THEOSOPHY, Vol. 23, No. 5, March, 1935
(Pages 194-204: 31K)
(Number 3 of a 10-part series)
IIIIf the "false prophets of Theosophy" are to be left untouched, the true prophets will be very soon -- as they have already been -- confused with the false. ... and if the false prophets, ... or even the weak-minded dupes, are left alone, then the Society threatens to become very soon a fanatical body split into three hundred sects -- like Protestantism -- each hating the other, and all bent in destroying the truth by monstrous exaggerations and idiotic schemes and shams.WHEN the article, "On Pseudo-Theosophy," from which the above text is taken, was written by H.P.B., the "false prophets" had already subverted the Parent theosophical society. To offset the internal cause of this visible evil effect on the Movement, H.P.B. had, six months earlier, established the "Esoteric Section," and the opposing currents in the Movement were thereby brought boiling to the surface. Not only what is said or done, but the circumstances which call forth words and deeds have to be weighed with them. In the same circumstances, or frame-work of Karma, no two men act the same, because they do not weigh them in the same scales of motive, of reason, of knowledge, of discrimination. [Note: A link to "On Pseudo-Theosophy", as well as the number of the paragraph that the ingredients for the above indented paragraph are found in, has been placed at the end of this article. --Compiler.]
--H.P.B.: Lucifer, March, 1889.
When H.P.B. wrote "On Pseudo-Theosophy," Mabel Collins had just entered into alliance with Michael Angelo Lane, Professor Coues and others soon to become open enemies; had been dismissed by H.P.B. from the co-editorship of Lucifer; and had left the society. Mrs. Annie Besant had just become a "convert" and had taken Mabel Collins' vacant place on Lucifer; Colonel Olcott had just been "pacified," so that his defection from H.P.B. and all that she represented in the Movement was thereby post-poned for another seven years; Mr. Sinnett, who had been a "sulking Achilles" for three years, was holding strictly private séances with his own select coterie, and already corresponding with C. W. Leadbeater, then in Ceylon, with the object of bringing that prophet-to-be to London as his own particular "psychic." Thus there had been as complete a house-cleaning as Karma permitted.
There was nothing new or unique in all this. One has but to study early Christian, early Buddhist, or any other "book of beginnings," to find the counterparts of what has gone on, of what is and is to be the Karma of the Movement in our own cycle.
Observed in the light of correspondence and analogy, any cycle, long or short, repeats the "seven ages" of every cycle. At any given stage, therefore, what is visibly in evidence can be traced either in retrospect or in prospect to its beginning and end. Where is the "beginning" and the "end" of every cycle of visible effects? Where else but on the plane of causes --the hearts and minds of the reincarnating Egos?
The mid-point passed, the descending half of any cycle presents the objective counterpart of what in the first half was subjective -- and vice versa. Otherwise, neither history nor prophecy were possible as spiritual, but only as psychic, clairvoyance. Possessed of neither, the "weak-minded dupes" cannot themselves tell the true from the false prophet, and so are the natural prey of the medium, the "sensitive," the "strong-minded" fanatic.
The year 1925 was the antipodes of 1875, as the year 1939 will be the antipodes of 1889. Another focus of cyclic "opposition," seen by a few, unknown to the many, marked the year 1925 as the establishment of the Parent T.S. marked 1875. Within the Movement thus established, the purgation of 1889 is on the descending arc. Meantime, he who runs may now read what, in 1889, was foreseen only by H.P.B. and Judge; what was then only an unheeded prophecy is now an accomplished fact: the once single Theosophical society has "split into three hundred sects"; each does "hate the others"; all are "bent in destroying the truth by monstrous exaggerations and idiotic schemes and shams."
Some brief remarks by Mr. Judge in 1886 apply as well to the existing situation and outlook, for his remarks were statements of the law of cycles and how to read it. He wrote:"The desire of the pious shall be accomplished. ... prophecy ... is based upon cyclic changes. ... No matter about dates; they are not to be given; but facts may be."Facts are the same for all; there is no partisanship in events. The partisanship is in those who misrepresent them. Who among Theosophists are willing to face the facts? And in so facing them, on which side of the facts are they?
