Re: Theos-World Re: Is HPB making an important distinction between the TS & ES??
Mar 13, 2007 11:02 AM
Hi Anton thanks very much for the excerpts below. Most interesting. Guess I will purchase Josephine Ransom's book now.
Sent: Tue, 13 Mar 2007 2:59 AM
Subject: Theos-World Re: Is HPB making an important distinction between the TS & ES??
Hi Daniel and all,
Here are excerpts from the J. Ransom's "Short History of the TS"
regarding the relation between the TS and ES when H.P.B. was still
alive. It would be nice to have other documents to further enlighten
this relation in that period.
1881 - … on 25 February the Colonel had a long "consultation with
H.P.B. about The Society, resulting in an agreement to reconstruct it
on a different basis, putting the Brotherhood idea more prominently
forward and keeping the occultism more under cover - in short, to
have a secret society for it …" This was the germ of the future
Esoteric Section of The Theosophical Society.
1883 - In June Esoteric Buddhism was published, and round the
Sinnetts gathered a group of people to study its contents. The Lodge
passed a resolution that it should devote "itself chiefly to the
study of occult philosophy as taught by the Adepts of India with whom
Mr. Sinnett has been in communication." He was further advised by
H.P.B. to have an "inner ring" or "group" to whom to give instruction
which he would receive. Many of the meetings had for some time taken
place at Miss Arundale's house in Elgin Crescent, where the most
interested members met to discuss Occultism.
1884 - A Committee (proposed by Subba Row) was formed to receive and
direct further Esoteric Teachings and transmit them to the Inner
Group (London) and Branches. The Masters consented to detail a
Committee of their regular chelas to give material to this Committee
through Subba Row and Damodar. (The Committee consisted of: Col. H.S.
Olcott, Madame H.P. Blavatsky, T. Subba Row, B.A. B.L., Damodar K.
Mavalankar, A.J. Cooper-Oakley, Mrs. Cooper-Oakley, S. Ramaswami
1888 - An organisation was formed, 9 October, to meet the persistent
demand to have esoteric teaching from H.P.B., and an opportunity of
preparing for chelaship (pupilship) under her guidance. She had, as
we have seen, often formed small groups of people to prepare them to
be "chelas," and Sinnett had been for years the transmitter
of "instructions" to an "Inner Group." These groups had had both
success and failure. The President had objected to the formation of
another, and H.P.B. warned him that if his objections persisted there
would be two "Theosophical Societies, entirely independent of each
other - Indian and European." After receiving the Master K.H.'s
letter, and realising that though he did not care for such groups, he
must yield to H.P.B., the Colonel issued an "Order in Council"
forming an Esoteric Section with Madame Blavatsky as its responsible
1. To promote the esoteric interests of the Theosophical Society by
the deeper study of esoteric philosophy, there is hereby organized a
body, to be known as the "Esoteric Section of the Theosophical
2. The constitution and sole direction of the same is vested in
Madame H. P. Blavatsky, as its head; she is solely responsible to the
members for results; and the section has no official or corporate
connection with the Exoteric Society, save in the person of the
Attest: H. P. Blavatsky, Corresponding Secretary.
(Sd.) H. S. Olcott, President in Council.
Sinnett declined to participate in this work. About twenty students
who had been with him since 1883 continued to study with him. But the
Inner Group which had been working under him became the Inner Group
of the Esoteric Section, with Mrs. Besant as chief Secretary and
Recorder of the Teachings. In May 1887, Mr. Judge had asked to have a
group in America similar to Mr. Sinnett's, working under himself, and
sent H.P.B. a request to authorise him to do so. She told him he
might go ahead without the authorisation, as she had other plans in
mind. A few months afterwards she was explaining her plans in London
when Judge telegraphed asking her to make them public. She invited
him to come to help, which he did, and assisted her in drawing up the
Rules. (On the strength of these incidents Judge afterwards claimed
that he was "one of the Founders with H.P.B." of the E.S. The E.S.
members were formed into privates Lodges with their own charters.)
