhood. And in the political field the great careers of Abraham Lincoln, of John Bright, of Mazzini, and many others, all made for the Rights of Man, as opposed to the forces of reaction.
In an iconoclastic sense an equally necessary and valuable pioneer work in the breaking of the molds of fixed ideas into which human thought forever tends to crystallize, can be discerned in the work of such men as Robert G. Ingersoll in America, Charles Bradlaugh in England, and, in the church, by such men as Charles Kingsley and W.E. Channing. Whether apparently pursuing the path of agnosticism, of a purely socialistic and materialistic altruism, or of a liberalized orthodoxy, the efforts of all these commanded a wide following and broke to a large extent the hold of bigotry and intolerance. Philosophical speculations like those of Herbert Spencer, the esthetic spirit of men like Ruskin, the rebellious mind of Carlyle, the insubordination to the harrow of conventional ideas of writers like Dickens, George Eliot, Balzac, Tolstoy, Walt Whitman, and many others, all aided in the pioneer work of the Theosophical Movement. They may all be said to have fought for the unrestricted domain of the individual conscience, the larger outlook upon human life and human duty, as opposed to the ipse dixit of any "thus saith the Lord." All these individual and collective factors, some, perhaps, dimly conscious of the germinal force at work within themselves, others aware only of the travail without issue of human existence - all were of value. All that in any way has made, or that makes, possible the arousal of serious attention to the Second and Third Objects of the Parent Theosophi-
cal Society, all that facilitates the revolt of the mind and conscience from creedal exclusiveness, all that might turn men from the sordid materialism of a one-life existence devoted to the pursuit of physical well-being - all this is truly a concurrent part of the Theosophical Movement, and necessary to any attempt at the, practical realization of its First Object - Universal Brotherhood, the life of service as opposed to the life for self.
The ideas represented by such terms as revealed religion, a favored people, a personal God, miracles, heaven gained by an "act of faith," a "vicarious atonement," selfish personal salvation - the fetters forged by many centuries of ecclesiastical usurpation of authority over the ignorant mind and conscience: all these veritable Bastilles of moral and mental tyranny were under assault or siege during a large part of the nineteenth century. Their lettres de cachet no longer sufficed to imprison or outcast the individual mind, to forfeit the reputable estate of the individual rebel against the "established order." If the mind of the race could not be said to have been in revolution against spiritual and mental intolerance, it was none the less true that everywhere could be found sincere and reverent-minded men in outspoken rebellion against the dominant and dominating ideas of centuries. The "millennium" of sectarian religion was drawing to a close. Agnosticism, infidelity, bold questioning of the foundations hitherto esteemed inviolate, were no longer branded with the brand of infamy by the all-powerful sects, because the sects were no longer all-powerful. A spirit of liberty, often of license mistaken for liberty, was abroad in Europe and America. Even in India the Brahmo-Somaj of Ramohun Roy and his successors had begun to undermine the ancient walls of creed and caste.
Spiritualism had perhaps more to do than any other single factor in producing among millions that transitional state of mind into which the granite ideas of centuries had begun to disintegrate. This Ishmael among faiths, under many names and proscriptions, is as old as the history and tradition of the race. In its modern
form it began with the mediumistic manifestations of the Fox sisters at Rochester in New York State, U.S.A., in 1848. In the ensuing twenty-five or thirty years it spread, in spite of the most relentless opposition of the orthodox Christian sects, despite the ridicule of scientific students and the incredulity of the general public, despite also the real or pretended exposures of many of the most noted mediums, until its believers were numbered by millions in America, England, France, and in lesser numbers in other countries. Most celebrated of the mediums following the Fox sisters were the Americans, Andrew Jackson Davis, his disciple Thomas Lake Harris, P.B. Randolph, Daniel Dunglas Home, the Davenport brothers, Henry Slade, Mrs. Emma H. Britten, and the Eddy brothers. All these were accused of fraud times without number, and some of them were made the victims of persecution. Nevertheless, the genuineness, variety and extent of their phenomena were attested by numbers of famous investigators of the highest character. Notable among those who from sceptical experimenters became convinced believers in the reality of the manifestations were Dr. Robert Hare of Philadelphia, Epes Sargent, Judge Edmunds, the noted lawyer, Dr. Robert Chambers, Col. Olcott, and many other men of mark in America. In England Profs. William Crookes, Alfred Russel Wallace, Lodge, C.C. Massey, Lord Borthwick, Lord Lindsay, Sergeant Cox, and other men of the highest standing accepted the evidences after searching tests. In Germany the famous Prof. Zollner held prolonged sittings with Slade and others and published his conclusions and theories in the work, "Transcendental Physics," dealing with the phenomena as a problem in the "fourth dimension." In France the Emperor Napoleon and his wife, and in Russia the Czar and his consort became the firm friends and followers of Mr. D.D. Home. The Papers of the Russian savant, Dr. A. Aksakoff, show how profound was his interest in the new phenomena. Leon-Denizarth-Hippolyte Rivail, author of numerous popular and educational scientific texts for French
schools, became so interested in the phenomena and so convinced of their value in establishing communication with discarnate intelligences, that he devoted his entire time to study and experiments. In order that the prejudices thus aroused should not interfere with his established writings and reputation he adopted the pseudonym of "Allan Kardec," by which he is now almost universally known. Contrary to the general supposition, Allan Kardec was not himself a medium. All his experiments were conducted at second hand. He published two books of enormous circulation, the "Book of Spirits," and the "Book of Mediums," both of which were translated into English. The French editions alone of "Le Livre des Esprits" attained a circulation of more than one hundred and twenty thousand copies in the twenty years following the publication of the "revised edition" in 1857. It was Allan Kardec who, more than any other, made systematic efforts to establish a philosophy of Spiritualism from the communications he obtained through carefully chosen mediums.
The spread of Spiritualism was greatly facilitated by a number of factors. It required no education, no study, no moral discipline, on the part either of the medium or the believer. Its phenomena were not essentially antagonistic to religion, and the communications received more often than otherwise repeated the platitudes of the churches. In fact nearly every noted medium or reputable proponent of the phenomena was still more or less orthodox in his acceptance of the fundamental dogmas of the Christian creeds. To the bereaved who might be more or less sceptical or indifferent to orthodox teachings regarding after-death states, Spiritualism made a profound appeal, for it offered the prospect of immediate assurance and consolation. To the materialistic and the curious-minded it offered a fascinating subject for facile experimentation. Nor can it be doubted that in the increasing dilemma of many, due to the Darwinian theory of physical evolution, Spiritualism offered an attractive middle ground of experimental evidence that enabled them, without too great sacrifice of cherished religious
convictions or logical common-sense, both to hold on to hereditary Christian ideas and to accept the theory of "evolution." And in this compromise many were doubtless moved by the example of Prof. Wallace, co-originator with Mr. Darwin of his theory. Prof. Wallace was himself a Spiritualist and a believer in Christianity, even if not altogether orthodox in his faith.
In a single generation Spiritualism, from being a pariah both as to its phenomena and its many theories, became almost respectable. Modern science, hitherto deaf, dumb and blind towards everything but the empirical acquisition of physical facts and hypotheses based on them, began, reluctantly and suspiciously, but still began, to take note of the phenomena of the metaphysical, which, if true, compelled the admission of other factors than "force and matter" as the causative agencies of the phenomenal world. But the general attitude of scientific students towards Spiritualism affords a curious parallel to the attitude of the theologians toward Darwinism: first derision and contempt, then wholesale denial and opposition, then grudging acceptance in part.
Into this mighty arena of contending forces entered H.P. Blavatsky with her Theosophical Society and her first public exposition of Theosophy. Looking backwards from the safe distance of the intervening years, something of the significance of the mighty struggle between orthodox Christianity and modern materialistic science, between both these and the changeling, Spiritualism, can now be discerned in the light of history - a light necessarily denied all the active combatants except H.P.B. herself. That she saw and foresaw what was and was to be, and was herself under no illusions, is very clearly indicated in the Preface of "Isis Unveiled" alone, without going deeper into the abundant evidences. Bitterly as theology and science might be opposed to each other with spear and trident, each was, at the last quarter of the nineteenth century, equally hostile to the new combatant, Spiritualism, armed with its net of weird phenomena and strange theories. Alone, friendly to all the gladiators, but without a solitary un-
derstanding ally among them, H.P.B. came equipped with an unknown knowledge and an unknown purpose which must serve her for both sword and shield. It was too much for her to hope, however vast the reconstructive forces loosed by her in the world of public opinion, that those forces, their source, their scope and their significance, would be grasped by any but the very few. Nor did she expect that their effect on the mind of the race would be altogether and immediately constructive, however beneficent her purpose might be. Nor could she look for other than a hostile and retardative reception at the hands of vested and mercenary interests, the ignorant and the dogmatic, the predantry and contentious. Although her aim was to elevate the mind of the race, her method could only be to deal with that mind as she found it, by trying to lead it on, step by step; by seeking out and educating a few who, appreciating the majesty of the eternal Wisdom-Religion and devoted to "the great orphan-humanity," could carry on her work with zeal and wisdom; by founding a society which, however small its numbers might be, would inject into the thought of the day the ideas, the doctrines, the nomenclature of the Wisdom-Religion.
The Parent Theosophical SocietyThe Theosophical Movement of the nineteenth century was publicly inaugurated with the founding of the Theosophical Society at New York City.
By birth a Russian of noble family, Madame Blavatsky had been a wanderer for more than twenty years in many lands, oriental and occidental. She had twice or thrice been in the Americas, North and South, before coming to New York in July of 1873. She lived in retirement there and in Brooklyn for more than a year. In October of 1874 she journeyed to the Eddy farmhouse near Chittenden, Vermont, and there made the acquaintance of Col. Henry S. Olcott.
Colonel Olcott was an American and had acquired his title in the American Civil War. He had been agricultural editor of the New York Tribune, had written many articles for various publications on many subjects, had been admitted to the bar, and was at the time a well-known lawyer, with a very wide acquaintance among prominent men. For many years he had been a Spiritualist. Interested in an account he had seen of the manifestations taking place through the mediumship of the Eddy brothers, he had visited Chittenden in July and written an account of what he had witnessed for the New York Sun. This article was copied and commented on in many publications. In September Col. Olcott returned to the Eddy place under commission to investigate the phenomena and report on them to the New York Graphic. It was while he was engaged in this congenial work that Madame Blavatsky arrived at Chittenden.
Although Madame Blavatsky apparently took no part in the proceedings other than as a visitor and interested witness, Col. Olcott noted that the phenomena
changed greatly in character and variety immediately after her arrival. He was so impressed by what he saw and by his conversations with Madame Blavatsky that he followed up the acquaintance after her return to New York.
At the request of Madame Blavatsky he introduced to her a young lawyer of his acquaintance named William Q. Judge. Mr. Judge was of Irish parentage, and had been brought by his family to America while still a boy. From his earliest years he had been markedly religious in temperament, and, as he grew older, had delved in religions, philosophies, mystical writings, Mesmerism, Spiritualism, and kindred subjects. He was many years younger than either Madame Blavatsky or Col. Olcott, who were born, respectively, in 1831 and 1832, while Mr. Judge's birth date was 1851. Both Col. Olcott and Mr. Judge became pupils of Madame Blavatsky and passed all their available time in her company.
In the winter of 1874-5 Madame Blavatsky was in Philadelphia, where she made the acquaintance of several noted Spiritualists. With them and Col. Olcott she attended the seances of Mr. and Mrs. Holmes and others. Certain sceptical investigators having attacked in the press the genuineness of the Eddy and Holmes phenomena, and questioned the bona fides of any mediumship, both Col. Olcott and Madame Blavatsky replied vigorously, defending the fact of mediumship itself, and urging the necessity for impartial investigation of the claims of Spiritualism, both as to its philosophy and its alleged facts. This was Madame Blavatsky's first appearance in print in the English language. The peculiarities of her style of expression, the boldness of her statements, the apparent range of her knowledge on the subject, all conspired to attract the attention of Spiritualists, investigators, and the public generally.
In January, 1875, Col. Olcott's book, "People From the Other World," was issued, describing in detail the Eddy and Holmes phenomena, and giving a curiosity-provoking account of Madame Blavatsky. Whatever opinion any reader may form of the marvels described,
or of Col. Olcott's comments and conclusions, there can be no question of his good faith. Nor, as the book was written during the very period of the occurrences, can there be any question that it reflects accurately the opinions and state of mind of Col. Olcott at the time.
On Madame Blavatsky's return to New York from Philadelphia she took apartments at 46 Irving Place. The wonders recited by Col. Olcott and her own letters to the newspapers had drawn so much attention to her that her rooms became a center of attraction. Nearly every evening was given over to visitors. One of the newspaper reporters dubbed her apartment "the lamasery," and the name quickly became current as typifying the flavor of mystery surrounding her and the subjects discussed at her soirees. To these evening gatherings came Spiritualists, Kabalists, Platonists, students of modern science and of ancient mysteries, the profane, the sceptical, the curious and the seekers after the marvelous. Colonel Olcott and Mr. Judge were nearly always present, and, after the departure of the casual visitors, would remain far into the night immersed in study and discussion.
In their many conversations she told them more or less of her travels and their purpose. Amongst other experiences she had endeavored unsuccessfully to establish a group at Cairo, Egypt, in 1871, to investigate the rationale of mediumship and its phenomena. Moved by what he had seen and heard, no less than by his ardent desire to explore more deeply the phenomena which fascinated him, Col. Olcott had proposed, as early as May, 1875, to form a secret "miracle club" for the production and examination of phenomena. Colonel Olcott's own account, written many years after the event, states that the "miracle club" plan failed because the expected medium could not be obtained for the experiments he desired to conduct. The fact that he was so fascinated by the phenomena privately performed by Madame Blavatsky in exposition of her theories, that he thought her "infallible" and her Masters "miracle workers," would indicate that the "expected medium" was none other
than Madame Blavatsky herself, and that the failure of his attempt was due to her refusal, then as thereafter throughout her career, to lend herself to the production of phenomena under his or anyone's directions, or for the purposes he and others desired.
On the evening of September 7, 1875, a talk was given in Madame Blavatsky's apartment by a Mr. G.H. Felt, who had been a student of Egyptian mysticism, and who professed to be able to control "elementals." While the assemblage was discussing the talk, Col. Olcott wrote on a slip of paper which he handed to Mr. Judge these words: "Would it not be a good thing to form a society for this kind of study!" Mr. Judge read the paper, passed it to Madame Blavatsky, who nodded assent, and then Mr. Judge proposed that the assemblage come to order and that Col. Olcott act as chairman to consider the proposal. Another meeting was arranged for the following evening at Madame Blavatsky's rooms and at that time sixteen persons gave in their names as being willing to join in founding a society for Occult study. Other meetings were held at Col. Olcott's law offices, and at the residence of Mrs. Emma Hardinge Britten in furtherance of the proposed society. On September 13 the name, The Theosophical Society, was chosen. On October 16 a preamble and by-laws were adopted. On October 30 additional names were added to the list of "Founders," and Officers and a Council were elected. The principal Officers were Col. Olcott as President, Madame Blavatsky as Corresponding Secretary, and Mr. Judge as Counsel. On the evening of November 17 a formal meeting was held at Mott Memorial Hall, 64 Madison Avenue. Colonel Olcott delivered an "Inaugural Address" and 500 copies of this address were ordered electrotyped "for immediate distribution."
Thereafter, stated meetings continued to be held from time to time; various talks and lectures were given, much discussion ensued and many plans for experimentation in phenomena were proposed. Neither Madame Blavatsky nor Mr. Judge took any active part in the meetings after the first few sessions. The former busied
herself in correspondence, in communications to the press, in discussion with the steady stream of visitors to "the lamasery," and in the writing of "Isis Unveiled." Mr. Judge, occupied with the necessities of his daily living, gave his evenings to study under Madame Blavatsky's direction and instruction. Colonel Olcott alone was active in the meetings of the Society. Additional Fellows were admitted from time to time, both Active and Corresponding, and great efforts made to procure phenomena. Mr. Felt's promised revelations failed to materialize and after a time he left the Society, as did most of the other early members when it was found that the expectations aroused were not fulfilled. Very early in the history of the Society Mr. Felt had exacted a pledge of secrecy regarding the disclosures he had promised to make, and this was signed, at his and Col. Olcott's request, by most of the attendant Fellows. It was this pledge which was many years later published in the New York Herald as the original pledge of secrecy of the Theosophical Society, and afterwards incorporated in "Hours With the Ghosts," by Henry Ridgely Evans, published by Laird & Lee, Chicago, in 1897. The material for the Herald attacks was supplied by Mr. Henry J. Newton, one of the original Founders, who had been elected Treasurer of the Society at its inception. He was a well-known and ardent Spiritualist who became bitterly hostile to the Society after the publication of "Isis Unveiled." Others among the Founders were Mrs. Emma Hardinge Britten and her husband Dr. Britten. Both were Spiritualists and Mrs. Britten was herself a versatile medium, very widely known as the author or reputed author of "Ghostland," "Art Magic," "Nineteenth Century Occultism," and other writings. She had also been active in the investigations conducted by the London "Dialectical Society," a few years previously. Another Spiritualist Founder was Mr. C.C. Massey, an English barrister and well-known writer for British spiritualist publications. On his return to London after the formation of the Society, he interested a number of others, among them the famous
W. Stainton Moses ("M.A. Oxon"), and Miss Emily Kislingbury, at that time Secretary of the British Spiritualist Association. The British Theosophical Society was established in 1876, with Mr. Massey as its first President. The members of the British Society were accepted as "Corresponding Fellows" of the Parent Society, but were not formally recognized until the summer of 1878, when John Storer Cobb, the then Recording Secretary, journeyed to London for the purpose, under commission from the Parent Society. With the exception of Miss Kislingbury nearly all the original and early London Fellows later became antagonistic. Both in London and New York nearly the entire membership consisted of Spiritualists. As phenomena were not forthcoming, as the teachings of Madame Blavatsky came to be recognized as fatal to the theory that mediumistic communications are messages from departed human beings, the great majority of Spiritualist members either silently dropped out or became the most active enemies of the new Society.
Another early Fellow was Dr. Alexander Wilder, the learned Platonist, who remained friendly to the Society and its purposes throughout his life. It was he who read the manuscript of "Isis Unveiled" and recommended its publication to Mr. J.W. Bouton. He also wrote most of the prefatory article "Before the Veil," which precedes Chapter I of Volume 1 of "Isis." In other ways, also, he was helpful to Madame Blavatsky and her mission, and his services were often gratefully referred to by her. Other early members were Rev. J.H. Wiggin, a Unitarian clergyman, Dr. Seth Pancoast of Philadelphia, a lifetime student of the Kabbala, and Major-General Abner W. Doubleday, U.S. Army, retired. General Doubleday remained a consistent and devoted member of the Society to the day of his death. He became President pro tem. after the departure of Madame Blavatsky and Col. Olcott for India, and spent much of his time in correspondence and other activities in behalf of the Society. Some unique manuscripts and rare books given by him to the original library of the
New York Society are in the possession of the writers. One of his last services was to present the Society with a complete file of the first six volumes of The Theosophist, completely indexed in manuscript prepared and written out by himself.
Through the labors of Madame Blavatsky, Corresponding Fellows were obtained in many lands. In this way the Ionian Theosophical Society was established at Corfu in 1877. Other activities by correspondence resulted in an affiliation with the Arya Samaj, a Hindu association originally formed for the revival of interest in the ancient scriptures and philosophical systems of India. It was presided over by the Swami, Dayanand Sarasvati, well known in his native country. Joint diplomas were issued to many Fellows of the T.S. as members of "The Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj of Aryavart" (the ancient designation of India). This alliance endured until 1881, when it was ruptured and the Swami and his partisans became violent opponents to the T.S. in India. A very full account of the various difficulties is contained in the "Extra Supplement" to The Theosophist for July, 1882.
As originally constituted the Theosophical Society was entirely democratic in its by-laws and organization. All Officers were elective. Changes in by-laws, whether by substitution or otherwise, had first to be submitted in writing at a stated meeting at least thirty days prior to a vote, and then ratified by the affirmative action of two-thirds of the Fellows present. All nominations for Fellowship were required to be in writing, to be endorsed by two Fellows in good standing, and approved by the Council. Three classes of Fellows were provided for: Active, Corresponding and Honorary, whose nature is sufficiently indicated by their designations. The earlier Societies established after the foundation of the Parent body adopted its preamble and made additional rules and by-laws not in conflict, to suit themselves. Intercourse between the various Societies was more or less desultory and informal, but all Fellows received their diplomas from the Parent Society until branch Societies
began to be formed in India, when diplomas were signed by Col. Olcott and Madame Blavatsky. In America diplomas were signed after 1878 by Gen. Doubleday as President pro tem., and by Mr. Judge as Recording Secretary, until 1883, after which date diplomas were signed in the first instance in India or America as exigency might require, until 1885, after which time H.P.B. being in Europe, Mr. Judge in America, and Col. Olcott in India, all regular diplomas were signed in the first instance by Col. Olcott as de facto President of all the Theosophical Societies. Diplomas, when issued, were recognized as valid certificates of Fellowship by all lodges wherever situated.
No formal Convention of all the Societies was ever held during the existence of the Parent body, but in India a species of gathering or "Anniversary Convention" was held as early as 1880, and thereafter annually at the end of each year. These were attended by delegates from the Indian and Ceylon Lodges and by occasional visitors from Europe and America. No Sections were organized during the first ten years of the Society's history.
The Parent Theosophical Society had three declared Objects, and these were formally adopted by all subsequently formed Societies except a few of the Indian branches. Those Objects were:
I. To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color;
II. The study of ancient and modern religions, philosophies and sciences, and the demonstration of the importance of such study; and
III. The investigation of the unexplained laws of Nature and the psychical powers latent in man.
Assent to the First Object only was required of all Fellows, the remaining Objects being set forth as sub-sidiary and optional. Originally, and until as late as 1885, a form of initiation, several times changed, was used for the induction of new members, and the proceedings of the several Societies were quasi-private.
In the beginning the Parent Society and the other Theosophical bodies had no literature of their own. The Kabbala, translations of Plato, Oriental philosophies and religions, the Spiritualist publications, the numerous writings of Christian mystics, and the existent Western works on magic, hypnotism, mesmerism and related subjects supplied the only material for study.
Madame Blavatsky had begun the composition of "Isis Unveiled" in 1874, and this work she continued steadily, subject to the multifarious interruptions and activities occasioned by her increasing acquaintance and the labors incident to her work as Corresponding Secretary of the new Society. In order to be near at hand in the preparation of "Isis" for the press, Col. Olcott and his sister, Mrs. Mitchell, took rooms in the same building with Madame Blavatsky's apartment. Most of the proofs of "Isis" were read by him, and the arrangement of the text is his. Both Col. Olcott and H.P.B. were greatly hampered by the lack of works of reference, by attendant circumstances, and by special difficulties. English was a foreign tongue to H.P.B. and had never been acquired by her except in a colloquial sense in childhood. She was entirely unfamiliar with current literary usages or the exigencies of the printer's art. On his side Col. Olcott had but the slightest acquaintance with many of the subjects treated; was totally ignorant of most of the languages ancient and modern necessarily referred to, and the authors and authorities whose statements were quoted and discussed. The almost endless ramifications of theologies, philosophies and other writings referred to were for the most part unknown to him, and in many cases no exact equivalents or corresponding terms existed in English to convey the desired meanings and interpretations. A further difficulty developed in Madame Blavatsky's having occasion to rewrite large portions of the text, or to incorporate new matter in the proofs, even after the stereotype plates were cast. When the many obstacles are considered, it is remarkable that so few errors exist in the work as finally published by Mr. J.W. Bouton of New York in
the early autumn of 1877. Two editions of "Isis" were immediately exhausted, and new editions followed from the original plates for many years. An edition of "Isis" was also issued many years later by Mrs. Tingley's Theosophical organization from the original Bouton plates, with additional matter. Still another edition of "Isis" reset throughout has been published by the same organization. An entirely new edition was also issued in London in 1907 by the Theosophical Publishing Society, affiliated with Mrs. Besant's Theosophical organization.
Some corrections of the more glaring errors in the original Bouton editions of "Isis" were made at various times by Madame Blavatsky, in The Theosophist, The Path and Lucifer, but the original plates, not being owned by her, could not be corrected.
"Isis Unveiled" having been completed and the Society in America being on as firm a footing as possible, active preparations began to carry its propaganda to other countries where beginnings had already been made. Accordingly, a little over a year after the publication of "Isis," Madame Blavatsky and Col. Olcott sailed for India as a "committee" of the Society. A fortnight's stay was made in London, arrangements were made at Paris for the immediate formation of "The Theosophical Society of French Spiritists," and the two Founders proceeded on their way, arriving at Bombay, India, February 16, 1879.
Almost at once accessions to the Society began in India, both among English residents and Hindus. Learned members of the various sects and castes, pundits, professors of the various schools of Hindu philosophy, Indian rulers, writers, lawyers, gave their adhesion to the Society. Among noted English Fellows in India were Major-General Morgan, British Army, retired, and his wife; Mr. A.O. Hume, late Secretary to the Government of India; and Mr. A.P. Sinnett, editor of the leading pro-Government organ, the Allahabad Pioneer. In October of 1879 Madame Blavatsky began the publication of The Theosophist. The magazine soon attained a wide
circulation not only in India, but in Europe and America as well. In 1881 Mr. Sinnett's book, "The Occult World," was published at London. It was subsequently republished in America, and passed through many editions. It was followed in 1883 by "Esoteric Buddhism," which circulated as extensively. In India, "Hints on Esoteric Theosophy, No. 1," was issued in 1882, and "No. 2" a year later. In 1881 Col. Olcott published his "Buddhist Catechism," a work which was later adopted as accurate by both the Northern and Southern wings of the Buddhist faith, and which speedily passed through a score of editions and is still being published. In the period from 1879 to 1884 there were established in India and Ceylon an even hundred Theosophical Societies. For the first time in recorded history, some approach to fellowship in a common society with a common aim was brought about amongst members of sects and castes which from time immemorial had considered it a sin and a degradation to meet and mingle on equal terms.
