"IT'S THE CAT!"
(Dedicated to those Members of the T.S. whom the cap
Let ignominy brand thy hated name;
Let modest matrons at thy mention start;
And blushing virgins when they read our annals
Skip o'er the guilty page that holds thy legend,
And blots the noble work . . .
An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie;
for an excuse is a lie guarded.
THE woman gave me of the tree, and I did eat,"
said the first man, the first sneak and coward, thus throwing
his own share of the blame upon his helpless mate. This may have
been "worse than a lie" according to Pope, yet,
in truth--it was not one. LIE was not born
with the first man or woman either. The Lie is the product of
later civilization, the legitimate child of SELFISHNESS--ready
to sacrifice to itself the whole of mankind--and of HYPOCRISY,
often born of fear. The original sin for which, agreeably to the
orthodox Sunday School teaching, the whole world was cursed, drowned,
and went unforgiven till the year 1 A.D.--is
not the greatest sin. The descendants of Adam improving
upon their grandsire's transgression, invented lie and added to
it excuse and prevarication. "It's the cat" is a saying
that may have originated with the antediluvians, whenever an actual
sin had been committed and a scapegoat was needed. But it
required the post-diluvians to father on the "cat" even
that which had never been committed at all; that which was an
invention of the fertile brain of the slanderers, who never hesitate
to lie most outrageously whenever they feel inclined to ventilate
a grudge against a brother or neighbour. Fruits of atonement,
Children of redemption, we lie and sin the more readily for that.
No "shame on us," but:
Hail to the policy that first began
To temper with the heart to hide its thoughts,
is the world's motto. Is not the World one gigantic lie? Is there
anything under the sun that offers such rich variety and almost
countless degrees and shades as lying does? Lying is the policy
of our century, from Society lying, as a necessity imposed upon
us by culture and good breeding, up to individual lying, i.e.,
uttering a good, square unmitigated lie, in the shape of false
witness, or as the Russian proverb has it:--"shifting off
a sin from a diseased on to a healthy head." Oh lie--legion
is thy name! Fibs and lies are now the cryptogamic excrescences
on the soil of our moral and daily lives as toadstools are those
of forest swamps, and their respective orders are as large. Both
are fungi; plants which delight in shadowy nooks, and form mildew,
mold and smut on both the soil of moral life and that of physical
nature. Oh, for that righteous tongue:
That will not sell its honesty, or tell a lie!
As said, there are fibs and fibs, conscious and unconscious, hoaxes
and impostures, deceptions and calumnies--the latter often followed
by moral and physical ruin--mild perversions of truth or evasion,
and deliberate duplicity. But there are also catch-penny lies,
in the shape of newspaper chaff, and innocent misrepresentations,
due simply to ignorance. To the latter order belong most of the
newspaper statements regarding the Theosophical Society, and its
official scape-goat--H. P. Blavatsky.
It has become a matter of frequent occurrence of late, to find
in serious articles upon scientific subjects the name of "Esoteric
Buddhism" mentioned, and oftener still that of "Mme.
Blavatsky" taken in vain. The latter circumstance is really
very, very considerate, and--in one sense at any rate--overwhelmingly
To find one's humble name collated with those of Sir Monier Monier-Williams
K.C.I.E. and Professor Bastian is an honour, indeed. When, for
instance, the great Oxford lecturer chooses to make a few
big and bold slashes into fact and truth--no doubt to please his
pious audience--and says that Buddhism has never had any occult
or esoteric system of doctrine which it withheld from the multitudes,--what
happens? Forthwith, "Esoteric Buddhism" receives, metaphorically
speaking, a black eye; the Theosophical Society, a kick or two;
and finally, the gates of the journalistic poultry-yard being
flung wide open, a vehement sortie against "Blavatsky"
& Co. is effected by a flock of irritated geese sallying therefrom
to hiss and peck at the theosophical heels. "Our Ancestors,
have saved Rome!" they cackle, "let us save the British
Empire from these pretenders to Buddhist knowledge!"
Again: a lucky "correspondent" gets admittance into
the sanctum of Professor Bastian. The German ethnologist, "dressed
like an alchemist of the middle ages" and smiling at "questions
concerning the trances of famous Fakirs," proceeds
to inform the interviewer that such trances never last more than
"from five to six hours." This--the alchemist-like dress,
we suppose, helping to bring about a happy association of ideas--leads
presto, in the American "Sabbath-breaking paper,"
to a stern rebuke to our address. We read on the following day:
The famous Fakirs . . . however they may have imposed on other
travellers, certainly did not do so on this quiet little German
philosopher, Madame Blavatsky to the contrary notwithstanding.
