Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.


The Kiddle "Explanation."

By Quodlibet.

[Reprinted from Light (London), July 26, 1884, pp. 304.]


To the Editor of "LIGHT."

SIR, -- It seems to me that Koot Hoomi Lal Singh has at once the best and worst memory in the universe. He can remember the exact words that he wanted to "precipitate" three or four years ago, when he was overcome with fatigue and "half asleep." But he has certainly failed to remember what words were "precipitated," or he would not have set up his present "explanation." That explanation in brief is this: -- He wished to make an honest citation from Professor Kiddle’s address which he had heard, in the spirit, in America. But a "boy" in Thibet who passed it on by "psychical chemistry" bungled the words.

Let us print what really was printed in the early editions of "The Occult World," to see how this "explanation" will bear scrutiny. Side by side will be printed the passages from Professor Kiddle’s lecture.

Extract from Mr. Kiddle’s discourse, Spiritualism," delivered at Lake Pleasant Camp Meeting on Sunday, August 15th, 1880.

"My friends, ideas rule the world; and as men’s minds receive new ideas, laying aside the old and effete, the world advances. Society rests upon them; mighty revolutions spring from them; institutions crumble before their onward march. It is just as impossible to resist their influx, when the time comes, as to stay the progress of the tide.

 

 

And the agency called Spiritualism is bringing a new set of ideas into the world -- ideas on the most momentous subjects, touching man’s true position in the universe; his origin and destiny; the relation of the mortal to the immortal; of the temporary to the Eternal; of the finite to the Infinite; of man’s deathless soul to the material universe in which it now dwells -- ideas larger, more Eternal, of the finite to the infinite; ideas larger, grander, more comprehensive, recognising more fully the universal reign of law as the expression of the Divine will, unchanging and unchangeable, in regard to which there is only an Eternal Now, while to mortals time is past or future, as related to their finite existence on this material plane; &c., &c., &c.

Extract from Koot Hoomi’s letter to Sinnett, in the "Occult World," 3rd Edition. p. 102. The first edition was published in June, 1881.

Ideas rule the world; and as men’s minds receive new ideas, laying aside the old and effete, the world will advance, mighty revolutions will spring from them, creeds and even powers will crumble before their onward march, crushed by their irresistible force. It will be just as impossible to resist their influence when the time comes as to stay the progress of the tide. But all this will come gradually on, and before it comes we have a duty set before us: that of sweeping away as much as possible the dross left to us by our pious forefathers. New ideas have to be planted on clean places, for these ideas touch upon the most momentous subjects. It is not physical phenomena, but these universal ideas that we study; as to comprehend the former, we have first to understand the latter. They touch man’s true position in the universe in relation to his previous and future births, his origin and ultimate destiny; the relation of the mortal to the immortal, of the temporary to the Eternal, of the finite to the Infinite; ideas larger, grander, more comprehensive, recognising the eternal reign of immutable law, unchanging and unchangeable, in regard to which there is only an Eternal  Now: while to uninitiated mortals time is past or future, as related to their finite existence on this material speck of dirt, &c., &c., &c.

Now it will not be disputed that we have here an eulogy of Spiritualism which has been changed into a long tirade against it. Also, it will not be disputed, I think, that this has been done intentionally; and as it seems by some one holding the particular views of Madame Blavatsky. The words "Divine will" have been omitted as going counter to Theosophical Atheism. The words "touching man’s true position in the universe" have been changed into "touching man’s true position in the universe, in relation to his previous and future births." The word "mortals" has been stultified to bring in a reference to the Spiritualists as "uninitiated mortals." The passage, "new ideas must be planted on clean places" is plainly intended politely to suggest that the rooms where the "physical phenomena" of the West are exhibited, cannot be so described.

The question now arises, Who transformed the citation from Professor Kiddle into this tirade against Spiritualists? It lies between three people, and one of them, Koot Hoomi Lal Singh, if I read his confused explanation aright, desired to cite the passage in partial approval of Spiritualism and not of condemnation. He wanted, he says, to shew that the prophecies of the Spiritualists "are not always without a point of truth in them." Two other individuals remain, Madame Blavatsky and the Thibetan "boy."

Of these two characters, one undoubtedly exists on "this material speck of dirt," but of the existence of the "boy" we have not a tittle of evidence. It is not absolutely impossible that a "boy" in Thibet should be a master of the English language, but it is about as probable as that a young monk in the South of Spain should be a master of Gaelic.

Then arises the important question of motive. All who have studied the writings of Madame Blavatsky are aware that she is dominated by one idea. She is an ex-Spiritualist and ex-medium, who returns constantly to her first love, less to caress than to scold. This would give some meaning to the little girds against "uninitiated mortals" and "physical phenomena," if we suppose that they were written by her. But what possible motive could a "boy" in Thibet have to thus play tricks with the writings of his guru? The rule of the guru, according to the Abbe Huc, is a depotism tempered with a very thick stick. The boy is alleged to be in the act of studying the phenomena of "psychical chemistry," phenomena so like "physical phenomena" that Madame Blavatsky for half her life could see no distinction between them. And there are three passages in the tirade that the Thibetan "boy" could not possibly have written.

The two first of these are the girds against "creeds" and our "pious forefathers." A Thibetan boy in training for the holy life would only know one creed, Buddhism; and his forefathers, in his mind, instead of being objects of "Theosophical" derision, would be the pious Buddhists who planted and watered Buddhism in Thibet. Then we have the passage, "We have a duty to perform." Let me ask the reader to try and frame a plausible theory to account for these words in the mouth of the "boy." Who did he mean by "we"? He could not have meant Koot Hoomi and himself, for he must have been well aware that he was falsifying Koot Hoomi’s ideas and that the suppression of his own identity was the key-note of the mystification. He could not have meant himself and Professor Kiddle, or himself and Mr. Sinnett. What conceivable plurality could the word "we" have in his mind?

And now for a word about style. All who have the advantage of perusing the Theosophist know that the literary style of Madame Blavatsky is a distinctive one. Its peculiarity is the repetition of an idea more than once in different words in the same sentence. Thus professor Kiddle talks about "the reign of law unchanging and unchangeable." This has been converted into "the eternal reign of immutable law unchanging and unchangeable." Professor Kiddle wrote: "institutions crumble before their onward march," alluding to the march of ideas. This has been changed to "will crumble before their onward march, crushed by their irresistible force"; and "material plane" has been changed to "material speck of dirt." Plainly we have here the style of diction of Madame Blavatsky; or the "boy" is a master of refined mockery of a style of composition not often met with.

To sum up: --

1. It is admitted that the letter in "The Occult World" converting an eulogy of Spiritualism into a diatribe against it, was written by some one who knew all about Professor Kiddle’s lecture.

2. The Theosophists, not seeing the full force of the admission, have stated positively that "Koot Hoomi" had nothing whatever to do with this conversion.

3. Everyone outside the light triangle of the Theosophist six-rayed star will be quite confident that the "boy" is equally innocent.

4. The only other conclusion that can be arrived at is that the matter, far from being, as Mr. Sinnett seems to think a matter of pure comedy, is more serious than ever. "Never," said an old barrister, "can I tell the full force of my case until I have heard the defence of the accused."

QUODLIBET.