Correspondence with the Parent, the British and the French Societies, and with H.P.B., resulted in the formation of several additional Societies in America and Europe in the first decade of the Movement. Thus the "St. Thomas" Society in the Danish West Indies was formed in 1881, the "Post Nubila Lux" Society at The Hague, Holland, the "Odessa Group" in Russia in 1883, the "Scottish" at Ayre, the "Germania" at Elberfeld, in 1884. The Queensland Society in Australia was formed in 1881. In the United States the first Society established after the Parent body was the Rochester T.S., organized in July, 1882, by the efforts of Mrs. J.W. Cables. The first publication in America devoted to Theosophical subjects was The Occult Word, the first number of which was issued by Mrs. Cables in April, 1884. The "Pioneer" T.S. was formed at St. Louis in the summer of 1883, and the "Gnostic" at Washington, D.C., in 1884.
Madame Blavatsky's first work was with the Spiritualists. When her powerful voice was raised in their
defense, when she demanded that their wonders should be investigated with an open mind, their claims examined impartially, she was hailed as a friend, as an ally, as a champion of the new dispensation. When it was noised about through the indiscreet but well-meant laudations of Col. Olcott that she was herself a medium par excellence, she was acclaimed as a prophet. Her soirees and her Society were crowded with the rush of seekers demanding a sign. But when she refused to produce the hoped-for marvels; when in her conversations and letters to the press she hinted at other and truer explanations of the phenomena than "communications from the dead"; when she uttered veiled warnings regarding the dangers of mediumship, she was listened to with surprise, with incredulity, with suspicions. And when at last "Isis Unveiled" was issued, a fierce revulsion set in, increasing as the years went on. She was denounced by some Spiritualists as a traitor to the "cause," and slandered by others as a mere cheating trickster, not even an honest medium. Nearly every Spiritualist who had entered the Society departed from it, and she was generally regarded quite as much the foe of Spiritualism as of orthodox religion or materialistic science. It is of more than passing significance that in every case the chief enemies of H.P.B. and her teachings, both within and without the original Theosophical Society and the many organizations which still employ that name, have been persons who were Spiritualists, or whose natural tendencies have been in that direction. All the many attacks upon her name and fame throughout all the years can be traced back to their source either in Spiritualists or those addicted to mediumship and its practices.
What, then, were her earliest expositions of Theosophy, which sufficed on the one hand to provide the material for the growth and study of the members of the Theosophical Society, and, on the other hand, drew upon her devoted head from the very first, a series of attacks which, gradually increasing in range and intensity, culminated in the tremendous explosions of 1884-5? No student of the Theosophical Movement can afford to
neglect the most painstaking examination of "Isis Unveiled." To a summary of its most important contents we may now turn our attention profitably, the collateral and accompanying circumstances having been outlined.
"Isis Unveiled""Isis Unveiled" is stated on its title page to be "a master-key to the mysteries of ancient and modern science and theology." In the body of the work there are said to be seven of these keys to the mysteries of Nature and of Man, of which one only is given. The volumes are dedicated to "The Theosophical Society which was founded to study the subjects on which they treat."
By correlating the work to the Three Objects of the Society a clear light may be had on the method of treatment employed. Volume 1 has for its general subject "Science," and in that respect relates strictly to the Third Object. Volume 2 is entitled "Theology," and relates to the Second Object. But as both science and theology relate to the great objects of human inquiry, the treatment is inter-woven and inter-blended throughout. As all inquiry presents two general poles, the ascertainment of facts and the consideration of their meaning and relations, so "Isis" takes up the acquisitions of modern scientific research and the theories and hypotheses built up to account for ascertained physical phenomena; the revelations and claims of the various religions, particularly the Christian, are examined, and their theologies (or theories to account for metaphysical phenomena) are analyzed.
The work is necessarily addressed to the most open-minded of the race, and the method pursued is necessarily adapted to the limitations of those minds. It is not so much the introduction of new evidence that is attempted, as the partial presentation of an entirely new (to Western minds) hypothesis to explain the evidence that already exists in the general fund of human experience.
In the course of the work it is demonstrated over and over again that the dogmas of the sects are not only mutually contradictory and destructive, but, as well, that sound philosophical principles, correct logic and the proved facts of modern science are in direct and overwhelming opposition to the claims and pretensions of theology. The same method of examination is also applied to the "working hypotheses" of modern science, and the various theories are tested out by comparison, one with another, all with the facts of experience. It is conclusively established that, no more than theology, can the philosophy of modern science stand the light of searching investigation. The believer in theology or science is furthermore shown by masses of indisputable testimony that certain facts exist and always have existed, which are in themselves absolutely destructive alike of the claims of orthodox religion and materialistic science; that these facts have been persistently overlooked, ignored or denied, both by the votaries of "revealed religion" and of modern "exact science"; yet that these disregarded facts have at all times been uniformly testified to by the noblest minds of the race no less than by the common belief of mankind. Side by side, therefore, with the introduction of the affirmative evidence of these facts is placed the testimony of the ages as to their bearing on the great subjects of religion, philosophy and science, and the inference is drawn that there has always existed, from the remotest times, a system whose teachings in regard to Nature and to Man are inclusive of all things and exclusive of nothing. This system Madame Blavatsky denominates the Hermetic philosophy, or Wisdom-Religion, and declares that her work and mission are a "plea for the recognition of the Wisdom-Religion as the only possible key to the Absolute in science and theology." The work itself is the evidence that she uses the word "plea" in its strictly legal and forensic sense. "Isis" contains the testimony, the analysis of the evidence, the arguments, and the citations of principles, laws and precedents. The work is "submitted to public judgment", upon its inherent
reasonableness as to its conclusions, its verifiable accuracy as to the facts, and not upon any assumed authority.
Turning ever and anon from the purely inductive method which characterizes the work generally, Madame Blavatsky submits some of the principal tenets of the Wisdom-Religion, which she names THEOSOPHY, and shows that there is more than ample ground, from evidence accessible to the general student, to justify the statements she makes, that the Wisdom-Religion underlies and antedates every religion, every philosophy, every system of thought, every science known to mankind, and that all these have in point of fact sprung from periodical impartations of portions of the Secret Doctrines by its Adept custodians.
"Isis" is in no sense put forward by its writer as an inference, a revelation, or a speculation, although the burden of its mighty contents is necessarily largely assumed to prove that the existence of Adepts and a Wisdom-Religion is the unavoidable inference from the testimony; the prior missions and messages of great Adepts the indubitable source of the great religions and the common belief in gods, saviors and redeemers; their teachings regarding the "mysteries" the real fountain whence have been drawn the materials for the philosophical and ethical treatises of the great writers of all times. She shows that everywhere, from the remotest antiquity, there are abundant indications that the arts and sciences as re-discovered in our times, were known and practiced by the "wise men of old"; furthermore, that much was "known" to the ancients concerning certain sciences and arts now "unknown" even to the most advanced science and scientists of our day. And although popular religion, philosophy and science became in time polluted with purely human speculations and fancies, "Isis" shows that they all started originally as clear and unadulterated streams from the mother source. What was originally a teaching depending on knowledge and inspiration degenerated in time into mere dogmas and speculations; what was originally a Teacher of primeval
truths became in time an object of veneration and worship as a god or a divine incarnation.
With these considerations in mind something may be grasped of the epochal importance of Madame Blavatsky's first great work, and of the leading statements of Occultism embodied in it. Although "Isis Unveiled" has been before the world for nearly half a century few, even among Theosophists, have as yet assimilated more than a few crumbs from this "storehouse of thought."
The plan of the work is early stated. The object is not to force upon the public the personal views or theories of the author, nor does it aim at creating a revolution in some department of thought:
"It is rather a brief summary of the religions, philosophies, and universal traditions of human kind, and the exegesis of the same, in the spirit of those secret doctrines, of which none - thanks to prejudice and bigotry - have reached Christendom in so unmutilated a form as to secure it a fair judgment. Hence the unmerited contempt into which the study of the noblest of sciences - that of the spiritual man - has gradually fallen.
"In undertaking to inquire into the assumed infallibility of Modern Science and Theology, the author has been forced, even at the risk of being thought discursive, to make constant comparison of the ideas, achievements, and pretensions of their representatives with those of the ancient philosophies and religious teachers. Things the most widely separated as to time have thus been brought into immediate juxtaposition, for only thus could the priority and parentage of discoveries and dogmas be determined. In discussing the merits of our scientific contemporaries, their own confessions of failure in experimental research, of baffling mysteries, of missing links in their chains of theory, of inability to comprehend natural phenomena, of ignorance of the laws of the causal world,
have furnished the basis for the present study. Especially we will review the speculations and policy of noted authorities in connection with those modern psychological phenomena (Spiritualism) which began at Rochester and have now overspread the world. We wish to show how inevitable were their innumerable failures, and how they must continue until these pretended authorities go to the Brahmins and Lamaists of the far Orient, and respectfully ask them to impart the alphabet of true science.
"Deeply sensible of the Titanic struggle that is now in progress between materialism and the spiritual aspirations of mankind, our constant endeavor has been to gather into our several chapters, like weapons into armories, every fact and argument that can be used to aid the latter in defeating the former. Sickly and deformed child as it now is, the materialism of Today is born of the brutal Yesterday. Unless its growth is arrested it may become our master. To prevent the crushing of these spiritual aspirations, the blighting of these hopes, and the deadening of that intuition which teaches us of a God and a hereafter, we must show our false theologies in their naked deformity, and distinguish between divine religion and human dogmas. Our voice is raised for spiritual freedom, and our plea made for enfranchisement from all tyranny, whether of SCIENCE or THEOLOGY."
The work plunges forthwith into the comparison of the ancient Occult tenets both with modern theological dogmas and modern scientific theories. Some of the tenets laid down are as follows:
I. The pre-existence of spiritual man clothed in a body of ethereal matter, and with the ability to commune freely with the now unseen universes.
II. An almost incredible antiquity is claimed for the human race in its various "coats of skin," and the great
doctrine of Cycles of Destiny (Karma) is emphasized, as well as that these Cycles do not affect all mankind at one and the same time, thus explaining the rise and fall of civilizations and the existence at one and the same time of the most highly developed races side by side with tribes sunk in savagery.
III. A double evolution, spiritual and intellectual as well as physical, is postulated whose philosophy alone can reconcile spirit and matter and cause each to demonstrate the other mathematically.
IV. The doctrine of the Metempsychosis of the spiritual and mental Man is given as the key which will supply every missing link in the theories of the modern evolutionists, as well as the mysteries of the various religions. The lower orders of evolution are declared to have emanated from higher spiritual ones before they develop. It is affirmed that if men of science and theologians had properly understood the doctrine of Metempsychosis in its application to the indestructibility of matter and the immortality of spirit it would have been perceived that this doctrine is a sublime conception. It is demonstrated that there has not been a philosopher of any note who did not hold to this doctrine of Metempsychosis as taught by the Brahmins, Buddhists, and later by the Pythagoreans and the Gnostics, in its esoteric sense. For lack of comprehension of this great philosophical principle the methods of modem science, however exact, must end in nullity.
V. The ancients knew far more concerning certain sciences than our modern savants have yet discovered. Magic is as old as man. The calculations of the ancients applied equally to the spiritual progress of humanity as to the physical. Magic was considered a divine science which led to a participation in the attributes of Divinity itself. "As above, so it is below. That which has been will return again. As in heaven, so on earth." The revolution of the physical world is attended by a like revolution in the world of intellect - the spiritual evolution proceeding in Cycles, like the physical one. The great kingdoms and empires of the world after reach-
ing the culmination of their greatness, descend again, in accordance with the same law by which they ascended; till, having reached the lowest point, humanity re-asserts itself and mounts up once more, the height of its attainment being, by this law of ascending progression by cycles, somewhat higher than the point from which it had before descended.
"VI. Too many of our thinkers do not consider that the numerous changes in language, the allegorical phrases and evident secretiveness of old Mystic writers, who were generally under an obligation never to divulge the solemn secrets of the sanctuary, might have sadly misled translators and commentators. One day they may learn to know better, and so become aware that the method of extreme necessarianism was practiced in ancient as well as in modern philosophy; that from the first ages of man, the fundamental truths of all that we are permitted to know on earth were in the safe keeping of the adepts of the sanctuary; that the difference in creeds and religious practice was only external; and that those guardians of the primitive divine revelation, who had solved every problem that is within the grasp of human intellect, were bound together by a universal freemasonry of science and philosophy, which formed one unbroken chain around the globe."
The first chapter of Volume 1, from which we have extracted the several statements which we have here numbered for their better massing and comprehension, closes with a forecast, drawn from the study of the past:
"The moment is more opportune than ever for the review of old philosophies. Archaeologists, philologists, astronomers, chemists and physicists are getting nearer to the point where they will be forced to consider them. Physical sci-
ence has already reached its limits of exploration; dogmatic theology sees the springs of its inspiration dry. Unless we mistake the signs, the day is approaching when the world will receive the proofs that only ancient religions were in harmony with nature, and ancient science embraced all that can be known. Who knows the possibilities of the future? An era of disenchantment and rebuilding will soon begin - nay, has already begun. The cycle has almost run its course; a new one is about to begin, and the future pages of history may contain full evidence, and convey full proof that
'If ancestry can be in aught believed,
Descending spirits have conversed with man,
And told him secrets of the world unknown.'"
If we turn now to the twelfth and last chapter of Volume 2 of "Isis," we shall be confronted with an introductory paragraph, also prophetic at the time of its writing, now all too truly a matter of both theosophical and profane history. She there says:
"It would argue small discernment on our part
were we to suppose that we have been followed thus far through this work by any but metaphysicians, or mystics of some sort. Were it otherwise, we should certainly advise such to spare themselves the trouble of reading this chapter; for, although nothing is said that is not strictly true, they would not fail to regard the least wonderful of the narratives as absolutely false, however substantiated."
The chapter follows with a recapitulation of the principles of natural law, covered by the fundamental propositions of the Oriental philosophy as successively eluci-
dated in the course of the work. She states them in numbered order as follows:
I. There is no miracle. Everything that happens is the result of law - eternal, immutable, ever-active. This "immutable law" is frequently referred to throughout the volumes under such terms as cycles, the "law of compensation," Karma, "self-made destiny," and so on. Its mode of operation is incessantly discussed in treating of the rise and fall of civilizations, successive races of men, earth transformations, the three-fold principle of evolution, Spiritual, Mental, and Physical; the compound nature of man and the universe; and in such terminology as pre-existence, metempsychosis, transmigration, reincarnation, evolution, transformation, permutation, emanation, immortality, and after-death states and conditions. Constant effort is made to keep before the reader the unvarying principle that spiritual and mental evolution proceeds apace with physical manifestations, and stands to physical evolution in the relation of cause to effect. This is all summarized in the second proposition.
II. Nature is triune: there is a visible, objective Nature; an invisible, indwelling, energizing Nature, the exact model of the other, and its vital principle; and, above these two, spirit, source of all forces, alone eternal and indestructible. The lower two constantly change; the higher third does not. This universal postulate is then applied specifically to human nature and evolution in the third proposition.
III. Man is also triune: he has his objective, physical body, his vitalizing astral body (or soul), the real man; and these two are brooded over and illuminated by the third - the sovereign, the immortal spirit. When the real man succeeds in merging himself with the latter, he becomes an immortal entity. The argument throughout the two large volumes of "Isis" is always that such mergence or union is possible and is the underlying purpose of all evolution; that such beings as Jesus, Buddha and others had in fact arrived at this consummation, and
that the real mission of the Founders of all religions is to point mankind to the purpose of Mental and Spiritual evolution, and give the directions and conditions precedent to the "perfectibility of man." Such exalted beings are by H.P. Blavatsky variously called the sages, the Adepts, the Great Souls of all time. Their knowledge of Nature and of Nature's laws is called in its entirety the Wisdom-Religion, and its practical exemplification is summarized in the fourth proposition.
IV. and V. Magic, as a science, is the knowledge of these principles, and of the way by which the omniscience and omnipotence of the spirit and its control over Nature's forces maybe acquired by the individual while still in the body. Magic, as an art, is the application of this knowledge in practice. Granting that great powers exist in Nature, and that the conscious control over these powers may be attained by the incarnated being through metaphysical means, it follows that such control may be exercised beneficently or maleficently. Arcane knowledge misapplied is sorcery, or "Black Magic"; beneficently used, true Magic or Wisdom. In either case it constitutes Adeptship, whether of the Right- or the Left-hand Path. This is the fifth proposition, and the text of the two volumes contains almost numberless direct and indirect references to celebrated characters in history, tradition and myth who exemplified the two characters of Adeptship.
VI. This proposition sets forth that Mediumship is the opposite of Adeptship. Whereas the Adept actively controls himself and all inferior potencies, the Medium is the passive instrument of foreign influences. There is no more important practical theorem in the whole work. Many, many pages are devoted to discussion of the characteristics, tendencies, practices and fruits of mediumship. Its phenomena, objective and subjective, are dealt with at length. Spiritualism, or mediumship, is shown to have been prevalent in all ages, no matter under what names known, and its recurrence, whether in individual cases or amongst masses of men, is shown to be subject to cyclic law, now more generally known to The-
osophical students under its Sanskrit designation of Karma. In Mediumship, as in Adeptship, it is shown that there are two polar antitheses, dependent on the moral character of the medium for the quality and range no less than the effects, good or bad, of its exercise.
The remaining numbered propositions of the last chapter of Volume 2 will be considered in other connections later on, (1) but their essential nature and implications are contained in the following sentences, without the basic apprehension of which no inquiry into Theosophy and the Theosophical Movement can be fruitful of understanding, however it may afford information:
"To sum up all in a few words, Magic is spiritual WISDOM; nature, the material ally, pupil and servant of the magician. One common vital principle pervades all things, and this is controllable by the perfected human will. The adept can stimulate the movements of the natural forces in plants and animals in a preternatural degree. Such experiments are not obstructions of nature, but quickenings; the conditions of intenser vital action are given.
"The adept can control the sensations and alter the conditions of the physical and astral bodies of other persons not adepts; he can also govern and employ, as he chooses, the spirits of the elements. He cannot control the immortal spirit of any human being, living or dead, for all such spirits are alike sparks of the Divine Essence, and not subject to any foreign domination."
The restrictions with which the information conveyed in "Isis" is hedged about, both from the standpoint of the teacher endeavoring to impart and the inquirer endeavoring to learn, and the dangers, known or unknown to the latter, are indicated towards the close of the chapter:
(1) See Chapter XXXIII.
"By those who have followed us thus far, it will naturally be asked, to what practical issue this book tends; much has been said about magic and its potentiality, much of the immense antiquity of its practice. Do we wish to affirm that the occult sciences ought to be studied and practiced throughout the world? Would we replace modern spiritualism with the ancient magic? Neither; the substitution could not be made, nor the study universally prosecuted, without incurring the risk of enormous public dangers.
"We would have neither scientists, theologians nor spiritualists turn practical magicians, but all to realize that there was true science, profound religion, and genuine phenomena before this modern era. We would that all who have a voice in the education of the masses should first know and then teach that the safest guides to human happiness and enlightenment are those writings which have descended to us from the remotest antiquity; and that nobler spiritual aspirations and a higher average morality prevail in the countries where the people have taken their precepts as the rule of their lives. We would have all to realize that magical, i.e., spiritual powers exist in every man, and those few to practice them who feel called to teach, and are ready to pay the price of discipline and self-conquest which their development exacts.
"Many men have arisen who had glimpses of the truth, and fancied they had it all. Such have failed to achieve the good they might have done and sought to do, because vanity has made them thrust their personality into such undue prominence as to interpose it between their believers and the whole truth that lay behind. The world needs no sectarian church, whether of Buddha, Jesus, Mahomet, Swedenborg, Calvin, or any other. There being but ONE Truth, man requires but one church - the Temple of God within
us, walled in by matter but penetrable by any one who can find the way; the pure in heart see God. The trinity of nature is the lock of magic; the trinity of man the key that fits it. Within the solemn precincts of the sanctuary the SUPREME had and has no name. It is unthinkable and unpronounceable; and yet every man finds in himself his god.
"Besides, there are many good reasons why the study of magic, except in its broad philosophy, is nearly impracticable in Europe and America. Magic being what it is, the most difficult of all sciences to learn experimentally - its acquisition is, practically, beyond the reach of the majority of white-skinned people; and that, whether their effort is made at home or in the East. Probably not more than one man in a million of European blood is fitted - either physically, morally, or psychologically - to become a practical magician, and not one in ten millions would be found endowed with all these three qualifications as required for the work. Unlike other sciences, a theoretical knowledge of formulae without mental capacities or soul powers, is utterly useless in magic. The spirit must hold in complete subjection the combativeness of what is loosely termed educated reason, until facts have vanquished cold human sophistry."
The concluding pages of "Isis" recite that those best prepared to appreciate Occultism are the Spiritualists, although, through prejudice, they have hitherto been the bitterest opponents to its introduction to public notice. She sums up thus:
"Despite all foolish negations and denunciations their phenomena are real. Despite, also, their own assertions they are wholly misunderstood by themselves. The totally insufficient theory of the constant agency of disembodied hu-
man spirits in their production has been the bane of the Cause. A thousand mortifying rebuffs have failed to open their reason or intuition to the truth. Ignoring the teachings of the past, they have discovered no substitute. We offer them philosophical deduction instead of unverifiable hypothesis, scientific analysis and demonstration instead of undiscriminating faith. Occult philosophy gives them the means of meeting the reasonable requirements of science, and frees them from the humiliating necessity to accept the oracular teachings of 'intelligences,' which as a rule have less intelligence than a child at school. So based and so strengthened, modern phenomena would be in a position to command the attention and enforce the respect of those who carry with them public opinion. Without invoking such help, spiritualism must continue to vegetate, equally repulsed - not without cause - both by scientists and theologians. In its modern aspect it is neither a science, a religion, nor a philosophy."
With this outline of the teaching of Occultism as contained in "Isis Unveiled"; its overwhelming arraignment out of the mouths of their own exponents, of the religion, science and philosophy of the day; its outspoken treatment of dogmatic Christianity, of materialistic hypotheses, of the phenomena and theories of Spiritualism, the student can begin to comprehend the enormous difficulties faced by H.P.B. in gaining a foothold for the Theosophical Society and a hearing for her teachings of Theosophy. Her task was not that of a teacher in a kindergarten: to meet and lead plastic and unsullied minds eager with interest, unburdened with preconceptions, into new and delightful paths of occupation and learning. Far from it. Rather it was that of the alienist in a mad world, its unsane inhabitants soaked through and through with their several illusions; each profoundly certain of the truth of his own particular
mania, profoundly convinced of the hallucination of all others; each looking at the phenomena of life through the distorted lenses of fundamental misconceptions. Regardless of names and forms, she had to reckon with the fact, from the standpoint of the teachings of Occultism, that everywhere, the men of the Western world were fast fixed in false beliefs, taking that to be the Eternal which is not eternal; that to be Soul which is not soul; that to be Pure which is impure; that to be Good which is evil. She had to destroy while seeming to create, to create while seeming to destroy.
Looking back from the present basis of tolerated if not accepted ideas, it is only by the contrast that the supreme miracle of her wisdom can be even faintly sensed. The identity of man with the Supreme Spirit; the doctrine of Cycles, the law of Compensation; Spiritual and Intellectual as well as physical evolution; inherent immortality, metempsychosis; the Spiritual Brotherhood of all beings, Adepts as the culmination of the triple evolutionary scheme in Nature; Spirit and Matter as the eternal dual presentment of evolving Consciousness, the polar aspects of the One Essence - all these great and supreme ideas she and none other restored to a vital place in human thought. The words existed - mummified forms from the by-gone Past, wrapped in the thousand cerements of the sects. As in the Talmudic legend, she breathed upon the clay, breathed into it the breath of life. Or, better, as in the story of Joseph, she made the dead come forth from the tomb, clothed in the habiliments in which the living dead had buried him against a far-off impossible resurrection.
Much has been written by Theosophists - those who owe their all to her and her work - that the H.P.B. of 1875 was not the H.P.B. of later days; that she, like themselves, was but a student, stumbling, halting, groping, finding her way through failures and mistakes; that it was only in later years that she came to learn of this, of that, of reincarnation among other matters; that many contradictions will be found in "Isis" when compared with her final teachings.
The inquirer into facts and philosophies has but to read "Isis," to annotate its teachings, to compare them with all her subsequent multifarious writings to see and know for himself that the teachings of "Isis" are her unchanging teachings; that not in jot or in tittle is there a contradiction or a disagreement in all she ever wrote; that in "Isis" are the foundational statements of Occultism. All her later writings are but extensions, ramifications, the orderly development and unfolding of what is both explicit and implicit in "Isis Unveiled." Study and comparison will do more: it will give the student a solid and impregnable standard from which to survey the real nature and character of the Avatar of the nineteenth century; a criterion by which, as well, truly to measure the understanding, the nature and the development of those disciples, students and followers of H.P.B. of whom she might well have repeated in the words of Blake on "certain friends":
I found them blind; I taught them how to see;
And now they neither know themselves nor me.
The facts being ascertained, and some faint perception of their significance being grasped, the student needs no interpreter to tell him that obstacles, opposition, misunderstanding, contumely, hatred and misrepresentation were unavoidable concomitants of every step in the progress of the Theosophical Society, no less than in the path of her whose mission it was to be its "presiding deity." The chief of these difficulties have now to be considered.
