THEOSOPHY, Vol. 15, No. 9, July, 1927
(Pages 386-394; Size: 28K)
(Number 10 of a 13-part series)
THE RISING CYCLE
LAST month we considered Mr. G. R. S. Mead's self-defensive story in the Occult Review (a) of the "Third and Revised Edition" of H. P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine; (b) of Mrs. Besant's spurious "Third Volume" of that work; (c) of the missing genuine 3rd and 4th volumes.
One may compare Mr. Mead's ideas of literary honour with those of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge. Thus, writing in The Theosophist, June, 1881, page 210, an editorial preface to a translation made by her of one of Eliphas Levi's unpublished Letters, she expresses her own dissent from some of Levi's views, and adds:"But were we even so much disposed to alter or amend the teachings of so great a master in Occultism, it would be more than improper to do so now, since he is no longer alive to defend and expound his positions. We leave the unenviable task of kicking dead and dying lions to the jackasses -- voluntary undertakers of all attacked reputations."And for Mr. Judge's ideas on the same subject of the duty of an "editor," we may turn to his Path for January, 1887, page 320. H.P.B. had written a most important article, "Theories About Reincarnation and Spirits," which had been published in The Path for November, 1886, and in the text H.P.B. is made to say (page 235) the exact opposite of what she meant. As soon as she saw the published article H.P.B. wrote a corrective letter, which was published in The Path for January, 1887, with a Note by Mr. Judge, in which he says:"The MS. for the article referred to was written out by some one for Mme. Blavatsky and forwarded to us as it was printed, and it is quite evident that the error was the copyist's, and not ours nor Madame's; besides that, the remainder of the paragraph clearly shows a mistake. We did not feel justified in making such an important change on our own responsibility, but are now glad to have the author do it herself."Mr. Mead, after pleading guilty to the actual offence of altering in many thousands of cases the text of H.P.B.'s writings; of doing it after her death; of concealing by silence and misrepresentation his literary crime; after making his plea in avoidance when very literally "brought to book" -- Mr. Mead tries to psychologize his readers into believing that H.P.B. endowed him with posthumous authority to corrupt her life-work. Thus:"Speaking generally, I should say that H.P.B. herself, at any rate, would now be the first to thank me for the pains I took in revising the non-essentials of her Secret Doctrine."Why not? If Mr. Mead felt himself authorized to take words out of her mouth, as he did, why should he not also put words into her mouth, as he has? In other words, H.P.B. is not to be trusted until Mr. Mead has "edited" and interpreted what she wrote -- H.P.B. whom he charges with repeated categorical falsehoods, and, finally, with his own gross offence of "pulling" the facts to suit the necessities of the case in hand. Listen:"Another class of errors ... is that of the numerous misquotations.... They were, unfortunately, not all due to errors in typewriting from the original MS. Some of them had been 'pulled' to favour the relevant argument or contention."And yet this same Mr. Mead wrote in "The Last Two Years":One of the greatest proofs to me of H.P.B.'s extraordinary gifts and ability, if proof were needed in the face of the manifest sincerity of her life-work, was the way in which she wrote her articles and books. I knew every book she had in her small library, and yet day after day she would produce quantities of MS. abounding in quotations, which were seldom inaccurate."From her article "My Books," written with all the sanction of a dying declaration, it is clear that H.P.B. submitted everything she ever wrote for publication to those around her, in order that no foreign use of English should betray the ideas it was her Mission to impart. Among those who so assisted her were Dr. Alexander Wilder, Colonel Olcott, Mr. Judge, A. P. Sinnett, Countess Wachtmeister, Dr. Keightley, Bertram Keightley, Mrs. Besant and many others besides the sapient Mr. Mead. This was all done while she was alive.