Up to 1872 Mrs. Besant had been on the Christian side; from then until 1889 she was on the Atheist side; in 1889 she took her stand on the side represented by H.P.B.: in 1895 she succumbed to psychism; in 1925 she personified pseudo-Occultism as in 1889 H.P.B. personified the genuine. Meantime the facts were at all times unchanged, one and the same "unbroken series." The changes were all in Mrs. Besant. Thus in barely over half a century she had "boxed the compass" in her voyage through human life; for her disclosures in 1925 were but a jumble of Patristic and later Christian "revelations." In the end she succumbed as the fanatic succumbs -- "to that strongest of all psychic anaesthetics, ignorance and self-sufficiency," despite the natural nobility of her character.
It is not possible to draw the curtain over her mis-directed energies for the simple reason that from 1896 to her death she stood before the world, head of the largest of the theosophical societies, as the Successor of H.P.B. Her weakness was the weakness of human nature which every Theosophist, great or small in the world's eye, has to face, fight, conquer, or to which he must succumb, for it is "a battle without quarter on either side."
It is possible for any Theosophist to learn as much from the career of Mrs. Besant as from that of H.P.B., if both are studied in the same light -- the light of the Theosophy to which both alike professed single-hearted devotion. And this is now the more possible, because as persons both are mere memories, no longer living human centers of controversy.
The career of H.P.B. shows no variableness or shadow of turning from her first appearance in the theosophical arena until her death. On the other hand, the theosophical career of Mrs. Besant shows as unmistakably nothing but variableness and turning from 1889 to her death in 1933. If the teachings and example provided by H.P.B. lead the student toward the Masters of Wisdom, then Mrs. Besant's course could only lead away from Them. There is no more possibility of reconciling the two courses than of reconciling the idea of a personal God with that of Karma, or of reconciling the notion of personality with that of individuality. Both H.P.B. and Mrs. Besant traveled the same Path, but they traveled it in exactly opposite directions. As every Theosophist, every man, has to travel the same Path, his choice can only concern itself with its polar directions. He is indeed a "weak-minded dupe" who imagines either that he can avoid choice, or that he can travel in both directions. This longing to effect a compromise between what are fundamentally opposites and thus to have "peace at any price" is the great weakness of human nature. It underlies all human notions of "brotherhood" and "fraternity." Theosophists could learn much by studying the subject of "syncretism" as manifested during the early centuries of Christianity, its periodic recurrences among the well-meaning but "weak-minded" followers of the Christian sects and sectarians. The same syncretism influences great numbers of well-intentioned but misguided minds among the theosophical sects of to-day.
November, 1925, was the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Parent theosophical society. After the parting of the ways in 1895, Colonel Olcott and Mrs. Besant continued to claim that their society was the Theosophical Society because it continued to have the same "President-Founder." Mrs. Besant continued to claim that she was the Successor of H.P.B. and that the "Esoteric School" she had established and headed was the E.S.T. founded by H.P.B. Colonel Olcott died in 1907, and thereafter Mrs. Besant remained the undisputed head both of the esoteric and the exoteric line of "succession" thus claimed and accepted. The "anniversary number" of Mrs. Besant's Theosophist for November, 1925, shows in what direction and to what culmination that "succession" had led her, her satellites, and those who had trusted her and her assumed "occultism." The number is given over entirely, not to Theosophy, the Theosophical Movement, the great Objects of the Masters of Wisdom -- but to a complete report of the proceedings of the "Star" Congress in Holland. That "Congress," in furtherance of the "Liberal Catholic Church" and the "Krishnamurti cult," was held at Ommen, Holland, on the anniversary of H.P.B.'s birth, August 11, 1925. Verbatim reprints are given of the speeches made before a vast assembly drawn from the "four quarters of the known world." Mrs. Besant made the opening and closing addresses. The