THEOSOPHY, Vol. 9, No. 4, February, 1921
(Pages 100-111; Size: 37K)
(Number 14 of a 34-part series)
THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT(1)
HAVING failed, alike in his attempts to ingratiate himself with the American Theosophists, to deceive H.P.B. in regard to his own treacherous course, or to disturb her complete confidence and trust in Mr. Judge, and his material being all prepared and ready for the execution of his thinly veiled threats, Professor Coues made the first assault in his campaign to ruin if he could not rule.
On May 11, 1889, appeared the first Coues-Collins letters in the "Religio-Philosophical Journal"; followed up in the issue of the same journal for June 1, with two more letters from the same source. Succeeding issues followed with additional guns from the editor, Colonel Bundy, from W. Emmette Coleman and others, in addition to Prof. Coues. Other Spiritualist and sectarian publications and the secular press followed suit. A manifestly inspired attack on everything Theosophical, including of course H.P.B. and Mr. Judge, raged in many quarters. In England the ground had been equally well prepared, and in "Light" of the issues for May, June, and succeeding months the same charges first published in America were repeated, with the usual additions and variations. There, as in the United States, many other publications entered the fray, and there was a revival of the familiar tactics employed five years previously during the Coulomb and S.P.R. attack. The "Religio-Philosophical Journal" did not open its columns to counter evidence, but "Light," with a display of fairness as commendable as it was unique, gave space as freely to defenders as to assailants. During the summer and autumn another portion of the strategy emanating from the hidden sources behind every attempt to belittle, to retard and to upset the work of the Theosophical Movement, was employed in a manner worthy of the best traditions of the followers of Ignatius Loyola. This jesuitical device was ably carried out through Michael Angelo Lane. Mr. Lane was a newspaper reporter of St. Louis. Becoming interested in Theosophy as early as 1885, he joined the Society and corresponded with the headquarters at Adyar. Later on he became acquainted with Mr. Judge and volunteered his services in New York. After the formation of the "Esoteric Section," Mr. Lane made his application for admission thereto as a probationer. He professed the utmost devotion to the Cause and wrote H.P.B. his desire to go to London to be near her and to aid in the work there. He took the Pledge of the Esoteric Section, went to London, and was at the London headquarters for several weeks. He mysteriously disappeared on several occasions and very shortly returned to the United States. Thereafter he went from Lodge to Lodge, ostensibly as a Theosophist and member of the Esoteric Section and spread stories among the members to the discredit of H.P.B., of the Section and of the Society. Mr. Lane was promptly exposed as soon as circumstantial statements of his activities were forwarded to London, whereupon he ranged himself openly with Professor Coues and other enemies of H.P.B., and her work. Prof. Coues also had early applied to H.P.B., for the pledge and preliminary papers of the Esoteric Section, and these had been transmitted to him in confidence, the same as to all other applicants. He violated the confidence reposed in him, for these papers and the pledge were printed in the "Religio-Philosophical Journal" during the course of the warfare, and their contents discussed with, and a portion of them given by Prof. Coues directly to the New York Sun in an interview. We may now take up the items of the Coues-Collins charges seriatim.
In his first letter to the "Religio-Philosophical Journal" Prof. Coues stated specifically that "about four years ago," i.e., in 1885, being interested in "Light on the Path," he "wrote Mrs. Collins a letter, praising it and asking her about its real source." This was because "Light on the Path," said Prof. Coues, "was supposed to have been dictated to Mrs. Collins by 'Koot Hoomi,' or some other Hindu adept who held the Theosophical Society in the hollow of his masterly hand." To this letter of his Miss Collins "promptly replied, in her own handwriting, to the effect that 'Light on the Path' was inspired or dictated from the source above indicated." Dr. Coues goes on to say that since that time "nothing passed between Mrs. Collins and myself until yesterday [May 2, 1889], when I unexpectedly received the following letter." Miss Collins' letter is dated April 18, 1889, and runs:
"Dear Sir: I feel I have a duty to write you on a difficult and (to me) painful subject, and that I must not delay it any longer.