Now, Mr. Mead would degrade H.P.B. and her writings to the level of mediumistic performers and performances -- the only species of "psychic probabilities" in which he believes, because the only kind not above the level of his understanding. Yet, once more, Mr. Mead while still quick from the living presence of H.P.B., felt very differently about her and her inspiration. We quote from a signed statement of Mr. Mead and his associates, dated May 19, 1891, and published in Lucifer for June, 1891, pages 319-20:"We do not propose to attempt any answer in detail to libels as monstrous as they are vile.... Is it right, even for the sake of soiling a dead woman's memory, to ignore the ordinary rule of law that the onus of proof lies on the accuser? What character can be safe if any unsupported slander is to be taken for proved fact? We content ourselves with staking our honour and reputation on the statement that her character was of an exceptionally pure and lofty type, that her life was unsullied and her integrity spotless. It is because we know this that we were and are proud to follow her guidance, and we desire to place on public record the fact that we owe to her the noblest inspirations of our lives....How Mr. Mead's and Mrs. Besant's minds have worked since Chakravarti psychologized them is conclusively if unconsciously admitted by Mr. Mead himself. In persuading Mrs. Besant to publish the garbled E.S.T. Instructions in the spurious "Third Volume" of the Secret Doctrine, Mr. Mead says:
"Her great position in the movement was due to her knowledge, to her ability, to her unswerving loyalty, not to the holding of office; ... Her special function was that of teacher, and he or she who would fill her place must have her knowledge.""My argument was that the 'occult teachings,' as they were deemed by the faithful, were now in the hands of hundreds, scattered all over the world, some of whom were by no means trustworthy, and that it was highly probable that we should any day find them printed publicly by some unscrupulous individual or privately circulated illegitimately."Lest others should prove untrustworthy and unscrupulous, Mr. Mead and Mrs. Besant broke their own solemn "word of honour" and became unscrupulous and untrustworthy themselves.
And now we may consider the crowning infamy of G. R. S. Mead's "libels as monstrous as they are vile" -- his shameful and shameless assault on the Theosophical memory and repute of William Q. Judge. Rightly regarded, it is entirely within Mr. Mead's sense of "the fitness of things" that, having done his utmost to belittle and vilify H.P.B., he should do the same with her chiefest disciple and defender.
Mr. Mead, in his efforts to mislead the Theosophists of 1927, as he and others misled so many in 1894 and subsequently, now betrays himself as he betrayed then those who trusted his "word of honour." Speaking of "the case against W. Q. Judge," he says:"I would believe no word against him till he came over to London to meet the very grave charges brought against him and I could question him face to face. This I did in a two-hours' painful interview. His private defence to me was, that his forging of the numerous 'Mahatmic' messages on letters written by himself, after H.P.B.'s decease, to devoted and prominent members of the Society, in the familiar red and blue chalk scripts, with the occasional impress of the 'M' seal, which contained the flaw in the copy of it which Olcott had made in Lahore, was permissible, in order to 'economise power,' provided that the 'messages' had first been psychically received. He also more than hinted that it was entirely in keeping with precedent, and that this was his authority for what he had done."Let us see. If Mr. Mead's statements above quoted mean anything they mean that he now affirms, after a third of a century of silence, that in London in July, 1894, at the time of the meeting of the "Judicial Committee" called by Col. Olcott to consider the charges against Mr. Judge, made by Mrs. Besant at Col. Olcott's concealed insistence, Mr. Judge, in a "painful two hours interview," confessed to Mr. Mead that he, Judge, had forged the "Mahatma message" on which Mrs. Besant's chief charge was based, pleading that his conduct in so doing "was entirely in keeping with precedent" -- that is, that H.P.B. had done the same thing.
Does Mr. Mead offer any evidence to support this "private interview?" He does not. It is a barefaced attempt to "soil a dead man's memory" and "to ignore the ordinary rule of law that the onus of proof lies on the accuser" -- to cite Mr. Mead's own words in 1891, as earlier quoted. "What character can be safe," Mr. Mead then wrote, "if any unsupported slander is to be taken for proved fact." Are these words any the less true to-day than they were in 1891? Are they any the less true now that Mr. Mead is himself turned slanderer?
We have but to turn to the record of the famous "Case against W. Q. Judge" to find that Mr. Mead, like Mrs. Besant, Mr. Sinnett, Col. Olcott, and others, parties to that infamous conspiracy, has impeached himself. The whole sordid series of facts is set out in The Theosophical Movement, Chapters XXVI-XXXIV, to which real students are referred.
