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Prayag Letter and the Future

Mar 13, 2006 10:59 AM
by carlosaveline cardoso aveline



As I see it, this is an essential issue for the movement.

It is not just History. The Prayag Letter teaches us a lesson temporarily
lost in the past, but which is important today and will be so in the future.

By rescuing such a lesson we will be better able to go ahead in the future.


From: "robert_b_macd" <>
Subject: Theos-World Re: Olcott's Postscript & the Basil Crump Article.
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 15:17:54 -0000

--- In, "krsanna" <timestar@...> wrote:
> Bruce & All -- "The Compiler" may be of help on this reference. I
> first read the letter in "The Theosophical Movement," with an
> explanation of the context in which the letter was written. As I
> recall, the lodge to which the letter was directed had refused to
> accept the first object. Lodges were asked to accept at least one
> object and the Prayag lodge had declined to accept the first
> object. The Prayag lodge assumed a die-hard Brahman position that
> embraced the caste system.
> Members of the Prayag Lodge had complained that many other lodges
> had received letters from the Mahatmas, but they still had received
> nothing. If my memory is correct, this is the situation at the
> Prayag lodge when the letter was written.
I think the Prayag Lodge's biggest concern was that the Masters were
dealing with Westeners, specifically Sinnet and Hume, who ate beef and
used alcohol, while the Prayag group was comprised of orthodox
Brahmans who observed all the proper rituals. The Prayag Lodge felt
that they were clean and these Westerners were dirty (this is unspoken
but I think the implication is that they keep their auras clean
through the practice of all their rituals whereas the Westerners do
nothing, hence why are the Westerners deserving). It is not generally
realized today, but for Brahmans, and indeed Indians in general, the
Americas were Patala at this time. They were in virtue of being on
the other side of the world from Indian unclean, Patala having the
connotation of below the feet. It was a huge deal for Chakravarti to
come to North America, the Brahmans could easily have ostracized him.
It was probaably this demonstration of courage, of going beyond
orthodoxy that had Judge musing for a short while that Chakravarti
might make a good president of the Indian Section.

> It must be noted that many Mahatma letters were precipitated,
> including the one to Olcott on the Shannon, that affirmed that
> Blavatsky was their agent and that no other communication had been
> given to anyone in Europe or America since 1885, except through HPB.
> The first line of the Prayag letters indicates that Blavatsky was
> writing on behalf of "The Brothers." No fraud can be construed from
> that introduction.
> "The Brothers desire me to inform one and all of you natives..."
> The Prayag lodge's complaint appears to have been that the TS was
> Buddhist propoganda. Olcott was very active in the Buddhist world
> and his courage in the face of opposition was never extolled by
> anyone. HPB praised Olcott's hard work and dedication, but his
> courage was not mentioned as a notable character trait.
Therefore, because it was Buddhist propoganda, Blavatsky must have
forged the contents of the letter, it could not be genuine.

> Krsanna

For John and others interested, this would be a good place to include
Basil Crumps article from the "Irish Theosophist."


In The Theosophist for April appears a "postscript" by Colonel Olcott,
repudiating the letter sent by one of the Masters through H.P.B. to
certain Brahmans, which was published by Mr. Judge in the April Path
and declared by him to be genuine. Colonel Olcott asserts that the
communication contains "palpable proof of fraudulency" in that he
thinks it to be "an ill-tempered attack" on Brahman orthodoxy, and
that, moreover, it "grossly violates that basic principle of
neutrality and eclecticism on which the Theosophical Society has built
itself from the beginning." There are many, however, who differ
absolutely from the Colonel in their opinion of this letter, and
consider it to be one of the finest of the series. It is reprinted in
a recent pamphlet issued to many members of the T.S., who will be able
to judge for themselves. It is a candid but just criticism, not of
the spirit of the Brahmanic philosophy, but of the hard forms, castes
and creeds which have grown up around it, and which it was H.P.B.'s
mission to break up and sweep away from all religions.

Colonel Olcott twice misquotes from the letter a very important word.
He says that it asks the Brahman to "repudiate his religious beliefs,
cast aside his splendid Scriptures and turn Buddhist" ! Italics are
mine. And again he quotes a passage thus: "which of them is ready to
become a Buddhist, a Nâstika, as they call us." The word used in the
letter is "Budhist," not "Buddhist." Why, does he so misquote it when
H. P. B. has so carefully explained the radical difference between the
two words? Owing to the impression conveyed by the title of Mr.
Sinnett's book, Esoteric Buddhism, that Theosophy was only a form of
Buddhism, she explained in her Introduction to The Secret Doctrine
that Buddhism is the religious system of ethics preached by the Lord
Gautama, and named after his title of Buddha, "the Enlightened," while
Budha means "wisdom" or knowledge (Vidya), the faculty of cognizing,
front the Sanskrit root "budh," to know. She further said that
Buddhism is not correctly spelt or pronounced in English, and should
be Buddhaïsm. The word Nâstika means, according to The Theosophical
Glossary, one who does not worship or recognize the gods and idols.

