JUSTICE TO W. JUDGE
Jul 25, 2006 12:16 PM
This, below, is the recent correspondence with the president of the Adyar TS, on the need to do Justice to William Judge, who was persecuted by Annie Besant and Henry Olcott in the 1890s. The Adyar TS will have much to gain from accepting the historical facts as they are and opening its Archives to reseachers.
Best regards, Carlos.
ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo
Ms. Radha Burnier
President, The Theosophical Society,
Adyar, Chennai 600 020, India
Brasília, 21 June, 2006.
Dear Ms. Radha,
Like our previous letters, this is an open text dealing with public issues.
In April 2006, I wrote you about the importance of Adyar Theosophical Society re-examining and repairing the injustice done to William Judge in 1894-95. In May 22nd, you kindly answered:
“Dear Brother Aveline,
I am in receipt of your letter of 13 April, and thank you for the suggestions made. Being confined to a small area, at least physically, perhaps you do not realize how much work there is to be done for the dissemination of Theosophy, and strengthening bonds of brotherhood everywhere. I do not see the point of reopening the Judge case and using one’s time and energy on events long past. Except for a few people like you, nobody is preoccupied with past affairs, because they are more focused with the work to be done now. With best wishes, yours fraternally, Radha Burnier.”
One might see, perhaps, a very subtle, almost imperceptible tone of personal criticism in your letter. If that impression were true, I would take it as a sign of a brotherly openness and sincerity. In fact, for some reason the tone in your note reminds me of that short letter you wrote in 17 november 1999 to our common friend Geoffrey Farthing (1909-2004), in which you say he had written to you “through his heavy conditioning”, etc. (see enclosure). The two letters sound somewhat similar.
Of course, it wouldn’t make sense to postpone the clarification of significant historical issues in order to have a narrow discussion on whether one of us is “confined”, “heavily conditioned” or anything like that. Instead, I will confidently share a few more ideas with you, about things that really matter.
In your letter, you mention “the dissemination of Theosophy”, and in that we completely agree. Yet I must ask you: “What is Theosophy for you? Is Jiddu Krishnamurti your main reference as to what ‘Theosophy’ really is?”
After all, we both know Krishnamurti ignored central ideas and concepts like Reincarnation, Karma, Adepthood and Discipleship. We also know he wanted the Adyar Esoteric School to be closed, something in which he succeded for nearly one year during A. Besant’s time, and which he attempted again several decades later, as Mr. P. Krishna confirmed during a visit to Brazil in the late 1990s.
What about your view of C. W. Leadbeater’s “Theosophy”? As I have reasons to believe that you do not take C. W. Leadbeater seriously as an author, I will only ask you, with regard to him:
“Why keeping it secret that Leadbeater’s books cannot be taken seriously?”
Several levels of “uncomfortable secrets” in the history of the Adyar theosophical movement could be raised. For instance, the reasons why Henry Olcott expelled C.W. Leadbeater from the Theosophical Society in 1906, and with unanimous support worldwide. And why, as soon as Olcott died, Leadbeater silently came back.
As to the danger in keeping the wrong kind of secrets, please take into consideration this sentence from the full text of the 1900 Letter, which is said to have been sent by one of the Masters to Annie Besant, but which was kept secret by Adyar as long as Adyar could:
“MISLEADING SECRECY HAS GIVEN THE DEATH BLOW TO NUMEROUS ORGANIZATIONS.” (1)
It is important to consider, here, that such a sentence does not refer necessarily to the physical death blow. For a spiritual organization, moral and ethical death is worse than the physical one.
I am not suggesting that Adyar is morally dead; yet I believe that its vitality – and the vitality of the theosophical movement as a whole – suffers badly from various unresolved issues in the past. The fact is that one can only get rid of the past after one learns the lessons from it. “Liberty from the past” cannot be an escape from it, nor its denial.
In your letter to me dated May 2006 you boldly say that “nobody is preoccupied with past events”.
I would like to add: “ ‘Nobody’ – except every student of Theosophy ; except every researcher of wisdom traditions ; and except all those who consciously or unconsciously acknowledge the existence of the Karma Law and the causal connection between past, present and future. All these people know or feel that by understanding past events we can better understand present and future.”
In fact, past and future only exist in present time, that is – in the “eternal now”. As past and future are not separate entities, they cannot be put aside by an act of imagination. That is why one of the Masters wrote in the opening lines of the famous Letter 10:
“Our philosophy falls under the definition of Hobbes. It is preeminently the science of effects by their causes and of causes by their effects (...)”. (2)
Esoteric philosophy tells us that there is a complex and subtle chain of causation. As present-time conditions are always changing, so the specific lessons which emerge from the past also renew themselves all the time.
