THEOSOPHY, Vol. 10, No. 5, March, 1922
(Pages 139-150; Size: 40K)
(Number 27 of a 34-part series)
THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT(1)
IT will be recalled that an urgent invitation had been extended to Mrs. Besant to visit India in the fall of 1891, following the death of H.P.B. This visit was canceled, ostensibly because of the ill-health of Mrs. Besant due to prolonged strain and overwork; actually on account of the charges made to her against the moral character of Col. Olcott, because of which she came to the United States to place them before Mr. Judge. This was her second visit to America, her first being in the spring preceding to attend the Convention of the American Section as the bearer of H.P.B.'s last Message to the American Theosophists.
In the early fall of 1892 the invitation to visit India was again extended to Mrs. Besant. Col. Olcott, Bertram Keightley and others, Hindu as well as English officials and prominent members of the Indian Section, wrote her frequently on the need for her presence there, and the fund to pay her expenses, started in 1891, was largely increased by voluntary contributions. Mrs. Besant consulted Mr. Judge, who advised against her going and, instead, recommended that she visit the United States on an extended lecturing tour. Mrs. Besant accepted his advice and the Indian members were satisfied, for the time being, by arrangements made to send to the Adyar headquarters two of the English workers connected with the "household" at Avenue Road. Sidney V. Edge and Walter R. Old were accordingly "loaned" to the Indian headquarters where they went late in 1892, the one becoming assistant secretary there and the other taking the place of Bertram Keightley who arranged to return to England early in 1893. Both Mr. Edge and Mr. Old entered at once into the work of the Indian Section and the affairs at Headquarters, and were active contributors to the pages of the "Theosophist;" becoming, in short, diligent and satisfactory aides to Col. Olcott in his multifarious duties and activities. Mr. Keightley assigned as his reason for returning to England the advanced age and precarious health of his mother, to whom he was much attached. This was true; but as in many similar cases the announced occasion was not the compelling reason -- as we shall see.
Mrs. Besant arrived in New York on November 30, 1892. From then until her departure at the end of February, 1893, she was incessantly engaged in public lectures, in addresses public and private to the various American Branches and the Groups of the Esoteric Section, in receptions, conferences, interviews and correspondence which brought her the acquaintance and esteem of practically every Theosophist in the United States. The general arrangements for her tour had been carefully planned by Mr. Judge, but in every local centre the resident members looked after the details of her visit with such attention and assiduity that her mission before the public was an overwhelming success, while, amongst the Theosophists themselves, her progress was a continuous ovation. She visited, with the exception of the South, every large centre in the United States, east and west. The largest halls and theatres were packed to capacity with attentive and respectful audiences. The press throughout the country was filled with interviews and articles descriptive of her remarkable history, her oratorical ability, her personal characteristics, her pre-eminence in the theosophical world, her presumed occult attainments and powers. A great outburst of curiosity and interest in her and her doctrines preceded and followed her wherever she went.
On her return to England she published, under the title "Speeding the Message," an account in "Lucifer" for April of her American trip. In the editorial section -- "On the Watch-Tower" -- she commented on the lessons gained on her American trip in these words:"Elsewhere in these pages I have given a brief account of my American tour, but I want to place on record here my testimony to the splendid work done in America by the Vice-President of our Society, the General Secretary of the Section, WILLIAM Q. JUDGE. H.P.B. knew well what she was doing when she chose that strong quiet man to be her second self in America, to inspire all the workers there with the spirit of his intense devotion and unconquerable courage. In him is the rare conjunction of the business qualities of the skilful organizer, and the mystical insight of the Occultist -- a combination, I often think, painful enough to its possessor with the shock of the two currents tossing the physical life into turbulence, but priceless in its utility to the movement. For he guides it with the strong hand of the practical leader, thus gaining for it the respect of the outer world; while he is its life and heart in the region where lie hidden the real sources of its energy. For out of the inner belief of members of the T.S. in the reality of spiritual forces springs the activity seen by the outer world, and our Brother's unshakable faith in the MASTERS and in Their care for the movement is a constant encouragement and inspiration to all who work with him."Immediately following Mrs. Besant's tour the annual Convention of the American Section was held in New York at the end of April, 1893. Fifty-five Branches were represented by Delegates or proxies and an unusually large number of visiting members attended the sessions. Bertram Keightley attended the Convention and read letters of greeting from the Indian and European Sections. Numerous other messages were received from abroad, amongst them an official letter from the President-Founder -- his first to a Convention of the American Section. This letter is important as showing the position assumed by him and the means taken to express his personal views. We quote the letter in full:
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
PRESIDENT'S OFFICEThe Delegates of the American Section in Convention Assembled:
ADYAR, MADRAS, 23 MARCH, 1893.
