Occultism and "East and West"
Aug 07, 2004 05:24 AM
by Dallas TenBroeck
August 7 2004
Re: Occultism and "East and West"
Some inquiries about the THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT and its aim, force, origins
and sustaining power have arisen in recent exchanges.
Here are some articles that may be found to assist. They are not only
historical but also give some of the fundamental ideas we need to consider
in terms of Brotherhood and Learning about the Wisdom of the Ages
THE TRUTH ABOUT EAST AND WEST
Mrs. Besant and others have joined together to try and show that I [W. Q.
Judge] am attempting to create discord in the Theosophical Society between
the East and West. [in 1894] In this case they seem to consider India as
the East. I may say myself that I do not consider it the East alone.
The charge is made publicly and privately, as well as in a set of
resolutions offered by Mrs. Besant and passed at a meeting in India in
December . It is based on the fact that in a circular issued by me
privately in the E.S.T., I stated the fact that the spiritual crest, the
center, of the wave of evolution is in the West and not in the East.
A mere sentimental desire to preserve an apparent but not actual peace among
the officials of the T. S. has no power to prevent me from stating facts and
bringing forward ideas which are of the highest importance to the human
family and to the right progress of that part of the Theosophical movement
represented by the T. S.
The attempt to create discord is on the side of those who take up, for
personal ends only, my statement as to the relative position of the East and
West - a statement supported by facts, and given also to me by the Masters,
This cry against me [W. Q. Judge] of fomenting discord is due also to a
limited knowledge of the evolutionary wave and tendency, to a mere craze
about India, and also to a narrow view of what is included in the term
Of course I must say in the very beginning that if we deny H. P. Blavatsky
had any knowledge on this matter and deny that she has brought from the
Masters definite statements relating to some matters connected with it which
are greatly beyond our knowledge; if we intend to reduce her to the position
of an untrained and irresponsible psychic; if it is our purpose to accept
her reports of what Masters say only when those agree with our preconceived
notions; then of course there will only be a continual and unsettled
dispute, inflaming sectional and race feelings, and leading to nothing but
But those who exercise calm judgment and try to divest themselves of
personal pride, whether natural or acquired, in respect to any race or
country; those who are not afraid to look at facts will be able to view this
matter in such a way as to see that no discord should arise, and certainly
that it is not intended by me to create any.
THE EAST NOT India
Let us once for all give up the notion that the East is India. India is but
a small part of it. There are China, Japan, Persia, Arabia, Turkey, Russia
in Asia, Tibet, Mongolia, Ceylon, and other parts.
Tibet is a large country, and the place where it was constantly said by
H.P.B. the Masters are, if anywhere. India has been regarded carelessly as
"the East" among Theosophists, because it is under English rule and hence
more heard of than other parts. Were Tibet open and under English or French
rule, we would speak of it as the East quite as much as, if not more than,
we have done of India.
And when we examine into what, if anything, India has done for the great
East of which she is a part, we find that for hundreds of years she has done
nothing whatever, and apparently has no intention of doing anything. Her
dominant religion - Brahmanism - is crystallized and allows for no
propaganda. Other nations may die in their sins, unless, perchance, they are
fortunate enough to be born among the Brahmans for good conduct.
THE MASTERS AND India
Mrs. Besant  has referred to the sayings of the Masters about India to
support her assertion that I am trying for discord. Let us refer to the
published record which is in THE OCCULT WORLD, by Mr. Sinnett, where K. H.
says what I quote:
"I had come for a few days, but now find that I myself cannot endure for any
length of time the stifling magnetism even of my own countrymen. [Italics
mine. -J.] I have seen some of our proud old Sikhs drunk and staggering over
the marble pavement of their sacred temple. . . . I turn my face homeward
tomorrow." (The Occult World, p. 120-121)
"Imagine, then, that since we are all convinced that the degradation of
India is largely due to the suffocation of her ancient spirituality. . . .
But you know, as any man who has read history, that patriots may burst their
hearts in vain if circumstances are against them. Sometimes it has happened
that no human power, not even the fury and force of the loftiest patriotism,
has been able to bend an iron destiny aside from its fixed course, and
nations have gone out like torches dropped into the water in the engulfing
blackness of ruin. Thus, we who have the sense of our country's fall, though
not the power to lift her up at once, cannot do as we would. . . ." (
The Occult World , p. 126).
"The present tendency of education is to make them (Hindus) materialistic
and to root out spirituality. With a proper understanding of what their
ancestors meant by their writings, education would become a blessing,
whereas it is now often a curse." ( The Occult World, p. 136).