"You will remember writing to ask me who was the inspirer of 'Light on the Path.' If you had not yourself been acquainted with Madame Blavatsky I should despair of making you even understand my conduct. Of course I ought to have answered the letter without showing it to any one else; but at that time I was both studying Madame Blavatsky and studying under her. I knew nothing then of the mysteries of the Theosophical Society, and I was puzzled why you should write me in such a way. I took the letter to her; the result was that I wrote the answer at her dictation. I did not do this by her orders; I have never been under her orders. But I have done one or two things because she begged and implored me to; and this I did for that reason. So far as I can remember I wrote you that I had received 'Light on the Path' from one of the Masters who guide Madame Blavatsky. I wish to ease my conscience now by saying that I wrote this letter from no knowledge of my own, and merely to please her; and that I now see that I was very wrong in doing so. I ought further to state that 'Light on the Path' was not to my knowledge inspired by any one; but that I saw it written on the walls of a place I visit spiritually, (which is described in the 'Blossom and the Fruit') -- there I read it and I wrote it down. I have myself never received proof of the existence of any Master; though I believe (as always) that the mahatmic force must exist.
Prof. Coues says of Mabel Collins' letter to him as above: "I was not surprised at the new light it threw on the pathway of the Theosophical Society, for late developments respecting that singular result of Madame Blavatsky's now famous hoax left me nothing to wonder at."
Next, in the "Religio-Philosophical Journal" of June 1, Prof. Coues appears with another letter in which he says that in his first communication he did not give the original letter from Miss Collins because "I could not conveniently lay my hands on it." He says he now gives it "word for word. It is in Mrs. Cooke's handwriting, undated and unsigned." This undated and unsigned note is as follows:
"The writer of 'The Gates of Gold' is Mabel Collins, who had it as well as 'Light on the Path' and the 'Idyll of the White Lotus' dictated to her by one of the adepts of the group which through Madame Blavatsky first communicated with the Western world. The name of this inspirer cannot be given, as the personal names of the Masters have already been sufficiently desecrated."
Professor Coues adds: "This is exactly, word for word, what Mrs. Cooke now says she wrongly wrote to me because Madame Blavatsky 'begged and implored' her to do so, and which she also wrote at her dictation. It certainly has the genuine Blavatskian ring about it."
In a subsequent communication to the "Religio-Philosophical Journal" Dr. Coues has the hardihood to subscribe himself "F.T.S." (Fellow of the Theosophical Society), but the contents of the letter identify him as its author. Addressing himself to the Editor, Dr. Coues says:
"If your mail resembles mine in quantity and quality of theosophical correspondence since 'Mabel Collins' disavowal of inspiration from Madame Blavatsky's Hindu 'controls,' it must be curious reading. ... At this revelation through the Journal some people are pleased; others sorry; others angry; some applaud; some condemn; many are curious, and most of them want to argue about it. My mail has a sort of shivery, gooseflesh quality, as if a panic in mahatmic stock were imminent and there is a tendency of the hair of the faithful to stand on end....
"First, a good many persons are surprised that I seem to have only now found out that 'Light on the Path' was not dictated by our friend Koot Hoomi or any other Eastern adept. Such have always known all about its source and my discovery is discounted as a theosophical chestnut. Let me say to all such that I do not always tell all I know, and that I might have continued silent on the authorship of 'Light on the Path,' had I not had reasons for publishing Mrs. Cooke's letter just then and there -- reasons I reserve for the present."
Examining Professor Coues' "evidence" as supplied by himself the reader will note that he says he first wrote Miss Collins in 1885 (the year in which "Light on the Path" was first published), asking her about its "real source," and that he was moved to do this both because of the inscription that it was "written down" by her, and because "it was supposed to have been dictated to Mrs. Collins by 'Koot Hoomi' or some other adept who held the Theosophical Society in the hollow of his masterly hand." He says her reply confirmed the supposition.