1889 - On 8 August the President left via Ceylon for Europe, and
arrived in London 4 September. One of the main reasons for this visit
was the growing tendency to misapply a clause in the E.S. Rules,
which was to the effect that members were to obey the Outer Head of
the Section in all that concerned their Theosophical duties and
Esoteric work. It caused the question to arise as to whether H.P.B.
was loyal to Adyar and to the Colonel, or whether she was trying to
control Adyar. H.P.B. very vigorously denied that the Esoteric
Section, with the exception of the President, had anything to do with
The Society or its Council. She alone was responsible for its
members, and it had no pretensions to control The Theosophical
Society. As to loyalty, she declared: "H.P.B. is loyal to death to
the Theosophical CAUSE, and those great Teachers whose philosophy can
alone bind the whole of Humanity into one Brotherhood." She pointed
out what was being obscured was that she, with Col. Olcott, was the
chief Founder and Builder of The Society; that her loyalty to the
Colonel was not because he was President but because he had been so
devoted to it, and was a loyal friend and co-worker. The degree of
her sympathy with The Theosophical Society and Adyar depended upon
the degree of loyalty of that Society to the CAUSE. Should it break
away or show disloyalty to that Cause, and the original programme of
The Society, (Lucifer, Aug. 1889.) she would shake it off like dust
from her feet. As to loyalty to Adyar, what was it apart from the
Cause and the "two (not one Founder …)" to be logical according to
the Rules of The Society members had to be loyal to, the place
wherever the President happened to be. The President, however,
declared he would resign if H.P.B. did not amend the "obedience"
clause, since it led to so many misunderstandings and was giving him
so much trouble in the management of The Society. H.P.B. did amend
it. To prevent further complications, she, in December, appointed the
Colonel as her confidential agent and sole representative of the E.S.
in Asiatic countries. The name of the E.S. was changed to The Eastern
School of Theosophy, and the fact that it had no official connection
with The Society was reasserted.
1890 - An old house, 193 Bow Road, was taken and renovated, and a
Hall built. It was opened, 15 August, by H.P.B., and placed in charge
of Mrs. Besant and Miss L. Cooper. … It was a large house standing in
its own grounds, and became the Headquarters of the British Section,
and also of the European Section when it was formed. An additional
room was built for the Esoteric Section, and for Blavatsky Lodge a
meeting-hall of corrugated iron which held 200.
There were more than a thousand pledged supporters of H.P.B. who were
students of Occultism and looked to her for guidance and inspiration.
Many were inclined to deprecate Col. Olcott's more outward-turned
activities, and knew very little of the great changes in thought and
action he had wrought in Eastern countries, particularly in India and
Ceylon. Opinion had grown up that he neglected and did not understand
the needs of the West; complaints often reached him on this score
both from Europe and America, where Judge was sole director of the
work, with an increasing influence, and around him competent workers.
This sense of grievance against the President was accentuated in
Europe when he sent, 28 May, to Dr. G. Encausse (Papus) the charter
he had applied for. H.P.B. was opposed to this, knowing Encausse was
making trouble and threatening to attack the Society. The President
had to suspend the Charter in August, and, on his advice, Encausse
was expelled from The Society by the Council of the European Section.
In June H.P.B. demanded the formation of a European Section with
herself as head, or she would break off. This time Col. Olcott felt
he must let matters take their course. On 9 July he sent H.P.B. an
Order to organise a European Section. He then received what he
described as a "revolutionary" letter from the British Section,
decreeing absolute Presidential power to H.P.B. for Europe. This
Resolution was published in Lucifer, July, as a Notice:
"In obedience to the almost unanimous voice of the Fellows of the
Theosophical Society in Europe, I, H.P. Blavatsky, the originator and
Co-Founder of the Theosophical Society, accept the duty of exercising
the Presidential authority for the whole of Europe: and in virtue of
this authority I declare that the Headquarters of the Theosophical
Society in London, where I reside, will in future be the Headquarters
for the transaction of all official business of the Theosophical
Society in Europe. H.P. Blavatsky."
H.P.B. said that Col. Olcott remained "as heretofore, President-
Founder of The Theosophical Society the world over." She had selected
as an advisory Council, including the three colleagues formerly
appointed by the President Annie Besant, Wm. Kingsland, H. Burrows,
A.P. Sinnett, Dr. H. A. W. Coryn, E.T. Sturdy and G.R.S. Mead. At a
Council Meeting of the British Section, stress was laid on the
advantage of being directed from a European Centre and not from an
Asiatic one, and that this would do away with the delays in obtaining
Charters and Diplomas, and answers to pressing questions, though as a
matter of fact these were already directed to H.P.B.