Early Days of the Theosophical SocietyAt first glance the Objects of the Theosophical Society might be assumed to be in themselves so manifestly beneficial and, negatively speaking, so entirely harmless as at once to commend them to the good-will if not to the active support of all men everywhere. To draw this conclusion, however, is unfortunately to be blind to the lessons of human history; is to be, ignorant of the forces which dominate the operations of human consciousness.
Selfishness, in one or another of its countless forms, is and at all times has been the prevailing keynote of human action. Many have been the attempts to form enduring associations having for their prime object the realization of an actual nucleus of universal brotherhood among men. To unite firmly a body of men in brotherly love bent on pure altruistic work has been the dream of many high-souled men and women. Whatever of progress and amelioration has been achieved for the race from time to time has been due to such efforts. But in their durable purpose they have all failed of the great object, and humanity is today waiting as vainly as ever for the accomplishment of the most holy and most important mission that has ever commanded the devotion of the savior, the philanthropist and the martyr. Disruptive pressures from without, disintegrating forces from within, have in the end made mock and havoc of every attempt to embody practically what all men reverence as the noblest of ideals. Yet the ideal persists, though its successive incarnations wither and decay.
It cannot, then, be supposed that H.P. Blavatsky was in ignorance or misconception of the gigantic task she set for herself in the endeavor to create among men a Society which should have for its primary purpose the
formation of a nucleus of actual Brotherhood. Nor is it to be imagined that she was indifferent to or unacquainted with the causes of all former failures in that direction. The Second and Third Objects of the Society have their real foundation in her understanding of the causes of all failures among men to achieve their heart's ideal. So long as men find occasion for frictions and antagonisms, rather than grounds for union and harmony, in what they believe and practice in the name of religion, so long will they be fundamentally at variance. So long as their ideas of knowledge - of true science - are confined to mere bodily existence, so long will all attempts at brotherhood degenerate into sordid search for material well-being, for physical and intellectual progress and development only. Faith and knowledge, instead of being natural allies, will pursue opposed courses, religion and science take mutually destructive paths, the ideal and the practical seem to be separated by an impassable gulf.
All these things are clearly, if succinctly, indicated in the Preface to the first volume of "Isis Unveiled." Never in all her vast outpour of teaching and practical example did Madame Blavatsky place on record anything of more enduring and far-reaching worth than the propositions and implications of this Preface. After dedicating "these volumes to the Theosophical Society, which was formed in New York, A.D.1875, to study the subjects on which they treat," her first words are an affirmation of the existence of Masters, of the Wisdom-Religion, of her own intimate acquaintance with Them and with Their philosophy:
"The work now submitted to public judgment is the fruit of a somewhat intimate acquaintance with Eastern adepts and study of their science."
Here is implied the existence of an actual Brotherhood of living men, of perfected human beings who have become such through self-induced and self-devised exertions; herein is affirmed the perfectibility of man, the possibility of a fraternity of peace and good-will through
the means and the example afforded by acquaintance with and study of these Adepts and their science. Centuries of sectarian theological teachings that man is a poor miserable sinner, inherently imperfect and never by any possibility to become perfect save through an act of faith in a vicarious Saviour; centuries of materialism in thought and action on a one-life basis - over against these deeply imbedded and dominating ideas is set, sheer and clear, the fact of Masters; not as some far-off, remote abstraction, some longed-for but impossible ideal, some unique and special creation of a favoring God, but veritable Divine Beings who have reached physical and mental, no less than moral and spiritual, perfection under Law. Here is the tremendous assurance that the realization of Brotherhood is not an impossibility to any man who will follow the path They show, by creating in and of himself the conditions precedent to the acquisition of Their knowledge and nature.
What those conditions precedent are is indicated in the succeeding sentences:
"It is offered to such as are willing to accept truth wherever it may be found, and to defend it, even looking popular prejudice straight in the face. It is an attempt to aid the student to detect the vital principles which underlie the philosophical systems of old."
All men are willing to accept truth, but each is predisposed to determine for himself the terms and conditions upon which he will base his acceptance. Each man holds, consciously or unconsciously to himself, certain fundamental ideas as to Deity, Nature and Man. He will, by consequence, accept only so much of truth as may conform to those ideas, modifying or rejecting all else. As those fundamental conceptions proceed from human ignorance and partialities, the true vital principles which underlie the race-old systems of thought must be detected. That cannot be for any man so long as he clings to forms of religion and philosophy which separate instead of
unite mankind in the bonds of true fraternity. The Second Object, the study for comparative purposes of the various religions and philosophies, will lead to the perception of the common vital principles upon which all faiths are founded. In this comparative study the searcher for truth must emulate the plan and purpose of "Isis," which is written "in all sincerity. It is meant to do even justice, and to speak the truth alike without malice or prejudice. But it shows neither mercy for enthroned error, not reverence for usurped authority. Toward no form of worship, no religious faith, no scientific hypothesis has its criticism been directed in any other spirit. Men and parties, sects and schools are but the mere ephemera of the world's day. TRUTH, high-seated upon its rock of adamant, is alone eternal and supreme." Unless the inquirer adopts and maintains the spirit of "Isis," he cannot rid himself of prejudice, of preconception, of bias and self-interest - the real barriers to knowledge and to Brotherhood.
The Third Object runs current with the following clauses of the noble Preface:
"We believe in no Magic which transcends the scope and capacity of the human mind, nor in 'miracle,' whether divine or diabolical, if such imply a transgression of the laws of nature instituted from all eternity. Nevertheless, we accept the saying of the gifted author of 'Festus,' that the human heart has not yet fully uttered itself, and that we have never attained or even understood the extent of its powers. Is it too much to believe that man should be developing new sensibilities and a closer relation with nature? The logic of evolution must teach as much, if carried to its legitimate conclusions. If, somewhere, in the line of ascent from vegetable or ascidian to the noblest man a soul was evolved, gifted with intellectual qualities, it cannot be unreasonable to believe and infer that a faculty of perception is also growing in man, enabling
him to descry facts and truths even beyond our ordinary ken."
He who would pass behind the "veil of Isis," and learn to fathom the mysteries of Nature and of Man, must boldly take his stand in advance of the science of our times and proceed to the study of the unexplained laws of Nature and the psychical powers latent in man. The quoted sentences postulate the omnipresent existence of immutable Law; do away with the idea of miraculous intervention in human or mundane affairs; affirm the inherent capacity of the mind of man for such development of its faculties as shall enable him to penetrate the arcane of being; to understand, and understanding, control the phenomena of Nature and of his own consciousness, without which true Brotherhood must forever remain a longed-for but inaccessible Utopia.
The Second and Third Objects thus constitute the ways and means by which alone the great First Object may be consummated. Viewed from the standpoint of religions which teach that enduring happiness is possible only beyond the grave, or from that of a science which inculcates that earthly existence and earthly knowledge are all that are accessible to man, all the Objects of the Theosophical Society are alike futile, because impossible of attainment. Considered from the basis of the ordinary man those Objects are equally useless or unsatisfactory, because they all imply and require the giving up of objects and possessions counted valuable; at best in exchange for something remote and intangible, yielding no personal or selfish benefit; at worst the loss of what one holds dear without any return but failure.
Here, then, the Preface predicates the true and enduring foundation for the seeker's faith and efforts. The philosophy of the Adepts is given:
"They showed us that by combining science with religion, the existence of God and immortality of man's spirit may be demonstrated like a problem of Euclid. For the first time we re-
ceived the assurance that the Oriental philosophy has room for no other faith than an absolute and immovable faith in the omnipotence of man's own immortal self. We were taught that this omnipotence comes from the kinship of man's spirit with the Universal Soul - God! The latter, they said, can never be demonstrated but by the former. Man-spirit proves God-spirit, as the one drop of water proves a source from whence it must have come. Ex nihilo nihil fit; prove the soul of man by its wondrous powers - you have proved God!"
Every attempt to establish a religion on the fundamental conception that man is inherently fallible and sinful, every attempt to understand Nature on the theory that man is inherently mortal and finite, must end in failure. But once the stand is taken that there is an immortal self in man, its limitless potentialities for knowledge and power (true religion and true science) follow; the Three Objects of H.P. Blavatsky seem no longer a vain attempt at hitching of the earthly wagon to the firmamental lights; a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood becomes the one thing to be striven for, because seen to be eternally possible and eternally desirable; the immortal is substituted for the mortal as basis and as structure, as object and as subject.
The fact of Adepts grasped, the fact of the Wisdom-Religion recognized, he only is in any real sense a Fellow of the real Theosophical Society who sets out to perform the work of clearance standing in the way of his own realization of both. By the study of the Wisdom-Religion of these Elder Brothers says H.P.B., "science, theology, every human hypothesis and conception born of imperfect knowledge, lost forever their authoritative character" in her sight. The same result must take place in the student, else the Second and Third Objects of the Society have been misconstrued in their purpose, will fail of their mission with him, and the First Object be as far off as ever from realization by him. Unless this position
is assumed it will remain hidden from him, as she says it always has been hidden, "from those who overlooked it, derided it, or denied its existence." Encouragement is offered to prosecute the search and the effort, and the explanation made of her mission at this time in the words, "the day of domineering over men with dogmas has reached its gloaming. The drift of modern thought is palpably in the direction of liberalism in religion as well as in science. Each day brings the reactionists nearer to the point where they must surrender the despotic authority over the public conscience, which they have so long exercised and enjoyed."
Nevertheless, she well realized that all the forces of reaction, within as well as without the Society, would fight to the death against the hearing and the spread of the ideas she came to impart. So she says, prophetic at the time, facts of history now:
"To show that we do not at all conceal from ourselves the gravity of our undertaking, we may say in advance that it would not be strange if the following classes should array themselves against us:
"The Christians, who will see that we question the evidences of the genuineness of their faith.
"The scientists, who will find their pretensions placed in the same bundle with those of the Roman Catholic Church for infallibility, and, in certain particulars, the sages and philosophers of the ancient world classed higher than they.
"Pseudo-scientists will, of course, denounce us furiously.
"Broad Churchmen and Freethinkers will find that we do not accept what they do, but demand recognition of the whole truth.
"Men of letters and various authorities, who hide their real belief in deference to popular prejudices.
"The mercenaries and parasites of the Press,
who prostitute its more than royal power, and dishonor a noble profession, will find it easy to mock at things too wonderful for them to understand; for to them the price of a paragraph is more than the value of sincerity. From many will come honest criticism; from many - cant. But we look to the future. We repeat again - we are laboring for the brighter morrow."
Once a clear apprehension is gained of what is actually implied in the Three Objects of the Theosophical Society, and of what is involved in the attempt to apply them, the student will have no difficulty in determining how absolutely dependent the Society was for its life and sustenance on the teachings imparted by H.P. Blavatsky, if it were not to fail utterly as a vehicle of Brotherhood, whatever other success it might incidentally achieve. The same understanding will make plain that external and internal difficulties were inseparable from its every effort toward even a measurable and partial realization of those objects.
The effect upon the Spiritualists has already been foreshadowed in a general way. Convinced as they were of the reality of metaphysical phenomena; multitudinous, conflicting and oftentimes grotesque as were the theories formulated or accepted to account for them, the "forces of reaction," that is to say, of pre-conception and bias, had already ascribed all these phenomena to the agency of "disembodied human spirits." When, then, philosophical principles and logical deductions, as well as the uninterrupted line of teaching of all the sages of the past, were applied to the manifestations, and it was pointed out that they could not proceed from the rational moral elements of once-living men, the Spiritualists almost without exception rose in arms. They were all "looking for truth," but not in that direction.
One may soberly ask himself, after a careful study of "Isis Unveiled": What is there in that work but the conscientious, painstaking and stupendous presentation of facts, principles, arguments and analogies to explain con-
sistently and irrefutably the source and rationale of the phenomena called Spiritualistic? What is thereto arouse the opposition, the anger, the malevolence of anyone, let alone one seeking truth "wherever it may be found" in regard to mysterious and ill-explained happenings - happenings so recently brought to the attention of mankind in the mass that the three parts of that mankind reject as absurd and incredible the events themselves? Here is a metaphysical phenomenon worthy of the utmost consideration: the rejection of evidence and testimony from verifiable living sources in favor of the blind acceptance of unverifiable theories, speculations and "communications" at variance with the whole order of Nature and the whole history of human experience. Madame Blavatsky was assailed and pursued by Spiritualists with a persistency of misrepresentation equaled only by that of the religionists and pseudo-scientists of the day. Surely, if they had approached the seance room and the medium in the same spirit that H.P.B.'s communications were received, they would, according to their own unvarying experience, have received nothing at all; yet what she had to say, when contrasted with the best that has ever been recorded from any "spirit," was a thousand times more logical, more consistent, more philosophical, more explanatory and more easily verifiable.
In the earlier years of the Society in the West the bulk of the opposition to its teachings came from the Spiritualists. The teachings of H.P.B. were as yet so alien to rooted inherited ideas in religion and science that her Society attracted but little attention except among the Spiritualists and hence the weight of the opposition came from the same quarter.
In India, where the conditions were altogether different, the obstacles arose from another source. There, in spite of the rigid sects and castes, the religious faith and philosophy of the people (apart from the Mohammedan element of the population), was deeply akin to the message the Founders had to bring. For they but brought back to their source the ancient teachings, stripped of their outward, human garments, the accretions of the mil-
lenniums of interpreters and priests. What they had to say appealed alike to Brahmin, Buddhist, Jain and Parsi, once the barriers of creedal exclusiveness were passed. In the earlier and precarious days the alliance hitherto formed by correspondence with the Swami, Dayanand Saraswati, and his Arya Samaj, was of the utmost assistance in this respect. A visit was made to Ceylon and there the Buddhist high priest, Sumangala, a noble and enlightened man, received H.P.B. as a fellow devotee of the great founder of the Buddhist faith. He admitted Col. Olcott to membership in the Buddhist congregation and was at pains to favor their mission. A couple of years later Col. Olcott's "Buddhist Catechism" aided in producing a veritable revival of Buddhism and gained for him and his Society the enduring friendship, not only of enlightened Buddhists, but of the other faiths of the ancient East. Almost immediately after their arrival Col. Olcott began lecturing throughout India, and his clear expositions, his great tact, his intuitive understanding of and sympathy with the Oriental mind made the establishment of branches phenomenally successful.
Damodar K. Mavalankar, a native Brahmin youth of high caste, met H.P.B. and recognizing in her his Guru, forsook family, fortune and all worldly prospects to become her devoted follower, pupil and servant. The Theosophist was founded by H.P.B. within less than a year after the arrival in India. Contributions were invited and obtained from Hindu writers of ability and repute on the various subjects afforded by Eastern philosophy and religion, and these, with H.P.B.'s own articles, soon made of the magazine a forum which attracted attention far and wide. Shortly after the establishment of The Theosophist, H.P.B. made the acquaintance of T. Subba Row, an orthodox Brahmin, a lawyer, a man of ability, immense erudition and great influence. His friendship and attachment to the Society paved the way for many accessions. His contributions to the pages of The Theosophist were models of literary and philosophic excellence.
These activities quickly drew the notice and aroused
the ire of the missionaries of the various Christian sects established in India. Almost immediately rumors began to circulate that H.P.B. and Col. Olcott were disreputable characters, practically forced into exile from their own land. A sinister purpose was alleged to be behind their Society, and that purpose the overthrow of British rule in India. H.P.B. was said to be an immoral woman, a Russian spy, and Col. Olcott her dupe and her abettor. Nothing could have been better calculated to prejudice their mission, and nothing could have been more difficult to counteract and disprove. The Government set a watch upon their every movement and for months the spies of the secret service dogged their every step. In the end, however, nothing of an objectionable nature was discovered, and Col. Olcott was able to submit to the central authorities indubitable documentary proof of the antecedent good character and repute of himself and his colleague. Fortunately, also, within the first year, the Founders met Mr. A.P. Sinnett, editor of the Allahabad Pioneer, a strong pro-Government organ, and Mr. Allan O. Hume, late Secretary to the Government. Both of these gentlemen had been interested in spiritualistic manifestations, and learning something of the nature of H.P.B. and the scope of her teachings, became members of the Society and active in its behalf. They busied themselves in removing all misconceptions as to the nature and purpose of the Theosophical Society, the authorities became friendly, and the reaction speedily brought the Society to the favorable attention of many well-known English residents.
Other stories were circulated that H.P.B. and Col. Olcott were "godless," atheists as well as "infidels," and their purpose equally to destroy the Hindu religions as well as the Christian and make of India a land of materialism. The pages of The Theosophist as well as its "Supplements" during the earlier years show how unbrokenly and in what varied fashion the opposition to the Society and its teachings continued. One device was the importation of the Rev. Joseph Cook, then a widely known American clergyman and lecturer, who
came to India ostensibly on a tour, but whose lectures were almost uniformly devoted to such misrepresentations of Theosophy, the Society and its Founders as would have done honor to a hired mercenary. He was repeatedly challenged to meet the Theosophists in debate, but always avoided any such direct issue. Finally, he was publicly denounced in a signed card published by a British army officer, and thereafter speedily departed the country. A similar stratagem was employed in the case of the Rev. Moncure D. Conway, who, while in India, visited the headquarters and was cordially received there by H.P.B. He afterwards published articles in leading magazines of America and England in disparagement of Theosophy and the work of the Society and declared that H.P.B. had admitted to him in his interview with her that her phenomena were all "glamour," hence fraudulent. Once or twice, in unguarded moments, the assailants of the Theosophists laid themselves open to proceedings which enforced public retractions, but in general the assaults were too cunningly made to permit of redress, or rebuttal. So much for the general course of antagonism to the Society's progress.
The first serious ripple within the Society occurred when Dr. George Wyld, President of the London Lodge, resigned his Fellowship and became extremely antagonistic. Dr. Wyld was a well-known and highly educated man, a Christian and a Spiritualist. When he came to learn that the teachings of H.P.B. were opposed to the theories of "spirit communion," and to all ideas savoring of "personal God," he attacked her, her "Masters" and her Theosophy with equal violence.
Dr. Anna Bonus Kingsford then became President of the British Society. Though she remained friendly to H.P.B. and sympathetic toward the general Objects of the Theosophical Society throughout her life, Dr. Kingsford had very pronounced ideas of her own. These are embodied in her work, "The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ," originally delivered as a series of lectures before a private audience during the summer of 1881, and published in book form in 1882. A "psychic" and
strongly colored with Christian mysticism, it appeared to Mrs. Kingsford that the Society was devoting too much attention to purely oriental teachings, which she considered to be more or less anti-Christian and tainted with a materialistic bias. Together with Mr. E. Maitland (associated then as thereafter with her in her teachings), Dr. Kingsford issued in 1883 a pamphlet "Letter to the Fellows of the London Lodge," containing a severe arraignment of some of the statements embodied in Mr. Sinnett's "Esoteric Buddhism." A good deal of more or less acrimonious discussion followed and finally, very early in 1884, T. Subba Row published, with the approval of Madame Blavatsky, a pamphlet for private circulation among the Fellows. This pamphlet contained some "Observations" on the various questions raised and in it Subba Row discussed the general teachings outlined in "Esoteric Buddhism." He defended the book as a whole, while admitting the justice of some of the criticisms, which he explained by reciting Mr. Sinnett's unfamiliarity with the Occult tenets, and by correcting some of Mr. Sinnett's erroneous deductions and expositions. To Subba Row's pamphlet in turn Mr. C.C. Massey gave attention in a seventy-page booklet bearing the title, "The Metaphysical Basis of Esoteric Buddhism." Mr. Massey's booklet was on the whole an ably argued support of the position taken by Dr. Kingsford, and, in addition, embodied some criticisms and complaints on his own account of Madame Blavatsky's policy. He charged her with teaching, first one thing and then another on the same subject, and of countenancing opposing views propounded by her pupils and followers. In due sequence, also, Mrs. Kingsford and Mr. Maitland returned to the fray and published a "Reply" to Subba Row, reiterating and further fortifying their earlier criticisms and objections.
Mr. Massey's charges against H.P.B. really originated from an article in The Theosophist. As early as June, 1882, she had published certain questions addressed to her by "Caledonian Theosophist" on the apparent lack of consistency and uniformity in some of the statements
in "Isis Unveiled" as compared with later articles in The Theosophist supposedly emanating from the same source. To these queries, published under the title of "Seeming Discrepancies," H.P.B. had replied in an Editorial Note, closing her explanation with the words "But there never was, nor can there be, any radical discrepancy between the teachings in 'Isis' and those of this later period, as both proceed from one and the same source - the ADEPT BROTHERS." In the English Spiritualist publication Light, for July 8, 1882, "C.C.M." (C.C. Massey) took up "seeming discrepancies" and more or less directly charged H.P.B. with equivocation in her reply to "Caledonian Theosophist." He instanced that in "Isis" the subject of Reincarnation was treated in a manner not reconcilable with her later writings on the same topic. To this challenge H.P.B. replied in The Theosophist for August, 1882, denying any contradictions in teachings, but stating that much in "Isis" was preliminary only, therefore incomplete, but not in actual conflict with anything subsequently given out. Various other articles appeared thereafter in Light, in The Theosophist, and in other publications in English and in French on this mooted subject of the Theosophical doctrines on "reincarnation." Arguments, speculations, charges and counter-claims were adduced by different writers, but H.P.B. held her peace. Not until 1886 did she break silence on the much discussed passages in "Isis," Volume 1, pp. 346-51 et circa. This will be considered in its proper sequence. (1)
Another fruitful occasion for external attack and internal disturbance arose out of the publication of Mr. Sinnett's book, "The Occult World." This work contains extracts from letters of the Master "K.H." to Mr. Sinnett and an unnamed friend who was, in fact, Mr. A.O. Hume. In one of these letters the Master took occasion to refer to Spiritualistic ideas and theories. In 1883 Mr. Henry Kiddle, highly reputable and well-known American lecturer on Spiritualism, published in Light a communication in which he claimed and proved that Mr.
(1) See Chapter IX.
Sinnett's published extract was in large part made up of unacknowledged quotations from an address of Mr. Kiddle 's delivered in the summer of 1880 (a year prior to the publication of "The Occult World") before a Spiritualist camp meeting at Mount Pleasant, New York. He published in "deadly parallel" the germane portions of his address as printed at the time in several papers, and the quotations from the Master's letter in "The Occult World." Mr. Kiddle's letter was, of course, very widely copied in Spiritualist publications and the secular press, and numerous Spiritualists and other commentators made merry over the discomfiture of the Theosophists. The vaunted "Adepts," it seemed, were not above stooping to "borrow" without credit from ordinary human exponents of doctrines these "Masters" professed to consider erroneous and false. In many quarters the episode was quite sincerely believed to be not only proof of plagiarism, but a complete exposure of H.P.B. and her pretended Adepts. The existence of Masters and of a Wisdom-Religion was derided; they were ascribed to the inventive imagination of Madame Blavatsky by some and by others called as much a plagiarism from the ideas of Eliphas Levi as the "Master's letter" was a plagiarism from Mr. Kiddle. The trust of the Theosophists in the good faith of H.P.B., in the source of her teachings, and in her teachings, was considered to rest upon a basis more unsubstantial and more discreditable than the belief of the Spiritualists in their mediums, "guides" and "controls." Madame Blavatsky's phenomenal powers were either laughed at as mere humbugging devices or ascribed to the same character as mediumship. The defenders of the orthodox sects and the disbelievers in psychical manifestations of any kind made haste to avail themselves of the ammunition provided by Mr. Kiddle's "revelation," and used it with equal zeal to discredit both the Theosophists and the Spiritualists. Much feeling grew up out of the "Kiddle incident" and much of whatever amicable relations existed between the various Spiritualist and Theosophical exponents was dissipated by it. In the Theosophical Society, and among those
friendly to it, a good deal of doubt sprang up, on the theory that where there was so much smoke there must be some fire. H.P.B. remained silent as the proverbial sphinx, but in time several cautiously worded articles appeared in The Theosophist and in other friendly publications, from Subba Row and others, defending the bona fides of Mr. Sinnett, of the Masters, and testifying from personal physical as well as psychical relations with them to the actual existence of Adepts as living and perfected men, with phenomenal powers over space, time and matter. Subba Row's article, in particular, contained some guarded statements on the subject of the precipitation of Occult letters. He also referred to the manifest discrepancies in the extracts published in "The Occult World," as indicating that in the process of "precipitation" some mistakes of omission or of commission had occurred. This article also was widely commented on, and the explanations hinted at were accepted of course by Theosophists with relief, a few others with reserve, but for the most part by antagonists with sarcastic comments on the ex post facto nature of the explanations. Finally, in 1884, in the fourth edition of "The Occult World," Mr. Sinnett added an Appendix containing the Master's own reply to his letter of inquiry on the subject. The explanation given was received by many as not only wholly satisfactory in itself, but as containing some most valuable hints on Occult processes; by others as merely a further effort on the part of the Theosophists to extricate themselves from an embarrassing situation. As the "Kiddle incident" the matter has long since been forgotten or has never been heard of by present-day students, but it has an important bearing on the "Coulomb case," on the "Report" of the Society for Psychical Research, on the charges made a decade later against Mr. Judge, and on the whole subject of the phenomena of "precipitation," and the so-called "Occult letters." We shall treat the matter more fully at a later period of the Theosophical Movement. (2)
The troubles over the Kiddle matter, the charges of
(2) See Chapters XXVI and XXX.
contradictory teachings on the subject of "reincarnation," the disputes existing in the London Lodge as a result of the broadsides of pamphlets on the materialistic trend of "Esoteric Buddhism," all occurred contemporaneously and were added to by sharp dissensions among the French Fellows. Practically all the members of the Society in France were Spiritualists, and believers in "reincarnation" and other subjects as developed by Allan Kardec. As the Theosophical teachings were at variance, both in theory and practice, with the Kardec philosophy, the zeal of the proponents of the respective views threatened to disrupt the Paris Lodge as well as the British. These and other reasons impelled H.P.B. and Col. Olcott to make a visit to Europe. They accordingly sailed from India early in 1884. The Paris difficulties were first adjusted and a new impetus given both to the Society and the Movement. It was while at Paris on this occasion that V.V. Solovyoff sought and made the acquaintance of H.P.B., became a Fellow of the Society and, for the time being, an assiduous worker and student. Mr. Judge had come over from America to meet the Founders. He spent some time with H.P.B. in France and then went on to India, returning to America via London, where he met Col. Olcott again, late in the year. After their Paris stay H.P.B. and Col. Olcott proceeded to London. Much time and effort were given to straightening out the difficulties in the London and Paris Lodges, to meeting the Fellows of the Society, and in receptions to inquirers. An immense interest was excited by the presence in England of H.P.B., and it was at this time - the summer of 1884 - that the Society for Psychical Research began its investigations of the Theosophical phenomena. To this we must now turn our attention.
