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On Ethics and Truth

Feb 13, 2006 05:56 AM
by carlosaveline cardoso aveline


Daniel Caldwell has been quoting paragraphs from this text since
it first appeared some 18 months ago, so this time it is complete, below.

Peace to all beings, Carlos.

----------------------DEFENDING THE OLD LADY ----------------------------

Important Leaders of the Adyar Society Adopt
as True the Old Slanders Against HPB, and Thus Create
a New Opportunity for Sincere Students to Defend the Truth


A commentary on “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky - Volume I”
Edited by John Algeo, TPH-Wheaton, USA, 2003, 632 pp.


Carlos Cardoso Aveline

[This is an enlarged and updated version of an article published under the same title by the “FOHAT” magazine, of the Edmonton Theosophical Society, Canada, in its Fall 2004 edition. A Portuguese translation of the text was published in Portugal by the magazine Biosofia in its edition of Winter 2004-2005. It was also published in “The Aquarian Theosophist”, September 2005, pp. 1-9. ]

INCLUDED in “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky - Volume I” we can see nearly 27 letters which are said to be written by HPB, but whose originals never appeared.

These texts contain numerous brutal attacks and disguised slanders against the founder of the modern esoteric movement.

With one exception, such false letters ascribed to H. P. Blavatsky were obtained exclusively from their publication by Mr. Vsevolod Sergueyevich Solovyov, as the editor John Algeo rightfully indicates after the text of each of them.

Yet John Algeo, who is the international vice-president of the Adyar Theosophical Society, adopted the Solovyov documents as “true” or “probably true”. In doing this, Mr. Algeo preferred not to take into consideration the central fact that Solovyov was a well-known slanderer and an outstanding public enemy of Theosophical movement and of HPB’s, personally. For some reason, Mr. Algeo also ignored the fact that there are no indications suggesting that these texts might be authentic.

No theosophical historian gives credit to Solovyov. His many accusations against HPB are utterly false, as Sylvia Cranston demonstrates in her admirable book HPB, The Extraordinary Life & Influence of Helena Blavatsky. [ “HPB, The Extraordinary Life & Influence of Helena Blavatsky”, by Sylvia Cranston, published by Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam Books, N.Y., USA, 1994, 648 pp. See Chapter 2 in Part 6, pp. 298-310. ]

In another important book – Blavatsky and Her Teachers – the English writer Jean Overton Fuller reports that Solovyov forged and published several letters, which he ascribed to HPB. In one of them, Solovyov makes HPB “confess” she “invented” the whole idea of the Masters. [“Blavatsky and Her Teachers”, by Jean Overton Fuller, East-West Publications, 1988, 270 pp., see Chapter 67, pp. 186-188.]
More information about Mr. Solovyov’s false charges against HPB can be seen in a third well-known biography of the Old Lady, When Daylight Comes, by Howard Murphet. There we read – p. 193 – that Solovyov played the role of “a muckracking journalist looking for a good story at any cost to truth”. [ “When Daylight Comes”, by Howard Murphet, TPH, Quest Books, USA, copyright 1975, 277 pp. See Chapter 22, pp. 191-194.]

On the same page 193, Howard Murphet quotes Henry S. Olcott, the president-founder of the Theosophical Society. According to HSO, the fact that Solovyov’s texts against HPB were published only after her death, which “made it safe for him to tell his falsehoods about her, shows him to be as heartless and contemptible, though fifty times more talented, than the Coulombs”. [The sentence comes from H.S. Olcott’s “Old Diary Leaves” (TPH-India, 1972, volume III, p. 185).]

Unfortunately, Mr. John Algeo, who seemed to be a careful linguist and scholar, failed to leave these letters unpublished. And he failed even to mention that Mr. Solovyov, sole source of these texts, was one of the bitterest enemies of HPB and of the theosophical movement in all times, and most likely forged these letters, completely or in part. On the contrary, Mr. Algeo seems to implicitly indicate to the reader that the letters are authentic. The very name of the Theosophical Publishing House appearing on the volume, and the fact that it is published as part of the Collected Writings of HPB give even more weight to the false impression that these letters should be taken as authentic.