He finds the magnetism of his countrymen too stifling to be borne; asserts
that India is spiritually degraded; hints that her destiny is to go out "in
the engulfing blackness of ruin," unless she is raised up, which would
arouse a doubt as to her ability to uplift any other nation. It also
explains why she has not, for so many centuries, done anything to help other
He says the Hindus are getting materialistic - referring to those who take
English education - and ends by declaring himself a follower of his Patron
The Letter to Some Brahmans, [MAHATMA LETTERS, pp. 461-3] published in the
PATH, enforces the point about Buddhism, and also shows how dense is the
surrounding aura of those Brahmans who are strictly orthodox, and how much
easier it is for the Adepts to affect the Westerners than the Hindus.
And if the wall around the educated Brahman is impenetrable, how much more
so is that surrounding the mass of ignorant, superstitious people who take
their religion from the Brahman?
The spiritual degradation of India to which the Master referred is an
indisputable fact. The great majority of Brahmans are theologically and
metaphysically as fixed and dogmatic as the Romish Church; they also keep up
idol-worship and a great number of degrading caste observances.
The poor, uneducated, common people, forming the core of the Hindu
population, are gentle, it is true, but they are ignorant and superstitious.
Their superstitions are theological; the Brahman fosters this. The other
class, consisting of those who take up English, have lost faith and are, as
the Master wrote, materialized.
This is Master's picture. It is also the actual picture. Now where is the
wrong in knowing the fact, and in asserting that such an India of today, no
matter how glorious it may have been 10,000 years ago, is not the teacher of
the West. Rather is it that the West is to lead the reform and raise up the
fallen country with all others.
THE WEST'S MATERIAL POWER
India, Tibet, and other Eastern countries cannot draw, fix, and hold the
attention of the civilized world. Their position is negative or imitative.
But the Western nations are the conquerors who compel attention, first
perhaps by arms, but at last by triumphs of science and industry. It is
through the West's material power that our mental horizon has been enlarged
by a knowledge of other nations, of their literature, their ancient
philosophy, and their religion. Had we waited for them to give us this, we
never would have obtained it.
THEOSOPHY A WESTERN PLANT
The Theosophical movement was founded and flourishes in the West
preëminently and under Western influence. It began in America, farthest
West, started there by the Masters.
A very pertinent question here is, why it was not begun in India if that
country is the one of all we are to look to?
Very evidently the beginning was made so far West because, as so often
stated by H.P.B., the next new race is to appear in the Americas, where
already preparations in nature for the event are going on. This means that
the centre, the top, the force of the cyclic wave of evolution is in the
West - including Europe and America - and all the observable facts support
This evolutionary wave is not a mere theoretical thing, but is a mass of
revolving energy composed of human egos from all the ancient ages of the
past. It cannot be stopped; it should not be hindered in any way. This is
what makes the importance of the West.
The Masters work scientifically, and not sentimentally or by hysterical
impulse. Hence they take advantage of such a cyclic wave, well knowing that
to have begun in the East would have been child's play.
They desired, one can see by viewing the history and the words from them of
the last twenty years, the new and growing West to take from all the East
whatever philosophy and metaphysics were needed; to assimilate them, to put
them into practice; to change the whole social and economic order; and then
react back, compulsorily, upon the East for its good and uplifting.
We have had an accentuation of India in the T. S. just because this movement
is a Western one and also an English-language movement. It is heard of in
India precisely because the English conqueror is there with his language,
which the lawyer, the government servant, and many merchants must know if
they wish to get on.
If, on the other hand, Russian were the governmental language of India, not
much of this movement would ever have been there.
So the T. S. movement is in India slightly - in proportion to population
almost microscopically - because some English prevails there; it is in
Europe in English; to a slight extent in other languages.
But it cannot yet reach the masses of France, Germany, Spain, Russia,
because of the languages. But while America has only sixty million or so of
people, it already pays more attention to Theosophy than any other nation,
because, although made up of all nations, it has English as its tongue for
law, government, business, and social life.
If, as some experts say, the United States' population doubles every
twenty-five years, then in a quarter of a century it will have over
120,000,000 people, and probably 1,920,000,000 in a century. All these will
speak English or its derived future language.
Now in the face of all these facts, and of many more which could be brought
forward, where is the brotherliness, the Theosophy, the truth in starting
against me a charge that I wish or try to set the East and West against each
If in India are Initiates - which H.P.B. often denied, if there is the
highest spiritual wisdom, why so many Hindus trying to reform it; why so
many Hindus at the feet of H.P.B. asking for truth and how to find the
Master; why so many Hindus in the E.S.T. for the purpose of getting teaching
The answers are easy. Let those who are not carried away by a mere name, who
can calmly examine facts, see that the West is the advancing conqueror of
human destiny; that the Eastern lands, both India and other places, are
storehouses for the world, holding from the past treasures that the West
alone can make avail of and teach the East how to use.
