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RE: HPB, Judge and the Autonomy

Mar 04, 2006 07:23 AM
by carlosaveline cardoso aveline

Dear Friends,

I sense that the analysis below, made by the editor of "FOHAT" magazine (Canada), is of decisive importance for us to better understand the roots of some collective illusions and the need for a new, vigorous step ahead in the years to come.

Best regards, Carlos.

From: "Robert Bruce MacDonald" <>
Subject: Theos-World Blavatsky, Judge and the loss of autonomy
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2006 15:03:21 -0700

Many theosophists sympathize with the sentiments of Radha Burnier expressed
in 1987:

"A study of theosophical history does not have too much importance in
fulfilling the aims of the Society if it consists of digging out new
details, comparing characters or declaring who was a failure. On the other
hand, it is history which can show what sacrifice, courageous thought and
energy led to the building of the world-wide organizations which has served
to inspire the hearts and minds of millions. Sacrifice and selfless energy
characterized the work, not only of our remarkable President-Founder Colonel
Olcott and that unique seer H.P. Blavatsky, but also their great successors
like Annie Besant. To be fired by a passion for serving humanity such as
theirs is more important than learning details about various incidents and
passing judgement on them. . . . Such sacrifice was natural because it arose
out of a knowledge of the direction in which humanity has to progress and a
realization of the unitary nature of life. . . . The activities of the
Society from the earliest years were such as to encourage change in
contemporary thought and situations." - Krotona of old Hollywood p. xiv from
Radha Burnier's "Presidential Address to the 112th Annual Convention of the
T.S., Adyar, December 26, 1987". The Theosophist, Vol. 109, n.4, January
1988, p. 124.

It is very clear what Radha is attempting to do here. It is the same thing
that many of those ignorant of the true import of the events of the
Society's early history try to do. They try to frame the dispute as a
fight between various factions where each faction champions its hero and is
busy uncovering all the evidence they can for their champion and all they
can find against their champion's opponent. Such a description is an insult
to all theosophists as it suggests that theosophists have not even realized
a basic theoretical understanding of Universal Brotherhood and would waste
their time on such an exercise. Also, I hope that Radha is not saying that
sacrifice for a foolish cause is a noble way to spend one's life. Yet it
might be argued that those that came after Blavatsky and Judge sacrificed

Krsanna in a reply to 'HPB Sees "Poor Cowards" in Adyar', points to a very
telling point:

"Adyar was abolished as the parent society by HPB, and local lodges
were essentially set up as autonomous at the time the Esoteric
Section was created after the 1888 letter from the Adept that Olcott
received while on the Shannon."

The implication is that Adyar had somehow lost the moral authority to carry
on as the voice of theosophy. How did they do this?

This is rather difficult when you remember that the only object that the
Masters cared about was that of setting up a nucleus of a Universal
Brotherhood of Humanity with no creeds, etc. This was the Society's moral
raison d'etre. Was this object somehow undermined?

Well this is exactly what those fighting to clear the names of Blavatsky and
Judge maintain. Blavatsky and Judge were attacked first by enemies outside
the Society and finally by friends from within. This attack on the
integrity of the two founders required a vigorous and wise defence. Judge
demonstrated this in his defence of HPB, sadly the wisdom was lost after his

We can see why Blavatsky wanted to neuter the power of Adyar. Once it
turned away from the First Object, it was capable of moving in any
direction. Any nonsense it would eventually spout would flow down to the
lodges beneath them within their organizational structure. If Lodges were
autonomous, then they would be less likely to adopt the mistakes of a parent
organization. The Masters understood that autonomy begins with the
individual and works its way up. Lodges are autonomous only if their
members are autonomous. A top down approach is very unstable and will
crumble as soon as you get a politically motivated individual in power.
Politics enter at the expense of the First Object.

When politics enter you get the following nonsense as described by Joseph
Ross in his non-judgmental way in "Krishnamurti: The Taormina Seclusion -
1912". Ross helps the reader to understand the spirit of the book with the
following from the Foreward:

"In the many biographies of J. Krishnamurti little attention is given to the
time he spent during 1912 in seclusion in Taormina, a village in Sicily. In
the four-month period, March through June, Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater,
then leaders of theosophical movement, supervised the preparation of four
young people for Initiation into the Brotherhood of the Inner Government of
the World. Mrs. Besant was the President of the international Theosophical
Society, and Mr. Leadbeater was a lecturer and author of theosophical books
and a clairvoyant. It was believed that Krishnamurti would be the vehicle
of the coming of the World-Teacher, the Lord Maitreya. The other three
young people would be closely associated with Krishnamurti when his ministry

"Krishnaji . . . had taken the First Initiation on January 11, 1910, at age
thirteen. Initiation, comes from the Latin word, inire, in- and ire, into,
and to go, therefore, the making of a beginning of a life of
self-fulfillment, or the entrance into. Therefore, we say, they all were
about to enter or begin the new life, which shall ultimately lead them to
the heights of their being as man. In theosophical parlance, initiation is
a ceremony conducted on a superphysical plane, usually at night while the
candidate is asleep and is conscious in his subtle body. The candidate
undergoes tests to determine his dedication and worthiness, and his sponsors
testify as to his service to humanity. During the ceremony, occult
teachings are given and his powers are expanded. As the candidate
progresses in wisdom, power and service, further initiations may be taken.
Mrs. Besant and Mr Leadbeater at this period had previously taken the Fourth
(Arhat) Initiation. Of the five major ones, the Fifth Initiation qualifies
one as a Master.

"Some years earlier C. Jinarajadasa, a Cambridge graduate, was a lecturer
for the Theosophical Society. At thirty-seven he had taken the First
Initiation. Nityananda, a younger brother of Krishnaji, and George
Arundale, a college principal, were expected to take their First Initiation.
. . ." (pp. 7-8)

Ross is brilliant at giving you a flavor for this period in the Theosophical
Movement. He tends to let the participants speak for themselves through
letters and speeches, etc. His description above gives the reader a very
good understanding of what was going on in the minds of theosophists at that
time. Instead of working on understanding what they had, they were waiting
for some "World Teacher" and his "Inner Government" to come and tell them
what to think. Meanwhile theosophical leaders were flying around in their
"subtle bodies" at night undergoing initiations and gaining powers. Is it
any wonder HPB wanted to establish the autonomy of the Lodges? This
nonsense wasn't isolated to Adyar only, it was world-wide. If theosophists
looked at stories like this from any other organization, what would they
think? Would they give that organization any credence?

If the modern Theosophical Movement is to ever get properly back on course,
this abandonment of principle (the first object) must be recognized and
dealt with. Blavatsky and Judge must be accorded the respect they deserve
and theosophists must learn this lesson so that it is never repeated again.
In order to give more than lip service to Universal Brotherhood, we need
autonomous organizations, and we must protect the autonomy of each other in
order to realize those organizations.


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