During the past year you have been giving aundant proofs of the tireless zeal with which you have pursued the work of our Society. The results prove the truth of the oft-repeated statement of our MASTERS that their help is always given to the earnest and unselfish worker. We have but one danger to dread and guard against. This is the subordination of general principles to hero-worship, or admiration of personalities. I shall not excuse myself for frequent recurrence to this theme, for I am convinced that, if the Society should ever disintegrate, this will be the cause. The MASTERS wrote in Isis that "men and parties, sects and schools are but the mere ephemera of the World's day"; and, following the precedent of their great recognized exemplar, Buddha Sakyamuni, they taught me to believe nothing upon authority, whether of a living or a dead person. I pray you to keep this ever in mind; and when I am dead and gone to recollect that the admission of the microbe of dogmatism into our Society will be the beginning of its last and fatal sickness.
This was the second formal pronouncement by the President-Founder with all the authority of his official sanction, ostensibly to warn the members of the Society against dogmatism, authority, and hero-worship; actually, to reduce H.P.B. to the level of a dead person in place of a still potent and vital factor as the Teacher of Theosophy. His first attempt in this direction was the Adyar Presidential Address at the close of 1891, from which we have quoted. This had been followed by his "Old Diary Leaves," and a continuous active propagandum in his official as well as personal correspondence and speech. He had ignored the repeated articles of Mr. Judge and Mrs. Besant in the "Path" and "Lucifer" upholding the entire neutrality of the Society on all matters of opinion, the perfect freedom everywhere accorded in America and Europe for the fullest expression of the most contradictory views, not only as regards H.P.B., and her status in the Movement, but upon all other subjects as well. What he could not endure was that anyone should choose to regard H.P.B. as a Teacher par excellence, should dare publicly to express such an opinion, should act upon it. His voice was never at any time raised against those who belittled her; he never called attention to the fact that it was H.P.B. herself who had warned first, foremost and insistently against "popery" in any guise, and herself set the constant example of rejecting homage of any kind. Nor did he ever inform the members that no one was for an instant tolerated at Adyar or in India who did not implicitly obey himself in all things, while both England and America were notable throughout for constant conflicts of opinion amongst workers. It seems never to have occurred to him that he had himself from the very beginning been the very one and the only one of prominence who had claimed and exercised arbitrary and complete authority, who had fought consistently against any semblance of genuine democracy even in the government of the Society. "Councils" appointed by himself and changeable at his will, "constitutions," "by-laws," "Executive Orders," and so on, all emanating from himself, all expressive of his own ideas and importance, were the continuous and glaring signs of his own violation of the spirit of the Movement and the Society. Over and over his official utterances no less than his actual practices proclaimed his firm conviction that the Society needed a "ruler," and himself that ruler "chosen" to rule by the Masters. Though he denied the validity of H.P.B.'s writings and rejected their authenticity when they or she came in conflict with his own ideas and desires, he did not hesitate to quote them as Masters' words when they could be bent to his own ends. Thus, in the letter just quoted, he says: "The Masters wrote in 'Isis.'" So far as he and the members were concerned, it was H.P.B. who wrote in "Isis." Quite true he had H.P.B.'s word (as a matter of fact and not of "authority") that all she wrote was Masters' teaching, all she did was Masters' will, and equally true that her statements were confirmed to him and to others by direct Messages to them from those very Masters Themselves, but all this was mere testimony; testimony which he was quite as ready to reject when it suited him as to quote when he could make use of it. But when Judge or any other, convinced that H.P.B. was Masters' "direct Agent" and her writings Their Teachings and Instructions, followed her teaching and example, even against the "executive notices" of the "President-Founder" and his proclaimed opinions, they were of necessity guilty of the "unpardonable sin" and were injecting dogmatism and hero-worship into the Society. When they declared as their view that the Society existed for the sake of Theosophy and that the Teacher was more important than the "king," then, equally of necessity, it could only appear to Col. Olcott as treason against the Society and a violation of its "neutrality."