At the time he wrote Miss Collins he was already himself a member of the Society and of the "American Board of Control," was well acquainted with H.P.B., and Mr. Judge, and in communication with them then and thereafter, up to and including April, 1889, professing the warmest admiration and friendship for both, and the utmost devotion to the Cause they served. It does not appear that at any time during those four years he ever wrote either H.P.B. or Mr. Judge for confirmation of Mabel Collins' affirmation that "Light on the Path" was inspired or dictated by one of the Theosophical adepts. Yet, either on the assumption that he wanted to verify the source as claimed by Miss Collins or that he all along believed H.P.B. to be the inventor of a "hoax," as his first communication affirms and his last intimates, it is clear that he rested upon this one sided "evidence" of the real origin of "Light on the Path," and made no effort to verify Mabel Collins' statement. This is the more peculiar, as it is plainly evident he neither knew Miss Collins personally, kept up his intercourse with her, nor had at the time he received her letter of April 18, 1889, any but the scantiest knowledge about her. For he says that in the intervening four years "nothing passed between Mrs. Collins and myself until yesterday" (May 2, 1889); and in his first letter he four times calls her "Mrs. Collins," whereas her married name was Cook; while in his later communications he repeatedly speaks of her as Mrs. Cooke.
Notable as was his omission, in the circumstances, to verify in any way Mabel Collins' first statement as to the authorship of "Light on the Path," his course of procedure, when her second letter came, is still more significant. For in that letter she plainly said to him that her own first statement was false, that in fact "Light on the Path" was not to her knowledge inspired by any one; that she had never received proof of the existence of any Master; that she knew nothing at the time of the "mysteries of the Theosophical Society."
Quite apart from anything else, these two contradictory statements must have shown Professor Coues that Mabel Collins' testimony on anything was untrustworthy and valueless without corroboration. Here, from every angle, was something that required and demanded clearing up in mere justice to himself as an honest enquirer interested in getting at the facts. But much more than his own interests were concerned in doing his utmost to ascertain the truth: his fellow Theosophists by thousands were as much concerned as himself, if Mabel Collins' second "explanation" should prove to be true, as much concerned as himself should it prove to be false; finally, remained H. P. Blavatsky, his friend, revered by many, hated by many, accused of an abominable offense by a woman who had already once given him false testimony, and who, he must have known, if he knew anything at all of what was going on in the Theosophical world, had been dismissed from "Lucifer" and from all association with H.P.B. Certainly every motive of prudence, of fairness, of common decency, even, would require him to take steps to ascertain the truth or the falsity of Mabel Collins' "explanation" and accusation before taking any further steps. What steps did he take? Immediately on receipt of Mabel Collins' letter of April 18, he says, "I cabled Mrs. Collins for permission to use her letter at my discretion." "Mrs." Collins obediently replied, "use my letter as you please." And the same day Prof. Coues encloses her letter and one of his own to the "Religio-Philosophical Journal" -- an ardent spiritualist publication, vehicle of W. Emmette Coleman's prolonged and malicious attacks on H.P.B. Thus, knowing the facts, what credence can be attached to the character or veracity of Elliott Coues' testimony where his motives are so absolutely impeached?
But there is more. In his second communication to the R.-P-Journal Prof. Coues gives, he says, "word for word" the first letter sent him by Mabel Collins. "It is in Mrs. Cooke's handwriting" and in it she says, in reply to his original enquiry, "The writer of 'The Gates of Gold' is Mabel Collins who had it as well as 'Light on the Path' and the 'Idyll of the White Lotus' dictated to her by one of the adepts." In his first communication (dated May 3, 1889) Prof. Coues had already stated that his original enquiry and her reply had occurred "about four years ago" -- that is, sometime in 1885 -- "since which time nothing passed between Mrs. Collins and myself." Now the actual and indisputable fact is that "The Gates of Gold" was not published until 1887 -- two years after the alleged correspondence had taken place! Thus the "evidence" produced by Prof. Coues against the honor of H. P. Blavatsky not only falls of its own weight so far as she is concerned, but convicts Professor Coues out of his own mouth of shameless duplicity and an equally shameless mendacity. And equally his motives and the facts point with deadly clearness to a deliberate conspiracy planned and carried out by him with Mabel Collins to assassinate the name and fame of H.P.B.