These charges were brought formally by Mrs. Besant in a letter to Col. Olcott, dated February 6, 1894, as the second step in a conspiracy entered into at Adyar on Christmas Eve preceding. Col. Olcott wrote Mr. Judge the next day, February 7, 1894, offering him two alternatives, (a) to retire under fire, or (b) to face a public "Judicial Committee" controlled by Col. Olcott. Thereafter, as the next step in prejudicing theosophists against Judge, Col. Olcott suspended him as Vice-President of the T.S., until the charges should be aired. Mr. Judge promptly cabled Olcott, denying the charges in toto, announcing his readiness to face any proceedings. This was on March 10, 1894, the day Olcott's letter was received. Mr. Judge then issued under date of March 15, a complete denial of the charges, with copies of the correspondence. Mr. Judge's circular letter was intended to, and did, meet publicly what the conspirators had been circulating by stealth -- baseless defamatory suspicions, innuendoes, rumors, and gossip. Immediately, Mr. Mead, as General Secretary of the European Section, joined with Bertram Keightley, General Secretary of the Indian Section, but then in London, in an open Official Letter to Col. Olcott as President-Founder of the T.S., denying the propriety and constitutionality of Col. Olcott's actions, and charging Col. Olcott himself with malfeasance. The Mead-Keightley communication was dated March 27, 1894, and made public by the senders.
The "Judicial Committee" met at London on July 10, 1894. Its meeting was preceded by a meeting of the "General Council" consisting of Col. Olcott, Mr. Keightley and Mr. Mead, Mr. Judge being present but not voting. This meeting of the "General Council" was held on July 7, 1894, and at its session the denial made by Judge, and the points raised by him in his letter of March 15, and those raised by Mead and Keightley in their letter of March 27, were considered. Bertram Keightley moved, and Mead seconded, Olcott concurring, that the "Judicial Committee" had "no jurisdiction." Mead moved, Keightley seconded, and Olcott concurred, that this proceeding of the "General Council" should be laid before the "Judicial Committee." There Olcott delivered a long speech completely backing down by reversing himself on his own opinion and procedure, saying, "I declare as my opinion that this enquiry must go no farther." Why Not? Olcott himself declared:"Mr. Judge's defence is that he is not guilty of the acts charged; that Mahatmas exist, are related to our Society, and in personal connection with himself; and he avers his readiness to bring many witnesses and documentary proofs to support his statements."With the facts before its members the Judicial Committee, packed as it was against Judge, nevertheless found itself compelled either to expose its own infamy, or negative the whole proceedings. All the foregoing is indisputable, and is covered in the Official Report, entitled "The Neutrality of the Theosophical Society, an Enquiry into certain Charges against the Vice-President" -- Mr. Judge.
Next, the British-European Convention immediately following the meeting of the Judicial Committee was abuzz and aflame with curiosity and excitement over the riot of charges during the preceding six months, and their totally unexpected failure and fiasco. Olcott, Mrs. Besant, Mead, and the rest, facing dishonor and disgrace for their part in the mess, were desperate in self-defence. To save their faces they asked, first for a "Jury of Honour" to sit on the charges in default of the self-exploded Judicial Committee. To this, after demurrers by his friends, Judge consented, provided any "Jury" could be found which could tell a "message from the Mahatmas" if they saw one! Worse confounded still, Mrs. Besant, after much running to and fro, asked that herself and Judge should prepare and read Statements before the Convention to settle the matter once and for all. To this Mr. Judge, who had no desire to punish or expose anyone, promptly agreed. Accordingly Mrs. Besant drew up her "plea in avoidance," in such a way as to side-step any responsibility of her own and to lay all the blame on others. To this Mr. Judge objected and she re-wrote her Statement. It is long, labored, full of extenuations, and contains a Note by Col. Olcott, admitting his joint responsibility. Judge's Statement is brief, concise, definite and explicit. It affirms the receipt and delivery of genuine Messages, denies point-blank any deception or forgery. Mrs. Besant's Statement makes public apology to Judge for the wrong done him in the same breath with her self-excuses. Thus, in her closing sentence:"For any pain that I have given my brother, in trying to do a most repellent task, I ask his pardon, as also for any mistakes that I may have made."She says she has made "many mistakes in judgment," admits the genuineness of the Messages, but because she does not know how they were received, she gives her precious "judgment" as to how they ought to be sent by the Masters and received by the Chelas(5)!
All the foregoing is included in the "Neutrality" report, as also the information that after the two Statements, Mrs. Besant's first and then Mr. Judge's, had been read to the Convention, Bertram Keightley moved that they be received as a "final settlement of matters pending ... with the hope that it may be thus buried and forgotten;" which motion was carried "nem. con."