Very well. And yet Professor Bastian, all the "correspondents"
to the contrary notwithstanding, lays himself widely open to a
most damaging criticism from the standpoint of fact and
truth. Furthermore, we doubt whether Professor Bastian,
a learned ethnologist, would ever refer to Hindu Yogis as Fakirs--the
latter appellation being strictly limited and belonging only to
Mussulman devotees. We doubt, still more, whether Professor
Bastian, an accurate German, would deny the frequent occurrence
of the phenomenon that Yogis and these same "Fakirs,"
remain in deep, death-like trance for days, and sometimes for
weeks; or even that the former have been occasionally buried for
forty consecutive days, and recalled to life again at the end
of that period, as witnessed by Sir Claude Wade and others.
But all this is too ancient and too well authenticated history,
to need substantiation. When "correspondents" will have
learned the meaning, as well as the spelling of the term dhyana--which
the said "correspondent" writes diana--we may
talk with them of Yogis and Fakirs, pointing out to them the great
difference between the two. Meanwhile, we may kindly leave them
to their own hazy ideas: they are the "Innocents Abroad"
in the realm of the far Orient, the blind led by the blind, and
theosophical charity extends even to critics and hereditary foes.
But there are certain other things which we cannot leave uncontradicted.
While week after week, and day after day, the "Innocents"
lost in the theosophical labyrinths, publish their own harmless
fibs--"slight expansions of truth" somebody called them--they
also often supplement them by the wicked and malicious falsehoods
of casual correspondents--ex-members of the T.S. and their friends
generally. These falsehoods generated in, and evolved the depths
of the inner consciousness of our relentless enemies, cannot be
so easily disregarded. Although, since they hang like Mahommed's
coffin in the emptiness of rootless space, and so are a denial
in themselves, yet they are so maliciously interspersed with
hideous lies built on popular and already strongly-rooted
prejudices that, if left uncontradicted, they would work the most
terrible mischief. Lies are ever more readily accepted than truth,
and are given up with more difficulty. They darken the horizons
of theosophical centres, and prevent unprejudiced people from
learning the exact truth about theosophy and its herald, the Theosophical
Society. How terribly malicious and revengeful some of these enemies
are, is evidenced by the fact that certain of them do not hesitate
to perform a moral hari-kari upon themselves; to slay their
own reputations for truthfulness for the pleasure of hitting hard--or
trying, at all events, to hit--those whom they hate. Why
this hatred? Simply because a calumny, a wicked, groundless slander
is often forgiven, and even forgotten; a truth told--never!
Prevented from disproving that truth, for good reasons, their
hatred is kindled--for we hate only what we fear. Thus
they will invent a lie, cunningly grafting it on some utterly
false, but nevertheless popular accusation, and raise anew the
cry, "It's the cat, the ca-a-t, the ca-a-t!"
Success in such a policy depends, you see, on temperament and--impudence.
We have a friend, who will never go to the trouble of persuading
anyone to believe him on his "aye" or his "nay."
But, whenever he remarks that his words are doubted, he will say,
in the quietest and most innocent way possible, "You know
well I am too impudent to lie!" There is a great psychological
truth hidden under this seeming paradox. Impudence often originates
from two entirely opposite feelings: fearlessness and cowardice.
A brave man will never lie; a coward lies to cover the fact of
his being one, and a liar into the bargain. Such a character will
never confess himself at fault no more than a vain man will; hence,
whatever mischance happens to either, they will always try to
lay it at the door of somebody else. It requires a great nobility
of character, or a firm sense of one's duty, to confess one's
mistakes and faults. Therefore, a scapegoat is generally chosen,
upon whose head the sins of the guilty are placed by the transgressors.
This scapegoat becomes gradually "the cat."
Now the Theosophical Society has its own special, so to speak,
its "family cat," on which are heaped all the past,
present and future iniquities of its Fellows. Whether an F.T.S.
quarrels with his mother-in-law, lets his hair grow, forgets to
pay his debts, or falls off from grace and theosophical association,
owing to personal or family reasons, wounded vanity, or what not:
presto comes the cry--whether in Europe, Asia, America
or elsewhere--It's the cat! Look at this F.T.S.; he is
writhing in the pangs of balked ambition. His desire to reign
supreme over his fellow members is frustrated; and finding himself
disappointed--it is on the "cat" that he is now venting
his wrath. "The grapes are sour," he declares, because
"the cat" would not cut them for him, nor would she
mew in tune to his fiddle. Hence, the Vine has "worn itself
too thin." Behold that other "star" of Theosophy,
smarting under another kind of grievance--unnamed, because unnamable.
Hatred--"till one be lost for ever"--rages in this brotherly
heart. Pouncing like a bird of prey upon its chosen victim--which
it would carry far, far up into the clouds to kill it with the
more certainty when it lets it drop--the would-be avenger of his
own imaginary wrongs remains utterly blind to the fact, that by
raising his chosen victim so high he only elevates it the more
above all men. You cannot kill that which you hate, O blind hater,
whatever the height you dash it down from; the "cat"
has nine lives, good friend, and will ever fall on to its feet.