Turning now to Mabel Collins' share in the attempted stroke, the reader will note upon examining her two letters that she confesses her own falsehood. In her first letter she says her books were "dictated" by one of the adepts; in her second letter she says her falsehood was "dictated" by H.P.B. Like Madame Coulomb she confesses that she "did much evil," and, like Madame Coulomb offers the plea in avoidance, "but Madame Blavatsky did tempt me." From her own statements it appears that Mabel Collins was equally open to "dictation." In the one case, if her statement is accepted, it was the adept who "dictated" what she should write; or, if her second statement is accepted, it was H.P.B. who "dictated" what she should write. How competent Mabel Collins was to speak of "adepts" is shown by her statements: (a) "I have myself never received proof of the existence of any Master;" (b) "I knew nothing then of the mysteries of the Theosophical Society." How complaisant she was under temptation is set forth in the statement that she did not write her falsehood by Madame Blavatsky's "orders; I have never been under her orders" -- but "because she begged and implored me to." And although she was not under Madame Blavatsky's "orders," Miss Collins says, "at that time -- 1885 -- I was both studying Madame Blavatsky and studying under her."
Let us contrast these statements with known and undisputed facts.
H.P.B. was in London from the end of July, 1884, till November 11 of the same year, less the interval when she was in Germany with the Gebhards. She was in India till April of the following year, during which time she was in the midst of the storm of the Coulomb case and most of the time lying between life and death. From April, 1885, on, she was in Naples, in Germany, in Belgium, returning to England in May, 1887. During this entire period of absence she neither saw nor had any communications with Mabel Collins. While H.P.B. was in England during the fall of 1884 she never even saw Mabel Collins more than two or three times and at no time did she see her except in the presence of others. The "Idyll of the White Lotus" was written by Mabel Collins before she ever met H.P.B. That work was shown by her in manuscript to Mr. Ewen and Mr. Finch, both well-known and reputable men, to both of whom she stated that the work had been "inspired" by "some one" whose appearance she described. Mr. Ewen showed the manuscript to Colonel Olcott, with whom Mabel Collins talked and made the same claim of "inspiration." She told Colonel Olcott that the work had been written by her either in "trance" or "under dictation," and described to him the appearance of the "inspirer." All this was before H.P.B. ever set eyes on Mabel Collins. Furthermore the first edition of the "Idyll," published when H.P.B. was thousands of miles away, and without any intervening communication with Mabel Collins, bore this inscription: "To the True Author, the Inspirer of this work; IT IS DEDICATED."
Next, with regard to "Light on the Path:" The undisputed facts are that Mabel Collins did not begin that work until November, 1884, just prior to the departure of H.P.B. for India. On November 8 of that year Miss Collins showed H.P.B. a page or two of manuscript of what afterwards became "Light on the Path." H.P.B. was in India when that work was completed and published, yet the inscription and Mabel Collins' various statements at the time and on down to the present date, claim that work, not as her own composition, but "written down" by her. Her last claim in that respect was as recently made as the year 1919. H.P.B. never even saw the text of "Light on the Path" until the summer of 1886, when a copy of it was given to her in Germany by Arthur Gebhard. Again, Mrs. C. A. Passingham, a reputable and well-known Englishwoman, wrote to "Light" while the Coues-Collins charges were pending, to the effect that early in 1885 Mabel Collins spent an afternoon and part of the evening at her house. This, Mrs. Passingham thinks, was in February. She continues:
"She expressed a wish to leave early, as she had an 'appointment' with 'Hilarion'... I may add that Mrs. Collins told me herself that the influence under which she wrote the book in question was that of a person whom she had long known, but had only lately identified as being that of an 'adept.'"
On the 12th of June Mabel Collins' sister, Ellen Hopkins, wrote a letter to "Light" which is published in that journal for June 15, 1889. The letter follows:
"... Will you allow me to state that my sister, Mabel Collins, is too ill at the moment to be able to speak for herself, but I trust that she will be well enough in a few days to furnish you with a reply which will put a very different aspect on the whole affair?"