The S.P.R. and the Theosophical PhenomenaThe first serious modern attempt to investigate metaphysical phenomena in a quasi-scientific spirit was that made by the London Dialectical Society. At a meeting of the Council of that Society in January, 1869, a Committee was appointed "to investigate the Phenomena alleged to be Spiritual Manifestations, and to report thereon."
The Committee, composed of thirty-four well-known persons, passed nearly eighteen months in its investigations. It held fifteen sittings of the full Committee, received testimony from thirty-three persons who described phenomena occurring within their own personal experience, and procured written statements from thirty-one others. The Committee also appointed from its membership six subcommittees who undertook first-hand investigations by experiments and tests. The Committee sent out letters inviting the attendance, co-operation, and advice of scientific men who had expressed opinions, favorable or adverse, on the genuineness of Spiritualistic phenomena.
On July 20, 1870, the full Committee rendered its unanimous Report to the Council, with request for publication of the Report under the approval of the Society. The Council received and filed the Report, discharged its Committee with a vote of thanks, but declined to accede to the request for publication of the Report. In consequence the Committee unanimously resolved to publish its Report on its own responsibility. Two editions of the Report were printed to supply the demand for copies, and at the time caused a very great discussion.
The Report is drawn with great conservatism. The
statement of facts ascertained and conclusions reached by the Committee is, condensed, as follows:
The Committee specially invited the attendance of persons who had publicly ascribed the phenomena to imposture or delusion. On this the Report says:
"Your Committee, while successful in procuring the evidence of believers in the phenomena and in their supernatural origin, almost wholly failed to obtain evidence from those who attributed them to fraud or delusion. A large majority of the members of your Committee have become actual witnesses to several phases of the phenomena without the aid or presence of any professional medium, although the greater part of them commenced their investigations in an avowedly sceptical spirit."
The Committee recites that the reports of the several subcommittees "substantially corroborate each other." The Report concludes:
"Your Committee, taking into consideration the high character and great intelligence of many of the witnesses to the more extraordinary facts, the extent to which their testimony is supported by the reports of the subcommittees, and the absence of any proof of imposture or delusion as regards a large portion of the phenomena, the large number of persons in every grade of society and over the whole civilized world who are more or less influenced by a belief in their supernatural origin, and the fact that no philosophical explanation of them has yet been arrived at, deem it incumbent upon them to state their conviction that the subject is worthy of more serious attention and careful investigation than it has hitherto received."
It has been fifty years since the above Report was issued. In that period unnumbered thousands have re-
peated the investigations of "the phenomena alleged to be spiritual manifestations," great numbers of books have been issued, arguments and theories pro and con have been multiplied, but no advance whatever in actual knowledge has been gained. It remains today, as it remained then, that "no philosophical explanation of them has been arrived at" outside the propositions advanced by H.P. Blavatsky in "Isis Unveiled."
Viewing the moderation, the accuracy and the dispassionateness of the Committee's report of facts ascertained and conclusions reached, it should be of interest to the student of human nature in the light of the teachings of Theosophy, to observe the reception accorded the Report of the Committee by the moulders of public opinion in press and science. The London Times called the Report "a farrago of impotent conclusions, garnished by a mass of the most monstrous rubbish it has ever been our misfortune to sit in judgment upon." The Pall Mall Gazette declared, "It is difficult to speak or think with anything else than contemptuous pain of proceedings such as are described in this report." The London Standard commented, with unconscious verisimilitude, as follows: "If there is anything whatever in it beyond imposture and imbecility, there is the whole of another world in it." The Morning Post swept the whole matter aside in one contemptuous sentence: "The Report which has been published is entirely worthless." The Saturday Review pronounced the subject "one of the most unequivocally degrading superstitions that have ever found currency among reasonable beings." The reviewer of the Sporting Times made these dispassionate remarks: "If I had my way, a few of the leading professional spiritualists should be sent as rogues and vagabonds to the treadmill for a few weeks. It would do them good. They are a canting, deceiving, mischievous lot. Some of their dupes are contemptibly stupid - insane, I should say." Professor Huxley, who had spoken slightingly of the manifestations, wrote, in reply to the Committee's invitation to participate: "It would be little short of madness for me to undertake an investigation of so deli-
cate and difficult a character, the only certain result of which would be an interminable series of attacks from the side from which I might chance to differ. I hope that I am perfectly open to conviction on this or any other subject; but I must frankly confess to you that it does not interest me." Professor Tyndall's attitude is indicated by this quotation from his "Fragments of Science": "The world will have a religion of some kind, even though it should fly for it to the intellectual whoredom of Spiritualism."
While the Dialectical Society Committee was engaged in its investigation, Prof. William Crookes, later to become the most notable scientist of his generation but then just beginning to attract the attention of the Fellows of the Royal Society, had determined on his own account to study the phenomena privately. His bold and unqualified statements of the results achieved, his cautious discussion of the many theories to account for the phenomena he witnessed, were first printed in the numbers of the Quarterly Journal of Science for 1870-2, and published in book form in 1874, with the title, "Researches into the Phenomena of Spiritualism." His researches were undertaken in a truly scientific spirit, in the public interest, and his results described with a sincerity, a courage and candor that in any other field would have received, as they merited, the highest commendation. But upon his head, as in the case of Darwin, was heaped every abuse, and against his scientific repute every calumny was spread, that could be devised by the reactionists of religion and science.
In 1875 was published "The Unseen Universe," an attempt primarily to reconcile the Darwinian theory with the tenet of a "revealed religion," and containing a discussion of ancient religions, Spiritualism, and immortality in relation to the phenomena of the visible universe. In less than a year the work passed through four editions. Numerous other books and continuous discussion in the press throughout the period from 1870-80 marked the steady increase of interest in metaphysical phenomena, and betokened the growing unrest of the genera-
tion. The formation of the Theosophical Society and its rapid progress was like a Gulf stream in the vast ocean of public discussion. The teachings embodied in "Isis Unveiled" and The Theosophist and put in popular form in "The Occult World" and "Esoteric Buddhism" might be likened to the sudden upheaval of a new land in the midst of that ocean, offering its compelling attraction to adventurous explorers.
It was in such circumstances that the Society for Psychical Research was established early in 1882 by a number of well-known persons, among them Prof. F.W.H. Myers, Mr. W. Stainton Moses (M.A. Oxon), and Mr. C.C. Massey, all members of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society. The preliminary announcement of the new Society declared that "the present is an opportune time for making an organized and systematic attempt to investigate that large group of debatable phenomena designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical, and Spiritualistic." Committees were to be appointed to investigate and report upon such subjects as telepathy, hypnotism, trance, clairvoyance, sensitives, apparitions, etc. The announcement stated that "the aim of the Society will be to approach these various problems without prejudice or prepossession of any kind, and in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned inquiry which has enabled science to solve so many problems, once not less obscure nor less hotly debated."
With such a broad and just prospectus and such an inviting field for its efforts, the new Society almost immediately attracted to its Fellowship some hundreds of men and women of reputation and ability in their several fields. By 1884 the Society had made numerous investigations, had begun the publication of the voluminous reports of its Proceedings, and was firmly established in the public confidence as a serious scientific body engaged in the methodical and unbiased investigation of the disputed phenomena.
Meantime Mr. Sinnett had removed to London, his published books had been read by thousands, he had been elected Vice-President of the London Lodge, and was
the center and inspiration of eager investigations and experiments in the line of the Third Object of the Theosophical Society. Rumors and circumstantial stories were afloat regarding "astral appearances," "Occult letters" and other phenomena connected with the mysterious "Brothers" supposed to be the invisible directors behind the Theosophical activities. When Col. Olcott arrived in London early in the summer of 1884, followed a little later by H.P.B., interest rose to a genuine excitement. This excitement, coupled with the fact that a number of members of the Society for Psychical Research were also Fellows of the Theosophical Society, made it natural and plausible for the S.P.R. to turn its attention to the new and inviting possibilities at hand. Accordingly, on May 2, 1884, the Council of the S.P.R. appointed a "Committee for the purpose of taking such evidence as to the alleged phenomena connected with the Theosophical Society as might be offered by members of that body at the time in England, or as could be collected elsewhere." Out of this beginning grew the famous "exposure" that for a time threatened the rain of the Theosophical Society.
The S.P.R. Committee as originally constituted consisted of Profs. E. Gurney, F.W.H. Myers, F. Podmore, and J.H. Stack. To these were subsequently added Prof. H. Sidgwick, Mrs. Sidgwick, and Mr. Richard Hodgson, a young University graduate.
The Committee held meetings on May 11 and 27 at which Col. Olcott was present and replied to numerous questions, narrating the details of various phenomena of which he had been witness during the years of his connection with H.P.B. Mohini M. Chatterji, a young Hindu who had accompanied the Founders from India, was questioned on June 10. On June 13 Mr. Sinnett repeated to the Committee his observations on the phenomena described in his "Occult World." During the summer the meetings of the Cambridge Branch of the S.P.R. were attended on several occasions, by invitation, by Col. Olcott, Chatterji, and Madame Blavatsky. On these occasions, says the preliminary Report, "the
visitors permitted themselves to be questioned on many topics." Additional evidences were obtained by the Committee from many sources, testifying to a wide range and variety of phenomena through the preceding ten years, in America and Europe as well as in India. All the witnesses were persons of repute and some of them well known in England and on the Continent. In the autumn of 1884 the Committee published "for private and confidential use" the "first report of the Committee." This Report, now very rare, is a pamphlet of 130 pages. The first thirty-three pages are devoted to the formal recital of the basis and nature of the investigations made, the Committee's comments on the various questions raised, the conclusions tentatively arrived at, and two notes, one relating to the Coulombs and the other, by Prof. Myers, giving a brief digest of the Theosophical views and explanations of the phenomena enquired into. The remaining ninety-seven pages consist of XLII Appendices, giving the substance of the evidence obtained from the many witnesses.
The phenomena investigated by the Committee were chiefly: (1) "astral appearances" of living men; (2) the transportation by "Occult" means of physical substances; (3) the "precipitation" of letters and other messages; (4) "Occult" sounds and voices. The appendices contain the details of numerous occurrences of the kinds indicated, the sources of the testimony and the names of the scores of witnesses, with comments of the Committee on the character and validity of the testimony as to its sufficiency and bearing, and not upon the good faith of the witnesses themselves, all of whom are regarded as reputable. In the earlier portion of the Report the Committee says that in considering evidences of abnormal occurrences it "has has altogether declined to accept the evidence of a paid medium as to any abnormal event." It goes on to say, "in dealing with these matters, it is admitted that special stringency is necessary, and one obvious precaution lies in the exclusion of all the commoner and baser motives to fraud or exaggeration." But with regard to the Theosophical exponents it says,
"we may say at once that no trustworthy evidence supporting such a view has been brought to our notice."
Although the witnesses expressly state that the Theosophical phenomena are not of the kind familiarly known as mediumistic, and although Madame Blavatsky expressly declined to produce any phenomena for the consideration of the Committee as her purpose was to promulgate certain doctrines, not to prove her possession of Occult powers, the Committee's basis of treatment of the phenomena, and its theories to account for them, were the familiar ones employed in Spiritualistic investigations. Nevertheless, the Committee recognized that there were three points calling for the greatest care on its part. The first of these is "that it is certain that fraud has been practiced by persons connected with the Society." This refers to the charges brought by the Coulombs, who were members of the Theosophical Society, against Madame Blavatsky; to the "Kiddie incident," and to certain "evidence privately brought before us by Mr. C.C. Massey." On this matter the Committee says that it suggests, "to the Western mind at any rate, that no amount of caution can be excessive in dealing with evidence of this kind."
The second point raised by the Committee is that "Theosophy appeals to Occult persons and methods." Accustomed to dealing with mediums and mediumistic manifestations, where the moral and philosophical factors have no bearing, accustomed to believe that where there is reticence there must be fraud, the Committee does not like the idea made plain at all times by H.P.B. that the subject of Occult phenomena, their production and laws, will not be submitted to scientific exploitation, but will only be made known to those who qualify themselves under the strictest pledges of secrecy and discipleship.
Finally, the Committee recognizes that:
"Theosophy makes claims which, though avowedly based on occult science, do, in fact,
ultimately cover much more than a merely scientific field."
This, also, is not agreeable to the Committee, which remarks:
"The history of religions would have been written in vain if we still fancied that a Judas or a Joe Smith was the only kind of apostle who needed watching.... Suspicions of this kind are necessarily somewhat vague; but it is not our place to give them definiteness. What we have to point out is that it is our duty, as investigators, in examining the evidence for Theosophic marvels, to suppose the possibility of a deliberate combination to deceive on the part of certain Theosophists. We cannot regard this possibility as excluded by the fact that we find no reason to attribute to any of the persons whose evidence we have to consider, any vulgar or sordid motive for such combination."
These frank expressions of the Committee are illuminating as to its own basis and motives, and equally illuminating when contrasted with the fair promises made in the preliminary announcement of the formation of the S.P.R. They become still more clear when viewed in the light of the Preface to "Isis Unveiled," with its statement in advance of the kind of opposition its author would be called upon to face.
In spite of its suspicions, its doubts, its fears, its mental reservations occasioned by its own ignorance of the laws governing metaphysical phenomena; by the absolute refusal of H.P.B. to disclose the processes of practical Occultism; by the atmosphere of mystery surrounding the whole subject of the hidden "Brothers" and their powers; by the charges of fraud laid by the Coulombs at the door of H.P.B.; by the undisclosed "evidence privately brought before us by Mr. C.C. Mas-
sey " - in spite of all these disturbing equations, the testimony amassed by the Committee was so absolutely overwhelming as to the fact of the alleged phenomena that the Committee found itself compelled to make certain admissions, as follows:
"It is obvious that if we could account for all the phenomena described by the mere assumption of clever conjuring on the part of Madame Blavatsky and the Coulombs, assisted by any number of Hindu servants, we could hardly, under present circumstances, regard ourselves as having adequate ground for further inquiry. But this assumption would by no means meet the case. The statements of the Coulombs implicate no one in the alleged fraud except Madame Blavatsky. The other Theosophists, according to them, are all dupes. Now the evidence given in the Appendix in our opinion renders it impossible to avoid one or other of two alternative conclusions: Either that some of the phenomena recorded are genuine, or that other persons of good standing in society, and with characters to lose, have taken part in deliberate imposture."
Accordingly, the Committee expressed the following conclusions:
"On the whole, however (though with some serious reserves), it seems undeniable that there is a prima facie case, for some part at least of the claim made, which, at the point which the investigations of the Society of Psychical Research have now reached, cannot, with consistency, be ignored."
The Committee decided to send one of its members to India to investigate the charges made by the Coulombs, to interview the numerous witnesses to phenomena testified to by Hindus and Europeans in India, and report
on the results of such examination. Mr. Richard Hodgson was the member chosen. His report is the foundation and superstructure of the celebrated "exposure" embodied in Volume 3 of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research. Before considering Mr. Hodgson's report, it is necessary to review the antecedent and surrounding circumstances and events, the main features of which are wrapped up in the connection of the Coulombs with the Theosophical Society.
In the year 1871, Madame Blavatsky was voyaging on a vessel which was wrecked by an explosion. Along with other passengers she was landed in Egypt, destitute of money or belongings. She made her way to Cairo and there met Madame Coulomb, an English woman then unmarried and conducting a lodging house. Madame Coulomb was moved by the misfortunes and distress of the wanderer, received her into her house, supplied her necessities and advanced her funds until H.P.B. could communicate with her family.
Madame Coulomb was mediumistic, intensely interested in Spiritualism, and the more so because she had but recently lost a brother with whom she was anxious to "communicate." Finding that H.P.B. possessed a fund of lore and experience in matters Occult, Madame Coulomb besought her to aid in procuring the longed-for communications, as, from her experience, they could not consciously be obtained except through another. Finding that others in Cairo were also interested in the mysterious phenomena with which all the Western world was then dabbling in one way and another, H.P.B. took advantage of the opportunity, and endeavored to form a Society for investigation and experiment. It speedily developed that curiosity and the thirst for phenomena, not the desire for philosophy and understanding, were at the bottom of all the would-be investigators' zeal, and H.P.B. dropped the matter. The Society went to pieces as soon as she did so. H.P.B. was in Egypt in all nearly a year, returning to Russia in 1872. From there, in the spring of 1873, she went to Paris, and thence to New York, returning to India early in 1879.
Madame Coulomb married in Egypt. After a succession of misfortunes the Coulombs went to India, and then to Ceylon. Their misfortunes pursued them and they were living in direst penury when they heard of the arrival of H.P.B. and Col. Olcott in India and the interest attendant upon their activities. Madame Coulomb at once wrote to H.P.B., recalling the Cairo acquaintance, detailing her circumstances and asking for help. To this letter H.P.B. replied with expressions of sympathy, but stating that she herself was in little better plight personally than the Coulombs, and describing her mission and purposes in India. Madame Coulomb wrote again avowing the interest of herself and husband in the Society, and pleading for help. To this appeal H.P.B. answered that if the Coulombs so desired they could come to headquarters and share such fortunes as might befall the Founders. Accordingly, the Coulombs made their way to India, arriving early in 1880. They took the pledges of membership and entered the Theosophical Society. During the ensuing four years Madame Coulomb acted as housekeeper, and, as she was acquainted both with French and Italian, and the labors were great and the workers few, she assisted in translations and in foreign correspondence. M. Coulomb was made general utility man around the premises. He acted as gardener, as carpenter, as librarian, and also assisted in some of the correspondence. The Coulombs were made entirely free of the premises and the work at headquarters. At first they professed the utmost gratitude for the succors given them, and the liveliest interest and sympathy in the work of the Society. As affairs progressed, they became acquainted with numerous visitors and inquirers, European and Hindu, at headquarters. Dissatisfied and discontented with the comparatively insignificant and menial role played by themselves, they felt that they were not receiving their just dues. Greedy, weak by nature, and anxious to become financially independent, it appeared to them that Madame Blavatsky was receiving an attention and prominence to which she was no more entitled than themselves. In addition, the Coulombs were
Christians of the narrowest kind, superstitious to a degree, and in fact wholly out of sympathy and accord with the aims and teachings of the Founders.
Within a couple of years Madame Coulomb tried to extort or beg money from wealthy persons interested in the Society, notably from the native prince, Harrisinji Rupsinji. This coming to the knowledge of H.P.B., she reproved Madame Coulomb sternly. To others of the visitors and residents at headquarters Madame Coulomb whispered tales of her own powers and of her ability to find "hidden treasures." To others she intimated that Madame Blavatsky's powers were from the "evil one." The Coulombs were more or less constantly in communication with the establishments of the missionaries near by, and Madame Coulomb, in particular, was in constant frictions and disputes over religious matters and opinions with resident chelas and members of the Society. Col. Olcott took her to task for these needless difficulties on several occasions. In general, however, the Coulombs were looked upon as harmless meddlers, their misfortunes caused them to be viewed with charity, and the known gratitude of H.P.B. for help received from Madame Coulomb at a time of need reconciled the Theosophists to the annoyances and disturbances occasioned by their presence and officiousness at headquarters.
Just prior to the departure of H.P.B. and Col. Olcott for Europe in February, 1884, a Council was appointed to take charge of affairs at headquarters during the absence of the Founders. Among the Council were Dr. Franz Hartmann, Mr. St. George Lane-Fox, and Mr. W.T. Brown, with whom, particularly Dr. Hartmann and Mr. Lane-Fox, the Coulombs had been in almost constant wrangles. These desired to dispense with the Coulombs altogether, but on the prayers of Madame Coulomb H.P.B. permitted them to remain as hitherto, and, in order to remove sources of disagreement as much as possible, gave the Coulombs "authority" to do the housework, to have charge of the upkeep of the premises, and to keep her own rooms in order.
The Founders away, fresh fuel for the fires of discord was soon heaped on the ashes of discontent. The Coulombs refused to accept any orders or obey any instructions from the resident members of the Council; they refused all access to H.P.B.'s apartments and declared that H.P.B. had placed them in independent control of her quarters and the conduct of the household. On the other hand, the members of the Council living at headquarters, having no liking for the Coulombs and distrusting them utterly were more or less harsh and contemptuous towards them, communicating with them only by letter, and refusing to eat with them, or to eat the food provided by Madame Coulomb. They charged Madame Coulomb with extravagance, waste, and with personally profiting out of her handling of the domestic funds, and set about auditing and checking her daily expenditures. Vain, sensitive, and without doubt smarting under their grievances, real and imaginary, the Coulombs planned revenge in dual fashion. They wrote to H.P.B., reciting their wrongs, asserting their own loyalty and innocence of any wrong-doing, and making sundry charges against the Council members. At the same time the Council members were also writing the Founders their side of the disputes, and telling circumstantially the actions of the Coulombs and the insinuations being whispered about by them against the good faith of the Theosophists and H.P.B. While this war of charges and recriminations was going on by mail, the Coulombs were busy fortifying themselves for their ultimate treachery by constructing false doors and sliding panels in the so-called "Occult room" in H.P.B.'s apartments so as to give such an appearance of mechanical contrivance as might support charges of fraud in the phenomena taking place at headquarters. To our mind, after weighing well all the circumstances of this unhappy period, there is no room for doubt that the Coulombs were already in active conspiracy with the missionaries and were carefully following able but sinister instructions in their course of conduct. By temporizing with the resident members of the Council, by their written
denials and protestations to H.P.B. and Col. Olcott, they were gaining the time needed to perfect the mise en scene for their subsequent accusations.
Both H.P.B. and Col. Olcott wrote the Coulombs and the Council, endeavoring to patch up the rancors and bitternesses engendered, and appealing to all for the sake of the Society and its work, to exercise mutual forbearance and tolerance. But the evil forces at work were too favored of circumstance. The Council members at last forced their way to the quarters of H.P.B., discovered what had been going on there, talked severally with the Coulombs, and summoned them before the meeting of the Council to answer charges of bad faith, of treachery, of false stories about H.P.B. and the phenomena at headquarters. The Coulombs neither affirmed nor denied the statements made in the several affidavits read concerning their behavior, and declining to produce any evidence to support their allegations, were expelled from the Society and ordered to leave the premises. Legal proceedings were then threatened to eject them, and in the wrangling St. George Lane-Fox struck M. Coulomb, who had him arrested and fined for assault and battery. The Coulombs offered, during the disputes and negotiations, to leave the country and go to America if paid 3,000 rupees and given their passage. This was refused. Finally, on the direct approval of H.P.B., to whom both the Coulombs and the Council members had appealed, and after the Coulombs had threatened to her that if she did not support them in their contentions they would expose her, the Coulombs were compelled to leave the premises. This took place at the end of May, 1884.
The Coulombs went at once to the missionaries by whom they were received with open arms. They were given money and their living was provided them. In the ensuing three months the plans of battle were perfected for the assault which it was hoped would once and for all destroy the reputation of H.P.B., and in the ruin of her good repute, ruin the Theosophical Society. In the September and succeeding issues of the, Christian College Magazine were published with extended comments a
series of letters purporting to have been written by H.P.B. to Madame Coulomb which, if genuine, showed H.P.B. to have been a conscienceless and heartless swindler, her phenomena plain frauds, her Society a collection of dupes, her Masters a mere invention, her teachings a myth of the imagination.
The facts, so far as publicly disclosed, may be found as represented by the various interests involved, in the Christian College Magazine articles entitled "The Collapse of Koot Hoomi"; in Madame Coulomb's pamphlet issued at the time in India and republished in London by Elliott Stock "for the proprietors of the Madras Christian College Magazine," under the title "Some Account of My Intercourse with Madame Blavatsky from 1872 to 1884, by Madame Coulomb"; in Dr. Franz Hartmann's pamphlet, "Observations During a Nine Months' Stay at the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society, Madras, India," published in the fall of 1884; in the "Report of the Result of an Investigation into the Charges against Madame Blavatsky," by the Committee of the Indian Convention; in the Report of the Indian Convention of the Theosophists held at the close of December, 1884; in Mr. Sinnett's book, "Incidents in the Life of H.P. Blavatsky"; in Col. Olcott's "Old Diary Leaves," and in numerous articles pro and con at the time and during succeeding years in many Theosophical, Spiritualist, Christian, and secular publications. The facts as herein given are those derived from the immense accumulation of literature on the subject, after the most careful and painstaking comparison and weighing.
We may now consider the effect of the Coulomb disclosures and the missionary use of them, both on the Theosophists and on the Society for Psychical Research.
The Report of the S.P.R.The Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Society for Psychical Research was drawn up in the midst of the excitement occasioned by the Coulomb accusations and the missionary attacks in the Christian College Magazine of Madras, India.
Immediately the charges were cabled to England Madame Blavatsky took steps to protect the good name of the Theosophical Society. On September 27, 1884, she handed to Col. Olcott as President her resignation as Corresponding Secretary, but under pressure from leading members of the Society in England Col. Olcott refused to accept her withdrawal. At the same time H.P.B. addressed a letter to the London Times which was published in that paper in its issue of October 9.