Most of these letters “obtained” and “arranged” by Mr. Solovyov are addressed to Mr. A. N. Aksakoff. Besides the letters commented below, other letters included in Mr. Algeo’s volume were obtained exclusively from Mr. Solovyov’s “work”.

Among the false texts published as authentic are letters 7, 11, 12, 17, 33, 37, 45, 53, 54, 55, 60, 61, 69, 70, 72, 76, 85, 90 and 94.

Some of the most offensive “Letters” in the volume are 7, 12, 17, 33, 37, 53, 69 and 76. But in several other “Solovyov letters” HPB appears as someone obsessed by money, a mean person, morally and intellectually limited to subjects of little importance.

Commentaries on some of the texts in Letters of H.P. Blavatsky – volume I:

Letter 7 – In this text HPB is made to offer her services to the Russian Secret Police. Apparently, its original can be examined even today, since it is said it is in the Central State Archive of the October Revolution, in Russia. It would be worthwhile to investigate who has forged such a text.

In the first lines of the document, HPB says that she and Nikifor Blavatsky “separated by mutual agreement several weeks after the wedding” (p.24). But in the penultimate paragraph (p.29) she says, flagrantly contradicting herself: “I was escaping not from Russia, but from an old hated husband, who had been imposed on me...”

On page 26, upper half, there is more hatred. Now she says, or is made to say, that she has “an inborn hatred of the whole Catholic clergy”. Well, we know that one of the basic conditions for an Initiate and even for a true aspirant is to harbor no hatred for any being. (Possibly including husbands and priests.)
On page 26, lower half, she says she is – “Fully certain that I will be more than useful to my Motherland, which I love more than anything in the world, and to our Emperor, whom we all deify.” So she did believe in a personal God, after all – and God was the Emperor..!? The text does not make sense.

On page 27, she appears to be proud of her “cunning”, which happened to be “equal to that of a Red Indian”.

On page 29, still in the Letter 7, she says: “I love Russia and am prepared to devote all my remaining life to her interests.”

The autenticity of this letter is somewhere below zero and its source should be traced. Judging from its content, it may have been produced by Mr. Solovyov, or by the Coulombs, and later given to the Central State Archive of the October Revolution.

Letter 8 – It serves as a preparation for reading Letters 11 and 12.

Letters 11 and 12 – She writes as if she were morally guilty of all kinds of undignified behaviour. One of the sentences in Letter 12, at page 49, says: “These are the bitter fruits of my youth devoted to Satan, his pomps and works!”

At page 47, Letter 12, she writes: “Though you have the right, like any honourable man, to despise me for my sad reputation in the past, you are so condescending as to write to me. .... If I have any hope for the future it is only beyond the grave, when bright spirits shall help me to free myself from my sinful and impure envelope.”(!)

There are many other sentences ascribed to HPB which are extremely hard to take as true if not ridiculously false.

On one hand, the lettters 11, 12, 17 and others may be entire forgeries. On the other hand, false interpolations may have been included in their “transcriptions” made by Mr. Solovyov. Both from inner evidence and from the source of these letters, it is easy to conclude that they include many false sentences.

In her book Blavatsky and Her Teachers, Jean Overton Fuller correctly evaluates the false letter which was published as authentic by Mr. Algeo and included in his volume as Letter 11. Here HPB is made to talk about free love and to say that “there is no salvation” for her “but death”.

