FOLLOWING on the departure of H.P.B. from the scene of action, some weak voices in the Society have asked, "Have the Adepts deserted us?" This question has also come from those who are not weak in character, but who certainly do not understand very clearly what the Adepts are or how They work. And in the use of the term "Adept" are included also "Mahatmas," "Brothers," "Masters."
That these beings exist we have no manner of doubt, since for those who have studied in the right way plenty of proof has been offered; for others the proofs exist within themselves. The former class has had tangible evidence in the way of letters and appearances of the Adepts before their eyes; the latter long ago concluded that the Masters are necessities of evolution. Those who received proof palpable were those whose karma and past work entitled them to it; the others, having in previous lives gone through the experience and the argument, now quickly decided that, inasmuch as there are grades of intelligence and wisdom and power below ourselves, so there must beyond us be still other grades, all leading up, ex necessitate rei, to the Adept or Master of whatever degree.
Now in the Society's ranks there have always been three mental positions held in respect to the question whether or not the Adepts - once admitted as existing - have anything in particular to do with the Theosophical Society. These are, first, that they have; second, that they have not; third, sometimes doubt about it, at others surety that they have, - in fact, wavering.
Those who think that the T.S. movement is merely a natural development of thought cannot be affected by the present discussion; the first and third classes are interested in the matter. To those it should at once occur that in the West the idea of the existence of the Adepts and of Their connection with our movement was first brought forward in this century and in our Society by H.P. Blavatsky, who, consistently throughout her career, has declared that the Adepts - whom she was pleased to call her Masters - directed her to engage in this work and have always helped and directed her throughout. That They should so direct her and then desert the Society she founded merely because her body came to its dissolution seems so illogical as to be unthinkable. Many persons have affirmed to the reception of messages in writing from the same Masters, in which They said that some of Their efforts were for the benefit of the T.S. Among these persons we may mention Mr. A.P. Sinnett, who has never abandoned that position, and who today possesses a great number of such letters. Why should the unseen founders withdraw Their help when the work of the Society has but just begun to have its due effect upon the age? There seems to be no reasonable reply.
Once that we admit the existence of the Adepts and that They have adopted the T.S. as one of Their agents in this century for disseminating the truth about man and nature, we are bound to suppose that ordinary common-sense rules would govern as to the continuance of help or its withdrawal. Now one of the most obvious conclusions is that the Society should not be deserted until it had accomplished its mission or had utterly failed. Sixteen years of steady work show an enormous effect produced upon the thought of America, Europe, and Asia; but that portion of the work has been in the line of fighting against odds and breaking down of opposition, with a beginning in this sixteenth year of an interest in the doctrines brought to the attention of the West by the efforts of our members. From that we must, as reasonable and foresighted beings, deduce the necessity for continuance of assistance. It is plain that our work of clear promulgation and wise building-up is still before us. Why then should the Adepts desert us? Still no reasonable reply can be found.
But considering what we know of the motives and methods held and pursued by the Adepts, we cannot for a moment suppose our real founders and constant helpers could yet leave us to fight alone. In letters and messages from Them we read that Their motive is to help the moral - and hence external - progress of humanity, and Their methods to work from behind the scenes by means of agents suited for the work. Those letters and messages also say that the agency is not restricted to one person, but that all sincere lovers of truth are used to that end, whether they know of it or not. The departure of H.P.B. does not remove the other sincere lovers of truth from the scene, nor does it prevent the Adepts from sending messages if needed. Such messages have been received before H.P.B.'s departure by persons in no way connected with her, and have since that sad event also come to encourage those who are entitled to such encouragement. The contents of these are not for the public, nor indeed for any one save those to whom they have come.
Yet even if no such messages had been received, there is ample evidence, for those who are not blind, of the help of the Masters. For, as They said long ago that the work would be helped, so it has been; no other reason can be given for the increase of the work in America, since their personal effort put forth by the members will not account for the spreading of the movement. And now let it stand as a prophecy made in the messages spoken of, that in the kingdom of Great Britain and in Europe there will in five years be seen a similar spreading of Theosophy. Let no one of us, then, be in any way cast down. As the Masters exist, so They help us; and as we deserve, so will they repay.
Path, August, 1891