Colonel Olcott advances the theory, which both he and Mrs. Besant have
already applied to the case of Mr. Judge, that H.P.B. was a medium not
always responsible for what was given through her. He is driven to
invent this miserable and insulting excuse in order to avoid accusing
her of conscious fraud. This theory is untenable, and to prove it I
cannot do better than quote from an article by Jasper Niemand,
entitled, "Judge the Act, Not the Person," which appeared in The Path
of July, 1889. The writer there says:

What difference is there between the instrumentality of H.P.B. and
that of any transmitting medium? There is that radical difference
which exists between the two extremes called by its poles. H.P.B. is
an Adept; the other not. The Adept is such by virtue of the active
principle. The medium is such by virtue of the passive principle. . .
. H.P.B. is an active, conscious agent, acting through will power,
having attained the power of perfect registration and trained
concentration, able at all times to give a full account of all she
knows, and one fitted to the development of the questioner, one
responding to his physical, astral or spiritual sense. She is
learned, acute, profound; disease of the body has not impaired her
work, its quality, quantity, or her fidelity to it. The great proof
is thorough comprehension, to the fullest depth, of all she has taken
or received, and the body of H.P.B. is her own instrument; she even
holds it back from dissolution. [Capitals mine.&#8210;&#8210; B. C.]

The medium theory being disposed of, a second question arises out of
the position taken up by Mrs. Besant, Colonel Olcott and others.

Granting that H.P.B. was a Messenger front the Masters, would those
Masters Whose name had once been taken in vain ever use the same
instrument again?

The answer is undoubtedly No. All that has been written by H.P.B., by
W. Q. Judge, by Jasper Niemand and others on the rules of occult
training, on the qualifications necessary for real chelaship, on the
sacred relations between Master and chela, prove that such a thing is
utterly impossible. H.P.B. has written that all the so-called
"occult" letters must stand together or fall together. Yet it is
sought to get rid of what is not approved by inventing theories which
throw mud at the Masters and Their Messenger, and which violate the
cardinal rules of Occultism. This is a question for those to whom the
existence of Mahâtmas is a fact or a matter of personal belief, and
that is why the charges against Mr. Judge can never be tried without
fixing the dogma upon the T.S. Those who take teaching and advice
from one whom they believe to be a Messenger of The Lodge cannot say
that some is true and some false. They may test by their intuition
and assimilate what they can, but they may not attempt to put the seal
of their paltry condemnation upon that which does not see in to them
to be good. H.P.B. once wrote in Lucifer that "a member of the E.S.
who receives instructions, emanating from the Masters of the Occult
Philosophy, and doubts at the same time the genuineness of the source,
or the honesty of the humble transmitter of the old esoteric doctrines
&#8210;&#8210;lies to his own soul, and is untrue to his pledge." [Capitals
mine.&#8210;&#8210;B. C.]

Hear also this extract from "the words of great Teachers," given by H.
P. B. to her pupils as "the golden stairs up which the learner may
climb to the Temple of Divine Wisdom":
. . . . A loyal sense of duty to the Teacher, a willing obedience to
the behest of TRUTH, once we have placed our confidence in, and
believe that Teacher to be in possession of it. . . .

We have, then, these definite facts before us at last&#8210;&#8210;I speak to
those only who believe in Mahâtmas and that they communicate through
chosen disciples.

1. That both H.P.B. and Mr. Judge are accused of making bogus messages.
2. That it is admitted that genuine messages were delivered by H.P.B.
and Mr. Judge after those which are alleged to be false.
3. That the charges cannot be gone into before the T.S. without fixing
the dogma of the Mahâtmas upon it.

Finally Colonel Olcott asserts that the question of this letter to the
Brahmans does not bear upon the issues which [he thinks] he will have
to judicially dispose of in London. I say that it is the fundamental
and only issue, the complaint in both cases being identical at the
root, and the step that the President has now definitely taken shows
more clearly than ever that H.P.B. is the real centre of attack, and
through her the movement she sacrificed so much to call into being.
Once let her image be dimmed, once let her integrity be shaken, and it
will be but the beginning of the end. For remember that Esoteric
Buddhism was built on some of the "occult" letters, and that The
Secret Doctrine will lose its foundation stones if H.P.B. was not true
as steel to her trust.

So let the indomitable loyalty of William Q. Judge to his Teacher and
ours be the keynote to our action, and let us help him to keep
unbroken the links which bind us to the Head and Heart of our
movement, without whom it would not exist to-day.
Basil Crump.

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