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A WORD ON THE "SECRET DOCTRINE"
From William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles, Vol. II.
Articles by WQJ
AN OLD LETTER REPUBLISHED
THERE is so much discussion going on just now in the Theosophical movement as to the value of the Secret Doctrine, and as to the amount of aid given to H. P. Blavatsky in the compilation of it, and as to her position as a Teacher in Occult matters, that it appears to us that the republication of an old letter - published in 1888 - which bears on these questions, is peculiarly timely, and may be of service to many who did not have the opportunity of reading it on its first issue. The letter is, of course, of no authority for those members of the T.S. who do not share our sentiments of reverence for the Masters, but for those who do, the interest of it will be great. It was received in mid-ocean by Col. Olcott, P.T.S., and was originally published with his consent in a small pamphlet entitled "An Explanation important to all Theosophists," issued by H.P.B.
MISUNDERSTANDINGS have grown up between Fellows both in London and Paris which imperil the interests of the movement. You will be told that the chief originator of most if not of all these disturbances is H.P.B. This is not so; though her presence in England has, of course, a share in them. But the largest share rest with others, whose serene unconsciousness of their own defects is very marked and much to be blamed. One of the most valuable effects of Upasika's mission is that it drives men to self-study and destroys in them blind servility for persons. Observe your own case, for example. But your revolt, good friend, against her "infallibility" - as you once thought it - has gone too far, and you have been unjust to her. . . .
. . . Try to remove such misconceptions as you will find, by kind persuasion and an appeal to the feelings of loyalty to the cause of truth, if not to us. Make all these men feel that we have no favorites, nor affections for persons, but only for their good acts and humanity as a whole. But we employ agents - the best available. Of these, for the last thirty years, the chief has been the personality known as H.P.B. to the world (but otherwise to us). Imperfect and very "troublesome" no doubt she proves to some; nevertheless there is no likelihood of our finding a better one for years to come, and your Theosophists should be made to understand it. . . .
. . . Since 1885 I have not written nor caused to be written save through her agency direct or remote a letter or a line to anybody in Europe or America, nor communicated orally with or through any third party. Theosophists should learn it. You will understand later the significance of this declaration, so keep it in mind. . . . Her fidelity to our work being constant and her sufferings having come upon her through it, neither I nor either of my Brother Associates will desert or supplant her. As I once before remarked, ingratitude is not among our vices. . . . To help you in your present perplexity, H.P.B. has next to no concern with administrative details and should be kept clear of them so far as her strong nature can be controlled. But this you must tell to all; with occult matters she has everything to do. . . . We have not "abandoned her." She is not "given over to chelas." She is our direct agent. I warn you against permitting your suspicions and resentment against her "many follies" to bias your intuitive loyalty to her. In the adjustment of this European business you will have two things to consider, - the external and administrative, and the internal and psychical. Keep the former under your control and that of your most prudent associates jointly; leave the latter to her. You are left to devise the practical details.
I have also noted your thoughts about the Secret Doctrine. Be assured that what she has not annotated from scientific and other works we have given or suggested to her. Every mistake or erroneous notion corrected and explained by her from the works of other Theosophists was corrected by me or under my instruction. It is a more valuable work than its predecessor, - an epitome of occult truths that will make it a source of information and instruction for the earnest student for long years to come.
. . . (This letter) . . . is merely given you as a warning and a guide; to others as a warning only; for you may use it discreetly if needs be . . . Prepare, however, to have the authenticity of the present denied in certain quarters.
[Extract correctly copied - H.S. Olcott.],