In its issue of June 29, "Light" published the following reply to a correspondent's enquiry:
"We have no intention of publishing anything further on the Coues-Collins case, unless a rejoinder is made by Mrs. Cook. That would command attention; no other letters or comments will be printed. Our single desire in noticing a matter that does not immediately concern us, was to act with strict impartiality and fairness to all persons concerned. That we have done, purveying news without expressing any opinion on its merits or demerits."
The "few days" spoken of by Ellen Hopkins went by and rolled into months with no statement from Mabel Collins. Meantime pamphlets had been gotten out by "F.T.S.," by Mr. Judge, and by H.P.B., and statements had been made by Archibald and Bertram Keightley, both of whom had known H.P.B., since the summer of 1884, both of whom had been intimate indeed with Mabel Collins, and both of whom had resided continuously in the headquarters house with H.P.B., after her return to England in 1887. The documentary and other proofs, the establishment of dates, the production of letters of Coues to H.P.B., showed conclusively the utter falsity of the charges made by the Coues-Collins alliance.
Like all plotters, however subtle and audacious, Prof. Coues had over-reached himself. He had been thoroughly exposed. The charter of the "Gnostic" Branch was revoked and Coues himself expelled from the Society. Months later, while preparing a further attack, he endeavored to retrieve his earlier blunder by writing a letter to "Light" which is referred to in the leading editorial of that publication for November 2, 1889. From this it appears that he concocted an ex post facto "correction" by saying that he had been "mistaken" in fixing the date of his first letter to Mabel Collins as 1885, when it should have been 1887. As "proof" he told the editor of "Light" that on June 1st Mabel Collins had cabled him of his "mistake" and as further "proof" he sent a card of Mabel Collins, undated, and without the envelope -- a card, whether the original or otherwise does not matter, but claimed to be the original, -- which "Light" accepted as an "explanation" because "The Gates of Gold" was not published until 1887! The animus of this laggard "explanation" of Prof. Coues' impasse is, we think, entirely clear, and worthy of the same degree of credibility as his other facile statements. It is to be noted that although Mabel Collins was "too ill" to make a concrete statement to "Light" at the time -- and before the publication of the pamphlets which proved by dates alone the impossibility of her statements or Coues' being true -- she was not too ill to send a cablegram to her co-conspirator warning him of the discrepancy into which his too great facility and too zealous haste had led him. To return to Mabel Collins' books.
The third of the trio was "The Gates of Gold" which her unsigned note to Prof. Coues attributed to "one of the adepts" and which -- her retraction, whether four years later or two does not matter -- by implication at least is included in the falsehood which Madame Blavatsky "begged and implored" her to circulate. Let us see as to that.
"Through the Gates of Gold" was written in 1886. Madame Blavatsky was living at the time in Germany. The book was published in England and in America very early in 1887, while H.P.B. lay on a sick bed in Belgium. The first edition of the work contained this inscription:
"Once, as I sat alone writing, a mysterious Visitor entered my study unannounced, and stood beside me. I forgot to ask who he was, or why he entered so unceremoniously, for he began to tell me of the Gates of Gold. He spoke from knowledge, and from the fire of his speech I caught faith. I have written down his words; but alas, I cannot hope that the fire shall burn as brightly in my writing as in his speech."