Wishing you for the coming year a continuance of prosperity, and expressing a hope that I may sometime personally attend a Session of your Convention, I am fraternally and affectionately yours,
H. S. OLCOTT,
President Theosophical Society.
The Report of the American Section's Convention contained Col. Olcott's letter in full, as also the Letter of the Indian Section read by Bertram Keightley and signed by him as General Secretary of the Indian Section. It contains a sentence which the reader should compare with quotations from Mr. R. Harte's earlier articles in the "Theosophist," written prior to the formation of the Exoteric Section, when Col. Olcott was in the throes of his battle with H.P.B. Mr. Keightley says:
"We look hopefully forward to a time when the headquarters of the whole Society will in reality be its living heart and centre, sending out vitalizing spiritual influences, knowledge, and guidance to all its parts, as was the case when our revered teacher, H.P.B. resided there."
The same Report contains also some remarks of Mr. Judge as General Secretary of the American Section, which it cannot be doubted were written in view of the letter of Col. Olcott as President and of Mr. Keightley as General Secretary of the Indian Section. They were intended to make clear the perfect freedom and right of individual expression of opinion, no matter what or by whom, as opposed to official declarations, vesting with the sanction of office and authority any personal views of any kind. Speaking of the disposition of the American portion of the ashes of H.P.B. he says:
"While all intelligent Theosophists would discountenance any semblance of homage to relics, still more of miracle-working shrines, none but the unintelligent would object to respectful care of the remains of so eminent a person, even an Adept, as was H.P.B."
And on the subject of a "funeral service for Theosophists," devised by the Rev. W. E. Copeland, which was issued with a prefatory paragraph signed "PACIFIC COAST COMMITTEE T(heosophical) W(ork)," Mr. Judge asks the Convention to ratify his action in disavowing and disapproving such quasi-official endorsement as "unwise and contrary to the spirit of our policy in general." With this for a text he goes on to say:
"I hold that no officer or committee of the T.S. should appear in print as publisher or approver of any general treatises, doctrinal expositions, or other controversial matter, and that they should confine their official names to diplomas, charters, blanks, general information about T.S., and the like. Following this policy I have never placed on my private publications my official title nor the office title, as I insist that if we follow any other policy we cannot keep the Society out of dogmatism or out of a reputation for dogmatizing. Every member has perfect freedom to issue over his individual name what books or publications he deems proper, and that I have long exercised, but I have no right in any way, however slight, to attach the T.S. to any publication which gives private views on Theosophy."
The American Convention was followed by the Convention of the British and European Section in July, 1893. Mr. Judge attended as delegate from the American Section and was chosen as Chairman of the Convention. In his closing address to the assembled delegates and visitors he recurred to the subjects of government and dogmatism. His remarks in full were published in THEOSOPHY for July, 1921. We quote here some of his salient sentences:"... The Society grew, members increased, work spread, the organization embraced the earth. Now was this growth due to a constitution and red tape? No; it was all because of the work of earnest men and women who worked for an ideal. Red tape, and votes, and laws to preserve votes, or to apportion them, are useless for any purpose if they are such as to hamper effort. Bind your soul about with red tape, and like the enwrapped mummy it will be incapable of movement.Nor was Mrs. Besant in any way behind in affirming the full freedom of expression in the Society, or the declaration of her own convictions on questions of teaching and of policy. Thus in "Lucifer" for May, 1893, she published a paper by Mr. W. F. Kirby on "French Spiritism." In his paper Mr. Kirby states: "the doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma, though now justly regarded by all Theosophists as of paramount importance ... were not openly propounded by the Society until the publication of Mr. Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism in 1883." To this statement Mrs. Besant appends an editorial note, reading as follows:
"If you will regard its history in Europe, you will see that it came to its high point of energy without votes, without rules, supported and sustained by unselfish effort. Was it H.P.B. alone who made it grow here? No, for she alone could do nothing. She had to have around her those who would work unselfishly....
"The next point I would like you to consider is that of dogmatism. A great deal has been said about the fear of a dogmatic tendency and of the actual existence among us of dogmatism. This I consider to be all wrong and not sustainable by facts. The best way for you to produce dogmatism is by continually fearing and talking about it, by waving about the charge of dogmatism on every occasion. In that way you will soon create it out of almost nothing.