The letter follows:
"Sir, - With reference to the alleged exposure at Madras of a dishonourable conspiracy between myself and two persons of the name of Coulomb to deceive the public with occult phenomena, I have to say that the letters purporting to have been written by me are certainly not mine. Sentences here and there I recognise, taken from old notes of mine on different matters, but they are mingled with interpolations that entirely pervert their meaning. With these exceptions the whole of the letters are a fabrication.
"The fabricators must have been grossly ignorant of Indian affairs, since they make me speak of a "Maharajah of Lahore," when every
Indian schoolboy knows that no such person exists.
With regard to the suggestion that I attempted to promote the "financial prosperity" of the Theosophical Society by means of occult phenomena, I say that I have never at any time received, or attempted to obtain, from any person any money either for myself or for the Society by any such means. I defy anyone to come forward and prove the contrary. Such money as I have received has been earned by literary work of my own, and these earnings, and what remained of my inherited property when I went to India, have been devoted to the Theosophical Society. I am a poorer woman to-day than I was when, with others, I founded the Society. - Your obedient Servant,
H.P. Blavatsky "
On October 23, the Pall Mall Gazette published a long interview with H.P.B. in which her denial of the authorship of the letters attributed to her by the Coulombs is reiterated, the facts of the Coulombs' bad faith given and attention called to the further fact that two letters attributed by the Coulombs to Gen. Morgan and Mr. Bassoon had already been conclusively proved to be forgeries.
On the opposing side the attack was pressed with vigor and all possible capital made of the Coulomb accusations, with, of course, a renewal of every old and exploded charge against H.P.B., her teachings, and her Society. The Christian sects, the Spiritualist publications, the space writers in the daily press to whom any sensation was so much material for "copy," regardless of the merits of the case, all joined in the fray.
Immediate preparations were made by the Founders to return to India. Colonel Olcott arrived at headquarters in November. H.P.B. stopped off in Egypt to obtain information in regard to the Coulombs and did not reach India till December. On her arrival she was
met and presented with an Address signed by some three hundred of the native students of the Christian College, expressing gratitude for what she had done for India, and disclaiming any part or sympathy in the attacks of the Christian College Magazine.
The Convention of the Society in India met at headquarters near the end of December. From the first H.P.B. had insisted that the Coulombs and the proprietors of the Christian College Magazine must be met in Court by legal proceedings for libel. The future of the Society, the bona fides of her teachings, she declared were wrapped up in the assaults made upon her own reputation, and if her good name were destroyed both the Society and Theosophy would suffer irreparable injury. For herself, she avowed, she cared nothing personally, but the fierce onset was in reality directed against her work, and that work could not be separated in the public mind from herself as its leading exponent. To destroy the one was to inflict disaster on the other.
Colonel Olcott was between Scylla and Charybdis, both in himself and in relation to the Society to which he was wholly devoted. His close and long personal friendship and spiritualistic relations with Mr. W. Stainton Moses and Mr. C.C. Massey, both of whom believed that H.P.B. had been the agency both for genuine and spurious phenomena, undoubtedly affected him powerfully. His relations with Mr. Sinnett were concordant in Theosophical views, and he knew that Mr. Sinnett had similar ideas to his own regarding the nature of H.P.B. On his return to India he found that Mr. A.O. Hume, formerly a responsible Government official and, next to Mr. Sinnett, the most influential friend of the Society in India, had become infected with doubts and suspicions and believed that, while some of H.P.B.'s phenomena were undoubtedly genuine, others had been produced by collusion with the Coulombs. Colonel Olcott speedily found, also, that the more prominent Hindu members of the Society, while willing to speak politely in favor of H.P.B., were a unit in opposition to legal proceedings in which religious convictions and subjects sacred to
them would be dragged in the mire of merciless treatment by the defendants' attorneys in an alien Court. On every hand he was urged to consider that psychical powers and principles could be proved only by actual production of phenomena in Court - a thing forbidden alike by their religious training and the rules of Occultism. Others argued that a judgment, even if obtained, would be valueless before the world, since the mischief was already done; those who believed the phenomena fraudulent would still think so, judgment or no judgment; those who believed them genuine would continue to hold that view if the matter were allowed to drop; while an adverse judgment would forever brand H.P.B. and destroy the Society beyond any hope of resuscitation.
But H.P.B. stood firm for legal prosecution of the defamers, declaring her faith in Masters and her own innocence; that They would not countenance disloyalty and ingratitude, and that, if worst came to worst, it were better for the Theosophists to be destroyed fighting for what they held to be true than to live on by an inglorious and ignominious evasion of the issues raised. Torn by his fears and doubts, Col. Olcott took what was doubtless to him the only possible road. He proposed a compromise which was in effect a betrayal; he demanded that H.P.B. place the matter in the hands of the Convention and abide by its decision; threatening, if this were not done, that he himself and the others with him would abandon the Society and leave it to its fate. H.P.B. acceded to the demand made. Accordingly, at the Convention a Committee was appointed, and this Committee unanimously reported as follows:
"Resolved - That the letters published in the Christian College Magazine under the heading 'Collapse of Koot Hoomi' are only a pretext to injure the cause of Theosophy; and as these letters necessarily appear absurd to those who are acquainted with our philosophy and facts, and as those who are not acquainted with those facts could not have their opinion changed, even by a
judicial verdict given in favour of Madame Blavatsky, therefore it is the unanimous opinion of this Committee that Madame Blavatsky should not prosecute her defamers in a Court of Law."
The report of the Committee was unanimously adopted by the Convention. This action was received by the Indian press and that wedded to sectarian interests with prolonged jeers and contumely leveled against H.P.B., her followers and her Society. By the great majority of public journals and intelligent minds it was considered to be the tacit admission by Theosophists that the Coulomb charges were true.
The blow was well-nigh mortal to the body of H.P.B. Defenseless and undefended, her life was despaired of by her physician. During the succeeding three months she was rarely able to leave her bed. Finally, toward the end of March, yielding to the solicitations of the few who still remained devotedly loyal to her, she prepared to leave India and go to Europe. On the 21st of March she addressed a formal letter to the General Council, once more tendering her resignation as Corresponding Secretary, and closing her communication with these words:
"I leave with you, one and all, and to every one of my friends and sympathizers, my loving farewell. Should this be my last word, I would implore you all, as you have regard for the welfare of mankind and your own Karma, to be true to the Society and not to permit it to be overthrown by the enemy. Fraternally and ever yours - in life or death.
Her resignation was accepted by the Council with fulsome compliments, even as the cowardly action of the Convention and its Committee had been accompanied with brave words.
Mr. Richard Hodgson, chosen by the Society for Psy-
chical Research to continue in India the investigations begun in England, arrived at headquarters in December, passed three months in pursuing his inquiries and returned to England in April, 1885. He was, therefore, present in India during all the typhoons of fierce attack and all the period of wavering defense. He witnessed the bold confidence of the accusers and observed the timid, the cautious, the doubting and fearing attitude and actions of Col. Olcott and other leading Theosophists. Had there been no other influence at work upon his mind, these alone, we think, would have been more than ample to persuade him that Theosophy, the Theosophical Society, the "Adept Brothers" and their teachings were, with the phenomena of H.P.B., nothing but a vast fraud devised and perpetrated for some secret purpose.
Mr. Hodgson's report of his investigations was submitted to the Committee of the S.P.R., by them endorsed, and at the General Meeting of the Society on June 24, 1885, Prof. Sidgwick of the Committee read its Conclusions. Certain difficulties developing, the ensuing six months were spent by Mr. Hodgson in revising and revamping his report. In the interval it became common knowledge that the report of the Committee and the S.P.R. would be entirely adverse to the Theosophical phenomena. As in the Coulomb case, the machinery of assault was prepared in secrecy and silence. No opportunity was given the Theosophists to inspect Mr. Hodgson's report, no chance offered for correction, criticism, objection, or counter-statement, while during all the long interval the most injurious damage was being inflicted through the public knowledge of what the findings would be, and while the Theosophists could only await the production of charges of whose essential nature they knew nothing and to which, therefore, no reply was possible.
The Conclusions of the Committee - and the full text of Mr. Hodgson's report were finally embodied in the Proceedings of the S.P.R., Volume 3, pp. 201-400, issued in December, 1885.
The essential conclusions of the Committee are embodied in the following extracts:
"After carefully weighing all the evidence before them, the Committee unanimously arrived at the following conclusions:
"(1) That of the letters put forward by Madame Coulomb, all those, at least, which the Committee have had the opportunity of themselves examining, and of submitting to the judgment of experts, are undoubtedly written by Madame Blavatsky; and suffice to prove that she has been engaged in a long-continued combination with other persons to produce by ordinary means a series of apparent marvels for the support of the Theosophic movement.
"(2) That, in particular, the Shrine at Adyar, through which letters, purporting to come from Mahatmas were received, was elaborately arranged with a view to the secret insertion of letters and other objects through a sliding panel at the back, and regularly used for this purpose by Madame Blavatsky or her agents.
"(3) That there is in consequence a very strong general presumption that all the marvelous narratives put forward as evidence of the existence and occult power of the Mahatmas are to be explained as due either (a) to deliberate deception carried out by or at the instigation of Madame Blavatsky, or (b) to spontaneous illusion, or hallucination, or unconscious misrepresentation or invention on the part of the witnesses.
"(4) That after examining Mr. Hodgson's report of the results of his personal inquiries, they are of the opinion that the testimony to these marvels is in no case sufficient, taking amount and character together, to resist the force of the general presumption above mentioned.
"Accordingly, they think it would be a waste of time to prolong the investigation."
With reference to Madame Blavatsky herself, the Committee say:
"For our own part, we regard her neither as the mouthpiece of hidden seers, nor as a mere vulgar adventuress; we think that she has achieved a title to permanent remembrance as one of the most accomplished, ingenious, and interesting impostors in history."
The preliminary and final reports of the Committee should be taken together. The former is to be found only in private collections and a few large libraries, but the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Volume 3, may be consulted in nearly every library of any consequence in England and America. Every student of Theosophical history ought to read, digest and collate this report for himself. Such a careful and firsthand examination and comparison will prove to him as nothing else can the monstrous injustice and infamy of the S.P.R. investigation and report.
Miscarriages of justice are frequent even in controversies involving only ordinary physical events, and where surrounded and safeguarded by all the jurisprudence, principles and practice embodying the accumulated experience of the race in the determination of moot and disputed issues. How much greater, then, the risk of mistaken or false judgment in cases not so protected, and where the issues to be decided not only do not lie within the general experience of the race, but by most men are believed to be impossible and therefore incredible; where the very facts themselves to be investigated, as well as the laws and principles by virtue of which alone their possibility can be assumed, lie outside the knowledge or experience of the investigators themselves; and where it is recognized that the admission or establishment of these laws, principles, and phenomena will work
a revolution in every department of human thought and action. Bearing these considerations and the concomitant circumstances in mind the real facts and the real issues may be understood from a study of the reports of the Society for Psychical Research alone.
In the first place, the investigation was entirely ex parte. The Committee laid out its own course of procedure, determined its own basis, admitted what it chose, rejected what it chose, reported what it chose of the evidence - subject to no supervision, no correction, no safeguards to insure impartiality, or afford redress if bias were exercised. Of its own motion and decision it constituted itself court, judge, and jury; at its pleasure it finally took upon itself the role of prosecutor without allowing or permitting to those it thus constituted defendants to its proceedings any right of cross-examination or rebuttal. That which began ostensibly as a mere inquiry into the evidences available concerning the Theosophical phenomena degenerated into a criminal prosecution, in which a verdict of "guilty" was pronounced upon H.P. Blavatsky - without a hearing, without appeal, without recourse for the victim. Had the Committee been a duly and legally constituted Court, its procedure would have been without a parallel in English history save in the "bloody assizes" of the infamous Jeffreys.
But in fact the Committee was that of a rival society whose objects, methods, and purposes were diametrically opposed to the objects and principles proclaimed by H.P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society for ten years preceding the investigation. The Society for Psychical Research was interested in phenomena solely and only as phenomena; was moved by mere scientific curiosity. It specifically disclaimed any interest in philosophical research, any concern in Occult laws, any regard for the moral factor, in its equations. The Theosophical Society and H.P.B., on the contrary, specifically avowed the primary Object of its existence was the moral factor of Universal Brotherhood, its second Object the serious study and comparison of religions and
philosophies, and its third object the investigation of laws and powers as yet unexplained and misunderstood; not phenomena at all, save as these might be incidental and illustrative.
These differences were recognized by the Committee. The preliminary report says:
"The difference between The Theosophical Society and the Society for Psychical Research is... almost diametrical. The Society for Psychical Research exists merely as a machinery for investigation.... The Theosophical Society exists mainly to promulgate certain doctrines already formulated, those doctrines being supported by phenomena which are avowedly intended and adapted rather for the influencing of individual minds than for the wholesale instruction of the scientific world."
What the Committee's attitude was in regard to the moral factor, and its attitude toward the "certain doctrines already formulated" for the promulgation of which the Theosophical Society "mainly exists" are shown by its own reports. In the preliminary report the statement is made, "The Theosophical Society was founded... for certain philanthropic and literary purposes, with which we are not now concerned." In the final report the statement is made: "The Theosophical Society was founded ostensibly for certain philanthropic and literary purposes... with these doctrines (or so-called 'Wisdom-Religion') the Committee have, of course, no concern." ,
It should be understood in connection with the use of the word "ostensibly" above that not a shred of evidence is introduced or claimed to be introduced that the Theosophical Society ever had any other objects than its proclaimed ones.
The Committee took enough note of the Theosophical doctrines to recognize at the beginning their enormous import:
"The teaching... comprises a cosmogony, a philosophy, a religion. With the value of this teaching per se we are not at present concerned. But it is obvious that were it widely accepted a great change would be induced in human thought in almost every department. To take one point only, the spiritual and intellectual relationship of East to West would be for the time in great measure reversed. 'Ex Oriente Lux' would be more than a metaphor and a memory; it would be the expression of actual contemporary Fact."
Why was the Committee "not concerned in the value of this teaching?" Was it because the West or the Committee already possessed abundant knowledge as to the existence of superphysical phenomena and the laws and processes by which such phenomena are produced? Here is what was proclaimed in the prospectus of the S.P.R. in 1882:
The founders of this Society fully recognize the exceptional difficulties which surround this branch of research; but they nevertheless hope that by patient and systematic effort some results of permanent value may be attained."
And the Committee itself admits in the preliminary report that the evidence for these phenomena "is of a kind which it is peculiarly difficult to disentangle or to evaluate. The claims advanced are so enormous, and the lines of testimony converge and inosculate in a manner so perplexing that it is almost equally hard to say what statements are to be accepted, and what inferences as to other statements are to be drawn from the acceptance of any."
To have concerned itself seriously with Madame Blavatsky's teachings, to have investigated and studied the principles and processes she inculcated would have called for a self-sacrificing devotion that no member of the
Committee had any zest for. There was advertising value in "investigating" H.P.B. and her phenomena; immediate and safe profit and advantage in arguing such opinions and speculations as accorded with their own preconceptions and theories and not in direct opposition to the "cosmogony, philosophy and religion" of the times, nor counter to prevailing ideas of the complete superiority of "the spiritual and intellectual relationship" of the West to the East. The Committee had no appetite in a direction that might result in making "ex oriente lux" something more than "a metaphor and a memory." What other rational inferences can be drawn from the Committee's own statements?
Realizing that the whole investigation was ex parte, and a farce as well, because it refused to enter into any study of the stated principles under which the phenomena were possible, the next question is concerned with the competency of the Committee to inquire into the Theosophical phenomena or weigh the value of the evidence amassed.
The whole history of Spiritualistic and allied phenomena without exception shows that the occurrences are involuntary on the part of the medium, both as regards their production and control, and that their rationale and processes are not understood either by mediums or investigators. On the other hand, absolutely every iota of evidence amassed by the Committee shows that the Theosophical phenomena were voluntary, that is, consciously produced and consciously controlled by the operators, and those operators themselves claimed that the explanation of laws and processes could be acquired only through the Theosophical teachings. Nevertheless, the Committee and Mr. Hodgson steadfastly took the position that the Theosophical phenomena were of the same character as Spiritualistic manifestations, and were to be approached in the same way. Although the phenomena were admittedly metaphysical in causation, the Committee used only physical means of investigation, and rejected every hypothesis other than physical to explain them. Although in the preliminary report it was already
aware of the Coulomb accusations in regard to phenomena in India, of the "Kiddle incident" in connection with one of the "letters" in the "Occult World," and of the nature of Mr. Massey's "private evidence" in regard to another "Occult letter," yet the testimony to numerous other phenomena was so overwhelming, so unquestioned, that the Committee say it is "impossible to avoid one or other of two alternative conclusions: - Either that some of the phenomena recorded are genuine, or that other persons of good standing in society, and with characters to lose, have taken part in deliberate imposture." In the final report not a scintilla of evidence can be found to controvert this testimony, nor to impeach the "persons of good standing in society, and with characters to lose." They, at least, are not charged with having "taken part in deliberate imposture."
How, then, does the Committee explain the phenomena so overwhelmingly testified to? It says they were due "to spontaneous illusion, or hallucination, or unconscious misrepresentation or invention on the part of the witnesses." For this wholesale "explanation," nota bene, not one particle of evidence is introduced or pretended to be introduced. It rests unequivocally, nakedly and unashamedly on the ipse dixit of the Committee; its only support their theories and speculations to account for phenomena that cannot otherwise be done away with. Where then was the "spontaneous illusion, or hallucination, or unconscious misrepresentation or invention" - "on the part of the witnesses," or on the part of the Committee and Mr. Hodgson?
It remains to be stated that neither the members of the Committee nor Mr. Hodgson were able themselves to produce any phenomena, nor were witness of any of the Theosophical phenomena. Nor did they claim for themselves any knowledge of their own as to how such phenomena could or could not be produced. All that they had originally set out to do was to secure the testimony of witnesses who had seen phenomena. The two reports show that with the single exception of the accusations of the Coulombs not a witness of the more
than one hundred whose testimony was obtained, but testified unequivocally and positively to the occurrence of phenomena under circumstances that for him precluded any other conclusions but that the phenomena were genuine. So much for the competency of the Committee to adjudge the facts as testified to.
Upon what, then, did the Committee rely for its conclusions? Upon the Coulombs; upon the "Kiddle incident"; upon Mr. Massey's "private evidence"; upon the "expert opinions" of Mr. F.G. Netherclift and Mr. Sims on handwritings; most of all on the "opinions" of Mr. Hodgson and others. The Coulombs and their charges have already been discussed. By their own story they were knaves, cheats, and extortioners, "accomplices" with plainly evident evil motives, whose story had no independent corroboration whatever outside the suspicions of Mr. Hodgson and others, and which was denied point-blank by H.P.B., contradicted point-blank by the testimony of scores of actual independent witnesses and investigators. "The Kiddle incident" has been given, (1) and whatever opinion may be formed in regard to it, there is no evidence whatever of fraud in connection with it, or of any bad faith on the part of Mr. Sinnett or H.P.B. or any other Theosophist. Mr. Massey's "private evidence" is given at p. 397 of the Report and anyone who reads it can determine for himself that, whatever of the mysterious and the unexplained there may be in connection with the matter, there is no evidence whatever of any fraud on H.P.B.'s part. As in many, many other cases, something occurred which Mr. Massey could not understand; his doubts were aroused; H.P.B. denied absolutely any wrong-doing, but refused as absolutely to explain the mystery; hence she was "guilty of fraud."
Mr. Hodgson and the Committee reached the conclusion that the "Mahatma letters" to Mr. Sinnett and others were in fact written by Madame Blavatsky - a conclusion only, be it noted. To fortify this opinion some of the letters were submitted to Mr. Sims of the British
(1) See Chapter IV.
Museum and to Mr. Netherclift, a London handwriting expert, along with samples of the writing of H.P.B. In the first instance both Mr. Netherclift and Mr. Sims independently reached the conclusion that the Mahatma letters were not written by H.P.B. This is one of the "certain difficulties" already spoken of as confronting Mr. Hodgson and the Committee. For if the Mahatma letters were not written by H.P.B., who wrote them? After his return to England, therefore, Mr. Hodgson found himself in a quandary on this phase of his report. He thereupon took the matter up again with the experts, and agreeably they reversed their opinion and decided that the letters were written by H.P.B.! Incredible as this may appear it is the fact as derived from the report itself. One who is at all familiar with the course of "expert testimony" as to handwriting knows that, at best, such testimony is but opinion, and often erroneous, even where not formed to suit the desires of the client. An example is furnished of the fallibility of "expert opinion" by this very Mr. Netherclift himself, for, a few years later, he was called as an expert witness in the celebrated case of Charles Stewart Parnell against the London Times for libel. In that case Mr. Netherclift swore positively that the signature to the famous "Pigott letters" was the handwriting of Mr. Parnell. Later on in the case Pigott himself confessed in open court that he had forged the signatures.
The earliest known Mahatma letter was one handed to Madame Fadeef, aunt of H.P.B. and widow of a well-known Russian General, in 1870, long before H.P.B. was known in the world, and long before the formation of the Theosophical Society. According to the written testimony of Madame Fadeef, whose good character no one questioned, the letter was handed to her in Russia by an Oriental who vanished before her eyes. She stated that, at the time, H.P.B. had been absent for years, no one of the family knew of her whereabouts, all their inquiries had come to naught, and they were ready to believe her dead when the letter relieved their anxieties by saying that she was in the care of the Mahatmas and
would rejoin her family within eighteen months. With regard to this first Mahatmic letter, which is given in the preliminary report, Prof. F.W.H. Myers, the leading member of the Committee, himself certified as follows: "I have seen this letter, which certainly appears to be in the K.H. (Mahatma) handwriting. - F.W.H.M." Can anyone suppose that this Mahatma letter, written to relieve the pressing anxieties of loved and loving relatives, was "due to deliberate deception carried out by or at the instigation of Madame Blavatsky?" If not, how account for it and the other Mahatma letters being in the same handwriting?
Remains one more question for consideration: that of the "moral factor" of motive. The influences affecting the motives and conduct of the Committee, Mr. Hodgson, the Coulombs and others, have been indicated. In every case preconceptions, ignorance of Occult laws and processes; mysterious circumstances which they could not understand and which H.P.B. refused to elucidate; the baffling nature of the phenomena; self-interest; popular and sectarian pressures and prejudices - all combined to create uncertainties, doubts, suspicions, conjectures and inferences of fraud and deception. The evidence, that which was actually testified to, was overwhelmingly in support of the genuineness of the phenomena.
The motives of the witnesses are equally evident; they had nothing whatever to gain and everything to lose by their testimony. They were affirming the genuineness and reality of phenomena in which nine-tenths of humanity disbelieves, and which, if proved and accepted, would upset and destroy cherished and almost universally prevailing ideas in religion, science, and "almost every department of human thought and action." The most that could have been expected from the Committee in such circumstances was such a conclusion as that of the London Dialectical Society on the Spiritualistic phenomena. But the Theosophical principles and phenomena reach far deeper into the foundations of human consciousness. Unlike the Spiritualist manifestations and
theories, there is no room for reconciliation or compromise between Theosophical teachings and phenomena and the "forces of reaction," the established interests in church and science and human conduct. Bitter as was the opposition to Darwinism, malevolent as was the antagonism to the spread of Spiritualism and to such investigators of it as Prof. Crookes, these were as nothing to the fear and hatred inspired by H.P.B., her teachings and her phenomena. In the one case compromise, a middle ground, was possible. In her case it was instinctively recognized by all that no compromise was possible. Hence, the conclusions of the Committee were in fact foregone from the beginning.
In no one thing, perhaps, is the weakness of the S.P.R. investigation more fatally self-betraying than in the motives they assign to account for the "long-continued combination and deliberate deception instigated and carried out by Madame Blavatsky." That anyone, let alone a woman, should for ten or more years make endless personal sacrifices of effort, time, money, health, and reputation in three continents, merely to deceive those who trusted her, with no possible benefit to herself; should succeed in so deceiving hundreds of the most intelligent men and women of many races that they were convinced of the reality of her powers, her teachings, her mission as well as her phenomena, only to be unmasked by a boy of twenty-three who, by interviewing some of the witnesses and hearing their stories, is able infallibly to see what they could not see, is able to suspect what they could find no occasion for suspecting, is able to detect a sufficient motive for inspiring H.P.B. to the most monumental career of chicanery in all history - this is what one has to swallow in order to attach credibility to the elaborate tissue of conjecture and suspicion woven by Mr. Hodgson to offset the solid weight of testimony that the phenomena were genuine.
"No crime without a motive." What, then, was the motive attributed by Mr. Hodgson and the Committee to make credible their conclusion that she was "one of the most accomplished, ingenious, and interesting im-
postors in history?" She was a Russian spy, and her motive was to destroy British rule in India!
It is interesting to observe the successive steps of the Committee's struggle with this question of the possible motive of H.P.B. In the preliminary report the Committee raises the question of "all the commoner and baser motives to fraud or exaggeration," and dismisses them: "we may say at once that no trustworthy evidence supporting such a view has been brought under our notice." Next the Committee considers the possibility of "good" motives for bad conduct: "Now we know, indeed, that the suspicions which the Anglo-Indian authorities at first entertained as to the political objects of the Theosophical Society have been abandoned as groundless." Next the Committee say, "But we can imagine schemes and intentions of a patriotic kind... we must be on our guard against men's highest instincts quite as much as their lowest."
In the final report Mr. Hodgson goes over the grounds of possible motives: "The question which will now inevitably arise is - what has induced Madame Blavatsky to live so many laborious days in such a fantastic work of imposture?... I should consider this Report incomplete unless I suggest what I myself believe to be an adequate explanation of her ten years' toil on behalf of the Theosophical Society."
Was it egotism? "A closer knowledge of her character would show such a supposition to be quite untenable."
Was she a plain, unvarnished fraud? "She is, indeed, a rare psychological study, almost as rare as a 'Mahatma'! She was terrible exceedingly when she expressed her overpowering thought that perhaps her "twenty years' work might be spoiled through Madame Coulomb."