All these are undisputed facts. As in the case of the "Idyll" and "Light on the Path," this book was written and published when H.P.B., was not in England, when she was not in any communication with Mabel Collins, when she was physically in the gravest condition. Yet all three books bear inscriptions written by Mabel Collins which can only be interpreted as a disclaimer of her own authorship of them and a claim that they were "inspired" -- no matter how or by whom. As in the Coulomb case, H.P.B. had everything to risk and nothing to gain by such chicanery as was attributed to her. No one of her enemies ever imagined it plausible for a moment to call her a fool, but a fool as well as a "fraud" she must have been to put herself at the mercy of Madame Coulomb, Mabel Collins, or any one else, for such paltry ends as such rascality, even if successful, would have achieved. For quite without risk or occasion for either the Coulombs' or the Collins' help, she had the recorded testimony of Olcott, of Judge, of Damodar, of Major General Morgan, of Mr. Sinnett, of A. O. Hume, of Countess Wachtmeister, of Hubbe-Schleiden, Dr. Hartmann, Miss Arundale, a hundred others of reputation and character, both as to "adept inspiration," and her own phenomenal powers. What had she to gain, what motive could inspire her, whether in 1885, while a storm was already raging about the Coulomb charges, or in 1887, when her own position with Theosophists needed no bolstering, when her status with the outside world was considered damned by the S.P.R. report -- what had she to gain, one may ask, by fraudulently procuring what, if believed, would add neither to her own repute nor to that of her Masters, but would only enhance the importance and prestige of Mabel Collins?
It thus becomes clear with regard to all three books, first that Mabel Collins, before and since, claimed them to be "inspired;" secondly, that with regard to any and all of them H.P.B., was physically absent, physically not in communication, physically not in a position to "beg and implore" Mabel Collins to do or say anything in regard to them. If, then, she "influenced" Mabel Collins in any way, it was from a distance and by the use of "phenomenal" powers indeed. But if she actually possessed such occult powers -- a thing neither Mabel Collins, Prof. Coues, Madame Coulomb, Mr. Hodgson, nor any of her other traducers was prepared to admit -- and desired to misuse them, why in the name of the commonest of common-sense should she betray herself by using cheap physical frauds, when by employing her occult powers she could procure the wished for result without risk?
Mabel Collins also wrote: "At the time -- whether 1885 or 1887 does not matter -- I was both studying Madame Blavatsky and studying under her." As Miss Collins was not in communication with H.P.B. nor in her presence from their first meeting in the fall of 1884 till just prior to the commencement of the publication of "Lucifer" in September, 1887, it is certain that during that interval this statement is as inaccurate as her other claims. Mabel Collins was closely associated with H.P.B., in the publication of "Lucifer" from September, 1887, until January, 1889. The contents of the magazine show that whatever Mabel Collins wrote was published over her own signature, the same as with H.P.B., and other contributors -- and on her own responsibility. Part of her contribution was "The Blossom and the Fruit," a novel for which she made the same claim of an "inspirer" as with the three works already discussed. At no time and in no place has anyone produced a line written or signed by H.P.B., supporting Mabel Collins' claims to "studying under her." On the contrary, H.P.B., refused to accept Mabel Collins even as a probationer of the "Esoteric Section" until the latter "begged and implored" indeed. She was then "placed on probation" after warning, and within four days, in the words of H.P.B., "broke her vows, becoming guilty of the blackest treachery and disloyalty to her HIGHER SELF. And when I could no longer keep in the E.S. either herself or her friend, the two convulsed the whole Society with their calumnies and falsehoods." It may be noted in this connection that Mabel Collins brought suit in England against H.P.B. for libel. When the case came for trial in July, 1890, a certain letter written by Mabel Collins was shown by H.P.B.'s attorney to the counsel for Miss Collins, who thereupon asked the Court to take the case off the docket, which was done. It is illustrative of the unfailing clemency of H.P.B., that when her Society or herself as its sponsor and guardian was assailed, she confined herself rigidly to such defense as was compelled by the mission she had, and never in any case took the offensive or herself exposed the sins and failings of another. Her purpose was not to destroy, but to serve and save whom she could, and no provocation could induce her to punish any one.