"What is dogmatism? To my mind, it is the assertion of a tenet that others must accept. Is that what we do as a body? I think not. Certainly I do not do it. In my opinion, oft declared, anyone who asserts in our Society that one must believe this or that theory or philosophy is no Theosophist, but an intolerant bigot.
"But those who have spoken of dogmatism have mistaken energy force, personal conviction and loyalty to personal teachers and ideals for dogmatism. Such are not dogmatism. One has a perfect right to have a settled conviction, to present it forcibly, to sustain it with every argument, without being any the less a good member of the Society. Are we to be flabby because we are members of an unsectarian body, and are we to refuse to have convictions merely because no one in the Society may compel another to agree with him? Surely not. My friends, instead of being afraid of a future dogmatism of which there is no real sign now, we should fear that it may be produced by an unreasonable idea that the assertions of your own convictions may bring it about. I feel quite sure that those who accuse us of dogmatism have no fixed ideal of their own....
"Too many have failed to make brotherhood a real thing in their life, leaving it merely as a motto on their shield. Our brotherhood must naturally include men and women of very various characters, each with different views of nature, having personal characteristics which may or may not grate on others, as the case may be. The first step, then, to take is to accept and tolerate personally all your fellows. In no other way can we begin to approach the realization of the great ideal. The absence of this acceptation of others is a moral defect. It leads to suspicion, and suspicion ruptures our union. In an assembly where harmony is absent, and brotherhood is not, the labors of those assembled are made almost nil, for an almost impenetrable cloud rolls out and covers the mental plane of all present. But let harmony return, and then the collective mind of all becomes the property of each, sending down into the mind of everyone a benediction which is full of knowledge.""Our friend, Mr. Kirby has perhaps forgotten that the Theosophist was first published in 1879 and Isis Unveiled in 1876 [this should be 1877]. We should also remember that the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation are not propounded by the Theosophical Society, but only by those of its members who believe in the Esoteric Philosophy or some other system of Philosophy or Religion in which these doctrines are taught. The T.S. has three objects, but no doctrines. We may perhaps wisely add that the presentation of Theosophical teachings by any writer is not authoritative. We should certainly take objection to the statement as to Devachan in this article.--EDS."Again, in the same number, in reviewing Mr. W. Scott-Elliott's paper in the "London Lodge Transaction" to which we have referred, on the "Evolution of Humanity," "Lucifer" says: "We must take exception to the phrase in its second paragraph that it is to be 'regarded as an authoritative statement.' Authoritative, it may be, to those who accept the authority on which it is based -- what this is, is nowhere stated -- but not authoritative so far as the T.S. is concerned. .... We notice that Mr. Scott-Elliott agrees with Mr. Sinnett ... Those who follow the teachings of the Secret Doctrine will, of course, dissent ...."
In the "Watch-Tower" of the August, 1893, "Lucifer" Mrs. Besant editorially reiterates her own convictions as follows:"The keynote of the work for each of us is that of devotion to the MASTERS, as the great Servants of Humanity. ... Here again the influence of H.P.B. makes itself strongly felt; for she trained us to look on this work as theirs ... And as, since she left us, the signs that some of us had learned to recognize as from Them continued to occur, and we found the communication was not broken, but remained open to us just to the extent that each was able to take advantage of it, our knowledge of Them has been a living and a growing knowledge ...Next, Mrs. Besant goes on to discuss the proper attitude to hold when issues are raised, whether of teaching or policy, on which different or contradictory views are held. It is of such major importance as setting forth the practice and principles of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge -- practice and principles with which Mrs. Besant was then in full sympathy -- that we reproduce it in full:
