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Re: Was Annie Besant from the beginning ruining the TS and ES?

Mar 21, 2008 01:42 AM
by nhcareyta

Dear Morten

Thank you for this most interesting compilation.

It ably demonstrates the effect Madame Blavatsky 
and the Secret Doctrine had on Dr Besant and her 
thinking at that time.

It also clearly highlights Dr Besant's mindset as 
that of the leader-follower mentality, and moreover, 
prepares us for some extraordinary contradictions 
that were to arise in later years after Madame 
Blavatsky's death.

Where she herein ardently supports Madame Blavatsky 
and her teachers' version of Theosophy, she later 
contradicts it manifestly whilst claiming direct 
contact with them.

In these and other passages, her leader-follower 
mindset represents itself as quite dogmatic which 
led to the inevitable dogma in her own writings and 

Dogmatism is essentially anathema to genuine 
Theosophy, however she nonetheless pursued it, 
firstly with Madame Blavatsky and her teachers' 
works and later through her own contradictions of 
these. It can fairly be stated that she swapped 
horses (teachings) but maintained her original 

She writes: 

"A certain definite philosophy has been put 
forward by Madame Blavatsky."

"And if there be no Hidden Wisdom, what is the 
raison d'être of the Theosophical Society?"


"?and what have we to differentiate us from other 
societies, if it be not the mission of spreading 
the knowledge of such fragments of Theosophy, of 
the Hidden Wisdom, of the Secret Doctrine?" 

>From my perspective these statements are essentially 
true, but were not intended to be forced upon anyone 
as dogma and certainly not in the transformed, 
contradictory version of Theosophy she later 

There can be a quantum difference between 
promulgating the teachings of Madame Blavatsky and 
her teachers, and insisting they be believed and 

Whilst perhaps initially well intentioned, it seems 
her mindset disallowed this distinction. 

It also seems this mindset disallowed her recognition 
of the extraordinary contradictions she later 
presented in the name of the Mahatmas' Theosophy.


