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Re: Theos-World Two Opposing Views of C.W. Leadbeater

Jan 03, 2003 01:06 PM
by gregory

Several things are worth noting about these "two opposing views". First, 
the Hodson booklet does not really address any of the questions raised by 
the Gardner work. The Hodson booklet argues that Leadbeater was "sincere" 
and (therefore?) could not be a fraud. Of course, Gardner does not argue 
that Leadbeater was insincere, and does not argue that he was a fraud - 
indeed, Gardner wrote the work in part to defend Leadbeater against 
allegations of fraud. It's probably easiest to summarize Gardner's view 
as being that Leadbeater was self-deluded, but sincere. The occult theory 
behind his argument is complex but, interestingly enough, is based in 
part on Leadbeater's own (early) writings about the nature of 
clairvoyance. Second, the Hodson work (like many later statements) claims 
to include testimonials from Leadbeater's "pupils". Of course, the list 
of those thus testifying does not actually include any of the boys who 
were his early pupils. If I look at the list of "Some of His Pupils" 
(page 24) I can only find, at most, two of the twenty-two who could have 
been considered "pupils", and an additional one (Dick Balfour-Clarke) who 
might be described as a secretary. The majority of those named come from 
a later period of Leadbeater's career. Third, one of the most important 
"witnesses" in the Hodson work later "recanted" and came to agree with 
Gardner: Dick Balfour-Clarke. I interviewed Dick at length at Adyar, and 
had access to detailed notes taken from discussions with him by another 
resident of Adyar. Dick gave me his ES portraits of the Masters, and 
photographs of various other "secret" TS things. It's worth noting that 
Geoffrey Hodson (who introduces the work) and his wife (who is one of the 
editors) were never pupils of Leadbeater. Geoffrey Hodson, another hailed 
as a great clairvoyant in Adyar circles (and whose posthumous 
publications reveal communications with "Masters" unknown to either HPB 
or Leadbeater), was active during Leadbeater's lifetime, but there is 
nothing to suggest any relationship between them. It should also be noted 
that Gardner produced a series of detailed explorations of Leadbeater's 
work and personality (including the sexual allegations and their 
possible/probable occult explanation) which were privately circulated and 
which, to my knowledge, have never been published. I made use of these in 
my PhD thesis (although not, as I recall, in "The Elder Brother" since I 
don't think I had copies when I wrote it).

Dr Gregory Tillett

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