Was it religious mania, a morbid yearning for notoriety? "I must confess that the problem of her motives... caused me no little perplexity... The sordid motive of pecuniary gain would be a solution still less satisfactory than the hypothesis of religious mania....
But even this hypothesis I was unable to adopt, and reconcile with my understanding of her character."
What, then, was the compelling motive that induced the labors of a Hercules, the sacrifices of a Christ, to carry on a career of deception worthy of the Prince of Deceivers himself? "At last a casual conversation opened my eyes.... I cannot profess, myself, after my personal experiences with Madame Blavatsky, to feel much doubt that her real object has been the furtherance of Russian interests.... I suggest it here only as a supposition which appears best to cover the known incidents of her career during the past 13 or 14 years."
H.P. Blavatsky lived and died a martyr, physically, mentally, and in all that men hold dear; she forsook relatives, friends, ease and high social standing, became an expatriate and naturalized citizen of an alien land on the other side of the globe; she founded a Society to which she gave unremitting and unthanked devotion; she wrote "Isis Unveiled," the "Secret Doctrine," the "Voice of the Silence," all of which were proscribed in Russia; she became a veritable Wandering Jew devoted to the propagation of teachings and ideas hateful to the world of "reactionary forces"; she eschewed all concern with political objects of any kind, all attachment to "race, creed, sex, caste, or color," and her lifeblood formed and sustained a Society sworn to the same abstentions; she lived and she died in poverty - slandered, calumniated, betrayed by followers and foes alike; misunderstood by all; she never, from 1873 to the day of her death, set foot on Russian soil, an exile from family and country.
Why did she do these things? "In furtherance of Russian interests!"
Divisions among Theosophists - New PublicationsIt will easily be understood that the opening of the year 1885 found the Theosophists in India in the utmost disorder and disarray - assailed on all sides from without by triumphant enemies; prey to confusion and recriminations within.
H.P.B. lay physically ill, wavering between life and death. Col. Olcott, availing himself of an invitation previously extended to him in recognition of his work for the revival of Buddhism, left almost immediately for a visit to the Burmese capital, Mandalay. On his arrival at Rangoon, en route to the court of Theebaw III, he was met by the leading Buddhist priests and dignitaries. Here he was cordially received and remained for a considerable time, holding conferences, giving lectures, and regaining his spirits in an atmosphere removed from the depressing situation at headquarters. Just as he was on the point of proceeding to Mandalay he received a telegram from Damodar urging his immediate return to India because of the apparently fatal turn in the condition of H.P.B.
It can scarcely be doubted that Col. Olcott's return to headquarters was impelled by what were to him still more urgent reasons, for he was at the same time in receipt of advices from his Hindu intimates that affairs were fast becoming desperate. He was advised that many Lodges were lapsing into dormancy, others threatening to dissolve; his General Council divided into two camps, with those opposed to him in the ascendant. The facts appear to have been that in addition to those few who had remained steadfastly loyal to H.P.B., numerous other European and some Hindu members had, by
reaction, felt to some extent the monstrous injustice done H.P.B. and were in the mood to make the President-Founder the scapegoat for the timidity and the lukewarmness of all. The sense of present and impending loss caused many to realize the fatal error of deserting H.P.B. and all knew that the Convention's action was directly due to the sanction of Col. Olcott. A determined movement had gained headway to limit his autocratic control and direction of the society's affairs, by making the Council an actual executive and responsible governing body, instead of as hitherto the mere cloak and instrument of the President's wishes. This spontaneous feeling was placed before H.P.B., and she had given her signature of approval in the following words: "Believing that this new arrangement is necessary for the welfare of the Society, I approve of it, so far as I am concerned."
Colonel Olcott, who had been foremost in the belief that it was necessary to abandon H.P.B. "for the honor of the Society" and to preserve it from shafts aimed at it through H.P.B., now felt himself stung to the quick by these evidences of defection and disaffection on the part of the members towards himself. After consultation with his friends he went straight to the mortally stricken H.P.B., as all thought her, and besought her to restore him to his former status and function. Clouded and piecemeal as are the published fragments of information concerning the events of those trying months, certain facts seem clear in the light of subsequent history. It would appear that Col. Olcott recognized and admitted his faults, promised to take a more loyal and consistent course in the future, and agreed to pursue a less arbitrary policy in his management of the Society. Knowing that his devotion to the well-being of the Society was constant and unswerving, whatever his mistakes due to his vanity and self-sufficiency, and always tolerant and generous to the last degree toward friend or foe, it is clear that H.P.B. accepted his repentance and professions and once more lent him her powerful protection. She withdrew her authorization of
the proposed changes, smoothed out the personal feelings aroused between Col. Olcott and his partisans and those opposed to his rulership, and left to him to make as of his own volition and accord the needful modifications of policy and conduct. This is the secret of the various notices in the "Supplement" to The Theosophist for May, 1885, concerning the "Formation of an Executive Committee," the "Special Notification," and the "Special Orders of 1885." Likewise in these events will be found the explanation of Col. Olcott's visit to Mr. Hodgson and his effort to get that gentleman to take a more impartial if not more friendly attitude toward the Theosophical evidences and explanations connected with the phenomena, which Mr. Hodgson was investigating almost entirely from the standpoint of the Coulombs and the missionaries. Sincere and well-intentioned as this move of Col. Olcott's undoubtedly was, it could but serve, in view of all the circumstances, to increase and confirm the already acute suspicions of Mr. Hodgson; and this, as we have seen, is what in fact occurred. Col. Olcott also, in his new zeal, made strenuous and partly successful efforts to procure the writing and publication of articles favorable to H.P.B. and her phenomena in various Indian papers.
But knowing well the weaknesses as well as the virtues of her colleague, H.P.B. was under no illusions as to the final outcome. She knew Col. Olcott's self-esteem, his doubts, jealousies and suspicions; knew only too well the personal ambitions, rivalries and animosities with which the headquarters were rife. As appeared many years later, she addressed on April 11, 1885, a letter to Col. Olcott, in which she told him that no parole loyalty would suffice to repair the mischief that had been done; that she had willingly borne and would continue to bear in her own person the evil Karma engendered by him and by the Society, but that in deserting her the Society and its leaders were in fact deserting the Masters whose Agent she was; that she had done her best for them all, but that she could not avoid for them the harvest of their own mistakes and ingratitude.
This letter was written by H.P.B. from Aden, after she had left India. Colonel Olcott suppressed this letter and in all his voluminous writings never referred to it. It was preceded by her formal letter of March 21, addressed to the General Council, submitting her resignation, which was accepted. The published interchange assigned the illness of H.P.B. as the cause of her severance of relations officially with the Society in India, and the same cause was given for her departure. This was all true but the deeper reason, the Occult basis, was the desertion by Col. Olcott and his associates of the paramount objectives of her Masters. This is shown by the acceptance of her resignation; by the letter of April 11, 1885, as mentioned; by the report of a conversation with one of the Mahatmas, (1) which report was also suppressed by Col. Olcott and never referred to by him, though partially coming to light many years later; and by Col. Olcott's course immediately following the resignation and departure of H.P.B. He at once set actively to work to make the Society independent of H.P.B. The June number of The Theosophist was prefaced at the head of the text with an italic insert accompanied by a "printer's hand" and reading as follows:
"The Theosophical Society, as such, is not responsible for any opinion or declaration in this or any other Journal, by whomsoever expressed, unless contained in an official document."
In the same (June) number Col. Olcott published over his signature a leading editorial on "Infallibility," devoted to a disclaimer of any reliance by the Society on anyone's assumed powers, knowledge, or status, or that such reliance was in any way necessary for the Society's success or existence. This was all aimed at H.P.B. and her status as Agent of the Masters supposed to be behind the Theosophical Movement and the Theosophical Society. Indirectly, it was at the same time an assertion
(1) Some extracts from this letter and from the conversation mentioned are given in The Theosophist for October, 1907, pp. 9, 10, and 78.
of his own pre-eminence as the Head of the Society, since the only official documents were those issued by himself as President-Founder, or at his instructions.
Damodar K. Mavalankar, next to H.P.B., the most loved and the most envied of the Theosophists in India, and, aside from her, the only one of them generally known to be in constant active touch with the Masters, had been her faithful and devoted servant and indefatigable worker in the Cause. Much of her correspondence throughout the world had been carried on by him under her directions; visiting chelas at headquarters were largely cared for by him; the chief burden of the getting out of The Theosophist fell upon his shoulders; and he had shared with her the stigma of the Coulomb charges and Mr. Hodgson's investigating suspicions. He remained at Adyar for some time after the departure of H.P.B., doing what could be done for the few who possessed the elements of real loyalty and steadfastness. Towards the latter half of the year he left headquarters on a "pilgrimage," and was last publicly heard of near the Thibetan frontiers. By many he was thought to have perished of exposure, but there can be little doubt, from hints afterwards given by H.P.B. and Mr. Judge, that in fact he was called by the Masters into Their direct service and company. He thus received the reward of his undying devotion and his uncomplaining endurance of the tribulations consequent upon his human defects and mistakes. Of him the Master K.H. wrote, "Before he could 'stand in the presence of the Masters' he had to undergo the severest trials that a neophyte ever passed through." Damodar had first met H.P.B. early in 1879, had immediately forsaken everything that men hold dear to become her faithful servant and chela, and in the ensuing years of his probation had remained steadfastly loyal to her and her mission "without variableness or the shadow of turning." Of his subsequent fortunes, his present status, his future relations with the Theosophical Movement, the story remains untold; one of the unwritten chapters of the Second Section.
As the months went by it began to be apparent that the life of the Society in India could not be maintained by its venous circulation alone. The contents of The Theosophist deteriorated in quality; the circulation of the magazine diminished; numerous branches ceased to exist except on paper, the membership fell off in others; contributions and dues lessened; the Society was fast falling into mere discussion of the endless metaphysics of Hindu faiths and philosophies. On the other hand news began to permeate the Indian contingent that H.P.B. was being visited in her European retirement by staunch friends, corresponded with by an ever-increasing number of inquirers, supported by the adherence of new and notable persons. Colonel Olcott, who had ever a weakness for the acquaintance of the great and the near-great, began to take stock of the fortunes of war. Nor can it, we think, be doubted that as time went on, as her absence and his sense of loss of the old daily intimacy, the old strong and unfailing guidance of the "lion of the Punjab" grew more keen; as the truer and nobler side of his nature had opportunity to reassert itself - that side of his nature which had inspired him in the beginning to do as Damodar had done, to give up all to follow her in her unknown path - it cannot be doubted, we think, that Col. Olcott repented him of the mistakes and lukewarmness of the recent years, and endeavored so far as was in his power, short of a public disavowal of his erroneous course, to remedy his mistakes. And in this he was strengthened by the treatment accorded him by H.P.B. She chided him as little as might be; she continued unfailingly to send him articles for insertion in The Theosophist; she made a will bequeathing to him her entire interest in the magazine and making over its entire revenue to him; she encouraged by every means in her power every good effort, every good impulse that arose from him; she laughed at her own miseries and misfortunes, and made light of all obstacles in the way.
Colonel Olcott was supported and encouraged also by the good-will of those near at hand who had remained
steadfast in devotion to H.P.B. without withdrawing their countenance from him. All these factors had their compelling influence, and at the Indian Convention at the close of 1885 his public Address as President to the assembled delegates and visitors was marked by the expression of strong feeling and sincere declarations in respect to H.P.B. In this mood he was willing to retire as President to promote the solidarity and renewed life of the Society. Says the Report of the Convention as published in the "Supplement" to The Theosophist for January, 1886:
"The President being called away temporarily on business, and Major-General Morgan occupying the Chair, the following resolutions ... were carried by acclamation with great enthusiasm.
"Resolved, That in the event of the health of Madame H.P. Blavatsky being sufficiently restored, she be requested to resume the office which she has relinquished.
"Resolved, That the charges brought against Madame Blavatsky by her enemies have not been proven, and that our affection and respect for her continue unabated.
"Whereas the Convention has heard with great sorrow from the lips of the President-Founder, Col. H.S. Olcott, the expression of his desire to retire to private life on account of his competency for his present duty being questioned by some, the Convention unanimously
"Resolve: (1) That the President-Founder has by his unremitting zeal, self-sacrifices, courage, industry, virtuous life and intelligence, won the confidence of members of the Society and endeared himself to them throughout the world; and (2) that as this Convention cannot for one moment entertain the thought of his retiring from the Society which he has done so much to build up, and has conducted safely through vari-
ous perils by his prudence and practical wisdom, they request him to continue his invaluable services to the Society to the last."
This approach to real union, this united aim, brotherly feeling, and mutual support in the spirit of the First Object, as manifested by the Convention, had its immediate beneficial effect, and for the ensuing three years the Society in India shared in the prosperity of the Movement throughout the world - the rising tide after the S.P.R. attempt to wreck the Society. It is worth while for students to note that every storm that ever raged about the Society had its inception in neglect of the First Object and its practical application, brotherly loyalty and devotion; every recovery from wounds and losses was due to a return to the fundamental basis of the Society and the fundamental precept of the Second Section - instant readiness to "defend the life or honour of a brother Theosophist even at the risk of their own lives." Had this been borne in mind by those who were "quick to doubt and despair, who had worked for themselves and not for the Cause," had the consistent example set, no less than the precepts given, by H.P.B. been made the rule of action by those responsible for the policy and conduct of the Third Section - the Theosophical Society proper - the "solidarity in the ranks" of the Society would not only "have enabled it to resist all external attacks, but also have made it possible for greater, wider, and more tangible help to have been given it" by the First and Second Sections, "who are always ready to give help when we are fit to receive it."
H.P. Blavatsky left the headquarters and sailed from India at the beginning of April, 1885. Such was her physical condition that she had to be carried on board the vessel. Accompanied by her physician and an attendant she voyaged to Naples, Italy, where she remained for some months in sickness, poverty, and isolation. From there she removed in the summer to Wurzburg, Germany, where she was visited and sustained by the devoted Gebhards of Elberfeld. Thither also came
the Countess Wachtmeister, widow of the late Swedish Ambassador to England. Countess Wachtmeister was an English woman by birth, a natural psychic who had been interested in Spiritualism and then in the Theosophical phenomena. She had become a member of the London Lodge and had met H.P.B. at London the year before. Hearing of the distress into which H.P.B. was plunged, and convinced by her own experiences that the phenomena of H.P.B. were genuine, the Countess came from Sweden to visit her. What she saw and felt caused her to remain, and from then onwards the Countess gave herself up to the service of H.P.B., as friend, as companion, as amanuensis, as voluntary servant. To Wurzburg came also friends and correspondents of Dr. Franz Hartmann, whose experience and intuition of the real nature of H.P.B. were always strong enough to keep him loyal despite the frictions of personalities between himself and others. Here came Dr. Hubbe-Schleiden, the noted German savant, who had met H.P.B. the year before at the Gebhards and who, like Dr. Hartmann, had absorbed enough of her philosophy to keep him energized for the remainder of his life in channels akin to the work of the Theosophical Movement. Came also the Russian writer, Solovyoff the younger, who had met H.P.B. in Paris the year before, and whose evil Karma it was subsequently to become tool and victim
of the forces opposed to her and her work. During her Wurzburg residence H.P.B. was also visited by Mr. and Mrs. Sinnett and others from London and Paris. Here also came many others moved by sympathy, by gratitude, by curiosity, by all the motives that affect mankind.
H.P.B. lived at Wurzburg for nearly a year, alternating between long relapses and brief partial recoveries. During the whole period her labors never abated. Articles for The Theosophist, miscellaneous contributions to Russian periodicals for her daily bread, and a correspondence that daily increased, kept her busy. Many of her letters at this period were written by her volunteer helpers at her dictation or direction. During the
whole period, also, she was occupied with the vast burden of the composition of the "Secret Doctrine."
In May, 1886, her medical advisers once more insisted on a change of climate and surroundings if her life were to be prolonged. Accordingly, she removed to Ostend, Belgium, and here she lived in constantly increasing toil and turmoil. Dr. Anna Bonus Kingsford and her associate, Mr. E. Maitland, visited her here, and here came many English and French Theosophists for making or renewing personal touch with her. Late in the winter and in the early spring of 1887, the physical state of H.P.B. once more became so desperate that her life was despaired of. Miss Francesca Arundale, Miss Kislingbury, the two Keightleys, Archibald and Bertram, and other London Theosophists were anxious for her to remove to England where she could be better cared for. Madame Gebhard and Dr. Ashton Ellis, a young London physician and member of the London Lodge, were telegraphed for by Countess Wachtmeister. They came in all haste and were assiduous in their ministrations. This unstinted devotion once more pulled H.P.B. through the crisis. The Keightleys came over and urged the necessities of the English Theosophists for her presence among them. Yielding to the loving solicitations of these devoted friends and followers, the wanderer once more took ship, carried on board as before, and, physically a helpless and inert mass, was installed in a cottage in Norwood, where she passed the summer of 1887. In the autumn the house at 17 Lansdowne Road, Holland Park, West, was taken by her friends and thither H.P.B. was removed to quarters specially prepared for her in the midst of an atmosphere of good-will and watchful consideration.
Thus surrounded and sheltered, H.P.B. measurably regained strength, though her health never became such as to exempt her from continuous physical suffering or to enable her to take needful exercise. It is doubtful if during the last six years of her life she had a single waking hour of complete relaxation, and it is certain that she rarely was able to go outside her domicile unaided.
Yet these six years were the ones of her stormy Career most filled, not only with the trials and tribulations incident to the many attacks upon her name and fame, not only with the press and demands of claimants upon her time and attention, not only with the correspondence and work of the Theosophical Movement from day to day, but they were, as well, the most fruitful of enduring results for all mankind. It was during this period that the "Secret Doctrine," the "Key to Theosophy," "The Voice of the Silence," and the "Theosophical Glossary" were written; Lucifer was begun with its first issue dated September 15, 1887, and its monthly contents during the succeeding years contained a steady stream from the inexhaustible fountain of her wisdom.
The presence of H.P.B. in Europe resulted from the first in a revival of courage, confidence, and action on the part of those who had remained steadfast during the Coulomb charges, the S.P.R. investigation and report, and the succeeding blasts in the press. Work began in Germany and France with fresh vigor and new Lodges were formed in addition to the existing ones. Many new Fellows entered the Society, some of them persons of considerable reputation in other fields of effort. The Sphynx was began in Germany, Le Lotus in France, and the study and discussion of subjects within the lines of the Three Objects went on apace. After the removal of H.P.B. to England, additional Lodges were established in Ireland, Scotland, in the larger cities of England, and the Blavatsky Lodge was formed in London. Here H.P.B. herself replied to questions on the "Stanzas" of the "Secret Doctrine" at a number of sessions. These questions and answers were stenographically reported and, when revised, were published as "Transactions 1 and 2 of the Blavatsky Lodge."
When the S.P.R. Proceedings, Volume 3, were published late in 1885, Mr. Sinnett, then President of the London Lodge, wrote a pamphlet "Reply" which was published early in 1886. He also wrote a strong letter to Light, the leading Spiritualist publication in England. His clear statements and wide repute went far to stem
the unfavorable tide of press comment consequent on the S.P.R. report. In the summer of 1886 his "Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky" was published by Redway. This book, with its partial disclosures of personal matters, its anecdotes and narratives of the most astonishing phenomena, its mysterious hiatuses, its pervading atmosphere of sincerity, candor, and common sense in the midst of the well-nigh incredible marvels recited, and above all, with its pictures of the living H.P.B. as a most fascinating and human being steadily giving herself, soul, mind, and heart to a cause sacred to her; a good-natured, unrevengeful fighter undismayed and undaunted by the mountains of hatred and calumny heaped upon her - this book created a profound impression far and wide, and aroused a sympathy for this martyr to her convictions, and an interest in her teachings, that brought many into the ranks of the Society, and turned to good account the adverse findings of the S.P.R.
In the spring of 1885 was published "Light on the Path, written down by M.C." The initials stood for Mabel Collins, niece of the celebrated novelist. Mabel Collins was a psychic, a member of the London Lodge, and herself a novelist. "Light on the Path" was "written down" by its sponsor without previous knowledge or study of Eastern teachings. As originally published it was but a small pamphlet without the "Comments" subsequently published in Lucifer and incorporated in most of the later editions of "Light on the Path." The work created a veritable sensation and has probably been more widely circulated than any other single Theosophical publication. Its companion books, "The Idyll of the White Lotus," and "Through the Gates of Gold," have also been very widely read and studied. Many stories have been told, both by the reputed author and others, regarding the actual source of these writings. These will be discussed in their proper place. (2)
"Five Years of Theosophy," made up of articles reprinted from the first five volumes of The Theosophist,
(2) See Chapter XIII.
and "Man - Fragments of Forgotten History," by "Two Chelas of the Theosophical Society," were issued in 1885 by Reeves & Turner, London, and both passed through several editions. The "Two Chelas" are stated by Miss Francesca Arundale to have been Mohini M. Chatterji and Mrs. L.C. Holloway (The Theosophist, October, 1917).
Contemporaneously with the revival in India and the renaissance in Europe and England, the spiral upward path of the Movement produced a fresh and higher impulsion in the United States. Where in India the restrictions were such that practically the whole force of the Movement took the line of the Second Object, and in England and on the Continent the environment of thought and action naturally limited the major attention to the line of the Third Object, in America the chief stress from the beginning of the second decade was upon the great First Object.
In India the study and discussion of comparative religion and philosophy was the only possible open door to any arousal of interest among the members of the hitherto rigidly exclusive sects and castes. In England and Europe, given over to Christian sectarianism, scientific materialism, and Spiritualism, and with the binding fetters of caste and class exclusiveness hardly less rigid than in India, only the neutral ground of interest afforded by the Third Object gave a field in which to sow the seed of the Theosophical teachings. In America the Second and Third Objects had formed the magnet for the original organization and membership of the Society, and had been used by H.P.B. as the raison d'etre for the writing and publication of "Isis Unveiled." Not till the second decade of the Society opened was it possible to re-start the work of the Movement in its direct public channel, the Society, on the real line, that of the First Object. The beginning of this was in the United States, at New York, in the Aryan Theosophical Society, the reorganization and reincarnation of the parent Society of 1875. The presiding genius of the Aryan Society, and of the work of the Movement, esoteric and exoteric, in
the United States was Mr. William Q. Judge. With the second decade the work fell into its three streams with Mr. Judge in America, H.P.B. in Europe, and Col. Olcott in India. As we shall all too soon see, that which was intended to be the three great natural branches of the work of the Society, metaphysically as well as geographically, broke into alien organizations as well as alien purposes.
Mr. Judge had kept up an unbroken communion with H.P.B. and an unbroken accord with Col. Olcott during all the years from the time of the separation of the three Founders at the close of the year 1878 when H.P.B. and Col. Olcott departed for India. In the early summer of 1884 he had gone to France and passed some time with H.P.B., proceeded thence to India where he formed acquaintance with the leading Hindu members, completed his touch with Damodar and others connected with the First and Second Sections, and had returned to America near the close of the year. During the year 1885 he was busied with the rejuvenation of the Aryan Lodge, with the revival of interest among the scattered Fellows and the few existing Lodges in the United States. In April, 1886, he issued the first number of The Path, the magazine of which H.P.B. said and wrote: "It is pure Buddhi." Thenceforth The Path was the organ par excellence, not only of the American members of the Theosophical Society, but of the Theosophical Movement and the practical, devotional applications of the teachings of Theosophy. Within a year from the commencement of its publication the number of branches had tripled, and active study and propaganda had created a widespread interest in the press and in the public mind. The Board of Control appointed in 1884 by Col. Olcott, the President, at Mr. Judge's suggestion, for the facilitation of the routine of the American Branches and membership, continued until the summer of 1886. October 30 of that year, again at Mr. Judge's request to H.P.B. and upon her suggestion to Col. Olcott, the Board of Control met at Cincinnati, together with delegates either in person or by proxy from the American Lodges and
organized the "American Section of the Theosophical Society." In April, 1887, the first Convention of the newly formed Section met at New York City, a constitution and by-laws were adopted, officers chosen, and the first democratic organization embracing a number of independent Branches was effected in the Society's history. Mr. Judge was elected General Secretary of the American Section.
The American Section of the Theosophical Society was not an organization of the individual Fellows of the Society, but a federation of all the Branches, Lodges, or Societies in the United States. Each separate Society was autonomous in its own internal affairs, like the states of the American Union, but all were joined together in a single governing body with its own constitution, powers, and officers, similar to the Federal government, which was, in fact the model followed, both in the organization of the Parent Theosophical Society and of the American Section. The General Council in India was recognized, and the unity of the Society throughout the world in purpose and teaching was affirmed. At the same time the right to independence was placed on record in these words of Mr. Judge in his first formal Report, read at the second Convention at Chicago in April, 1888: "Of course the American Branches could have met together and formed themselves independently, but since we draw our real inspiration from India, it would seem unwise as well as disloyal to have failed to try and keep the orderly and regular succession." The prior de facto nature of the conduct of the Society's affairs, corresponding to that of the Confederation of the Thirteen Colonies before the adoption of the American Constitution, was also recorded in these words referring to the previously existing Board of Control:
"That Board was therefore in charge of the interests of the movement here, and was in fact a continuation of the system of somewhat paternal and unrepresentative government which had up to that time prevailed."
The "somewhat paternal and unrepresentative government" continued to mark the conduct of affairs in India throughout, and in Europe until 1890, but in America the conduct of the Society was henceforth strictly democratic.