--- In, "Morten Nymann Olesen" <global-
theosophy@...> wrote:
> To all readers
> My views are:
> I can only recommend carefully reading the below article, 
especially the comments by HPB, and note the time it was published.
> I find this article to be one of the most central to understanding, 
what happened to The Theosophical Society after H. P. Blavatsky's 
body left the physical planet.
> I would appreciate any comment on the articles. What are your views?
> Was Annie Besant in the below labouring under a wrong doctrince 
already in 1890, a doctrine which in opposition to HPB later carried 
> "
> Adyar Pamphlets No. 157
> Three Articles 
> and 
> H.T.PATTERSON (With Notes by H.P.B.)
> Reprinted from "Lucifer" of December, 1890 by desire of H.P.B. and 
published as a pamphlet in London, 1891 - First Adyar Edition: 
January 1932 
> [The following article expresses the views of many members of the 
Theosophical Society, who feel strongly that it is time that some 
protest should be made against the constant petty criticisms levelled 
at H. P. B. As co-editor, I put in the article, which has not been 
submitted to H. P. B., nor will she see it until the magazine is 
issued; so she is in no sense responsible for its appearance. - ANNIE 
> On the 17th day of last month, the Theosophical Society completed 
the first fifteen years of its existence, and can look back over a 
youth tempestuous indeed, but marked by continuous growth. When 
first, in New York, the two "Founders" of the infant Society enrolled 
their earliest members, a profound sadness must have lain at the 
heart of the one who realised all that was meant by that primary 
step. "The last quarter of the century! " Not for the first time had 
that cry been sounded in the "Western World, but all the previous 
attempts had but stirred the waters and had - failed. Was this 
nineteenth century effort to pass into Hades with its predecessors, 
bearing only the wreckage of shattered hopes, of broken forces ? Was 
this dawn to darken into night instead of morning, and leave [Page 2] 
the twentieth century to grope in darkness with none to guide ? Or 
were there, scattered through the West, enough of the students of the 
past to awake at the summons from the Orient, students in whose 
hearts the occult fire was smouldering, waiting but the "breath" to 
make it burst forth in flame? Only when the knell of the century has 
sounded will the answer to such questionings be fully heard: still is 
the lot hidden, save from the eyes that pierce beyond the veil. 
It "lies on the knees of Osiris", and it will fall thence into the 
lap of failure or of triumph, as they keep faith or break it, who 
form the working brotherhood of the Theosophical Society.
> The seed planted in America has grown there to a tree with widely 
spreading branches. [An early draft of the constitution of the T. S. 
lies before me, and shows that, in its inception, membership of the 
T. S. involved much heavier obligations than are now required from 
accepted candidates. The fellowship had three sections and each 
section had three degrees. For the highest, the conditions were 
severe, and could only be taken by those ready to devote their whole 
lives to Occultism ] In India, the Society quickly made its way, and 
thanks to the energy, the eloquence, and the devotion of Colonel H. 
S. Olcott, the co-founder and President, branches sprang up in every 
direction, the ancient literature was enthusiastically studied, 
schools were founded where knowledge untainted by Christianity could 
be gathered by the young, and India, waking from the sleep of 
centuries, felt herself to be once more a nation, a nation with a 
mighty past, and with [Page 3] the possibility of a glorious future. 
While all this rush of new life thrilled along the veins of 
Hindustan, the heart of that life throbbed steadily on, the fount of 
the circulating energy, though the limbs and the organising brain 
were more prominent in the eyes of tho world. That heart was H.P.B. 
Indifferent to the exercise of authority, careless of external show - 
even to the shocking of those tight-fettered by social conventions - 
willing to efface herself if thereby her mission might the better 
prosper, there she was, the source of the occult forces which alone 
could sustain the Theosophical Society. Ready to prove the reality of 
those as yet little known powers of Nature, the effects of which are 
as marvellous to the cultured European as are electrical phenomena to 
the Central African, she performed experiment after experiment for 
the instruction of those who personally sought her. But she steadily 
refused to vulgarise her mission by any kind of general "performance 
of phenomena", which could only gratify curiosity and serve no useful 
purpose. When urged to "show her powers" merely to convince the 
general crowd, who cared nothing for Theosophical teaching but only 
desired to gratify their idle love of the marvellous: when told that 
thus she might win credence and establish her authority, she merely 
shrugged her shoulders and with the indifference of the trained 
occultist, answered that they might believe or not as they [Page 4]
chose; let them say she was "a fraud"; what did it matter? For the 
real student she had an inexhaustible patience, willingness to prove, 