various addresses fill 166 large pages of The Theosophist. They should be read in their entirety by every Theosophist who has the courage to compare the Theosophy of H.P.B. with the pseudo-theosophy of Mrs. Besant. Only brief extracts can here be given. In her opening address Mrs. Besant said:"The whole gist of my message to you, gathered under the oriflamme of the Star, implies that you recognise ... that in the superhuman kingdoms there are great grades or orders of the superhuman beings. At the head of them all stands that mighty Being, the Nameless One, H.P.B. calls Him, for none can understand either His Name or comprehend His Being. We know that He came with His three Pupils from another world, the planet Venus, ... that They are the Lords of the Fire, who, since the middle of the Third Root Race have lived in Their chosen dwelling, the White Island of Shamballa, with its city of temples. There They still remain, are still accessible to those whom They summon to Their presence; and this was recognised by ... that later messenger of the White Lodge, H.P.B. She spoke of the assembly that was held there every seven years, attended by the great Angels of the nations as well as the superhuman Rshis, where the plan of the coming seven years was given to Them by the Head of the Hierarchy. ... Then you have, apart from Him who is called the King of the World -- ... immediately below Him, the three Pupils ... and the Lord Buddha, of the same rank as They, ... And then there come three Mighty Ones; the Lord Vaivasvata Manu ... with all His company ... And then the mighty Teacher of Angels and of men, whom the Buddhists call the Bodhisattva, whom the Hindus call by a name from which the term World Teacher is taken, ... Jagat Guru. ... The third of these wondrous Beings is the Lord the Maha Chohan. The Lord Vaivasvati Manu is the Representative and Ruler of the First Ray, under the Highest; the Bodhisattva, Krishna-Christ as He is sometimes called -- Krishna in India, Christ in Christendom; and then the Lord the Maha Chohan, who has under His guidance and control the Five Great Forces ...Christian as well as Oriental religions have, in their various stages of degeneracy, yielded the record of countless men and women who have fallen victim to religious mania. Within the past century India has had its Ramakrishna, Africa has witnessed "el Mahdi," Asia Minor its "Bahai" frenzy, England has produced her Thomas Lake Harris, Russia her Rasputin, and America had furnished an abundant crop -- William Miller of "second Advent" fame; the Noyes "Oneida Community"; Joseph Smith and his "Book of Mormon"; Mary Baker G. Eddy with her "Science and Health and (skeleton) Key to the Scriptures" -- a whole host of "revealers" during the wave of Spiritualism. Each centennial cycle within the "messianic" cycle supplies its own crop of these spiritual tares. All religious and theological history reeks with the records of megalomaniac individuals who are "inspired" by the Most High. At the present time the so-called "Oxford Group Movement" is spreading with great rapidity, its prime inducement being "direct personal communication with God" in all the affairs of life, as one might commune with his most intimate friend. The facts of these vagaries, these "varieties of religious experience," are known to every informed man, but neither the psychology of religion nor of science explains or can account for these aberrations.
"I want you to have that picture in your minds. Then below Them come the Chohans of the Seven Rays, each taking orders from the One above Them, passing on those orders to those below Them. You will notice these grow more numerous as we come down the great ladders of the superhuman kingdoms. ...
"I take it for granted that most of you are acquainted, as I have just briefly sketched for you, with these great facts of the occult life in the literature of the T.S., for gradually, step by step, more and more has been told of them. ...
"Keep then, I pray you, that rough outline in your minds, ... And now I have to give you, by command of the King, ... His message, and some of the messages of the Lord Maitreya and His great Brothers. ... what I am saying, as to matter of announcement, is definitely at the command of the King whom I serve. ...
"His taking possession of His chosen vehicle ... will be soon. Then He will choose, as before, His twelve apostles and their chief, the Lord Himself. He has already chosen them, but I have only the command to mention seven who have reached the stage of Arhatship, ..."
