Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

Mme. Blavatsky's Disciples

Mr. Judge says Annie Besant
is scheming to be President of the Theosophists.

[First published in the Boston Evening Herald, April 27, 1895.]

At the meeting of the American section of the Theosophical Society in Horticultural Hall tomorrow more than 3000 members will be represented by delegates and proxies.

It is expected that the American section will vote to become independent of the European.  The chief personage in the convention will be William Q. Judge.  Mr. Judge seems to be supported by the majority of the American theosophists, while he is bitterly opposed by those in England.  In England he is accused of forging letters from the Mahatmas.

Mr. Judge denies this strenuously, and says the charge is made by Annie Besant because she desires to get him out of the way so that she may become president of the society.

Mr. Judge says that even if these letters are forgeries (of course not his), it is easily possible, with the laxity of the Indian postal arrangements, for the messages to have been written en route.

A Boston theosophist has recently received a letter referring to this controversy, from A. P. Sinnett of London.  The gentleman who has received the letter says:

“This whole theosophical movement, as engineered by Mr. Judge, hangs upon the question of the genuineness of Madame Blavatsky’s alleged Mahatmas.  The principal evidence in their behalf is that given by Mr. Sinnett in his Occult World and Esoteric Buddhism.”

He then refers to the “remarkable change of front” in the following letter:

[Statement by A.P. Sinnett]

“Some of Mr. Judge’s recent remarks about the possibility of letters coming into existence in the handwriting of the Mahatmas, which do not really emanate from their authorship at all, are quite in harmony with my own knowledge of the facts; but I am obliged to give my recognition of that embarrassing condition of things a very different application from that which Mr. Judge suggests.  I have known for a great many years that many letters in the Mahatmas’ handwriting, coming through Madame Blavatsky herself, were anything but what they seemed.

“The trouble in this respect began about the year 1887 (1), when Madame Blavatsky was in this country [England], and desirous of carrying out many arrangements connected with the society in London, of which I personally disapproved.  To my surprise I received through her letters in the familiar handwriting of the Mahatma K. H., which endorsed her view and desired my compliance.  These gave me great distress at the time, though I did not at first suspect the bona fide of their origin.

“The flavor of their style was unlike that to which I had been used during the long course of my previous correspondence with the Mahatma, and gradually my mind was forced to the conviction that they could not be really authentic.  A year or so later, when the Coulomb scandal had for the moment almost overwhelmed Madame Blavatsky’s influence here, I visited her in her retirement at Wurzburg (2), and in the intimate conversation that ensued she frankly avowed to me that the letters to which I have above referred had not proceeded from the Mahatma at all.

“She had, in fact, procured their production in order to subserve what she conceived to be the right policy of the society at the time --- falling into the fatal error of doing evil that good might come.  There is no room for supposing that I am mistaken in my recollection of what passed.  These are clear and definite, and were the subject of much conversation between myself and theosophical friends at the time.

“Moreover, at a somewhat later date, when Madame Blavatsky was staying at Ostend (3), I then referred to the matter, and said that I considered myself to have been hardly used, in so far as my deepest sentiment of loyalty to the Mahatma had been practiced upon for purposes with which he had nothing to do.  Madame Blavatsky, I remember, replied: ‘Well, you were not much hurt, because, after all, you never believed the letters were genuine.’ ”

The “Coulomb scandal” referred to the investigation of the Society for Psychical Research into the subject of these Mahatma letters, during which Mr. and Mrs. Coulomb, who had been at one time closely allied with Madame Blavatsky, declared that her letters were frauds --- mystic missives pulled down from the ceiling with a string.

Endnotes by BA editor:

(1)  An error (printing or otherwise).  The year was 1884.

(2)  A.P. Sinnett visited Madame Blavatsky at Wurzburg, Germany  in late September 1885.

(3)  Sinnett again visited H.P.B. at Ostende, Belgium in mid-July 1886.