readiness to explain: for the idle curiosity-hunter a careless "Oh, 
it's nothing ! psychological tricks, Maya, what you please".
> With many of the Brahmins she came into direct collision. Sent to 
teach to the world at large many of the doctrines which had been 
jealous!y preserved as the treasure of a privileged minority, she 
struck them on their tenderest point, their pride in the possession 
of knowledge hidden from the vulgar crowd, their sensitive jealous 
lest their holiest should be profaned. Knowing that she was speaking 
truth, they often contradicted her in public, while in private they 
hotly protested against the desecration of their sanctuaries. 
Physically a subject race, conquered by the material force of the 
aggressive West, they retired the more into the strongholds of their 
intellectual pride, looking with unutterable contempt on the 
foreigner who could subdue their bodies, but who, in his ignorance of 
the secrets of Nature, was but a barbarian in their haughty eyes. 
That he should rule in India was well, since India had forsaken her 
ancestral wisdom and was unworthy to be free: but that he should 
catch a glimpse of that mental and spiritual realm of which they were 
citizens - nay, such intrusion should be resisted to the last, and 
the very existence of such a realm should be kept secret, lest he 
should [Page 5] find a gate that might let him in. That this Russian 
teacher had her knowledge from the Sages they reverenced, they were 
unable to deny: but they resisted her publication of the teachings as 
their ancestors had resisted the teachings of Gautama, the Buddha. 
Not for the "common people" were even the crumbs of the "Divine 
> Nevertheless, despite all, her influence steadily grew, and the 
Theosophical Society struck its roots far and wide. Then came the 
bitter and unscrupulous attack of the Christian missionaries in the 
famous Coulomb forgeries, forgeries some of them so transparent that 
they could not have deceived an intelligent child, others ingeniously 
concocted of the half-truths that "are ever the blackest of lies".
> And here, I venture to say, a mistake was made, a mistake in 
tactics as well as a failure in loyalty. An examination held promptly 
and on the spot proved the falsehood of the calumnious accusations, 
and exposed the nefarious artifices by which evidence had been 
fabricated. So far, so good. But then, instead of closing up round 
the assailed Teacher and defending to the utmost her position and her 
honour, the fatal policy was adopted of attempting to minimise her 
position in the Society, of arguing that the teaching remained 
impregnable whether the teacher was or was not trustworthy. It was a 
policy of expediency, not of principle, it being thought wise to 
ignore attacks rather than to [Page 6] refute them, and to lay stress 
oh the inherent strength of the philosophy rather than to continually 
vindicate its exponent. Suffering from acute disease, and always too 
doubtful of her own judgment in mere exoteric matters, in questions 
of policy and expediency, to trust to it against the advice of men of 
the world, H. P. B. allowed herself to be put aside, while the 
Society was exalted at the expense of its Founder, and left it to go 
its own way in Hindustan. When sufficiently recovered from almost 
fatal illness, she recommenced her work, but in Europe not in India, 
confining her activity to the Western World.
> The effects of her presence quickly became manifest. Where was the 
occult heart, there was centred the life of the Society, and in the 
West, on every side, appeared signs of new vitality. How the 
Theosophical movement was spread through Western lands it needs not 
here to relate. The "Theosophical Activities" in every number of 
Lucifer tell the tale so that he who runs may read.
> This rapid growth has been due primarily to H.P.B.'s personal 
presence, secondarily to the formation of the Esoteric Section of the 
Theosophical Society. Into this, those only are admitted who accept 
H.P.B. as their teacher in Occultism, recognising her as the 
messenger of that Brotherhood who are the real Founders of the 
Theosophical Society. This Section embraces most of the most active 
workers in the Society, and as they base [Page 7] their activity on 
their philosophy little of it is wasted in running after false 
scents. There is a certain fringe of people who come and go, who 
enter from curiosity and are disgusted when they find only hard work; 
who seek for "powers" and are angry when they find only self-denial; 
who enter thinking Occultism an easy and exciting study, and break 
under the tension to which they find themselves subjected. But the 
centre of the Section is steadily solidifying, and it encircles H. P. 
B. with ever growing trust - founded on lengthening experience - with 
ever-increasing love, gratitude and loyalty.
> Now touching the position of H.P.B. to and in the Theosophical 
Society, the following is a brief exposition of it, as it appears to 
many of us:
> 1. Either she is a messenger from the Master, or else she is a 
> From this dilemma there is no escape. If she does not come from 
Them, bringing Their message, doing Their work, executing Their 
commission, her whole life is a lie. From beginning to end, she has 
claimed nothing as her own, everything as from Them. Those who are in 