Let sectional jealousy cease, and let us all be careful that we do not
inject into the mental sphere of the Theosophical Society any ideas, arising
from sentiment or from insufficient reflection, which might become a
hindrance, however slight, to the evolutionary impulse, or which might tend
concretely to limit the expansion of the great work begun by H.P.B. To
create such a hindrance is an act, the gravity of which, though it may be
not appreciated, is nevertheless very great.
It is the destiny of the West to raise the East from its darkness,
superstition, and ignorance, to save the world; it is its destiny to send
Theosophical principles, literature, and teachers into even such a remote
land as Tibet, whose language we as yet can scarcely learn.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE Path, April, 1895
OCCULTISM: WHAT IS IT?
NOT only in the Theosophical Society, but out of it, are tyros in Occultism.
They are dabblers in a fine art, a mighty science, an almost impenetrable
mystery. The motives that bring them to the study are as various as the
number of individuals engaged in it, and as hidden from even themselves as
is the center of the earth from the eye of science. Yet the motive is more
important than any other factor.
These dilettanti in this science have always been abroad. No age or country
has been without them, and they have left after them many books - of no
Those of today are making them now, for the irresistible impulse of vanity
drives them to collate the more or less unsound hypotheses of their
predecessors, which, seasoned with a proper dash of mystery, are put forth
to the crowd of those who would fain acquire wisdom at the cost-price of a
Meanwhile the world of real occultists smiles silently, and goes on with the
laborious process of sifting out the living germs from the masses of men.
For occultists must be found and fostered and prepared for coming ages when
power will be needed and pretension will go for nothing.
But the persons now writing about occultism and competent to do any more
than repeat unproved formulae and assertions left over from mediaeval days,
are few in number.
It is very easy to construct a book full of so-called occultism taken from
French or German books, and then to every now and then stop the reader short
by telling him that it is not wise to reveal any more. The writings of
Christian in France give much detail about initiations into occultism, but
he honestly goes no further than to tell what he has gained from Greek and
Latin fragments. Others, however, have followed him, repeated his words
without credit, and as usual halted at the explanation.
There are, again, others who, while asserting that there is magic science
called occultism, merely advise the student to cultivate purity and
spiritual aspirations, leaving it to be assumed that powers and knowledge
Between these two, theosophists of the self-seeking or the unselfish type
are completely puzzled.
Those who are selfish may learn by bitter disappointment and sad experience;
but the unselfish and the earnest need encouragement on the one hand and
warning on the other.
As an Adept wrote years ago to London Theosophists:
"He who does not feel equal to the work need not undertake a task too heavy
This is applicable to all, for every one should be informed of the nature
and heaviness of the task.
Speaking of this tremendous thing - Occultism - Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita
says: "During a considerable period of time this doctrine has been lost in
the world.... This mystery is very important."
We do not think that the doctrine has yet been restored to the world, albeit
that it is in the keeping of living men - the Adepts.
And in warning those who strive after occultism with a selfish motive he
declares: "Confused by many worldly thoughts, surrounded by the meshes of
bewilderment, devoted to the enjoyment of their desires, they descend to
foul Naraka . . . and hence they proceed to the lowest plane of being."
In what, then, does the heaviness of the Occultist's task consist?
In the immensity of its sweep as well as the infinitude of its detail. Mere
sweet and delightful longing after God will not of itself accomplish it, nor
is progress found in aspiring to self-knowledge, even when as a result of
that is found partial illumination. These are excellent; but we are talking
of a problem whose implacable front yields to nothing but force, and that
force must be directed by knowledge.
The field is not emotional, for the play of the emotions destroys the
equilibrium essential to the art. Work done calling for reward avails not
unless it has produced knowledge.
A few examples will show that in Occult Science there is a vastness and also
a multiplicity of division not suspected by theosophical Occultists in
The element of which fire is a visible effect is full of centres of force.
Each one is ruled by its own law. The aggregate of centres and the laws
governing them which produce certain physical results are classed by science
as laws in physics, and are absolutely ignored by the book-making Occultist
because he has no knowledge of them. No dreamer or even a philanthropist
will ever as such know those laws. And so on with all the other elements.
The Masters of Occultism state that a law of "transmutation among forces"
prevails forever. It will baffle any one who has not the power to calculate
the value of even the smallest tremble of a vibration, not only in itself
but instantly upon its collision with another, whether that other be similar
to it or different.
Modern science admits the existence of this law as the correlation of
forces. It is felt in the moral sphere of our being as well as in the
physical world, and causes remarkable changes in a man's character and
circumstances quite beyond us at present and altogether unknown to science
It is said that each person has a distinct mathematical value expressed by
one number. This is a compound or resultant of numberless smaller values.