A requisition was drawn up embodying the views of those concerned, to
be addressed to the President. It stated that the Continental Lodges
and unattached members had made appeal to H.P.B. to place themselves
directly under her authority, and the British Section joined in their
demands that the constitutional powers at present exercised by Col.
Olcott in Europe, should be transferred to H.P.B. and her Advisory
Feeling discouraged, Col. Olcott, 25 September, advised Mr. Mead, as
General Secretary of the Europen Section, that he wished to retire
and leave the sole headship to H.P.B. He wrote to her, 7 October,
telling her he meant to retire, and, 12 November, asked her to take
the office of President. He wrote the same to others in Europe and
America, and began to make plans for building a house in Ootacamund.
He sent, 9 December, to Tookaram Tatya the draft of a scheme to sell
Adyar to the Adyar Library and have him support it with a
Theosophical Society Fund of Rs. 50,000. The Society was to retain
such rooms and grounds as would suffice for Headquarters' business.
Towards the end of November, Richard Harte drafted an address for
Keightley to read, as from H.P.B. to Convention, about Col. Olcott s
retirement. This draft Keightley revised and sent to H.P.B. for
approval. Upon receipt of it she cabled her emphatic refusal to have
such an address read on her behalf. She declared the Master
disapproved of the Colonel's resignation. She followed this up with
an order to Keightley to return if the Colonel retired, and she
threatened she would sever her connection with the Society if he did
Meanwhile, the President had received innumerable appeals that he
would remain in office. These would not perhaps have affected his
decision, but he received news that the New York Sun would stand suit
on the libels against H.P.B. and Judge. He feared that this might
mean Prof. Coues, who was behind the attack, had obtained other
Coulomb letters. It meant difficulty for H.P.B., and he did not see
how in that case he could retire and desert her. (Diary, 17 Dec.
When the withdrawal of his resignation was communicated to
Convention, 27 December, there was a great outburst of pleasure and
satisfaction, and the Convention reaffirmed the right of the Colonel
to remain President for life. In his Presidential Address Col. Olcott
explained that the long stress of work had wearied him and strained
his constitution. He realised that since H.P.B. would withdraw if he
did, it would mean the breaking up of The Society, too precious thus
1891 - The President's first action was to notify H.P.B. of
his "suspended resignation." He advised her that his readiness to
resume office would depend on her willingness to alter still further
the form of obligation taken by E.S. members. He was finding that the
flow of The Society was in the direction of H.P.B., and that
throughout the world her instructions held chief place in the lives
of the members.
Knowing that the hour of her passing drew near, H.P.B. gathered
closer round her such of her pupils as circumstances rendered the
most accessible, and began a system of regular instruction, opening
up new lines of thought and study which, if steadily pursued, would
yield fruit indefinitely. She instructed them "regularly one evening
each week, … But during other days for some time previous to her
departure, H.P.B. gradually abstracted herself, becoming more and
more reclusive, and, at times, quite inaccessible even to those
intimately around her. Her sitting room, for years past constantly
open to all comers, whether Theosophists or not, became more and more
a place of retreat and solitude for her and daily more impregnated
with her own strong atmosphere of individuality." (W.R. Old, in The
Theosophist, June, 1893, p. 547.)
On the night of the 6th a change for the worse set in, but the crisis
passed and on the morning of the 7th she got up, and sat in her large
armchair in her sitting-room. With great effort she rolled a
cigarette for Dr. Mennell - the last she ever made. Finding no ease
in bed, she was propped up with pillows in her chair. At 11 a.m., 8
May, she grew worse. Around her were Miss Laura Cooper who supported
her head, and C.F. Wright and W.R. Old who knelt beside her holding
her hands. At the last she passed so quietly that they hardly knew
when she ceased to breathe.
Mrs. Besant and Mr. Judge together visited several Lodges to lecture.
They agreed, in consultation with the E.S. Council, that they should
together assume full headship of the E.S., Mr. Judge for America and
Mrs. Besant for the rest of the world, with Headquarters in London.