daily contact with her, know how she continually refers to Their 
decision, speaks in Their name. No third course is open to us: there 
are only these alternatives, the mission is either real or fraudulent.
> 2. In either case the Theosophical Society would have had no 
existence without her. [Page 8] 
> The folly of trying to separate the Theosophical Society and H. P. 
B. lies in this fact. Without H. P. B. no Theosophical Society. All 
the Westerns who know anything of Theosophy have learned from her or 
from her pupils. Colonel Olcott, as he always recognises, obtained 
through her his introduction to the work. Save for her, he would be a 
well-known American Spiritualist, not the President of the 
Theosophical Society. So with Mr. Sinnett, so with Mr. Judge, so with 
each and all. Many have obtained independent evidence afterwards, but 
for all she has been the portal through which they have passed into 
the occult world. Nor is the fact that the existence of the 
Theosophical Society is due to her the only proof of the hopelessness 
of the attempt to rend the twain apart. For just as it owed to her 
its inception, so now it owes to her its vitality. Where she is, 
there, evident to all eyes, is the centre of energy: and where she is 
not physically, there the progress is in proportion to the loyalty 
shown towards her. Unfair criticism of her, ungenerous carping at 
her, slackness in defending her against attack from outside, wherever 
these are found there also quickly follow stagnation, decay, death.
> 3. If she is a fraud, she is a woman of wonderful ability and 
learning, giving all the credit of these to some persons who do not 
> As to the ability and learning, these are not challenged by her 
enemies. They sometimes say [Page 9] that her knowledge is ill-
digested, that she arranges her materials badly, that she is misty, 
involved, self-contradictory. But that she possesses an extraordinary 
fund of varied information, bearing on out-of-the-way topics and 
obscure philosophies, is admitted on every hand. If she be a fraud, 
why is she such a fool as to invent imaginary Teachers, fathering on 
them her knowledge, and so gaining on every side abuse and slander, 
while she might have gained credit, to say nothing of money, by the 
simple and natural course of giving out her own as her own ? Can 
anything more insane be imagined than for a Russian woman of noble 
family, married to a high official, to go out into the world on a 
wild-goose chase after imaginary Teachers, and having acquired a mass 
of recondite knowledge at great cost and suffering, to throw away all 
the credit of acquiring it, to ascribe it to non-existent persons, to 
face slander, abuse, calumny, instead of utilising it in a more 
common way, to remain an exile from her own country, to be poor and 
despised where she might be wealthy and honoured ? If anyone can 
produce, outside Bedlam, a lunatic more mad than H.P.B., must be if 
she be a fraud, I should be grateful for the honour of an 
> 4. If H.P.B. is a true messenger, opposition to her is opposition 
to the Masters, she being Their only channel to the Western World.
> This proposition scarcely needs argument to sustain it; it is self-
evident; she alone is in direct [Page 10] and constant communication 
with the trans-Himalayan Adepts. They chose her, and presumably They 
can manage Their own business. Once accept the philosophy, you must 
accept her; accept her and you cannot stop short of the full 
proposition as stated above. And here let me make a suggestion to 
those who rashly and superficially judge H.P.B., courtesy, she will 
be abrupt, sharp, repellent. The hostile feeling masked under smiles, 
finds itself pierced by keen sarcasm, or knocking itself against a 
wall of ice. But to the honest enquirer she is patient and gentle to 
a rare extent, and only her pupils know of a patience that has no 
limits, a strength that never falters, an insight that never errs. In 
fact, H. P. B. herself is the test of the members, and when they 
begin to grumble at her, they would do wisely to analyse themselves. 
I sometimes think of a test dropped into a solution, precipitating 
some substance therein contained. "What a horrid liquid it must be so 
to dirty that beautifully clear fluid", cry the ignorant. If the 
substance had not been present, it would not have been precipitated 
by the test, and if enquirers and members are honest, they will find 
themselves attracted, not repelled, by H.P.B. [Page 11]
> 5. If there me no Masters, the Theosophical Society is an 
absurdity, and there is no use in keeping it up. But if there are 
Masters, and H. P. B. if Their messenger, and the Theosophical 
Society Their foundation, the Theosophical Society and H. P. B. 
cannot be separated before the world.
> This is the conclusion of the whole matter, the decision on which 
we must guide our policy. I see on some sides a disposition to 
temporise, to whittle away the Esoteric Teachings, to hastily twist 
them into accord with temporary hypotheses of Science, in order to 
gain a momentary advantage, perchance a fuller hearing. This is not 
wise. Already some such hypotheses, opposed to occult teachings, have 
been thrown aside by more advanced scientific thought, and have been 