It was this well-known and ever-present danger confronting all who would "rush in where angels fear to tread" that moved H. P. Blavatsky to warn with all her energy against the like foolhardiness on the part of Theosophists infected with "itch for occult preferment." Her admonitions were disregarded in many cases, of which Mrs. Besant is the most notable because the most ruinous example. In true Occultism alone is to be found the rationale of the countless forms of religious dementia, because in true Occultism alone is to be found the law of mental and moral sanity.
Arhatship, in Occultism, is the perfection of triple evolution in the individual Ego. Who are the "seven who have reached Arhatship," according to Mrs. Besant's Ommen "revelation," and whom she has the "command to mention"?"The first two, my brother Charles Leadbeater and myself, ... C. Jinarajadasa, ... George Arundale, ... Oscar Kollerstrom, ... Rukmini Arundale, ...Is all this the zenith or the nadir of Theosophy and Occultism? Is this Arhatship or the insanity of egotism? Is this the culmination of the Theosophical Movement, or its total obscuration?
"I left one out and must leave out another. Naturally, our Krishnaji was one, but he is to be the vehicle of the Lord. And the other is one who is very dear to all of us, as to the whole Brotherhood: Bishop James Wedgwood. He had borne his crucifixion before the seal of Arhatship was set upon him by his King. ...
"Those are the first seven of the twelve whom He has chosen, with Himself as the thirteenth. 'Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye do well, for so I am.' ...
"Now the wonder may come into your mind: H.P.B. was the only one who was really announced as the Messenger of the Master. Since then the world has grown a good deal, and it is possible that while the few may be repelled, many thousands will be attracted to the Christ. ... Whatever the effect, since He has said it, it is done."
Mrs. Besant went on to affirm that, "besides the School of which I am the Outer Head," the "Lord" had especially wanted three lines of activity in preparation for "His coming" -- the "Liberal Catholic Church"; "Co-Masonry"; and the "World University."
Following Mrs. Besant, the "arhats" present -- Kollerstrom, Arundale, Wedgwood, "Shrimati" Rukmini Arundale -- made their mirific appearances and blessed the assembled auditors with their respective ancillary revelations. "Arhat" George Arundale, in the fulness of his inspiration, made an additional revelation which he desired to be remembered. As memory, even among the illuminati, is not always to be relied upon any more than revelation, and as "arhat" Arundale is now the President of the Adyar society, it seems no more than just to repeat his revelation:"I think if I was asked to point out one or two, or three or four, or half a dozen young people who in the future will be among the statesmen, the greatest statesmen of the world, I should certainly number our Nitya among them, perchance among the first of them. And I want you to remember what I am saying to-day, because I venture to think it is in the nature of a prophecy: I think, that as the years pass, not only shall we see our Krishnaji leading the life to which he is so supremely dedicated, but we shall also see at his right hand his great brother recognised throughout the world as one of its greatest statesman-leaders."Alas, for the treatment accorded by Karma to the Ommen prophets. "Nitya," the brother of "Krishnaji," repudiated the prophecy by dying three months after. And "Krishnaji," despite the "command" of "the Lord," the "arhatship" and prophecies of Mrs. Besant, Leadbeater, et al., later on repudiated successively the "Liberal Catholic Church," the role of "Messiah" assigned him, the "Order of the Star," "Co-Masonry," the "theosophical society" the "theosophy," the "King of the World," and the other "decorations" bestowed upon him by all this prophetic largess.
But all this was, on August 11, 1925, securely hidden in the actual future which the false prophets were so glibly foretelling. In her closing address Mrs. Besant admonished her awed disciples thus:"Therefore go out into the world and act as though you knew the Christ, as if He walked among you; act as though you were sure that He sent His messenger to proclaim the Coming, ... Act as though it were true ..."Perhaps in these remarks may be found the clue to Mrs. Besant's own bewildered and tortuous path. It is the world-old method of "Quietism," of religious "asceticism," of self-hypnotisation. "Affirmation" and "denial," in one guise or another, is the "passive Yoga" of religious psychism.
At all events, the Ommen prophecies were breathed in by her followers with intoxicated faith, and so the stage was set for a second "Adyar manifestation" at the "Jubilee Convention" of the theosophical society at Adyar, to be held at the end of December, 1925, in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the Parent organization.