This is easy to see and rather self-evident. Each time an important event in the past cannot be understood by us, our entire perspective of reality suffers from distortions. The history of the theosophical movement shows this. A number of key events, not being understood, have led the movement into several levels of self-delusion. Some key examples are:
* H.P. Blavatsky was nearly abandoned by many theosophical leaders during the 1884-1886 slandering campaign against her;
* In the 1890s, an injustice was done to William Judge by Adyar leaders;
* TS leaders in Adyar fully adopted Leadbeater’s “clairvoyant” fancies in the first half of the 20th century, including the illusion about Christ’s “Second Coming” through J. Krishnamurti;
*These same leaders left aside the philosophy of H.P. Blavatsky and the Masters to favour Leadbeaterian fancies, rites and ritualisms.
*Most of these illusions have not been properly addressed yet, and this very fact constitutes a mistake in itself.
Of course, no one is above mistakes. The History of the movement shows that, too. And reality is contradictory and complex. Your father N. Sri Ram, for instance, had deep respect for History. He supported the publication of an important book by Sven Eek, “Damodar and the Pioneers of the Theosophical Movement”.(3) In fact N. Sri went as far as writing the foreword for that book, in which Eek reports about Henry Olcott’s self-criticism with regard to the Case Against William Judge.
It is amazing how useful History can be. The more we learn from the past, the more liberty we have from it.
Due to the importance of the Adyar TS for the movement as a whole, the effects of its past mistakes have extended their influence over the ever-changing “present time” of the movement, from the 1890s through 2006. And this influence may take some more time to find its due karmic compensation.
At this point, as a student, I must say that I deeply and sincerely thank you, Ms. Radha, for something I consider of real importance.
I will always recognize – provided you do not change your position – the fact that you kept away from the attempt, led by your vice-president John Algeo, to adopt as part of the theosophical literature, and in fact as part of H. P. Blavatsky’s own writings, a collection with some of the worst and most infamous libels and slanders ever fabricated against H.P.B.
A shameful act indeed, perpetrated by your vice-president. I wonder how that could ever happen to the Adyar T. S. Whatever the answer, Ms. Radha, at least your June 2004 letter about Mr. Algeo’s spurious volume of “HPB Letters” helps clarify the facts to the many honest students who are members of the Adyar TS.
Although it is regrettable that you could not stop Mr. John Algeo, your 2004 letter to me is significant because it shows that he does not have your “presidential blessings” to slander H.P.B., or to unjustly attack her in the poorly disguised way he did.
Circulating old lies and criminal slanders against Helena Petrovna – and doing this in the name of a “Theosophical” Publishing House – is certainly a strong sign that History lessons have been forgotten.
The same happens with the ambiguous position of the Adyar TS about the persecution against William Judge. Thinking of this, I wrote to you and suggested that the Adyar TS could either show proofs of Judge’s guilt or declare him innocent of “forging messages from the Mahatmas”.
In the meantime, as no one should be afraid of truth, historians and researchers could be authorized by you to examine related documents in the Adyar Archives.
In taking such important decisions, you might consider that even the Vatican, under John Paul II, has apologized for its past mistakes made many centuries ago with regard to the Jewish people, to the American indigenous peoples, to individuals considered “heretics”, etc. I hope Adyar can follow that example sooner than later.
By April 13th, 2007, I intend to submit you a few more facts about the Case Against William Judge, its historical importance and its present day lessons to the movement.
Just for the record, I enclose a copy of your 1999 letter to Geoffrey Farthing.
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
Cx. Postal 5111
CEP 72.201-970 Brasília, DF, Brazil.
(1) The letter as published by C. Jinarajadasa can be seen at the book “Letters From the Masters of the Wisdom”, First Series, Letter 46, pp. 99-100, TPH, Adyar, India, Sixth Printing, 1973. As to the complete text, from which this sentence is taken, it is in the magazine “Theosophical History”, London, October 1987, pp. 115-117. The full text was first published in “The Eclectic Theosophist” in September 1987 by Mr. Emmet Small, a long-standing coleague of Boris de Zirkoff. Boris most likely also considered the letter authentic.
(2) “The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett”, Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, California, 1992, 493 pp., see Letter X, p. 52.
(3) TPH, Adyar, 1965 and 1978, 720 pp.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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