replaced by other hypotheses, more nearly approaching the occult 
views. There is no need to hurry, nor to try to pour the archaic 
doctrines into new bottles, ere those bottles have been tested. The 
Secret Teachings have stood many thousands of years, and have been 
the source from which the stream of progress has flowed. They can 
venture to stand on their own basis for a few years more, till 
Science crosses the dividing line it is tentatively approaching with 
each new discovery.
> To the members of the Theosophical Society, I venture to say a word 
of pleading. But a few years stretch before us ere the century 
expires, a century whose close coincides well-nigh with the close of 
a [Page 12] cycle. As the sands of those years are running through 
the hour-glass of Time, our opportunities are running with them; it 
is "a race against time", in a very real sense. If the members care 
at all for the future of the Society, if they wish to know that the 
Twentieth Century will see it standing high above the strife of 
parties, a beacon-light in the darkness for the guiding of men, if 
they believe in the Teacher who founded it for human service, let 
them now arouse themselves from slothful indifference, sternly 
silence all dissensions over petty follies in their ranks, and march 
shoulder to shoulder for the achievement of the heavy task laid upon 
their strength and courage. If Theosophy is worth anything, it is 
worth living for and worth dying for. If it is worth nothing let it 
go at once and for all. It is not a thing to play with, it is not a 
thing to trifle with. Ere 1891 sees its earliest dawning, ere 1890 
falls into the grave now a-digging for it, let each Theosophist, and 
above all let each Occultist, calmly review his position, carefully 
make his choice, and if that choice be for Theosophy, let him sternly 
determine that neither open foes nor treacherous friends shall shake 
his loyalty for all time to come to his great Cause and Leader, which 
twain are one.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
>   [ l gladly give room to the protest which follows. It is wise and 
timely, and may perhaps, ward off worse than "petty criticisms of H. 
P. B." Needless to say that Mrs. Besant's article would not have 
appeared had I seen it before publication. But I may point out to Mr. 
Patterson that much of his protest, however true, is not exactly 
aimed at what Mrs. Besant wrote. She did not say that the T. S. 
taught any particular doctrines, but merely expressed her own view 
that the position of one who belonged to the T. S. and ungenerously 
carped at the pioneer who founded it was illogical. This is clearly a 
matter of opinion, and Mr. Patterson puts the opposing view. One has 
but to read the new '' Constitution and Rules of the Theosophical 
Society" for 1891 (in the Supplement of the January Theosophist), to 
find in Article xiii, 2, that "no Fellow, Officer, or Council of the 
Theosophical Society, or of any Section or Branch thereof, shall 
promulgate or maintain any doctrine as being that advanced or 
advocated by the Society"; and, whatever we do, we have to abide by 
the Rules of the T. S.. Mrs. Besant would have done more wisely to 
have called her article " Comments on the E. S. of the Theosophical 
Society and H. P. B.," she would then have been on the safe side; for 
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 - lies to his own soul, and is untrue 
to his pledge. He cannot be honest and remain in [Page 14] the E. S., 
in such a case. But then, the Esoteric Section, its qualification "of 
the T. S." notwithstanding, does not represent the latter, and in 
future it will drop the additional words altogether. From the very 
beginning its second rule stated, that the "Esoteric Section has no 
official or corporate connection with the Esoteric Society" (see 
Lucifer of October, 1888). Henceforth it will be called "the Eastern 
School of Theosophy", simply. Meanwhile, I thank our brother, Mr. 
Patterson, for giving me this opportunity of expressing my feelings. -
 H. P. B,)
> IN the December number of Lucifer in an article entitled "The 
Theosophical Society and H. P. B." there are the following statements:
> "The following article expresses the views of many members of the 
Theosophical Society who feel strongly that it is time that some 
protest should be made against the constant petty criticisms levelled 
at H. P. B.. As co-editor I put in this article, which has not been 
submitted to H. P. B., nor will she see it until the magazine is 
issued; so she is in no sense responsible for its appearance. - ANNIE 
> " Now touching the position of H. P. B., to and in the Theosophical 
Society, the following is a brief exposition of it as it appears to 
many of us:
> " 1. Either she is a messenger from the Masters, or else she is a 
> " 2. In either case the Theosophical Society would have no 
existence without her.
> " 3. If she is a fraud she is a woman of wonderful ability and 
learning, giving all the credit of these to some persons who do not 
exist.[Page 15] 
> "4. If H.P.B. is a true messenger, opposition to her is opposition 
to the Masters, she being their only channel to the Western world.
> "5. If there are no Masters, the Theosophical Society ia an 
absurdity, and there is no use in keeping it up. But if there are 