"Nor do I fear to thus frankly state the fact of my knowledge of the existence of MASTERS ... From observations made in Europe and America of the many societies I have visited, I am able to say that just in so far as the MASTERS are recognized as 'Facts and Ideals' by the members, so far also are the societies progressive and influential. While carefully guarding the Theosophical Society as a whole, and each of its branches, from erecting belief in the MASTERS into a dogma which members must tacitly, if not openly, accept, every member who does believe in Them should be ready to say so if challenged, and should never shrink from saying that he carries on his work on lines that he thinks They approve.""It may be as well to remind the readers of LUCIFER that one of the lines laid down by H.P.B. for the conduct of this magazine -- and she would not have adopted and carried on a policy in antagonism to the wish of her MASTER -- was the admission to its pages of articles with which she totally or partially disagreed, where the articles raised questions bearing on Theosophical teachings or interests. Her statement is worth reproducing:The reference to the articles by Mr. Sinnett and Mr. Sturdy were, in the one case, to Mr. Sinnett's communication on "Esoteric Teaching" from which we have already quoted. In the other case Mrs. Besant was referring to an article on "Gurus and Chelas," in which Mr. Sturdy expressed very emphatically some views on the subject. Mr. Sturdy's article was manifestly inspired indirectly by the numerous claims and counterclaims circulating in the Society and the Esoteric School of "chelaship" and "messages from the Masters" made by or on behalf of various members. Directly, it was, we think, undoubtedly occasioned by a brief article with the same title, and bearing the signature, "A Hindu Chela," published in "Lucifer" for May preceding. Whatever the source or origin of the article by the "Hindu Chela," it is strictly true to the principles and conduct of the "Second Section," so far as those have ever been disclosed. In publishing Mr. Sturdy's article Mrs. Besant did not state that she had suppressed its three closing paragraphs, in which Mr. Sturdy, without naming any names, discloses his real animus in writing. Mr. Sturdy was a close follower of Col. Olcott and a great admirer of Mr. Sinnett and Mrs. Besant. It was well understood that his suppressed statements actually were aimed at Mr. Judge, and while Mrs. Besant had already begun to listen to hints and innuendoes against the good faith of Mr. Judge, she was still publicly supporting him and his policies as before, equally in her eyes the policies of H.P.B. The student will do well to read, re-read and relate as closely as possible the stream of matter in the "Theosophist," "Lucifer" and the "Path" during the year 1893, if he is to discern the weaving of the meshes of the web of the fatal plot of 1894. We can but barely indicate some of the most significant of the knots that were being tied. First, then, let us turn to the "Theosophist" for October, 1893, in which Mr. Sturdy's article is reproduced in full, with an editorial note by Col. Olcott as editor of the "Theosophist." Col. Olcott's note reads: "The three paragraphs within brackets having been expurgated by the editors of Lucifer for reasons of their own, and Mr. Sturdy regarding them as the pith of his argument, we print the whole article by his request and commend it to the attention of the reader. Ed. Theos.""'Free discussion, temperate, candid, undefiled by personalities and animosity, is, we think, the most efficacious means of getting rid of error and bringing out the underlying truth. ... Keeping strictly in its editorials, and in articles by its individual editors, to the spirit and teachings of pure Theosophy, it (LUCIFER) nevertheless frequently gives room to articles and letters which diverge widely from the Esoteric teachings accepted by the editors, as also by the majority of Theosophists. Readers, therefore, who are accustomed to find in magazine and party publications only such opinions and arguments as the editor believes to be unmistakably orthodox -- from his peculiar standpoint -- must not condemn any article in LUCIFER with which they are not entirely in accord, or in which expressions are used that may be offensive from a sectarian or a prudish point of view, on the ground that such are unfitted for a Theosophical magazine. They should remember that precisely because LUCIFER is a Theosophical magazine, it opens its columns to writers whose views of life and things may not only slightly differ from its own, but even be diametrically opposed to the opinion of the editors.'"This is the policy followed still by LUCIFER, and it should be understood that the publication of such articles, say, as those of Mr. Sinnett and of Mr. Sturdy in the present issue, by no means implies any agreement with the views put forward on the part of my colleague G. R. S. Mead or of myself."
