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Crosbie, Besant, Tingley, Hargrove vs. Their Followers

Apr 25, 2006 12:40 PM
by robert_b_macd

The debates concerning various theosophical personalities has caused
much dissension.  It could be argued that there is a very good reason
for this.  Consider the case of Besant.  What is important about her and
her particular role in history.  The fact is she made certain
statements, did certain things, and created a following.  Now, whether
the things that she said were true or not are irrelevant, as far as the
writing of history is concerned.  Naturally the historian may want to
get as clear as possible on these matters before he goes ahead and
writes a history of the time, but this is for his own understanding
only.  The history is concerned with the movement as a whole and
consequently it is concerned with those who followed Besant, empowered
her, and why?  Whether she was a chela or not makes no real difference
to history.  Her followers either followed her for the right reasons, or
for the wrong reasons, and this is true whether Besant was a chela or

It seems that people actually think that it is important to know who was
closer to the Masters, Judge or Besant.  The fact is that both have
claims and support for their claims.  The important matter is why did
the followers of each follow their respective leaders.  Why do they
continue to do so?  Is it for the right reasons or for the wrong
reasons? We don't have to know the minds of Besant or Judge or Blavatsky
to decide this.  We need only understand the principles of the Movement
and how the behavior of these peoples reflected those principles.

Morten is right in his analysis.  People either used a Jesuitical
approach when following or a theosophical approach.  These approaches
are alive in the world today and a Jesuitical approach to all things can
only be countered by a strong Theosophical Movement.  The focus on
personalities is divisive because once you criticize the character of
one personality, then you are left with having to undermine the
credibility of the one making the charges or accept the charges. 
Unproven charges, of course, have no place in the Theosophical Movement.
It is this ignorance that keeps theosophists divided.  There has to be
more thought given to the differences in these two approaches and how
they manifest themselves.

There really is no place in the Theosophical Movement for books on
personalities.  Our private opinions on the various personalities that
founded the Movement are just that, private.  We cannot know what is in
their head, what it is that motivates them.  We can guess.  Whatever we
decide will tell us more about ourselves than the subject under
consideration.  In this sense it may be a valuable exercise.  If we
repeat the exercise in 20 years, we may come to have a completely
different perspective, given the same set of information.  What does
this mean?  It means the Movement should not focus on individuals.  What
is important is identifying the reasons that different groups of people
followed different leaders.  It is probable that those reasons are with
us still today.  Understanding these reasons tells us something about
ourselves and the Movement to which we belong.

When HPB died, the Movement was tested.  How successful was it?  When
Judge died, the Movement was tested again, how well did this sub-group
do?  This is where our historical focus should be, not on the
personality of the leaders.


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