During all this six months' period Mr. Mead, as shown, was an active participant. Now, thirty-three years afterwards, he would have the theosophical world believe that all during the session of the General Council, the proceedings of the Judicial Committee, the lengthy session of the British-European Convention, he had all the time, fresh and clear in his own consciousness, Judge's confession of forgery and fraud made to him directly in a "two hours' private interview," and kept it to himself! What kind of a scoundrel was Mr. Mead then that he kept silent, let Judge go scot free, let Mrs. Besant and Col. Olcott swallow their own charges, permitted Theosophists the world around to believe that Mr. Judge was an innocent man, and his accusers guilty of the saddest of "many mistakes of judgment?" To the contrary, what kind of a scoundrel is Mr. Mead now, thirty-three years later, when, hoping in another sense that this old issue is "buried and forgotten," he ventures to publish a monstrous libel on the innocent dead? Convicted of fraud in his "editing" of the Secret Doctrine; convicted of mendacity, ingratitude, and calumny on H.P.B.; convicted of "editing" facts as well as books to deceive and betray those who might trust him -- Mr. Mead has impeached himself as efficaciously in his falsehoods regarding Judge as in those regarding H.P.B. and the Secret Doctrine.
Six months after the "Judicial Committee" meeting, when the hue and cry had again been raised on Judge, the silent Mr. Mead issued a "private circular" to the European Section, dated February 1st, 1895, which, again, gives the lie to his present statements in the Occult Review. Weeded of its redundant adverse opinions and inferences, that circular letter of Mr. Mead says, in relation to the period of this alleged confession of Judge's:"On Mr. Judge's arrival, I was present at all the private and official meetings, ... I moved at the Judicial Committee that the charges should not be printed, because I thought that it would not be fair that a committee should print charges it found itself incompetent to deal with. After this I read Mrs. Besant's pleading, and at once told her she was most amply justified in bringing the matter forward and making a stand against Mr. Judge's methods... I and others ... could get no straightforward reply to any question."Filled with partisan assertions though the circular is, there is in it no hint of Judge's "confession;" quite the contrary, if, as he says, he could "get no straightforward reply to any question." It shows that he became convinced of Judge's "guilt" through reading Mrs. Besant's inflammatory "pleading" -- Mrs. Besant whom he calls his "old friend and beloved colleague." Mr. Mead goes on to say it "is time for the members of the Theosophical Society to make up their minds very clearly on this matter" -- but does not enable them to do so by making public the alleged "confession." Far from it, he merely gives his own and Mrs. Besant's opinion and assertion of Judge's "guilt," and then says:"The psychics on both sides, though giving no reason for their convictions, are absolutely certain of Mr. Judge's guilt or innocence; they 'know.'"Mr. Mead's circular, like Mrs. Besant's "pleading" is as full of "reasons" but as sparse of truth as a lawyer's harangue to a jury. Now, after a third of a century, his "reasons" for believing Mr. Judge guilty have become transformed into a "confession" by Mr. Judge -- unless, meantime, Mr. Mead has turned "psychic" himself. His memory is as pliant as Mr. James M. Pryse's, and from the same necessity -- self-defence. Is it conceivable to any honest man that, had Mead a "confession" from Judge, he would not have hastened to make it public during the July proceedings and in this personal circular of February 1, 1895?
Two months later, that is, in April, 1895, Mrs. Besant, with the full connivance and help of Col. Olcott, Mr. Mead, Bertram Keightley, and others, published her "Case Against W. Q. Judge." There, every suspicion is ranked as "evidence;" every unexplained incident is taken as damning proof against Judge; every jealous inference drawn, every straw of sophism, is made to do duty as a "fact" against Judge -- the whole set ablaze by Mrs. Besant's incendiary "pleading." On the back cover page is a Notice that Mrs. Besant will move, and Mr. Mead second, a resolution at the forthcoming (July, 1895) Convention demanding the expulsion of Judge from the Society, because--"...he evaded the jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee of July, 1894, refused a Jury of Honour, and has since given no full and satisfactory explanation to the Society in answer to the charges brought against him."Can any man imagine that if Judge had "confessed his forgeries" to Mead, it would not have been included first and foremost in "The Case Against W. Q. Judge?" That it would not have been hailed as the "full and satisfactory explanation" which the wolf-pack of his enemies coveted?