Mr. Sturdy's expurgated paragraphs read as follows:"Of concrete things and persons we need concrete proofs. Of concrete letters and messages from living men, we need concrete evidence; not metaphysical or mere argumentative proof. Yet you can never disprove these claims. If I choose to send a letter in green, blue, or red or any other coloured ink or pencil and tell you I received it from a Mahatma for you, or merely say nothing and enclose it in a letter to you; you may be very much astonished, but you can prove no lie or forgery against me. If you are wise you will act as if you had never received it; unless indeed you make a mental note or two against me; one of folly for my having done such a thing and given no proofs, and another of watchfulness as to my character generally.In "Lucifer" for October, 1893, Mrs. Besant writes over her signature an article in reference to "Gurus and Chelas" and takes a strong stand against the logic and spirit of Mr. Sturdy's article. A brief quotation will disclose her position on what she calls the "fundamental difference" between Mr. Sturdy's views and her own:
"Nor does it seem probable that the Mahatmas, who, as we know, teach no dogmas, but always act by the amount of understanding an individual has, would encourage a system of mere statement and claim without accompanying proof; for this would be to lay the seeds in men's hearts of a faith in the statements of other men quite outside their experience and quite unsupported, men whose hearts they had not fathomed. This would lead back to all the evils of the past, not forward into light and knowledge.
"All such is glamour: there is no false mystery in chelaship; all nonsense about 'developing intuition' is merely making excuses for what cannot be proven and is about the same in the end as the Christian 'faith.' Let a man go on his path acting sternly by what he knows, not by what he is asked or persuaded to believe. Let him act by no directions which may be merely the thoughts of others no wiser than himself. How does he know? He does not know. Then let him be quite clear and straightforward in this, that he does not know.""Is the most sacred and sublime of all human relationships nothing more than an intellectual bond, entered into with questions that appear to make the initial stage one of mutual suspicion, to be slowly removed by prolonged knowledge of each other in physical life? Not so have I been taught, little as I know of these high matters, and the process described by Bro. Sturdy is the complete reversal of all that I have heard as to the methods of the school to which I was introduced by H.P.B."Mr. Sturdy, it will be remembered, was himself not only a member of the Esoteric School but also had been one of the "E.S.T. Council" appointed by H.P.B., and had been present at the meeting at 19 Avenue Road on May 27, 1891, when the E.S. was reorganized immediately after the death of H.P.B. To understand the breach indicated by the "Gurus and Chelas" articles, these must be related not only to all the matters we have been discussing, but in particular to an existing situation and a series of events which were due to it, which we have so far but barely hinted at, so that students might more readily grasp the connection when it required consideration. Let us first treat of the events themselves, and then go into the situation which gave rise to them.
We have earlier mentioned that at the meeting of the E.S. Council on May 27, 1891, all that transpired, with one exception, was covered in the circular of the same date sent to all members of the Esoteric School. That omitted matter was a message from one of the Masters received during the deliberations, and by Mrs. Besant read to those present. We shall recur to this subject again, so that it is sufficient here to speak of the fact. This meeting was under the pledge of secrecy, as was the circular sent to the E.S. members. Immediately following this, and while Mr. Judge was still in England, following H.P.B.'s death, the "Path" for August, 1891, edited during Mr. Judge's absence by "Jasper Niemand" (Mrs. Archibald Keightley, or Julia Campbell Ver Planck, as her name was then), began with a powerful article on "A Theosophical Education." This article was headed with a message from one of the Masters, and was signed by Jasper Niemand. It should be remembered that at that time no one knew who "Jasper Niemand" was except Mr. Judge and Mrs. Ver Planck herself. The article went on to say that the "message" had been received by a "student theosophist" since H.P.B.'s death, that the message was from H.P.B.'s Master and was "attested by His real signature and seal." We have italicized the word "real" because we shall later have to return to the subject. By some it was thought that "Jasper Niemand" was a pseudonym for a "Hindu Chela," by others that of some Western "Occultist," and by many others that "Jasper Niemand" was none other than Mr. Judge himself.
Following this, on August 30, 1891, Mrs. Besant, in St. James' Hall, London, made a farewell address to the Secularists with whom she had worked for so many years prior to her becoming a Theosophist. The great hall was packed with her old co-workers. Her lengthy address was entitled "1875-1891: a Fragment of Autobiography." Near the close of this address she pledged her word, her senses, her sanity and her honor that "since Madame Blavatsky left, I have had letters in the same writing and from the same person," i.e., from the "Mahatma" from whom the "messages" transmitted by H.P.B. during her life-time had been believed by Theosophists to emanate.