When it is known, extraordinary effects may be produced not only in the mind
of the person but also in his feelings, and this number may be discovered by
certain calculations more recondite than those of our higher mathematics. By
its use the person may be made angry without cause, and even insane or full
of happiness, just as the operator desires.
There is a world of beings known to the Indians as that of the Devas, whose
inhabitants can produce illusions of a character the description of which
would throw our wildest romances into the shade. They may last five minutes
and seem as a thousand years, or they may extend over ten thousand actual
Into this world the purest theosophist, the most spiritual man or woman, may
go without consent, unless the knowledge and power are possessed which
On the threshold of all these laws and states of being linger forces and
beings of an awful and determined character. No one can avoid them, as they
are on the road that leads to knowledge, and they are every now and then
awakened or perceived by those who, while completely ignorant on these
subjects, still persist in dabbling with charms and necromantic practices.
It is wiser for theosophists to study the doctrine of brotherhood and its
application, to purify their motives and actions, so that after patient work
for many lives, if necessary, in the great cause of humanity, they may at
last reach that point where all knowledge and all power will be theirs by
EUSEBIO URBAN Path, May, 1890
from the Masters to “Some Brahmins…
[Prayag Letter : To some Brahmins… M L 461-3
"The 'Brothers' desire me to inform one and all of you, natives, that unless
a man is prepared to become a thorough theosophist i.e. to do as D.
Mavalankar did, -- give up entirely caste, his old superstitions and show
himself a true reformer (especially in the case of child marriage) he will
remain simply a member of the Society with no hope whatever of ever hearing
The Society, acting in this directly in accordance with our orders, forces
no one to become a theosophist of the IId. Section. It is left with himself
and at his choice. It is useless for a member to argue 'I am one of a pure
life, I am a teetotaller and an abstainer from meat and vice. All my
aspirations are for good etc.' and he, at the same time, building by his
acts and deeds an impassable barrier on the road between himself and us.
What have we, the disciples of the true Arhats, of esoteric Buddhism and of
Sang-gyas to do with the Shasters and Orthodox Brahmanism?
There are 100 of thousands of Fakirs, Sannyasis and Saddhus leading the most
pure lives, and yet being as they are, on the path of error, never having
had an opportunity to meet, see or even hear of us. Their forefathers have
driven away the followers of the only true philosophy upon earth away from
India and now, it is not for the latter to come to them but to them to come
to us if they want us.
Which of them is ready to become a Buddhist, a Nastika as they call us?
None. Those who have believed and followed us have had their reward. Mr.
Sinnett and Hume are exceptions.
There are Dhyan-Chohans and "Chohans of Darkness," not what they term devils
but imperfect "Intelligences" who have never been born on this or any other
earth or sphere no more than the "Dhyan Chohans" have and who will never
belong to the "builders of the Universe," the pure Planetary Intelligences,
who preside at every Manvantara while the Dark Chohans preside at the
[Explain this to Mr. Sinnett (I CAN'T) -- tell him to read over what I said
to them in the few things I have explained to Mr. Hume; and let him remember
that as all in this universe is contrast (I cannot translate it better)] --
so the light of the Dhyan Chohans and their pure intelligence is contrasted
by the "Ma-Mo Chohans" -- and their destructive intelligence.
These are the gods the Hindus and Christians and Mahomed and all others of
bigoted religions and sects worship; and so long as their influence is upon
their devotees we would no more think of associating with or counteracting
them in their work than we do the Red-Caps on earth whose evil results we
try to palliate but whose work we have no right to meddle with so long as
they do not cross our path.
(You will not understand this, I suppose. But think well over it and you
will. M. means here, that they have no right or even power to go against the
natural or that work which is prescribed to each class of beings or existing
things by the law of nature.
The Brothers, for instance could prolong life but they could not destroy
death, not even for themselves. They can to a degree palliate evil and
relieve suffering; they could not destroy evil.
No more can the Dhyan Chohans impede the work of the Mamo Chohans, for their
Law is darkness, ignorance, destruction etc., as that of the former is
Light, knowledge and creation. The Dhyan Chohans answer to Buddh, Divine
Wisdom and Life in blissful knowledge, and the Ma-mos are the
personification in nature of Shiva, Jehovah and other invented monsters with
Ignorance at their tail).
The last phrase of M.'s I translate is thus.
Tell him (you) then that for the sake of those who desire to learn and have
information, I am ready to answer the 2 or 3 enquiries of Benimadhab from
the Shasters, but I will enter in no correspondence with him or any other.
Let him put their questions clearly and distinctly to (you) Mr. Sinnett, and
then I will answer through him (you)." [ sent by HPB to A P S ]
M L 461-3
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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