It is enough!
Similar falsehoods of Mr. Mead are plentiful in his Occult Review article. Thus:"Shortly after Judge's decease (March 21, 1896), one of his two chief mediums came to London to see me privately. In a four-hours' interview she went with painful minuteness into every detail of how it had all been done, and wound up with an utterly amoral proposition purporting to come from the 'Mahatmas,' which was a very tempting offer had I been a charlatan. I very impolitely told the lady to inform her 'Masters' that they might go to h--l. Subsequently, another old friend who had been in Lansdowne road and Avenue road with us, and had gone to the U.S.A. to work under Judge, and who had helped him in the forging of these messages, came to London and owned up to me."Always "private interviews" with persons now dead and therefore unable to contradict, or with anonymous persons not to be identified -- and all after a silence of many years. Who were Mr. Judge's "two chief mediums?" What was the "amoral" proposition? Who was the other "old friend" who "helped Judge in the forging of these messages?" Where is the proof of these statements of "facts?" Who but a cowardly slanderer would cite anonymous "private interviews" to bolster his calumnies?
Mr. Mead's assertion that Judge "confessed" to him is as gross a tissue of falsehoods as Mr. Sinnett's assertion at the same period that H.P.B. confessed to him that she, too, was a forger of false messages from the MASTERS. Like Mead, Sinnett waited till his victim was dead, and then sought to defile her memory in a letter to Alexander Fullerton.(1) Fullerton published the letter, and Judge, in his last written article referred to it.(2) Sinnett, who did not know that Fullerton had made the letter public, declared after Judge's death that he had "never said anything of the kind."(3) Yet we hold his autograph admission of the authenticity of the text of Fullerton's publication. And Mead, like Sinnett, would perfume his mendacities with loud professions of love and esteem for his victim, the better to deceive the public into accepting his monstrous libels on the dead. Thus:"We were very fond of one another, and intimate friends; and (though this will give a shock to those who have made a cult of his memory) I still have a feeling of strong affection for him, in spite of my judgment, based on private knowledge, that his conduct in the matters which led to the 'case' was utterly wrong and reprehensible. It is, however, quite common for us to love sincerely those of whose conduct we are forced to disapprove."The real secret of all these calumnies on Judge is, that after H.P.B.'s death Judge remained as true to her and her teachings and to her place in the work as while she was living. This was an offence and an affront to those who believe that "a living cur is better than a dead lion" -- and conduct themselves accordingly. The rising cycle of the Theosophical Movement is restoring the teachings and repute of the great Messenger and her Colleague, and this is the unpardonable sin to the failures of the past like G. R. S. Mead. Mr. Mead shows this himself, if all unwittingly, for he says:"W.Q.J. held strongly at the time I was revising the printed text of Vols. I and II, that the S.D. throughout, in all its parts and all its diction, was transcendentally 'occult,' inspired verbally by the 'Mahatmas,' as he himself told me when he first saw the printed revised text. I thought he was utterly mistaken, and so I told him."Like Mr. Sinnett's "Early Days of Theosophy in Europe,"(4) Mr. Mead's article will, nevertheless, do a great and real service to the Theosophical Movement. It will prove to all students who investigate that it is no more possible to follow the Path of H.P.B., Judge, and Their MASTERS, and at the same time regard Mrs. Besant, Mr. Sinnett, Mr. Mead, and those who follow them and their writings, as being on the same Path, than it is to regard Occultism and Psychism as one and the same.
The Rising Cycle
(Part 11 of 13)
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FIVE (5) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:
(1) The Theosophical Movement, pp. 630-632.
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(2) The Path (Theosophy), April, 1896; reprinted in THEOSOPHY, May, 1913.
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(3) The Path (Theosophy), July, 1896.
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(4) Reviewed in THEOSOPHY for October, 1923.
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COMPILER'S NOTE: I added this footnote; it was not in the article. If it doesn't paint an accurate enough picture, or is incorrect, I hope the Editors of THEOSOPHY magazine will spot it and point it out to me, so that I can make the necessary corrections.
(5) "Chelas": A "Chela" is a disciple, the pupil of an Adept or a group of Adepts.
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