Viewing the enormous difference between the three books named and the prior and subsequent writings of Mabel Collins, and the many stories told by Miss Collins and others as to the real source of "Light on the Path" and its companion volumes, and how they were received, the student may be interested in the only comment made directly by H.P.B., in those respects. In her letter to "Light" of June 8, 1889, she says, inter alia, "When I met her (Mabel Collins) she had just completed the Idyll of the White Lotus, which, as she stated to Colonel Olcott, had been dictated to her by some 'mysterious person.' Guided by her description, we both recognized an old friend of ours, a Greek, and no Mahatma, though an Adept; further developments proving we were right. This fact, acknowledged by Mrs. Cook in her dedication of the Idyll, sets aside the idea that the work was either inspired or dictated by Koot Hoomi or any other Mahatma." In the pamphlet issued by H.P.B. at the same time this statement is repeated, together with the following most interesting paragraph:
"Was the dedication invented, and a Master and 'Inspirer' suggested by Mme. (Blavatsky) before the latter had ever seen his amanuensis (Mabel Collins)? For that only she proclaims herself in her dedication, by speaking of the 'true author,' who thus must be regarded as some kind of Master, at all events. Moreover, heaps of letters may be produced all written between 1872 and 1884, and signed [with a triangle graphic]:(2) the well-known seal of one who became an adept only in 1886. Did Mme. Blavatsky send to 'Miss Mabel Collins' this signature, when neither knew of the other's existence?"
The same pamphlet of H.P.B.'s contains also a letter, signed "A Student of Light on the Path," re-printed from "Light" of June 8, 1889, in which the following suggestive ideas are put forth:
"Referring to Miss Collins' explanation, it is at once evident that another intelligence besides her own must also have visited the place, 'spiritually' or otherwise, where she saw Light on the Path written upon its walls, for someone must have placed the words there; moreover, that intelligence had command over good modern English as well as being the possessor of high practical wisdom.
"We judge, therefore, that Miss Collins was simply the favoured vehicle for the communication of those particular rules of the 'Hall of Learning' to the many mortals now needing and hungering for them, and while it is impossible that they could have been written up where she was permitted to observe them, otherwise than by an intelligent Being who had also visited that place, it does not at all follow that he should, or ought to, have made himself or his nature known to her. That would have been creating a basis for personal intimacy which was not necessary and perhaps not advisable.
"As regards the manner in which one mind may instruct or inform another, on which may be termed the occult plane, we know at present very little, but the phenomena of psychometry and thought-transference may some day, if scientifically studied, be the means of our understanding those things better."
To whatever conclusions the student may come on the mooted real authorship of "Light on the Path" and its related volumes, what has been adduced will, we believe, serve to make two points, general and particular, very clear. The general point is that expressed in the words of H.P.B. in the "Introductory" to the Secret Doctrine: "It is above everything important to keep in mind that no theosophical book acquires the least additional value from pretended authority." Had Theosophical students kept this admonition in mind, whether as regards H.P.B. herself, Mabel Collins, or all the host of those before and since, who have claimed, truly or falsely, to "speak with authority," whether "in the name of the Lord" or "in the name of the Master" -- had they been content to study the "message" on the basis of its own inherent merit instead of under the glamour of belief in some "authority," real or imaginary, they would quickly have become able to "test the 'spirits'" to some purpose.
The particular point is that it is evident alike from Mabel Collins' own statement as to her "inspirer" and from the quality of the other writings emanating from her pen, that she had not then and has not now, the remotest knowledge of her own, either as to the actual author of her three gem products, as to the means by which their substance and form reached her, or as to their substance. She was, in no invidious sense, purely and simply the medium of their transmission. Her subsequent actions and her subsequent writings show that she herself knew no more, and derived no more benefit from the transmission, than the pen with which she wrote them. We shall have to recur to this matter when we come to consider the general subject of occult powers and phenomena. We may now return to Professor Elliott Coues and his subsequent activities in the effort to destroy the work of the Theosophical Movement.
(To be Continued)
THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT
(Part 15 of a 34-part series)
"THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT"
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TWO (2) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:
(1) Corrections, objections, criticisms, questions and comments are invited from all readers on any facts or conclusions stated in this series. --EDITORS.
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(2) Compiler's Note: There was a small picture of a triangle there, pointed up (where I have the words "[with a triangle graphic]" in brackets), with the base line and the line on the right side drawn much thicker and bolder than the line on the left side. I'm sorry that I have to try and picture it for you in this way, but the truth is that I do not know how to present any graphics.
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