(In 1999, I heard that such a letter would be published as part of the “Collected Writings”. Mr. Pedro Oliveira, a former International Secretary of the T.S. Adyar, told me that. At the time, I wrote to the USA-TPH asking about any continuation of the “Collected Writings” after the Volume XV – Cumulative Index. I had a response saying that no other volume was in preparation. In the year 2000, when I detected rumours questioning HPB’s purity of life in the Brazilian Section of the TS, I wrote to Pedro Oliveira for clarification and he avoided the subject. In July 2005, Pedro Oliveira seems to support John Algeo’s editorial “policy”. )

Letter 17 – A most undignified fabricated letter, in which the poor founder of the esoteric movement is made to say: “If you hear that the Blavatsky of many sins has perished, not in the bloom of years and beauty, by some curious death, and that she has dematerialized forever...” (page 71). And then she attacks her own family (page 72).

Letter 33 – She is made to say: “... yet, there is only one thing I am seeking and struggling for – that people should forget the former Blavatsky, and leave the new one alone. But it seems hard to achieve.” And the text goes on like this.

Letter 37 – The following words are ascribed to HPB: “In a detailed account (...), Olcott makes of me something mysteriously terrible, and almost leads the public to suspect that I have either sold my soul to the devil or am the direct heiress of Count de Saint-Germain or Cagliostro. Do not believe it (...).” In the same page, a few lines below: “Moreover the spirit of John King is very fond of me, and I am fonder of him than anything on earth. He is my only friend, and if I am indebted to anyone for the radical change in my ideas of life, my yearnings, and so forth, it is to him alone.”
And later on, we can read in this utterly false letter: “This is why I have laid down the rule never in any case to permit outsiders to utilize my mediumistic powers.” (pp. 141-142)

Letter 53 – HPB says, according to Mr. Solovyov and Mr. Algeo: “I am ready to sell my soul for Spiritualism, but nobody will buy it, and I am living from hand to mouth ...” (page 194)

Letter 69 – HPB is made to say: “I really cannot, just because the devil got me into trouble in my youth, go and rip up my stomach now like a Japanese suicide...” And also: “My position is cheerless – simply helpless. There is nothing left but to start for Australia and change my name forever.” (page 260)

Letter 76 – The founder of the theosophical movement is made to describe a scene in which she and other people torture a cat and cause the death of the animal by electrification (page 288), during ‘an occult experience’, among many other absurd statements.

O o o O o o O o o O

In the preface of this volume with “Letters of HPB”, John Algeo carefully reveals minor aspects of his “Editorial Principles” on issues like References, Transliteration, Translations and Order.

But he fails to say that he includes several letters ascribed to HPB whose originals never appeared and whose would-be transcriptions were published only by an open liar – as demonstrated by Sylvia Cranston, Howard Murphet and Jean Overton Fuller, among others. Not to mention Henry Olcott, who was contemporary to both HPB and Solovyov.

From the very title of the volume – “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky” – the
reader is invited to take for granted that all the Letters have been authentically written by HPB. Any fair editorial approach would at the very least mention that they cannot be ascribed to HPB, and that most of them have been forged or distorted by Mr. Solovyov.

Note that these letters are all dated after 1870, when a letter from the Mahatmas, delivered to HPB’s aunt, made it clear that HPB was already in full touch with them and a full disciple. [ See “Letters From the Masters of the Wisdom”, edited by C. Jinarajadasa, TPH, 1973, Second Series, Letter 1, by Mahatma K.H.] Therefore no one could say that when HPB wrote these letters she was naive, had not been taken into discipleship properly, etc.

Of course, the members of the “Editorial Committee for the Letters of HPB” – Dara Eklund, Daniel Caldwell, R. Elwood, Joy Mills, Nicholas Weeks – have some degree of responsibility with regard to the publication of these Letters. In a letter to me dated June 6th 2004, Mr. Algeo says that each member of the Editorial Commmittee “was sent all materials as they were prepared, and every member responded to these materials, without mentioning the matters of your concern.”

Yet Dara Eklund had told me in a letter dated 17 May 2004:

“My husband Nicholas Weeks had cautioned John Algeo about the Solovyov letters, but he made the final decision...”