On the 27th (July) the President announced there would be no change
in the general policy of The Theosophical Society, and its three
declared Objects would be strictly followed out. The Society would be
kept neutral; the untrammelled right of private judgment and the
absolute equality of members was reaffirmed and guaranteed; the
principle of autonomous government in Sections and Branches within
the lines of the Constitution, and of non-interference by
Headquarters, save in extreme cases, was to be loyally observed.
--- In email@example.com, "danielhcaldwell"
> In the FOLLOWING two excerpts from H.P. Blavatsky's pen, is she
> making a vital distinction?
> Is this a distinction between the Theosophical Society and
> the Esoteric School?
> And between the Theosophical Society and the School of her Masters?
> EXTRACT 1 from THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY
> Section 2
> EXOTERIC AND ESOTERIC THEOSOPHY.
> ....ENQUIRER. Which system do you prefer or follow, in that case,
> besides Buddhistic ethics?
> THEOSOPHIST. None, and all. We hold to no religion, as to no
> philosophy in particular: we cull the good we find in each. But
> again, it must be stated that, like all other ancient systems,
> Theosophy is divided into Exoteric and Esoteric Sections.
> ENQUIRER. What is the difference?
> THEOSOPHIST. The members of the Theosophical Society at large are
> free to profess whatever religion or philosophy they like, or none
> they so prefer, provided they are in sympathy with, and ready to
> carry out one or more of the three objects of the Association. The
> Society is a philanthropic and scientific body for the propagation
> the idea of brotherhood on practical instead of theoretical lines.
> The Fellows may be Christians or Mussulmen, Jews or Parsees,
> Buddhists or Brahmins, Spiritualists or Materialists, it does not
> matter; but every member must be either a philanthropist, or a
> scholar, a searcher into Aryan and other old literature, or a
> student. In short, he has to help, if he can, in the carrying out of
> at least one of the objects of the programme. Otherwise he has no
> reason for becoming a "Fellow." Such are the majority of the
> Society, composed of "attached" and "unattached" members.
> [An "attached member" means one who has joined some particular
> of the T. S. An "unattached," one who belongs to the Society at
> large, has his diploma, from the Headquarters (Adyar, Madras), but
> connected with no branch or lodge.] These may, or may not, become
> Theosophists de facto. Members they are, by virtue of their having
> joined the Society; but the latter cannot make a Theosophist of one
> who has no sense for the divine fitness of things, or of him who
> understands Theosophy in his own -- if the expression may be used --
> sectarian and egotistic way. "Handsome is, as handsome does" could
> paraphrased in this case and be made to run: "Theosophist is, who
> Theosophy does."
> THEOSOPHISTS AND MEMBERS OF THE "T. S."
> ENQUIRER. This applies to lay members, as I understand. And what of
> those who pursue the esoteric study of Theosophy; are they the real
> THEOSOPHIST. Not necessarily, until they have proven themselves to
> such. They have entered the inner group and pledged themselves to
> carry out, as strictly as they can, the rules of the occult body....
> Quoted from: http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/key/key-2.htm
> EXTRACT 2 from THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY
> Section 4
> THE RELATIONS OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY TO THEOSOPHY
> ....ENQUIRER. But surely those few who have felt the need of such
> truths must have made up their minds to believe in something
> definite? You tell me that, the Society having no doctrines of its
> own, every member may believe as he chooses and accept what he
> pleases. This looks as if the Theosophical Society was bent upon
> reviving the confusion of languages and beliefs of the Tower of
> of old. Have you no beliefs in common?
> THEOSOPHIST. What is meant by the Society having no tenets or
> doctrines of its own is, that no special doctrines or beliefs are
> obligatory on its members; but, of course, this applies only to the
> body as a whole. The Society, as you were told, is divided into an
> outer and an inner body. Those who belong to the latter have, of
> course, a philosophy, or -- if you so prefer it -- a religious
> of their own.
> ENQUIRER. May we be told what it is?
> THEOSOPHIST. We make no secret of it. It was outlined a few years
> in the Theosophist and "Esoteric Buddhism," and may be found still
> more elaborated in the "Secret Doctrine." It is based on the oldest
> philosophy of the world, called the Wisdom-Religion or the Archaic
> Quoted from: http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/key/key-4.htm
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