In preparation for that event, "arhats" Besant and Jinarajadasa, signing as President and Vice-President of the Adyar T.S., published in the December, 1925, Theosophist, a Statement to "the Members of the General Council", advocating the establishment of a "World Religion" of which they proposed to make the T.S. "an integral part". The Statement recites:"The time has arrived, in consequence of the approaching Coming of the World Teacher, when a special effort to prepare His way should be made. ...The "only official" in this "world religion" was to be a "Recorder". The "Right Rev. G. S. Arundale, M.A., LL.B., (Cantab.), D.L. (Nat. Univ. India) S. Michael's Foundation, Huizen", was the "arhat" chosen for that office.
A splendid opportunity is offered to the Theosophical Society to take its place as the corner-stone of the religions of the future, as a Master once predicted. We, the President and Vice-President of the Theosophical Society, earnestly beg you, the members of its General Council, not to reject it, but to take your rightful place in this movement towards the Unity of Religions."
The report of the "Jubilee Convention" is to be found in the Theosophist for February, 1926. In "On the Watch-tower" Mrs. Besant comments:"It will be very long, I think, before we shall see such another Convention in Adyar as that of our Golden Jubilee of 1925. ... At the end of its first half century, it [the T.S.] had so faithfully fulfilled its task that it was possible for its True Founders ... to stand, with its President [herself], before the Ruler of our world and receive the work for the next half-century, comprised in three institutions, destined to become world-wide: The World Religion, the World University, the World Government [by the restoration of the Mysteries,...]."Readers of The Theosophical Movement will observe that in all this Mrs. Besant was repeating the course taken by Madam Tingley in 1896 with her "Crusade" and her "School for the Revival of the Lost Mysteries of Antiquity". Mrs. Besant's "Coming Christ" was, in like manner, her own repetition of a "revelation" made two years earlier than her first announcement of "Krishnaji", by "Blue Star" to her faithful followers in "The Temple of the People" at Halcyon, California. Mrs. Besant's Ommen "revelations" regarding "the King of the World" and all the accompanying litter of "Angels and super-human Kingdoms", are her adaptations of countless precedents in every religion. Just as Mrs. Besant converted the writings of H.P.B. into their antithesis, so did she and Leadbeater "lift" from antecedent "seers" their rococo "new dispensation". Apparently, so far as their literature discloses, not a solitary leader of the Adyar society ever took the trouble to "check up" anything whatever uttered by these false prophets.
Leadbeater came from Australia to the Adyar Jubilee accompanied by a contingent of fifty devotees; an immense company of delegates and faithful members gathered; Krishnaji and others of the "arhats" were worshipfully present. "Arhat" Arundale read to the assemblage a "Message of the Master". This "message" was published in the January, 1926, Theosophist. It should be compared with any of the original authentic Messages from the Masters of H.P.B. The opening sentence of the "message" read by "arhat" Arundale should have told anyone who was its real author -- Leadbeater. It bears his familiar hall-mark, "your great President", and continues in his tell-tale style throughout. The "Statement" drawn up by Mrs. Besant and Jinarajadasa of "The Basis Truths of Religion" was duly passed by the obedient General Council.
All the proceedings of the "Jubilee Convention" were conducted in the manner of a religious "revival". One of the contributors to the February Theosophist, John Cordes, General Secretary for Austria, gives this report:"Verily a fair background to the Glad Tidings of the founding of a World Religion and its Mysteries, later to be supported by a World University to be! The World Religion links already now officially four great Movements: the Theosophical Society, the Order of the Star in the East, the Bharata Samaja and the Liberal Catholic Church ...Over against all this medley of religious mummeries may fittingly be placed a statement by H. P. Blavatsky in Isis Unveiled, I, 307:
"The Convention witnessed the opening of, and daily worship in a Hindu Temple, a Buddhist Shrine, and beautiful daily celebrations of Mass and Benediction of the Liberal Catholic Church within a temporary shed on the Compound, which is furthermore to be presently enriched by a Star Headquarters Building, a Synagogue, a Mosque and a Zoroastrian Shrine, foundation-stones for which were laid some with due Masonic rites, during these busy weeks.