This Convention of 1888, while the second chronologically, was really the first from the standpoint of organized activity in America. It was attended by delegates in person or by proxy from all the active Lodges in the United States, by that time twenty-two in number; was signalized by letters of greeting from India, from the Council of the London Lodge, and by the attendance of Dr. Archibald Keightley as a formal delegate from the Blavatsky Lodge and the London Lodge, in both of which he was an officer. Dr. Keightley was also acting as the special representative of Madame Blavatsky, from whom he bore a long and important Letter to the Convention. This Letter was read to the assembled delegates and afterwards printed in the published "Official Report of Proceedings" issued by the American Section.
The autumn of 1888, the beginning of the fourteenth year of the Society's career, was marked by the most important event in its history, next to the organization of the democratic American Section, and was, in fact, the outcome of that epochal point: the public announcement and inauguration of the Esoteric Section, which must now be traced.
Esoteric and Exoteric aspects of the Theosophical MovementHitherto we have been concerned with the survey of the Theosophical Movement of the nineteenth century from its public aspects: the recital of a series of events more or less in relation with each other and with the sum of human activities, together with such reflections on their bearings and significance as to us appear logical and consistent. An attempt has been made to show clearly that the vicissitudes both of the Theosophical Society and Madame Blavatsky's teachings of Theosophy were inevitable and but a repetition of the varying fortunes which have attended every former effort to introduce a system of thought and action at variance with the ideas, customs, and practices still firmly entrenched in the mind of the race. So far, all that we have discussed is accessible in all its detail to any inquiring student, and the ordinary mind will find nothing beyond the range of common observation and experience. The student will have both the advantage and the disadvantage of the familiar multitude of conflicting testimony and opinion that attends every inquiry into human affairs. He will find nothing that transcends the possibility of reconciliation or explanation on his habitual lines of thought, without greatly deranging his fundamental preconceptions regarding God, Nature, Man, and the course of evolution.
But, as we have early intimated, (1) the Theosophical Movement has an esoteric as well as an exoteric side, and here the Western student is without guide, chart, or compass, either in his own memorial experience or in any as
(1) See Chapter III.
credited testimony of the race to which he belongs. Not only so, but he will find himself confronted, both in himself and in the race, with a deeply imbedded incredulity which derides and despises the very possibility, even, of intellectual and spiritual evolution within and behind physical evolution. The student of the esoteric side of the Theosophical Movement has then literally to take the position of a Columbus. He has to postulate the existence of the spiritual and mental world or worlds, independent of and superior to our familiar universe, yet inter-penetrating it at every point, standing in relation to it as a cause to an effect, and, in man, almost inextricably interwoven and interblended in his embodied existence. He has to admit the fundamental assumption that spiritual and intellectual evolution is as much under Law in its processes and resultants as physical evolution, and that the latter is but the shadow and the reflex of the mental, as the mental is of the spiritual. He has to recognize the inevitable corollary of these propositions, that Life, individual as well as collective, is continuous, and that the infinite course of spiritual, mental, and physical evolution has produced Beings as much superior to man as man is superior to a black beetle - as was once speculatively suggested by Prof. Huxley - and, finally, that these Beings take an active part in "the government of the natural order of things."
The student will find that Western religious history and Western tradition and myth do, indeed, present an immense literature dealing with gods, angels, demons, fairies, and so on, and with their relations to human beings and human affairs, but such beings and their interventions are regarded either as miraculous or fictitious, and belief in them rests either on the grounds of "revelation" or of mere opinions ingrained from childhood, or of some misunderstood personal psychological experience. Nowhere is there any philosophy, any scientific, any logical, any historical evidence or basis for the existence and action of superhuman and subhuman entities as the product of evolutionary Law. Such a theory or such a fact is as unknown or as derided in the West,
as foreign to its basic concepts, as the ideas of pre-existence, metempsychosis, reincarnation, Karma, continuous immortality - all integral and inseparable parts of the fundamental assumptions connected with the esoteric aspects of the Theosophical Movement. Only when all these are recognized, at least as a working hypothesis, does the expression, "the esoteric side of the Theosophical Movement," become tolerable in any but a materialistic sense. The student is compelled to turn aside from the religion, philosophy, and thought of the day and familiarize himself with the recorded philosophy of Theosophy, if he is to view the facts of record in any other light than that of the well-nigh universal preconceptions of the Western race. It is only through the most careful and conscientious study and application of the teachings of Theosophy that the student can hope to penetrate beyond the visible aspects of the Theosophical Movement to the arcana of the intellectual and spiritual factors and forces which constitute the Occult side of that Movement.
The first direct affirmation of the existence of Adepts, Beings perfected spiritually, intellectually, and physically, the flower of human and all evolution, is, so far as the Western world is concerned, to be found in the opening sentence of "Isis Unveiled." From beginning to end that work is strewn with evidences, arguments, and declarations regarding Adepts and their doctrines. Theosophy is declared to be a portion of Their Wisdom; its teachings are presented for the examination and study of the world and of the Fellows of the Theosophical Society.
As subsequently appeared from the repeated testimony of all three, before the publication of "Isis," and even prior to the foundation of the Theosophical Society, H.P.B. had imparted many of her teachings to Col. Olcott and Mr. Judge, had convinced them of her phenomenal powers over matter, time, and space, and had accepted them as her pupils. More, through her intervention both of them had become assured of the existence of the Adepts, had received phenomenal visits from them, and
had made their pledges under the rules of Occultism direct to the Masters of the Great Lodge of Adepts. They had reached the determination to follow the guidance and instruction of H.P.B. and it was under her inspiration that the Theosophical Society was formed. Again, from the subsequent repeated statements of all three as to the events and relations of those earliest days, it is apparent that the connection between H.P.B. and Mr. Judge was of a different and deeper nature than the relation established with Col. Olcott - as will develop in the due course of our study. Nor were Col. Olcott and Mr. Judge her only pledged associates, though the names, duties, and activities of the others have never been publicly disclosed. But mention of the fact occurs in the "Introductory" of the "Secret Doctrine," in Lucifer, Volume 3, p. 173, in various "E.S.T. Aids," and in other places in Theosophical writings. And something of the nature and widespread activities of the Adepts apart from the Theosophical Society, is plainly to be discerned in an article in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine for January, 1880. This was written by an English publicist and embodies a very remarkable letter written by an unknown individual named as a "Turkish Effendi," on the relations of Christianity and Islam.
The fact of these private teachings, of the intimate connection of the Adepts with the foundation and spread of the Theosophical Society, of an inner core of chelas or disciples as the active agents of the Adepts, both in the Society and the Movement, of the practical possibility of a direct connection with these Adepts and their chelas through Madame Blavatsky, was kept sedulously concealed until after the arrival of H.P.B. and Col. Olcott in India. A few Fellows suspected from occasional personal hints given them, or by inferences from the accessible teachings, that more might be learned. But H.P.B. turned a deaf ear to all prayers and entreaties in that direction, bidding the aspirants join the Society, to study the published literature, and apply themselves actively to the Objects of the Society.
In India the religious convictions of the inhabitants
are, quite in contrast with the West, the predominant factor in daily life. The spiritual and mental heredity of the populace is such that the teachings of Theosophy have in them nothing of the incredible or revolting to inherited ideas. Bound and fettered as they are by rigid castes and creeds, separated by alien tongues, crippled by an enormous percentage of illiteracy, abused by a priesthood which keeps them in subjection to gross idolatries and superstitions, ground by an ever-present poverty, the vast majority of the Indian populations are, nevertheless, deeply religious in feeling, of simple and kindly lives, imbued with the ideas of guardian spirits, of tutelary deities, of the near presence of the immortal and invisible, and of the sacredness of all life. The country is full of Sannyasis, Sadhus, and Faquirs, many of them men of the noblest and most self-sacrificing character who have exempted themselves from all restrictions of caste and worldly life and who wander the length and breadth of the land keeping alive the reverence and faith of the populace, practicing and inculcating the great virtues of all time. And among the educated classes are very many highly intelligent men profoundly versed in the philosophical teachings of the ancient sages, Rishis and Mahatmas.
Almost from the first moment of their entry the Founders met with a sympathetic and understanding reception from the Hindus, and in this kindly atmosphere of traditional appreciation it was natural that the first declaration should be made of the deeper import of the Theosophical Movement. In The Theosophist for March, 1880, the article relating to the "Turkish Effendi" was reprinted from Blackwood's. In the succeeding number appeared "The Theosophical Society or Universal Brotherhood." This directly identified the Society with its great First Object, and made the first public proclamation of the Superior Sections. The article is an official and authoritative announcement, is signed by Kharsedji N. Seervai, Joint Recording Secretary, and has for its subtitle, "Principles, Rules and By-Laws, as revised in General Council, at the meeting held at the Palace of
H.H. the Maharajah of Vizianagram, Benares, 17th December, 1879."
Thereafter references in the pages of The Theosophist become more and more frequent; the mysterious Brothers, or Mahatmas, are often spoken of; chelas and chelaship are discussed, Occultism and its rules are alluded to and, on rare occasions, the names and designations of various chelas in their differing degrees are guardedly and indirectly introduced.
Subba Row and Damodar became more and more known in this way both to Hindus and Europeans. Others mentioned from time to time in peculiar and particular ways in The Theosophist have remained unknown to the world and the references to them seem never to have aroused question or comment among Theosophical students. Amongst Europeans, Mr. A.P. Sinnett and Mr. A.O. Hume, both then resident in India, came into indirect contact with the Mahatmas through H.P.B.'s agency. These two were witnesses of many phenomenal occurrences, and wrote numerous letters to the hidden "Brothers." Although they never met the Adepts personally and were never themselves able to communicate with them directly, both Mr. Sinnett and Mr. Hume received lengthy communications from them, "Occult letters" amongst those sent and received in more prosaic fashion. In the summer of 1881 Mr. Sinnett's book, "The Occult World," was published in London. This contains long extracts from some of the letters of the Mahatma "K.H.," (2) written in a script and with a name chosen for the purpose of communicating with lay and probationary chelas. In these extracts will be found much of permanent value concerning the real nature of the Theosophical Movement, the purpose of the exoteric Theosophical Society or Third Section, the rules and discipline of chelaship of the Second Section, the methods of the Adepts in dealing with humanity, and other Occult
(1) The complete unexpurgated text of these communications has recently been published under the title, "The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett," London, T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd.; New York City, Frederick A. Stokes Company.
matters. In 1882, "Hints on Esoteric Theosophy" was published and contains much matter bearing directly and indirectly on the existence and activity of the Second Section. The subject of the Superior Sections, their teachings, work, and the limitations imposed on and by them in dealing with the complex nature of Man, are largely discussed in the series of articles, "Fragments of Occult Truth," publication of which was begun in The Theosophist for October, 1881. In the number of March, 1882, was commenced "The Elixir of Life," with the parenthetical notation that it was "From a Chela's Diary," giving the physical discipline and scientific resultants of successful probationary chelaship, and setting out the conditions precedent to "Occult preferment." In January, 1883, "Chelas and Knowers" was printed, followed in the "Supplement" to the issue for July, 1883, by "Chelas and Lay Chelas." This, perhaps the most important article on Occultism ever published, sets forth the difference between accepted chelas and the pledged probationers and neophytes of every degree. It repeats in detail the risks and dangers of rushing prematurely into "practical Occultism," gives illustrative examples of failure, and specifies some of the iron conditions of self-discipline necessary. The same subject was first discussed in a general and guarded fashion toward the close of the last chapter in "Isis Unveiled." Finally, the leading article for July, 1884, entitled, "Mahatmas and Chelas," gave in clearest words the nature of Adeptship and the folly and futility of prevailing ideas among Theosophists in regard to Mahatmas and the means of approaching Them.
We have selected only a few of the numerous writings which gradually appeared bearing on the esoteric side of the Theosophical Movement during the first ten years of the Society's life. Only when these articles and the collateral circumstances of their appearance are understood can their relation to and bearing upon the incidents connected with the career of the esoteric Society be properly grasped and the behavior of various leading persons connected with it be comprehended. To the
"rush for chelaship" and to the failures of probationers in Occultism must the student look for the metaphysical and spiritual explanations of the internal storms which then and thereafter rent the original Theosophical Society and its Branches.
The extensive circulation of "The Occult World" and "Esoteric Buddhism," the intense activity of the London Lodge in the pursuit of the Third Object after the return of Mr. Sinnett to London and his leading position in that Lodge, most of whose members were Spiritualists and avid for "phenomena," caused many to believe that the Masters could be reached via mediums, seances, and "psychic practices" of one kind and another, to the entire neglect of the First Object or the study of philosophy. The powerful currents that surrounded H.P.B. wherever she went; the impetus given to curiosity and ambition for "Occult" knowledge by the great amount of published tales and speculations concerning her and her mission; the preliminary investigations of the Society for Psychical Research into the Theosophical phenomena - all these produced a great danger for the selfish, the unwary, the venturesome Fellows of the Society who had profited spiritually not at all from "Isis Unveiled," from the Master's letters in "The Occult World," from the repeated instructions and warnings in The Theosophist, nor from the private communications from H.P.B. and the Mahatmas to numerous individuals most bent on forcing their way into the sphere of action of the Superior Sections without regard to the unknown laws and perils to be encountered. Not until late in 1884, when the independent and misguided energies of the London Lodge threatened the gravest danger both to its Fellows, to the Society, and to the Movement, was permission granted, at their petition, to Miss Francesca Arundale and others to form an Inner Group of the London Lodge as probationers of the Second Section. The signers pledged themselves to follow strictly the rules and instructions given them. All this remained secret for many years, but in the volume, "Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom," Published in 1919, will be found some graphic statements
and indications of the conditions prevailing - statements which shed a flood of light not only on the state of affairs at the time we are discussing, but which are equally illuminating in their application to the course of affairs since and now among the thirsty aspirants for Occult powers and knowledge.
During this period the fourth edition of "The Occult World" was published with its Appendix containing a long letter from the Master "K.H." on the "precipitation" of "Occult letters" by chelas of the Second Section. All these events accompanied the "Kiddie incident"; the attack on H.P.B. by Mr. Arthur Lillie in his pamphlet, "Koot Hoomi Unveiled"; the Coulomb charges and the investigation by the S.P.R.; the lukewarmness or desertions of the Fellows, and the violation of their pledges by lay and accepted probationers of the Second Section.
The first decade passed and its results ascertained and weighed as regarded the Society as a whole, reorganization of the work can be seen in the commencement of The Path by Mr. Judge, in April, 1886, and of Lucifer in London by H.P.B. in September 1887. Something of the immensity of the change inaugurated in the public work of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge can be seen by merely comparing the character and range of contents of these two magazines with those of the first seven volumes of The Theosophist (1879-86); the published books in the period 1885-95 with those of the first decade; the growth in character of work undertaken by the Society in America and England in 1885-95, whether compared with the history of the Society as a whole in its first ten years, or with its work and character in India during the same ten years, or with any of the fruits of the numerous Theosophical Societies now in existence that have sprung up since 1895.
The philosophical and moral lessons and considerations, the sine qua non conditions of the Superior Sections, the explanation of the numerous failures, esoteric and esoteric, which beset the work of the first ten years, and which must beset every similar attempt in all times,
are nowhere more clearly and authoritatively set forth than in the article entitled "The Theosophical Mahatmas." The general circumstances have already been outlined; the particular occasion was as follows:
Amongst the earliest of the European pledged probationers of the Second Section was Mr. W.T. Brown. He was a young man who had been reared a strict orthodox Christian, was a graduate of the University of Glasgow, and had traveled extensively. In 1883, while in London, he made the acquaintance of Mr. Sinnett and others of the London Lodge, as well as of some leading Spiritualists, some Continental followers of Eliphas Levi, and students of medieval Rosicrucianism. He was a member of the Central Association of British Spiritualists, joined the London Lodge, and became so deeply interested in what he read and heard of Theosophical teachings that he determined to go to India and devote his life to the "esoteric doctrine." He was witness of some of the phenomena constantly occurring at headquarters, received "Occult" messages from one of the Masters, and besought Col. Olcott, then absent from Adyar on a tour, for permission to share in his work. He received a long, friendly, but very straightforward reply warning him of the immense difficulties to be confronted. Undeterred, he set out to accompany Col. Olcott, and on this trip received further communications from the Master "K.H.," was visited by the Master in "astral body," and finally met the Adept in his physical body, recognizing the Master both from the portrait which he had previously seen, from his "astral" appearance, and from the subject matters discussed. All this occurred during the latter half of 1883. Mr. Brown was so aroused by his experiences and studies that he determined to become a probationary chela, and was accepted on probation in January, 1884. "On that occasion," he says, "I was warned as to the difficulties of the road which I desired to tread, but was assured that by a close adherence to truth, and trust in 'My Master,' all must turn out well."
Mr. Brown was at headquarters during the time of
the Coulomb accusations, returning to England via the United States. Next he went to Germany and identified himself with the "Rosicrucians" there. He had written a pamphlet reciting his experiences in India, which was published "under the authority of the London Lodge." Next he published a brief autobiography devoted to his experiences in Rosicrucianism, and finally, early in 1886, came once more to the United States to associate himself with Mrs. Josephine W. Cables.
Mrs. Cables was a Christian Spiritualist and herself afflicted with psychic tendencies. Learning of the Theosophical teachings, she had been largely instrumental in forming the Rochester T.S. in 1882, with Mr. W.B. Shelley as President and herself as Secretary. This was the first Theosophical Society established in America after the formation of the parent T.S. In April, 1884, she established The Occult Word, a monthly "journal devoted to the interests of the Theosophical Society, and for the dissemination of Oriental Knowledge." The issues appeared irregularly and the contents show a curious mixture of Christianity, Spiritualism, Mysticism, personal vagaries on diet, "Asceticism," and "Occultism." Mrs. Cables gave frequent talks before the Rochester T.S., held seances, and endeavored by every means in her power to "open up communication" with the Mahatmas. Finally she procured the assistance of Mr. Brown. In the summer of 1886 Prof. Elliott Coues, President of the then American Board of Control of the T.S. endeavored to make of The Occult Word the official organ of the T.S. in the United States. Meantime Mr. Judge had started The Path, and the character of its contents showed a sure knowledge and the signs of direct contact with the very Powers Mrs. Cables had been seeking to reach in many ways. Very evidently it appeared to Mrs. Cables and Mr. Brown that the unknown Masters had not accorded them that recognition which they felt that they had earned. In The Occult Word for October-November, 1886, they published a leading editorial article over their joint signatures. The article is entitled "The Theosophical Mahatmas," and in it the authors say
"There is a great desire among many of our brothers to be put into communication with the Theosophical Mahatmas, and as we have given much thought to the subject, and evinced great desire to receive even slight tokens from the Masters, it will be useful to our brothers to have some of our reflections. We have come to the conclusion that it is useless to strain the psychical eyes toward the Himalayas.... The Masters have given out nothing new in the literature of our Theosophical Society. There have been students of mysticism in all ages... and all of these have found a world of literature opening to their gaze as they directed their attention to the spheres of the occult.... We need not think, therefore, that we are having a special revelation by means of our Society... Therefore, we need not run after Oriental mystics who deny their ability to help us....
"A great many of us have come to think that we have been running vainly after Eastern mystics and ecstatics, when, within the New Testament itself, we find the Way, the Truth, and the Life.... We are now prepared to stand by our Essenian Master and to 'test the spirits' in his name. We have been hunting after strange gods, and have "denied Him thrice," but with bleeding feet and prostrate spirit we pray that He may take us once more under His wing.... We have wandered far and suffered for our wanderings. We have been living on husks, while the gospel of love and soul invigoration has been always at our hands.... The 'dwellers on the threshold are within.'"
To this manifesto H.P.B. herself replied in an article with the same title, which was published in The Path for December, 1886. After stating that the feeling expressed by Mrs. Cables and Mr. Brown, "is undeniably shared by many Theosophists" H.P.B. goes on
"Whether the complaints are justified, and also whether it is the "Mahatmas" or Theosophists themselves who are to blame for it is a question that remains to be settled."
We can here give only the briefest extracts from H.P. B.'s article, which constitutes the view of the Superior Sections on the essentials of the path of probation and the causes of the wrecks that line the road. The article itself should be read and pondered by every aspirant to esoteric knowledge until it is ineradicably engraved in his inner nature, for it relates, not to an isolated instance, but to the inviolable law of the higher life. She says:
"To the plain statement of our brothers and sisters that they have been 'living on husks,' 'hunting after strange gods' without receiving admittance, I would ask in my turn, as plainly 'Are you sure of having knocked at the right door? Do you feel certain that you have not lost your way by stopping so often on your journey at strange doors, behind which lie in wait the fiercest enemies of those you were searching for?' . . . Our MASTERS are not a 'jealous god'; they are simply holy mortals, nevertheless, however, higher than any in this world, morally, intellectually and spiritually,... members of a Brotherhood, who are the first in it to show themselves subservient to its time-honored laws and rules. And one of its first rules demands that those who start... as candidates... should proceed by the straight road, without stopping on every sideway and path, seeking to join other 'Masters' and professors often of the Left-Hand Science, that they should have confidence and show trust and patience, besides several other conditions to fulfill. Failing in all of this from first to last, what right has any man or woman to com-
plain of the inability of the Masters to help them?....
"Once that a Theosophist would become a candidate for either chelaship or favours, he must be aware of the mutual pledge, tacitly, if not formally offered and accepted between the two parties, and, that such a pledge is sacred. It is a bond of seven years of probation. If during that time, notwithstanding the many human shortcomings and mistakes of the candidate (save two which it is needless to specify in print), he remains throughout every temptation true to the chosen Master, or Masters (in the case of lay candidates), and as faithful to the Society founded at their wish and under their orders, then the theosophist will be initiated.... thenceforward allowed to communicate with his guru unreservedly, all his failings save this one, as specified, may be overlooked; they belong to his future Karma....
"Thus the chief and only indispensable condition required in the candidate or chela on probation is simply unswerving fidelity to the chosen Master and his purposes. This is a condition sine qua non, not... on account of any jealous feeling, but simply because the magnetic rapport between the two once broken, it becomes at each time doubly difficult to re-establish it again....
"Both the writers may have and very likely they did - "hunt after strange gods"; but these were not our MASTERS....
"Yet, to those theosophists, who are displeased with the Society in general, no one has ever made you any rash promises; least of all, has either the Society or its founders ever offered their 'Masters' as a chromo-premium to the best behaved. For years every new member has been told that he was promised nothing, but had everything to expect only from his own personal
merit. The theosophist is left free and untrammeled in his actions... unless, indeed, one has offered himself and is decided to win the Master's favors. To such especially, I now address myself and ask: Have you fulfilled your obligations and pledges? Have you... led the life requisite?... Let him who feels in his heart and conscience that he has - ... let him rise and protest.... I am afraid my invitation will remain unanswered. During the eleven years of the existence of the Theosophical Society I have known, out of the seventy-two regularly accepted chelas on probation and the hundreds of lay candidates - only three who have not hitherto failed, and one only who had a full success. No one forces anyone into chelaship; no promises are uttered, none except the mutual pledge between Master and the would-be-chela. Verily, verily, many are the called but few are chosen - or rather few who have the patience of going to the bitter end, if bitter we call simple perseverance and singleness of purpose. And what about the Society, in general?... Who among the thousands of members does lead the life? Shall anyone say because he is a strict vegetarian - elephants and cows are that - or happens to lead a celibate life, after a stormy youth in the opposite direction; or because he studies the Bhagavad-Gita or the "Yoga philosophy" upside down, that he is a theosophist according to the Masters' hearts? As it is not the cowl that makes the monk, so, no long hair with a poetical vacancy on the brow are sufficient to make of one a faithful follower of divine Wisdom. Look around you and behold our UNIVERSAL Brotherhood so-called! The Society founded to remedy the glaring evils of Christianity, to shun bigotry and intolerance, cant and superstition and to cultivate real uni-
versal love extending even to the dumb brute, what has it become in Europe and America in these eleven years of trial?...
"I have never ceased repeating to others as soon as one steps on the Path leading to... the blessed Masters... his Karma, instead of having to be distributed throughout his long life, falls upon him in a block and crushes him with its whole weight. He who believes in what he professes and in his Master, will stand it and come out of the trial victorious; he who doubts, the coward who fears to receive his just dues and tries to avoid justice being done - FAILS. He will not escape Karma just the same, but he will only lose that for which he has risked its untimely visits....
"And now repeating after the Paraguru - my Master's MASTER - the words He had sent as a message to those who wanted to make of the Society a 'miracle club' instead of a Brotherhood of Peace, Love and mutual assistance - 'Perish rather, the Theosophical Society and its hapless Founders,' I say perish their twelve years' labor and their very lives rather than that I should see what I do today: theosophists, outvying political 'rings' in their search for personal power and authority; theosophists slandering and criticizing each other as two rival Christian sects might do; finally theosophists refusing to lead the life and then criticizing and throwing slurs on the grandest and noblest of men, because... those Masters refuse to interfere with Karma and to play second fiddle to every theosophist who calls upon Them and whether he deserves it or not."
The history of the Theosophical Society is the history of the failure of Theosophists in high and low position to lead the life inculcated in their own Objects and their
own professions; is the record of the failure of the lay and pledged probationers of the Second Section to keep their pledges in "simple perseverance and singleness of purpose."
The case of Mrs. Cables and Mr. Brown has been selected because it is public and typical of the hundreds of cases before and since of those who started with fair prospects, in all the glory of a fresh enthusiasm, with all the general and particular advantages, help, and guidance that past Karma and personal contact with the Teachings and the Teachers could give them, and who nevertheless failed miserably because they would not, and not because they could not, adhere to the lines laid down by those very Masters whom they longed to come in contact with as accepted chelas.
Mr. Brown returned to England, later went to India and there married an Eurasian lady; he returned to the fold of orthodox Christianity, and has never since been heard of in connection with chelaship. Mrs. Cables speedily turned the Rochester T.S. into the Rochester Brotherhood, and her magazine into the exponency of the various phases of "Mysticism" and "Occultism" that attracted her fancy from time to time. Neither Mrs. Cables nor Mr. Brown appears ever to have questioned their own instability of purpose, their own inconsistency of action, their own utter failure to abide by the conditions they had themselves invoked. Was this course of conduct unique on their part or was it but a manifestation of those very defects and weaknesses of human nature which must be fought and conquered by the candidate for chelaship?