There are a few articles of belief among the best theosophists,
the bare mention of which produces upon certain persons and classes
of society the effect of a red rag on an infuriated bull. One
of these is our belief--very harmless and innocent per se--in
the existence of very wise and holy personages, whom some call
their MASTERS, while others refer to them
Now, these may or may not actually exist--(we say they do); they
may or may not be as wise, or possess altogether the wonderful
powers ascribed to, and claimed for them. All this is a question
of personal knowledge--or, in some cases, faith. Yet, there
are the 350,000,000 of India alone who believe since time immemorial
in their great Yogis and Mahatmas, and who feel as certain of
their existence in every age, from countless centuries back down
to the present day, as they feel sure of their own lives. Are
they to be treated for this as superstitious, self-deceived fools?
Are they more entitled to this epithet than the Christians of
every church who believe respectively in past and present Apostles,
in Saints, Sages, Patriarchs and Prophets?
Let that be as it will; the reader must realize that the present
writer entertains no desire to force such a belief on any one
unwilling to accept it, let him be a layman or a theosophist.
The attempt was foolishly made a few years back in all truth and
sincerity, and--it has failed. More than this, the revered names
were, from the first, so desecrated by friend and foe, that the
once almost irresistible desire to bring the actual truth home
to some who needed living ideals the most, has gradually
weakened since then. It is now replaced by a passionate regret
for having ever exhumed them from the twilight of legendary lore,
into that of broad daylight.
The wise warning:
Give not that which is holy to the dogs,
Neither cast ye your pearls before swine--
is now impressed in letters of fire on the heart of those guilty
of having made of the "Masters" public property. Thus
the wisdom of the Hindo-Buddhist allegorical teaching which says,
"There can be no Mahatmas, no Arhats, during the Kali
yuga," is vindicated. That which is not believed
in, does not exist. Arhats and Mahatmas having been declared
by the majority of Western people as non-existent, as a fabrication--do
not exist for the unbelievers.
"The Great Pan is dead!" wailed the mysterious voice
over the Ionian Sea, and forthwith plunged Tiberius and the pagan
world into despair. The nascent Nazarenes rejoiced and attributed
that death to the new "God." Fools, both, who little
suspected that Pan--the "All Nature"--could not
die. That that which had died was only their fiction, the
horned monster with the legs of a goat, the "god" of
shepherds and of priests who lived upon the popular superstition,
and made profit of the PAN of their own
making. TRUTH can never die.
We greatly rejoice in thinking that the "Mahatmas" of
those who sought to build their own ephemeral reputation upon
them and tried to stick them as a peacock's feather in their hats--are
also dead. The "adepts" of wild hallucinations, and
too wide-awake, ambitious purposes; the Hindu sages 1,000 years
old; the "mysterious strangers," and the tutti quanti
transformed into convenient pegs whereon to hang--one, "orders"
inspired by his own nauseous vices; another, his own selfish purposes;
a third, a mocking image from the astral light--are now as dead
as the "god Pan," or the proverbial door-nail. They
have vanished into thin air as all unclean "hoaxes"
must. Those who invented the "Mahatmas" 1,000 years
old, seeing the hoax will not pay, may well say they "have
recovered from the fascination and taken their proper stand."
And these are welcome and sure "to come out
and turn upon all their dupes the vials of their sarcasm,"
though it will never be the last act of their "life's
drama." For the true, the genuine "Masters,"
whose real names have, fortunately, never been given out, cannot
be created and killed at the beck and call of the sweet will of
any "opportunist," whether inside or outside of the
T.S. It is only the Pans of the modern nymphs and the Luperci,
the greedy priests of the Arcadian god, who are, let us hope--dead
This cry, "it is the cat!" will end by making the Theosophical
Society's "scape-goat" quite proud. It has already ceased
to worry the victim, and now it is even becoming welcome and is
certainly a very hopeful sign for the cause. Censure is hard when
deserved; whenever unmerited it only shows that there is in the
persecuted party something more than in the persecutors. It is
the number of enemies and the degree of their fierceness, that
generally decide on the merits and value of those they would brush
off the face of the earth if they could. And, therefore, we close
with this quotation from old Addison:
Censure, says an ingenious author, is the tax a man pays to
the public for being eminent. It is a folly for an eminent man
to think of escaping it, and a weakness to be affected by it.
All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and, indeed, of every
age in the world, have passed through this fiery persecution.
There is no defense against reproach but obscurity; it is a kind
of concomitant to greatness, as satires and invectives were an
essential part of a Roman triumph.
Dear, kind enemies of the "Tartarian termagant" how
hard you do work to add to her eminence and greatness, to be sure!
Lucifer, June, 1889
"No Religion Higher Than Truth"
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