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Blavatsky Net - Theosophy

This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.

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[From the Bombay Gazette, Oct. 29th, 1880.]

IN the issue of the 19th instant of your worthy contemporary, I find over two columns devoted to the doubtful glorification, but mostly to the abuse, of my humble individuality. There is a long confidential letter from Colonel Olcott to an officer of our Society, obtained surreptitiously by somebody, and marked "private"—a word showing in itself that the document was never meant for the public eye—and an editorial, principally filled with cheap abuse, and venomous, though common-place, suggestions. The latter was to be expected, but I would like information upon the following points: (1) How did the editor come into possession of a document stolen from the desk of the President of the Bombay Branch of the Theosophical Society? and (2) having got it, what right had he to publish it at all, without first obtaining consent from the writer or addressee—a consent which he could never have obtained? and (3) how is such an action to be characterized? If the law affords no redress for a wrong like this I am content, at least, to abide the verdict of every well-bred man or woman who shall read the letter and comments thereon. This private letter having been written about, but not by me, I abandon this special question to be settled between the offended and the offender, and touch but upon the one which concerns me directly.

I have lived long enough in this world of incessant strife, in which the "survival of the fittest" seems to mean the triumph of the most unprincipled, to have learned that when I have once allowed my name to appear in the light of a benevolent genius, for the production of "cups," "saucers" and "brooches," I must bear the penalty; especially when the people are so foolish as to take the word "Magic" either in its popular superstitious sense—that of the work of the devil—or in that of jugglery. Therefore and precisely because I am an "elderly lady from Russia viâ America," the latter country of unlimited freedom—especially in newspaper personal abuse—has toughened me to the extent of being indifferent as to the sneering and jeering of newspapers upon questions they do not understand at all; provided they are witty and remain within the limits of propriety and do no harm but to myself. Being neither a professional medium nor a professional anything, and making my experiments in "Occult phenomena" only in the presence of a few friends—rarely before anyone who is not a member of our Society—I have a right to claim from the public a little more fairness and politeness than are usually accorded to paid jugglers and even alleged Thaumaturgists. And if my friends will insist upon publishing about "Occult phenomena" taking place in their presence, they should at least preface their narratives with the following warning: Pukka Theosophy believes in no miracle, whether divine or devilish; recognizes nothing as supernatural; believes only in facts and Science; studies the laws of Nature, both Occult and patent; and gives attention particularly to the former, just because exact Science will have nothing to do with them.

Such laws are those of Magnetism in all its branches, Mesmerism, Psychology, etc. More than once in the history of its past has Science been made the victim of its own delusions as to its professed infallibility; and the time must come when the perfection of Asiatic Psychology and its knowledge of the forces of the invisible world will be recognized, as were the circulation of the blood, electricity, and so forth, after the first sneers and lampoons died away. The "silly attempts to hoodwink individuals" will then be viewed as honest attempts at proving to this generation of Spiritualists and believers in past " miracle-mongers," that there is naught miraculous in this world of Matter and Spirit, of visible results and invisible causes; naught—but the great wickedness of a world of Christians and Pagans, alike ridiculously superstitious in one direction, that of their respective religions, and malicious whenever a purely disinterested and philanthropic effort is made to open their eyes to the truth. I beg leave to further remark that personally I never bragged of anything I might have done, nor do I offer any explanation of the phenomena, except to utterly disclaim the possession of any miraculous or supernatural powers, or the performing of anything by jugglery—i.e., with the usual help of confederates and machinery. That’s all. And surely, if there is anything like a sense of justice left in society, I am amenable to neither statutory nor social laws for gratifying the interest of members of our Society, and the wishes of my personal friends, by exhibiting to them in privacy various phenomena, in which I believe far more firmly than any of them, since I know the laws by which they are produced, and am ready to stand any amount of personal newspaper abuse whenever these results are told to the public. The "official circles at Simla" was an incorrect and foolish phrase to use. I never produced anything in the "official circles"; but I certainly hope to have impressed a few persons belonging to such "official circles" with the sense that I was neither an impostor nor a "hoodwinker of official personages," for whom, moreover, so long as I live up to the law of the country, and respect it (especially considering my natural democratic feelings, strengthened by my American naturalization), I am not bound to have any more respect than each of them personally deserves in his individual capacity. I must add, for the personal gratification of the Editor of your contemporary, and in the hope that this will soothe his irate feelings, that of the five eye-witnesses to the "cup" production, three (two of these of the "official circle") utterly disbelieve the genuineness of the phenomenon, though I would be pleased to know how, with all their scepticism, they would be able to account for it. I do not imitate the indiscretion of the Editor and mention names, but leave the public to draw such inferences as they please.