H.P.B., Olcott, and JudgeHistory is more than the narration of events; even the most personal and short-sighted recognize that actions do not perform themselves. There is no action without a being to make it and to feel its effects. No one's minutest action stands alone and without relation.
History is the story of the persons and personages who performed the actions, as well as of the events themselves; but even more, if its chronicle is to be of any value to the student, he must be concerned in the meaning of the incidents which crowd the stage; in the parts played by the various actors in the drama; in the lessons to be learned in relation to the larger drama of life itself in which he and all other sentient beings are concerned.
Behind the arras of the visible lies the real and enduring world of causation, the world of immortal Souls engaged in the battle of Life - the pilgrimage of spiritual and mental evolution, in which all are involved. Thus the history of the Theosophical Movement becomes a study of the operation of the Law of Karma, in which, every living Soul is equally concerned.
The moment anyone takes this position he is on the plane of consciousness of the Superior Sections of the Theosophical Society; he is studying particular persons and their actions in the light of Universal Principles - in the light of the teachings of Theosophy, exoteric and esoteric.
From the beginning it was the Theosophical Society which attracted the attention of friends and foes alike. As it was the visible body, the heredity and preconceptions of the race made the thing visible, the reality. Its declared platform of Objects was universally attractive,
so long as those Objects remained in the region of ideals; an abstraction which one could profess without disturbance, external or internal.
But when it was ascertained that the Society was in fact but a vehicle for the dissemination and serious study of Theosophy; when it was seen that the careful study and comparison of the various religions and theories, philosophical and scientific, led straight to the unavoidable inference that the only value in any or all of them lay in what they had in common, not in their mutual exclusions; that the various differences were mutually contradictory and destructive; that in Theosophy alone was an inclusive Wisdom, self-convincing and self-explanatory of all and everything - then the Theosophical Society became and continued to be the target for every species of assault and attack that the adherents of sectarianism, whether in religion or science, could devise. And when it was perceived by the Fellows that the Objects of the Society were not merely formal and academic; that the serious study of Theosophy produced wholly unlooked-for results in themselves, compelling them to choose between their predilections and their professed principles, by far the greater part either left the Society altogether, or lapsed into the hypocrisy which pretends one course of action while following another. The active and earnest Theosophists have always been but a scant fragment of even that handful of humanity which from time to time has called itself Theosophical
The actual active and visible Head of the Theosophical Society was at all times Col. H.S. Olcott. To his zeal was due its foundation, to his ardent devotion its spread, to his abilities and sacrifices its successes. The Society itself more and more became to him the one Object of his existence; to it and for it he gave his all.
The case was quite otherwise both with H.P.B. and William Q. Judge. To neither of them was the Society ever anything but a body, an instrument, an imperfect and faulty machine for conserving energy and putting it to use. Both of them were Co-Founders with Col. Olcott of the Society, both of them gave without
stint to its support and defense, but only and always as a mere means to an end.
As President-Founder of the visible Society, Col. Olcott was prominent before the members and before the public. H.P.B. had as little to do as possible with the conduct of the Society; Mr. Judge was scarcely known at all in connection with it during its first decade. At all times until and unless the exigencies of the Movement compelled such appearances and interferences both H.P.B. and Mr. Judge supported and worked through Col. Olcott in the affairs of the Society, making themselves in every public way subordinate to him. His work was the exoteric phase of the Movement; theirs the esoteric.
H.P.B. was the Teacher; for purposes of the Movement she was the direct Agent of the Lodge of Masters of the Wisdom-Religion. These Masters were and remain, securely veiled from the prying and selfish approach of humanity, Their existence a matter of inference only to all but Their chelas and "those with whom They voluntarily communicate." They are known in the world only through the evidences amassed by H.P.B. in her writings, through the few communications from Them to others who were, in every case, brought into relation with Them by and through H.P.B., and through those longings and aspirations of the human heart which still preserve the faith in Divine Beings, Elder Brothers to suffering and sinful man. So far as the whole West is concerned all that anyone knows or infers of the Masters or Their Wisdom-Religion, or Their chelas, comes, directly or indirectly, from the mission of H.P. Blavatsky. She therefore stood, and stands, in a position of supreme importance to the whole world; for she stands in the place of the Masters as Their Messenger until 1975, when she stated that Their next Messenger would come. All others, their statements and their actions, must be viewed in the light of her mission, her teachings, her statements, and her example; for she and none other represented the First Section.
Next to her in importance in the Theosophical Move-
ment was, and is, William Q. Judge, as we shall see in due season. The placing of any persons, however talented or supposedly proficient in Occultism, on the same plane of knowledge and action in the world as these two; the acceptance of any teachings or "messages" as Theosophy in contravention of the recorded statements of these two, is to deny in fact the very Source of the Message of Theosophy, is to attribute to the Masters Themselves the fallibility of human nature. To take such a position is to imagine that They chose an untrustworthy direct Agent to deliver Their Message to humanity; that they permitted Their Message to be faultily and imperfectly recorded; that They left the world and the sincere student alike at the mercy of claimants of every kind, and without any sure guide or landmark of philosophy and example.
H.P.B. represented the First Section of the Theosophical Movement; W.Q. Judge represented the Second Section, and Col. H.S. Olcott the Third Section - or Theosophical Society proper. The evidences are abundant and overwhelming, as we shall see. Colonel Olcott was never, from the standpoint of the Superior Sections, other than a probationary chela. It is thus important to consider his dual position: on the one hand, the President-Founder of the Society, its guiding genius and chief figure before the world; on the other hand, a struggling probationer, fighting and failing over and over again in his efforts at self-discipline and self-mastery. In the esoteric study of the Theosophical Movement, the actions of Col. Olcott the President, in all their contradictions and confusions, have to be studied in the light of Col. Olcott, the aspirant for accepted chelaship of the Second Section. Pathetic and disillusioning as is the task, it should be tempered in writer and reader alike by the reflection that the story of Col. Olcott is the story in advance of what confronts every aspirant to the same up-hill Path; the extent to which we learn the lesson of his failures is the measure of our debt to him.
In the article "Chelas and Lay Chelas" before referred to, H.P.B., in discussing the requisites and diffi-
culties of probationary chelaship of the Second Section, illustrates some of her points by incidental reference to Col. Olcott. She says:
"All were refused at first, Col. Olcott, the President himself, to begin with; and as to the latter gentleman there is now [July, 1883] no harm in saying that he was not formally accepted as a Chela until he had proved by more than a year's devoted labors and by a determination which brooked no denial, that he might safely be tested."
On this subject Col. Olcott himself says in a letter written in 1881 and published in "Hints on Esoteric Theosophy, Number I," that he was "provoked and exasperated" by the "selfish and cruel indifference of H.P.B." to his "yearnings after the truth," as well as by "the failure of the Brothers to come and instruct" him. He himself gives the reasons both for the delay and his own misunderstandings:
"I got that proof in due time [of the existence of Masters]: but for months I was being gradually led out of my spiritualistic Fool's Paradise, and forced to abandon my delusions one by one. My mind was not prepared to give up ideas that had been the growth of 22 years' experiences, with mediums and circles.... But now it was all made clear. I had got just as much as I deserved.... So... I adopted those habits - and encouraged those thoughts that were conducive to the attainment of my ends.
After that I had all the proofs I needed, alike of the existence of the Brothers, their wisdom, their psychical powers, and their unselfish devotion to humanity. For six years I have been blessed with this experience... and yet after all these years not only not made an adept, but hardly having achieved one step towards adeptship. "
Colonel Olcott was in his forty-fourth year at the time; an age, when, owing to the physical and psychical limitations of the human instrument, the constitutional changes necessary to successful chelaship present the extreme of difficulty, even granting that all other conditions are of the most favorable. What his actual condition was is further indicated in the same letter:
"If you will only reflect what it is to transform a worldly man, such as I was in 1874 - a man of clubs, drinking parties, mistresses, a man absorbed in all sorts of worldly public and private undertakings and speculations - into that purest, wisest, noblest and most spiritual of human beings - a BROTHER, you will cease to wonder or rather you will wonder, how I could ever have struggled out of the swamp at all, and how I could have ever succeeded in gaining the firm straight road.
"No one knows until he really tries it, how awful a task it is to subdue all his evil passions and animal instincts, and develop his higher nature....
"From time to time one or another Brother who had been on friendly terms with me... has become disgusted with me and left me to others, who kindly took their places. Most of all, I regret a certain Magyar philosopher, who had begun to give me a course of instruction in occult dynamics, but was repelled by an outbreak of my old earthly nature.
"But I shall win him back and others also, for I have so determined; and whatever a man really WILLS, that he has....
"If my experience is worth anything, I should say... that however great a man may be at this side of the Himalayas, he begins his relations with the Brothers on exactly the same terms as the humblest Chela who ever tried to scale their Parnassus; he must 'win his way.'"
Every probationer of the Second Section will be prepared to agree with Col. Olcott's statement of the difficulties of the effort to conquer "these vices of the ordinary personal man"; to sympathize with him in his struggles, failures, and renewed determination to continue on the path of probation. Few as yet have had the experience of the fiery furnace requisite to have a just appreciation of the far more difficult and onerous task of facing and conquering the universal vices inherent in human nature - the very crucible that his position as President-Founder and his "determination which brooked no denial" as an aspirant for chelaship, compelled Col. Olcott to enter. And it is this prolonged ordeal that we must now study in its effects. We have already touched on the failure of the probationers, Col. Olcott among them, "to defend the honour of a brother Theosophist even at the risk of their own lives," when H.P.B. was assailed by the Coulombs, the missionaries, and the Psychical Research Society. We have entered more largely into the primary obligations of chelaship in discussing the failures of Mrs. Cables and Mr. Brown. We must now trace Col. Olcott more particularly in his relation to H.P.B. as chela to Guru, in the incidents preluding the formation of the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society.
The pledge taken by Col. Olcott was not different in spirit from that taken by every neophyte of the Second Section. Its essential features, so far as it relates to the matters under review, are contained in the following clauses:
"I pledge myself to support, before the world, the Theosophical Movement, its leaders and its members; and in particular to obey, without cavil or delay, the orders of the Head of the Section in all that concerns my relation with the Theosophical Movement."
The student will do well to note, (1) that the taking of the pledge is voluntary on the part of the applicant;
(2) that it pledges entire obedience to the Head of the Section, who was and is H.P.B., in all that relates to the Theosophical Movement; (3) that her public teachings, the Objects of the Society formed at her instigation, no less than her private teachings and individual instructions, constitute and comprise her orders, which every neophyte of the Second Section pledges himself to obey. Not until the candidate was making strenuous and measurably successful efforts to embody in his own life all Three Objects of the Society was he even eligible for consideration as an applicant for the probationary degree of the Second Section. Not until he fulfilled all the conditions of the pledges of the probationer was he in any way eligible to the higher degrees of the Second Section. Meantime he had constantly to bear in mind that no one would enforce or compel his keeping of his pledge; from start to finish his course must be self-induced and self-devised. In the words of Col. Olcott's letter before quoted from, each applicant would get just as much as he deserved; he need look for no extraneous help "to achieve that which no man ever did achieve except by his own self-development." Or, as expressed in "Chelas and Lay Chelas":
"The Mahatmas are the servants, not the arbiters of the Law of Karma. Lay-Chelaship confers no privilege upon anyone except that of working for merit under the observation of a Master. And whether that master be or be not seen by the Chela makes no difference whatever as to the result; his good thoughts, words, and deeds will bear their fruits, his evil ones theirs."
Col. Olcott's course may first be discerned by an examination of the contents of The Theosophist, which he directed after the departure from India of H.P.B. early in 1885. His prompt efforts to disclaim any reliance upon H.P.B., and his indirect assertion of his own paramount
importance have been noted in an earlier chapter. (1) When the American Board of Control was suggested by Mr. Judge to Col. Olcott for the preliminary direction of the rising tide foreseen by Mr. Judge in America, Col. Olcott appointed Prof. Elliott Coues of Washington, D.C., whom he met in London and Germany in the summer of 1884, to be its Chairman and leading figure. From the first moment of his connection with the Theosophical Society Prof. Coues began to cause difficulties. This requires separate treatment; it is sufficient here to mention the fact. Finally, Mr. Judge had recourse to Madame Blavatsky, and through her insistence Col. Olcott dissolved the American Board of Control and assented to the formation of the American Section of the Theosophical Society. The actual facts, so far as they could be stated without exposing the internal discords, were placed on record in the first printed Report of the American Section - that of the second Convention. The "Supplement" to The Theosophist for November, 1886, remarks:
"The movement in the United States is gaining strength, but not without friction always to be expected from the contact of strong personalities.... The reconstructive plan sent over by the Adyar Council, which supersedes the Board of Control by the organization of an American Section of the General Council, is to be acted upon in December, and it is hoped that all may be pleasantly settled."
There is here no apparent perception that anything was involved beyond the "friction of strong personalities"; no recognition of the fact that the plan came from Mr. Judge and was accepted only because of the insistence of H.P.B.; no comment upon the fact that the new Section was to be purely democratic, entirely independent, and in nominal affiliation only with the Indian autocracy set
(1) See Chapter VII.
up by Col. Olcott under the thin mask of the "Adyar Council."
The Path was noted in a friendly way at its foundation in April, 1886, and occasional brief mention made of its contents. But no notice was taken of the affair of Mrs. Cables and Mr. Brown, nor of "The Theosophical Mahatmas," in which, as we have seen, (2) H.P.B., from her sick bed at Ostend, wrote with the vigor and clarity that the importance of the issues required.
Another matter at the same time received her attention, and this was even more important, from the exoteric standpoint. Ever since Mr. C.C. Massey had raised the question that "Isis Unveiled" denied re-incarnation (3) and had claimed that her later teachings were at variance in other points from her earliest expositions, H.P.B. had merely denied the allegation and declared that there were and could be no contradictions in any of her teachings, since all alike came from the Masters. Beyond that she had held her peace. But after the S.P.R. Report and especially after the divergent activities and teachings promulgated in the London Lodge under Mr. Sinnett's auspices, these old charges began once more to circulate. There was a persistent, private, word-of-mouth effort going on in various quarters to belittle the Occult knowledge and status of H.P.B., and make her out a medium and a student, as fallible as any of the others. The time being ripe, Mr. Judge published a long and leading article by H.P.B., in The Path for November, 1886, entitled "Theories About Re-incarnation and Spirits," in which she gave the actual facts once and for all.
No notice was taken of this article by The Theosophist for the very good reason that Col. Olcott shared Mr. Massey's opinions and those of Mr. Sinnett and others with regard to H.P.B., and her teachings and status, as long afterwards, he himself admitted. (4)
The publication of Lucifer was begun in London in
(2) See Chapter VIII.
(3) See Chapter IV.
(4) Postscript, The Theosophist, "Supplement," April, 1895.
September, 1887, with H.P.B., as its guiding genius. For more than a year the only notice taken by Col. Olcott of the magazine, its contents, or its editor, is confined to the following official "Editorial Notice," appearing in The Theosophist for November, 1887:
"At the particular request of Madame Blavatsky, the undersigned assumes temporarily legal responsibility for the editorship of the Theosophist; she having undertaken special editorial duty, in connection with the members of our London Lodge T. S., involving the public use of her name. Adyar, October, 1887.
- H.S. Olcott.
At the Indian Convention, held at the close of December, 1886, the famous T. Subba Row delivered a series of extemporaneous discourses on the "Bhagavad-Gita" to the assembled delegates and visitors. These lectures were published in The Theosophist during the year 1887. In the course of his dissertations Subba Row spoke somewhat slightingly of the "Theosophical sevenfold classification of Principles" in Nature and in Man. No defensive notice was taken of the rather invidious tendency of his statements, then or thereafter, by Col. Olcott or those most closely associated with him. In the April, 1887, number, therefore, H.P.B. replied in friendly fashion to Subba Row's criticisms, assuming that they were incidental and oral and their bearing, as affording a basis for cleavage among Theosophists, overlooked. To this Subba Row replied at length, repeating, extending, and fortifying his previous statements, and indulging in some sharp remarks concerning H.P.B. herself. H.P.B. made answer in the August number, clearing up the matter of the "original expounder" of the "sevenfold classification," as Subba Row charged her with being. She simply stated that the classification attacked by Subba Row was not her own, but that originally given out by Mr. Sinnett in his "Esoteric Buddhism." On this she says - what most Theosophical students have overlooked - that "Esoteric Buddhism" was written
"absolutely without my knowledge, and as the author understood those teachings from letters he had received."
As Subba Row was a chela, and the issues raised by him largely concerned the Second Section and its work, H.P.B. confined herself strictly to what could be publicly discussed. The controversy caused a considerable breach, as H.P.B. had foreseen, and thereafter Subba Row maintained a coolness towards H.P.B. till the time of his death. Her subsequent correction, in the "Secret Doctrine," of Mr. Sinnett's erroneous teachings, made complete the distrust which had been growing in him since 1883. In the one case and in the other Col. Olcott's sympathies were with his fellow students and not with his Teacher and Guru, H.P.B. In the Subba Row controversy Col. Olcott kept silent. So, did Mr. Sinnett, whose erroneous interpretations were the real basis of Subba Row's criticisms directed against H.P.B. But Mr. Judge from far-away America was a diligent watcher of all that took place and in the August, 1887, number of The Theosophist with exquisite tact, skill, and perception he reconciled and cleared up the situation, giving the facts, but giving them with all gentleness and discretion. But he paid the price of his loyalty and devotion, no less than of his knowledge and intuition. For this article necessarily had to lay bare the inconsistencies and "authority" of "Esoteric Buddhism." And, no more than Subba Row or Col. Olcott, could Mr. Sinnett endure correction, even at the hands of H.P.B., let alone a young man as obscure as Mr. Judge. Of all this in due sequence. Meantime, to follow the thread of Col. Olcott's ordeal of chelaship.
Immediately after the formation of the American Section in April, 1887, Mr. Judge wrote H.P.B. under date of May 18:
"So many people are beginning to ask me to be Chelas that I must do something.... I know a good many good ones who will do well
and who will form a rock on which the enemy will founder."
H.P.B. replied, telling Mr. Judge to go ahead in America and she would soon do something herself. In the autumn following she began Lucifer, which from its first number contained articles by her or written under her inspiration, all relating to the Second Section, although not so named, and all in preparation for the forthcoming change in the direction of the Movement. The
first volume contained the "Comments on Light on the Path," detailing the difficulties and requirements of the disciple striving for chelaship. The number for April, 1888, contained the article "Practical Occultism," by H.P.B., giving publicly for the first time the "private rules" of the Eastern School, notating what would-be chelas had to do for their own safety as well as their progress, and for the first time clearly stating the enormous responsibilities assumed by the Guru or Teacher. This was immediately followed in the May number by "Occultism Versus the Occult Arts," stressing the dangers of impure chelaship and the appalling consequences of falling into the "Left-Hand Path." Coincidently The Path was publishing articles of similar import.
To the April, 1888, Convention of the American Section H.P.B. sent a long and formal Letter, which she instructed Mr. Judge to read to the assembled delegates. In this she placed on record publicly and authoritatively her recognition of the status of Mr. Judge in the Movement, saying that it was to him chiefly, if not entirely, that the Society owed its life. The remainder of the Letter was devoted to a recital of the purpose and meaning of the Society and the obstacles that must be overcome by its members. This was the first of a series of annual Letters, four in all, which she addressed to the American Conventions, the last one being written but a few weeks before her death.
If the student will carefully compare the issues of Lucifer, The Path, and The Theosophist during the years 1887-9 he will be amazed to observe, first, the entire unity and accord in the two first named in all that concerned Theosophy and the Movement; secondly, the marked cleavage shown in the contents of The Theosophist dur-
ing the same period; the utter ignoring in the latter of the cyclic changes under way in the Movement as manifested in the writings of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge.
Mr. Judge went to London and there, at the request of H.P.B., drew up the plans and wrote the rules for the guidance of the forthcoming Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society. Nothing in relation to the Esoteric Section by name appeared in public print until October, 1888. All that we have been discussing on that subject came to light only after many years. The same is true of the active correspondence which went on during the interval, between H.P.B. and Col. Olcott, and, to a lesser extent, between Mr. Judge and Col. Olcott. True as steel, alike to the purposes which inspired them and to Col. Olcott in his place and share in the Movement, nothing was omitted from their efforts to inform him of the great issues at stake, to strengthen his weak spots, to keep him in line with the real Objects of the Society as well as the Movement.
What Col. Olcott's real sentiments were, what his mingled feelings, what his alternations and violent oscillations during all this period, constitute one of the most vivid examples and illustrations of what may be called the "pledge fever" of probationary chelas. Of all this, also, nothing appeared in public print, save as it was noticeable by such acts of omission and commission as we have been referring to. Long afterwards, in his "Old Diary Leaves," Col. Olcott writes of the events narrated, and it is to that source that we may turn for the private and missing links of evidence which show that the ruffling of the surface of events was but the symptomatic sign of the inner struggle of probation. In spite of the manifold and manifest disloyalty, ingratitude, and other violations of their pledges by students and chelas of one degree of probation or another, of more or less prominence in the Society, neither H.P.B. nor Mr. Judge ever washed any of the Theosophical "dirty linen" in public; ever uttered any reproaches, ever in any way exposed the weaknesses and failings of their students or associates. Only when the Society, the School or the Move-
ment was imperiled by the follies of those whom they were trying in every way to shield and help, did they take the necessary steps to clear the situation. They never either defended themselves or attacked others. Their work was to lay down the lines of teaching and direction, to keep those lines energized, and only when the Cause which they represented was endangered by external pressures or internal ruptures did they intervene.
"Old Diary Leaves" is the personal story of Col. Olcott and has at least the merit of faithfully picturing, albeit unconsciously to himself, "the true history" - not of the Theosophical Society, but of Henry S. Olcott, aspirant for chelaship on "the hard and thorny path." Studied as the diary of a chela on probation, no more important lessons are anywhere recorded for the study and instruction of the student of the esoteric side of the Theosophical Movement, and the causes of the failure of the Theosophical Society, than in "Old Diary Leaves."
The four published volumes of "Old Diary Leaves" bear upon their covers the legend: The True History of the Theosophical Society.
No doubt this is what Col. Olcott intended and believed them to be. Equally it is beyond question that in the eyes of the world and of Theosophical students generally he has been assumed to be that one who had the greatest knowledge of the facts, the best opportunity for accurate judgments, and the strongest incentive for recording both. These views have been supported by the transparent sincerity that shines from every page of his reminiscences, by the wealth of details given by him, by the fact that he was throughout its life the official Head of the Theosophical Society, that he survived for many years both his colleagues in the pioneer work of the Movement.
Neither of his colleagues ever wrote for publication anything that savored of the autobiographical or were at pains to attract attention to themselves; on the contrary, they, "sedulously kept closed," to the utmost ex-
tent that the nature of their mission and the indiscretions of their associates permitted, "every possible door of approach by which the inquisitive could spy upon them. The prime condition of their success was that they should never be supervised or obstructed.... All that those outside their circle could perceive was results, the causes of which were masked from view." It is passing strange that these statements of the Mahatma "K.H." in his letter to Mr. Hume, and the other statements of the same Adept in his letters reproduced in "The Occult World," have never been applied by Theosophical students to the events and actors in the drama of the Theosophical Movement. What more necessary and important than that the direct Agent of the Masters in the world should be shielded and guarded in her Occult nature and functions from all but those who have "earned the right to know Them?"
At the outset, then, it should be understood that widely as H.P.B. has been discussed and extensive as have been the controversies which have raged about her mission and her personality the fact remains that only the scantiest and most fragmentary details exist relating to her, after the elimination of all the mass of hearsay and opinion, of claims and counter-claims made by friends and foes as to her Occult status, powers, and relations. She is to be known, if known at all, only through her writings and by those who faithfully "follow the Path she showed, the Masters who are behind."
Her writings are devoted entirely: (1) to placing on record her message of Theosophy and the citation of the evidences and arguments establishing its unbroken existence down the ages; (2) to articles in explanation and application of the Principles of that Message; (3) to instruction, advice, and suggestion to the students, individually and collectively, who to any extent become interested in Theosophy; (4) to the direct and pointed statements made by her in her letters to and in relation to those persons who voluntarily associated themselves in her work and who as voluntarily pledged themselves
to her guidance and tuition; (5) to the defense of her mission, its instruments and her associates.
She was interested in and devoted to a CAUSE: nothing else mattered to her, nothing else was of moment to her, save and except as it might hasten or retard that Cause. Her writings, as her works, are wholly impersonal; consequently she never touched upon persons or events save as the exigencies of the Movement, of the Society, or of her pupils made such attention compulsory on her part. And the same state of fact applies in its integrity to William Q. Judge, his writings and his works.
On the other hand, "Old Diary Leaves," including the miscellaneous articles and letters written by Col. Olcott in connection with his Theosophical work, are wholly autobiographical and personal - in their point of view, in their treatment of men and events, in their judgment and conclusions. From the basis of the Superior Sections he was a struggling probationer, wrestling with the foes entrenched in his own inner nature. In his own eyes, and those of so many others, he was the President-Founder of the Theosophical Society, wrestling valiantly with its enemies, without and within. The period from 1881-8 is that of the second septennate of the probationary chelaship both of Henry S. Olcott and of the Theosophical Society as a body, and the struggles of the one are the mirror and the reflex of the struggles of the other. The "wandering from the discipline" of the one is depicted in the stresses which beset the other; their joint departures from their professed Pledges and Objects the compelling reason for the public formation of the Esoteric Section of the T.S.
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X. THE FORMATION OF THE AMERICAN SECTION ......... 144
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The Theosophical Movement 1875-1925