"Besides all these activities the Co-Masonic Temple saw specially busy evenings, as evidently the Mysteries are soon to be given to a world, prepared and athirst for them once again. To get up in time for Puja at 6:30 a.m. in the Hindu Temple, conducted by Krishnaji as the officiating priest, or for the Morning Prayers conducted at the Headquarters Hall at 7 a.m. uttered by Hindu, Parsi, Jain, Hebrew, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Sikh, and closed with our Great President's Benediction, and thence to the Holy Eucharist at 7:45 a.m. (possibly performed by Bishop Leadbeater in person), gives the whole day an imprint of world-vastness for which even a divinely inspired psalmist's lyre would be inadequate.""The god of every exoteric religion, including Christianity, notwithstanding its pretensions to mystery, is an idol, a fiction, and cannot be anything else."The chef d'ouvre of the entire proceedings, however, was the "Adyar manifestation" occasioned by "Krishnaji's" announcement of his great "mission". We reproduce from Mrs. Besant's own account as contained in the February, 1926, Theosophist:"Last summer, in Holland, I mentioned to a large audience (in a Camp held by members of an Order to which only those are admitted who believe in the Coming of the World Teacher) that J. Krishnamurti was the chosen vehicle. ... Modern psychology recognises ... cases of the influence of one mind over another through higher cases of inspiration -- such as those of prophets -- to complete temporary changes of 'personality.' I believe, with many of the early Christians, that the World Teacher, named by them the Christ, assumed, at the stage of the Gospel story called the Baptism, the body of a disciple, Jesus, to carry on His earthly work at that time. A similar event is to take place among us. ...To this "consummation", then, had come the "Successorship" of Annie Besant. To this thaumaturgic utterance of her "World Teacher" had come the Theosophy of H.P.B. and her Masters, as interpreted by Mrs. Besant; with these "monstrous exaggerations and idiotic schemes and shams" had been dressed the teachings of the Secret Doctrine on Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis, under the sooth-saying of Mr. Leadbeater and Oracle Annie Besant.
Mr. Krishnamurti was lecturing, on December 28, to a very large audience under the Banyan Tree. He was concluding his lecture, speaking of the World Teacher, with the words: 'He comes to lead us all to that perfection where there is eternal happiness: He comes to lead us and He comes to those who have not understood, who have suffered, who are unhappy, who are unenlightened. He comes to those who want, who desire, who long, and--
"There was a slight start, and a Voice of penetrating sweetness rang out through his lips:"'I come to those who want sympathy, who want happiness, who are longing to be released, who are longing to find happiness in all things. I come to reform, and not to tear down: not to destroy, but to build.' ...."That the World-Teacher spoke through the then speaker I believe. Since 1909 ... I have known that he was chosen as the vehicle, and I expect an ever-increasing tenancy of the selected body by Him for whom it has been prepared."
The quotation with which this chapter is headed shows something of H.P.B.'s prevision of Karma. Did she have any prescience as to Annie Besant's then future elliptical Theosophical orbit? Well, writing in Lucifer for August, 1889, five months after "On Pseudo-Theosophy" was published, and only six months after Mrs. Besant had been "converted" from Atheism to Theosophy, H.P.B. took occasion to contrast Mrs. Besant's past with her potential future:"Suffice it to say, that at the very summit of her atheism Mrs. Besant has always been a Theosophist in action and in heart. ... But it is quite correct to say ... she is now beginning to know of the doctrine. But this doctrine, let us hope, will never lead her to make again "her communion at a Christian altar," in other words to renounce the whole and the absolute for the part and the finite."
[Note: Here is the link to "On Pseudo-Theosophy", HPB's article that was spoken of at the beginning and the end of the above article by the Editors. The ingredients for the indented paragraph which begins the article are found in the 9th paragraph of the article in this link (counting both indented and regular ones). --Compiler.]
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