Dara Eklund also sent me copy of an e-mail from John Algeo to her, written in May 2004 after receiving my first letter to him and to Dara. In the e-mail Algeo says:

“The question of the reliability of Solovyov letters has already been broached to me by Leslie Price, so I have it in mind. I’ll see whether I can get some general caveat into the next printing, and more particular notes on his particular failings into the next edition. I was of course aware that Solovyov (like others who have quoted or extracted HPB’s letters) cannot be taken at face value, and there is a general statement about that in the volume. But because Boris included those letters in his collection I was not as critical about them as I probably should have been.”

In this paragraph Mr. Algeo mentions Solovyov’s “particular failings”. According to the Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, “failing” means “the act or state of one who or that which fails”. Therefore failings is not the word for what Mr. Solovyov did. He tried to do harm and happened to have a considerable success indeed. Even now his lies are publicized.

One could argue that most of these letters were translated by Boris de Zirkoff, who included them in his collection decades ago. True. But this does not mean that Zirkoff thought they were authentic. Boris published other false accusations and forged letters against HPB in the volume VI of HPB Collected Writings. But he did so clearly identifying the texts as forgeries, from their very titles, and included very frank commentaries by HPB herself on such libels. No ambiguity was possible. No reader could possibly think those forged texts were true.

Whereas Mr. Algeo silently adopted as true the attacks against HPB.

It is clear, therefore, that there is an oceanic distance between the two editorial treatments with regard to the attacks against the Old Lady.

O o o O o o O o o O

In a letter to Mr. John Algeo, dated 25th May 2004, I submitted to him some technical questions:

“ 1) What proofs do you have that the Solovyov letters, whose originals never appeared, are true?
2) Why do you implicitly believe, as an editor, that Solovyov is a reliable historical source?
3) Who made the historical discovery that Henry S. Olcott, Jean Overton Fuller, Howard Murphet, Sylvia Cranston and so many other students are wrong, and Mr. Solovyov is, after all, a reliable source of documents concerning HP Blavatsky?
4)What are the scientific evidences that corroborate such a powerful discovery?
5)Or do you accept the evidences that Solovyov is a liar and a traitor to Truth?
6)But then, why publish his stuff as true with no warning?
7)Or rather, why to publish it at all?
8)Who gave the letter ascribed to HPB and published as number 7, to the Russian Public Archives where it is now?
9)You must have proofs or evidences that the originals of letter 7, now in these Public Archives, were not forged either by Mr. Solovyov or by Mr. and Mrs. Coulomb.
10)What are these proofs and evidences, please?
11)Has any expert in forgeries examined these “originals”?
12)Please remember that the last time an expert examined the so-called “proofs” against HPB, the Old Lady was found not guilty. HPB was found a victim of forgery, and the SPR, Society for Psychic Research, honestly made a public apology in April 1986, one hundred years after comdemning HPB on false evidence. Why not to try a good expert in forgeries for the Letter 7, if it has not been done yet? ”

My questions to Mr. Algeo have not been answered. Not a big surprise, but not a good news, either.

Meanwhile, the international president of the Theosophical Society (Adyar), Mrs. Radha Burnier, honestly wrote to me about the issue. Aware of the fact that Mr. John Algeo is the international vice-president of the Adyar Society, ands trying to understand what was going on with the Adyar Society editorial policies, I had asked an explanation from Mrs. Burnier. Upon receiving my evaluation of Mr. Algeo’s editorial “work”, she answered, in a letter dated 24 June 2004:

“I agree about the wisdom of including in The Letters of HPB published by TPH Wheaton the obviously spurious ones. You must ask an explanation, not from me (who have nothing to do with it, and have not been consulted) but from the Editorial Committee in the U.S.”

It is a significant fact that Mrs. Radha stays away from these attacks against HPB.
In a letter to me dated 5 May 2004, one of the main HPB biographers, Jean Overton Fuller, admitted, while commenting Mr. Algeo’s editorial “policy”:

“It is very strange, Algeo being a Theosophist and indeed vice-president.” In the same letter Jean says that the publication of the Solovyov letters as if they were authentic is something “really very damaging”.