Naturally, these two public proclamations, the anonymous one in the "Path" and the other the solemn personal affirmation of Mrs. Besant, both of them direct, sweeping and unqualified, aroused a furore in the world and particularly amongst Theosophists. Because of Mrs. Besant's statement it was inevitably inferred that she herself was in "communication with the Masters" and this inference was strengthened by the fact that she made no denial, and by her subsequent statements to various newspaper interviewers, and by other direct statements similar to the one in "Lucifer" for August, 1893, from which we have quoted in the present chapter. In fact no one, we think, reading Mrs. Besant's various statements during the three years following H.P.B.'s death, and granting her sanity and honesty, could do other than infer that she spoke from direct, immediate personal knowledge and experience of her own, and not from hearsay, inference, or dependence on anyone else's assumed powers and knowledge. These affirmations, coupled with her great reputation and towering place in the theosophical world, caused numbers of Theosophists throughout the world to look to her, her writings and her example, as the sure guide to follow. In the Esoteric School the members considered her as little, if any, short of H.P.B.'s stature in the occult world, and this was particularly the case in England, Europe and Asia. Her influence, therefore, with the membership both of the Society at large and of the Esoteric School grew to be tremendous and surpassed that of any other living person, while in the world she was the propagandist who could command the most attention, the largest audiences, the greatest publicity in the press. Judge, declining the Presidency by securing the revocation of Olcott's resignation, writing in his magazine largely under pseudonyms, confining his official activities to the routine of a "General Secretary" of a Section, at all times avoided publicity to the utmost possible extent. He was unceasing in his devotion to the work of the School, to encouraging and inciting others, to the promotion of the First Object, and to the dissemination of Theosophy. Such publicity as befell him was due rather to the outspoken praise of Mrs. Besant and others, and to the attacks upon him, direct and indirect, for his vigilant efforts to keep the name, the fame and the writings of H.P.B. alive before the membership as their example and their guide, than to any necessity of his work or official position, which was at all times purely nominal, as had been the case with H.P.B. herself. And the student may be interested to know that from the year following the death of H.P.B. till his own passing in 1896, his was a sick and over-burdened body, as was H.P.B.'s after the fiery furnace of 1884-5. In fact, during the years 1893,'4, and '5, Mr. Judge was in such condition that he was for the most of the time able to speak but in whispers, and much of his work was done either in bed, or while traveling in search of physical relief.
Mrs. Besant's fame and reputation for "occultism," her continuous lectures, her vast and unceasing emission of writings, her capacity for continuous work under unending pressures, her confident surety of opinion and conviction in all things, made her every day more and more the real "leader" of the Society. She overshadowed Olcott and Sinnett as she overshadowed Judge -- with this difference: she was convinced that Judge had been the real colleague of H.P.B., and that the others were not only "lesser lights" in an occult sense than Judge, but that they had not been, and were not, true to Masters and H.P.B. as Judge was. Her support it was, chiefly, her looking to Judge for counsel and advice, that retained for him place and standing in the general membership outside America.
Olcott and Sinnett, both exceedingly tenacious of whatever opinions they held, and greatly enjoying the prestige which they had acquired, the one as "President-Founder," and the other as the President of the "London Lodge" and writer of the most popular treatises on Theosophy, could but be affected by the rise of Mrs. Besant into the luminous zone of the theosophical firmament. Neither of them had been pleased, either with H.P.B. and her "interferences," or with her partiality -- as it must have seemed to them -- toward the obscure and unpretentious young man upon whom Theosophy and the Society perforce had to depend in America. With the passing of H.P.B. it could but have seemed the natural and the appropriate thing for them to step, with proper expressions of regret and appreciation, into the place made vacant by the death of "the old lion of the Punjab." But when Judge kept on speaking and writing of H.P.B. as though she were still living and still the surpassing factor and guide of the Movement, her writings the criterion by which to weigh and act, it was too much! Were they never to receive that recognition which was rightfully theirs? With Judge out of the way H.P.B. had been easier to deal with while she was alive; with Judge out of the way, it would be easy to deal with H.P.B. dead. But when Judge found in Mrs. Besant a supporter and defender, both of H.P.B. and himself, and their brief triumph seemed threatened, without a chance of viability, it was much too much! Hence the issues of "hero-worship," of "dogmatism," of the "neutrality of the T.S."; hence "Old Diary Leaves"; hence the revived activities of the "London Lodge" with its "Transactions"; hence the swift coming to the surface of disharmony, disunion, charges and counter charges, claims and counterclaims.
(To be Continued)
THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT
(Part 28 of a 34-part series)
"THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT"
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