I am a private individual, and no one has a right to call upon me to rise and explain. Therefore, by causing Colonel Olcott’s stolen letter to be followed by a paragraph entitled "The way they treat ‘occult phenomena’ in England," giving an account of the arrest of Miss Houghton, a medium who obtained money under false pretences, the Editor, by the implied innuendo which likens my case to hers, became guilty of one more unprovoked and ungentlemanly insult towards me, who obtain neither money nor favours of any sort for my "phenomena," and lays himself open to very hard reprisals. The only benefit I have ever derived from my experiments, when made public, is newspaper abuse and more or less unfavourable comments upon my unfortunate self all over the country. This, unless my convictions were strong indeed, would amount to obtaining Billingsgate and martyrdom under false pretences, and begging a reputation for insanity. The game would hardly be worth the candle, I think.

Amritzur, Oct. 25th, 1880.

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List of Articles
African Magic
Ahkoond of Swat
An Astral Prophet
An Unsolved Mystery
Ancient Doctrines Vindicated
Ancient Magic in Modern Science
Animated Statues
Answers to Queries
Antiquity of the Vedas
Apollonius Tyaneus and Simon Magus
Are Chelas "Mediums"?
Are Dreams but Idle Visions?
Arya Samaj
The Babel of Modern Thought
Black Magic in Science
Blessings of Publicity
Bright Spot of Light
Buddhism, Christianity and Phallicism
Buddhism in America
Can the Double Murder?
Can the Mahatmas Be Selfish?
Case of Obsession
Chelas and Lay Chelas
Chinese Spirits
Christmas Then and Christmas Now
Civilization, the Death of Art and Beauty
Claims of Occultism
Classification of "Principles"
Count St. Germain
Cross and Fire
Cycle Moveth
Denials and the Mistakes of the Nineteenth Century
Devil's Own-Thoughts on Ormuzd and Ahriman
Diagnoses and Palliatives
Dialogue on the Mysteries of the After Life
Dialogues between the Two Editors
Do the Rishis Exist?
Does Vaccination Prevent Smallpox?
Dr. Beard Criticized
Dreamland and Somnambulism
Drift of Western Spiritualism
Dual Aspect of Wisdomhe
Echoes from India. What is Hindu Spiritualism?
Eddy Manifestations
Editorial Comment
Editorial Appendix
Eighth Wonder
Electric and Magnetic Affinities between Man and Nature
Esoteric Axioms and Spiritual Speculations
"Esoteric Buddhism" and its Critic
"Esoteric Buddhism" and the "Secret Doctrine"
Esoteric Character of the Gospels
Fakirs and Tables
Fall of Ideals
Fate of the Occultist
Few Thoughts on Some Wise Words from a Wise Man
Force of Prejudice
French View of Women's Rights
Grand Inquisitor
"H. M." and the Todas
H. P. Blavatsky on Precipitation and Other Matters
H. P. Blavatsky's Masonic Patent
Have Animals Souls?
Hindu Widow-Marriage
History of a "Book"
History of a Planet
Holmes Controversy
Holmes Controversy(continued)
Huxley and Slade
Hypnotism, and Its Relations to Other Modes of Fascination
Imperfections of Science
Indian Metaphysics
Intro-Version of Mental Vision
Is Creation Possible for Man?
Is Denunciation a Duty?
Is Foeticide a Crime?
"Is it Idle to Argue Further?"
Is Suicide a Crime?
Is the Desire to "Live" Selfish?
Is Theosophy a Religion?
"Isis Unveiled" and the "Theosophist" on Reincarnation
Isis Unveiled and the Vishishtadwaita
"It's the Cat!"
Jews in Russia
Kabalah and the Kabalists
Kabalistic Views of "Spirits"
Karmic Visions
Knout, The. As Wielded by the Great Russian Theosophist
Kosmic Mind