True, Mr. Algeo did accept, at least partially, that he made a mistake in publishing those Solovyov letters in the way he did. But this acceptance was made only privately.
And such a public mistake must be corrected in a public way, as I have requested from him in a letter dated 19 June 2004:

“It would be obviously not fair that the misinformation would go to the many, and that the honest admission of the mistake would be made to one or two people only. You know that modern newspapers use to admit theirs mistakes. When any publication makes a mistake, the rule goes (and in most cases the law says) that the acknowledgment and correction should be as public as the misinformation publicized. As to the religious world, even the Pope John Paul II has admitted publically several of Vatican’s past crimes against the Jews, the native peoples, during the Inquisition, etc.”

“Therefore I would like to make a suggestion. Would you please make a public note or statement (in “Quest” magazine, for instance), visible enough to be noticed, admitting that the Solovyov letters – once fully examined the evidences available – cannot be considered authentic, but quite the opposite, as they have been likely forged?”

“If you do that, I will not feel obliged to try to build an amount of general critical consciousness about the issue, so that in the second edition the wrongs are corrected.”

“I do not have the option of doing nothing about the issue, unless someone proves to me that Solovyov is a reliable source on theosophical history and on the life of HPB. The reason I can’t remain inert is that I have a heartfelt ethical duty to practice a valiant defence of those who are unjustly attacked. (I believe you are familiar with this particular step of the Golden Stairs.) ”

It is true that Mr. Algeo talks about making corrections in the next edition. But I believe that there is no need for such a long delay in correcting the mistake done. Besides, such a future correction would leave the whole first edition in error.

On the other hand, there is no guarantee that a second edition will appear even in ten years’ time, as Ms. Joy Mills, member of the Editorial Committee, acknowledges in a letter to me dated August 5th, 2004:

“We appreciate your concern over any letters in the published work, The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky, that may be spurious. Corrections can only be made if and when there is a further edition of this first volume of the letters. Meanwhile, I assure you that we will take into consideration your several comments and objections.”

It is a difficult-to-solve mathematical problem for me to understand why Ms. Joy Mills (an ex-international vice-president of the Adyar Society) should come to the conclusion that “nothing can be done” before the “if and when” of a new edition occurs. The real question is: “even if there would be another edition soon, why wait to made the correction?” I wrote on 9 July 2004 to Dara Eklund, with copy to Mr. Algeo:

“Why waiting? Why should we circulate (...) falsehoods – by action or by ommission – to the two or three thousand readers of the first edition during a long period of maybe seven to ten years or more? Judging by the duration of reprints in the case of the “Collected Writings”, it may well go to more than a decade. Besides, please consider the libraries involved and its long-term influence over different kinds of readers. You know that the first edition of any book has a much more lasting impact than the second one. Why should we have respect for the readers of the second edition only, which will appear, say, around the year 2010 or 2015, and ignore the rights of the readers of the first edition, who are equally entitled to be rightly informed about the nature of what they read? No. I do not think we should or could wait up to one decade to start correcting this grave error. The whole issue refers to the first edition. (....) Why not making “an errata”, a leaf with a rectification, which would circulate with each new volume to be sold? (...) It would be an (....) adequate and professional attitude on the part of Mr. John Algeo and his Committee.”

And I added, in a later paragraph of the same letter:

“...Once Mr. Algeo has a clear perception of the injustice made to HPB, he will be happy to acknowledge the mistake as soon as possible, as every able and experienced editor does worldwide nowadays. In previous letters I have already mentioned the apologies of the Vatican with regard to several of its crimes. I also mentioned the wise tradition of “errata” and editorial apologies which editors openly do whenever needed. Mr. Algeo would only deserve deep respect if he would take the initiative and go to the public (...) and make a clear, though moderate document to circulate together with the book. It would certainly fit our best editorial traditions. But I believe you will agree with me that a public mistake cannot be corrected with a secret amendment.”

In a handwritten postcard dated 19 July 2004, Dara Eklund reiterates to me that in her view all editorial responsibility belongs to Mr. John Algeo and says that indeed “he would not need to wait ten years to do that” [i.e., the amendments].

Yet it seems that Mr. Algeo has lost this karmic opportunity to accept the facts and redeem himself as an editor, while reducing at the same time the damage he has caused to Truth and to the esoteric movement. He failed to defend his editorial “policy” – but firmly refused to change it.

[For several other and serious faults in the editorial work of “The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky – Vol. I”, see the review written by John Patrick Deveney, from New York, and published in the magazine “Theosophical History”, July 2004, pp. 31-36. “Theosophical History” is published in California by Mr. James Santucci, Department of Comparative Religion, California State University, P.O. Box 6868, Fullerton, CA 92834-6868, USA.]

Then we have a solid historical fact before us. For the first time since 1875, important leaders of the Adyar Society are now publicly and actively attempting to include in the public image of HPB – that image accepted in the “theosophical” movement at large – the idea that HPB had no pure life, and was a little crazy and unreliable.

As a practical instrument for that, Solovyov is now suddenly considered by them as a “source of historical truth” about HPB – while several other theosophical pandits get rather strangely paralysed when it is the time to defend her. Repeated warnings have been useless. In an attempt to justify himself, Mr. John Algeo wrote an article published in the July 2005 edition of the Adyar magazine The Theosophist. In the text, he admits: “It may be the case that those letters are indeed forgeries.” [ “Discord Is the Harmony of the Universe”, an article by John Algeo in “The Theosophist”, a monthly magazine, Adyar, India, July 2005, see p. 371.]

But he does not admit that they are evidently fraudulent, and that he has no evidence of the contrary. Also, Algeo does not reveal what his intentions were, when he decided to publish them as true or “probably true”.

How could that be explained, then? What is the conscious or unconscious purpose of belittling HPB?

There may be deep psychological processes involved. This has not been an isolated and personal decision. In his “editorial policy”, John Algeo has had the active support or passive consent of an Editorial Committee which includes leading members of the Adyar Society.

The fact of the matter is that recognizing HPB’s purity of life constitutes a challenging, perhaps too difficult task for some.

After all, if you have a spiritual leader who led a pure life, you must try hard and purify yourself, your emotions anda motives as much as you can and all the time. For those who are not interested in this difficult but central task , it may be a false cause of relief and comfort to imagine HPB as having led an impure life. Solovyov’s lies then may help these people along the wide and initially nice path of self-justification, self-indulgence and self-illusion.

The purity of life of HPB has little to do with conventional or popular moralism, which is normally attached to some degree of hypocrisy. Purity of life for true aspirants or disciples has to do with Yoga as science.

The reason for us to follow HPB’s example and lead pure lives ourselves has to do with Occult Science and with the process of cause-and-effects: and this is the reason, too, for having respect for HPB’s life example and not accepting or permitting, as long as we can, that the intellectual and moral followers of Mr. Solovyov kill her again, now morally. (I say “kill her again” because she would have lived longer if it were not for the attacks she suffered from 1884-1885 through 1891.)

It is essential, in the future generations’ time, along 21st century and afterwards, that people do have the chance to understand that the Mahatmas’ Teachings came through a decent person, a Jnana Yogi, an Upasika, and not through any other kind of person.

There is a practical reason for this. Sacred knowledge is attached – not for religious reasons, but for scientific reasons – to that which we might call a clean life, an open mind, a pure heart, a loyal sense of duty to the Teacher, a brave declaration of principles and a valiant defence of those who are unjustly attacked – which are some of the steps given by the Mahatmas to those who want to be true aspirants for lay discipleship.

It couldn’t be a huge surprise, then, that “The Aquarian Theosophist” announced in its edition dated June 17th, 2005, the creation of the H.P. Blavatsky Defense Fund “which has only one purpose (....)
to publish an authentic Volume I of HPB Letters”, a volume with no frauds and no untruthful attacks against the founder of the modern esoteric movement.

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