Lack of Unity among Spiritualists
Lamas and Druses
Land of Mystery
Last Song of the Swan
Le Phare de L'Inconnu
Leaven of Theosophy
Leo Tolstoi and His Unecclesiastical Christianity
"Let Every Man Prove His Own Work"
Life and Death
Life Principle
Literary Jottings on Criticism, Authorities, and Other Matters
Lodges of Magic
Logic versus Peripatetic
Madame Blavatsky on "The Himalayan Brothers"
Mahatmas and Chelas
Memory in the Dying
Mind in Nature
Missing Link
Missionaries Militant
Mistaken Notions on "The Secret Doctrine"
Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs
Mote and the Beam
Mr. A. Lillie's Delusions
My Books
Mysterious Race
Nature's Human Magnets
Negations of Science
New Cycle
(New) York against Lankester. A new War of the Roses
"Not a Christian"!
Note on Eliphas Levi
Note on "Memory"
Notes on some Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenets
Notice to Mediums
Number Seven
Number Seven and Our Society
Occult or Exact Science?
Occult Phenomena
Occultism or Magic
Occultism versus the Occult Arts
Old Hindu Ships
Old Philosophers and Modern Critics
On Pseudo-Theosophy
On The New Year's Morrow
"Oppressed Widowhood" in America
Organisation of the Theosophical Society
Origin of Evil
Our Cycle and the Next
Our Three Objects
Paradoxical World
Parting Words
Persian Zoroastrianism and Russian Vandalism
Pertinent Queries
Pertinent Questions
Philosophers and Philosophicules
Popular Idea of Soul-Survival
Posthumous Publication
Practical Occultism
Pralaya of Modern Science
Premature and Phenomenal Growths
Progress and Culture
Psychic and Noetic Action
Psychic Warning
Psychology - The Science of the Soul
Puzzle from Adyar
Puzzle in "Esoteric Buddhism"
Queries and Answers
Questions Answered about Yoga Vidya
Re-Classification of Principles
Recent Progress in Theosophy
Reincarnations in Tibet
Reply to Our Critics, A.
Republican Citizen
Retort Courteous
Roots of Ritualism in Church and Masonry
Russian Atrocities
Sacred Tree of Kum Bum
Science of Life
Science of Magic
"Scrutator Again"
Search after Occultism
Seeming "Discrepancies"
Seventeen-Rayed Sun-Disc
She Being Dead Yet Speaketh
Signal of Danger
Signs of the Times
Six-Pointed and Five-Pointed Stars
Society Without a Dogma
Some Scientific Questions Answered
Spiritual Progress
Spiritualism and Occult Truth
Spiritualism and Spiritualists
Spiritualism in Russia
Spiritualistic Tricksters
Star-Angel-Worship in the Roman Catholic Church
Stars and Numbers
Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan
Substantial Nature of Magnetism
Theories about Reincarnation and Spirits
Theory of Cycles
"Theosophical Mahatmas"
Theosophical Society: Its Mission and Its Future
Theosophists and their Opponents
Theosophy and Spiritualism
Theosophy or Jesuitism?
Thoughts of the Dead
Thoughts on the Elementals
Tibetan Teachings
Tidal Wave
"To the Readers of 'Lucifer'"
Transmigration of the Life Atoms
Trickery or Magic?
Universe in a Nut-Shell
Views of the Theosophists
War in Olympus
Warning to Mediums
Was Cagliostro a "Charlatan"?
Washing the Disciples' Feet
What Are the Theosophists?
What is Occultism?
What is Theosophy?
"What Is Truth?"
What of Phenomena?
What Shall We Do for Our Fellow-Men?
What's in a Name? - Why the Magazine is called "Lucifer"
Which First - the Egg or the Bird?
Why Do Animals Suffer?
Why I Do Not Return to India
Why the "Vahan"?
"Word with Our Friends"
World-Improvement or World-Deliverance
Year is Dead, Long Live the Year
Year of Theosophy
Yoga Philosophy