Masters, and H.P. B. is their messenger, and the Theosophical Society 
their foundation, the Theosophical Society and H. P. B. cannot be 
separated before the world.
> "If the members care at all for the future of the Society, if they 
wish to know that the twentieth century will see it standing high 
above the strife of parties, a beacon-light in the darkness for the 
guiding of men, if they believe in the Teacher who founded it for 
human service, let them now rouse themselves from slothful 
indifference, sternly silence all dissensions or petty follies in 
their ranks, and march shoulder to shoulder for the achievement of 
the heavy task laid upon their strength and courage. If Theosophy is 
worth anything it is worth living for and worth dying for. If it is 
worth nothing, let it go at once and for all."
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> On these last grounds let us stand. If it is worth anything it is 
worth living for and dying for; and worth working for and worth 
writing for, and worth taking some risks for; and at the risk of 
incurring misunderstanding, and at the risk of hurting the feelings 
of those whose feelings should [Page 16] not be hurt, this article is 
written and some exception taken to that just quoted from. For it 
does seem as though its author, through her impetuous kindness and 
loyalty, had allowed her judgment to be partially influenced by her 
feelings. And although there are few Theosophists who will disagree 
with her in most of her issues, yet there seems to be a little grain 
of erroneous opinion in them from which a large and poisonous growth 
may spring. If this is so, it is only true brotherliness to point it 
out. It lies first in the statement that " If there are no Masters 
the Theosophical Society is an absurdity and there is no use of 
keeping it up". And again in another statement which says: " Once 
accept the philosophy you must accept her (H.P.B.)." May not much 
harm be done by the holding up of such views ? May they not tend to 
keep many out who would be benefited by being in; and for whom the 
Society was largely founded ? Are not the statements in their nature 
somewhat dogmatic ? Have we not still in our natures some of that 
intolerance which, forcing rather than leading, persecuted in the 
name of righteousness ? For there are subtle transformations possible 
in our characters, which will bring the old faults out in new guises, 
and we are none, not one, quite free from intolerance. The churches 
have creeds; but applicants for admission are usually given to 
understand that they need not be fully accepted; and they [Page 17] 
seldom are. The Theosophical Society has no creeds, but its members 
seem scarcely able to avoid making them in spite of all efforts to 
the contrary. And watchfulness as to the Theosophical movement must 
lead those who believe in the Masters to see how strenuously they and 
their mouthpiece H.P.B. are working against the development of them. 
If this Theosophical movement is to be carried on successfully 
through the three or four generations of the first seventy-five years 
of the coming century, we must be very heedful. What do the 
Constitution and the by-laws of the Society, what does the 
application for admission into it tell us ? Not one word as to 
belief. They simply contain provisions which tend to guarantee 
liberty and cultivate tolerance. Is it not contrary to their spirit 
to say: "Once accept the philosophy you must accept her"? Accept what 
philosophy ? The Society has none. Not long since an earnest student 
searching for Truth, but not one of our members, asked if we were not 
Jesuitical. Was her position not well taken? It was, if we as a 
Society have a philosophy. We constantly cry out we have no creeds, 
no dogmas, no beliefs, and we almost as constantly, or at any rate 
very frequently, unintentionally give the lie to this.
> And why speak of the Society as an absurdity without Masters ? Are 
its objects, especially the first, nothing? If those objects were 
even partially lived up to, and again let us say "especially the 
[Page 18] first", would no good come of it? Most certainly, and it is 
perhaps this good which the Masters are seeking, rather than the 
acceptance of any philosophy, or any recognition of themselves. [Our 
Brother, Mr. Patterson, is quite correct. - [H.P.B.] ]
> Even a recognised authoritative leader may be dangerous. H.P. B. 
herself is always inculcating self-reliance, and discouraging any 
dependence upon others, herself included. She understands that the 
true alchemist seeks to have men throw their opinions into one common 
melting-pot, knowing that they will take out all of the Truth which 
they put in, and some of their errors transmuted. It is the real 
change of base metals into gold.
> If the Society has an authoritative leader, beliefs will be 
accepted simply on authority, and a belief thus accepted is almost of 
necessity perverted. Look at the doctrines of Karma and 
Reincarnation. Many regard it as quite heterodox not to accept them; 
and yet the first is often made a fetish of, and both are by many 
crudely understood; the one often being looked at in a way to make of 
it a positive fatalism, the other a kind of personal resurrection. 
This comes from reliance upon certain persons or books accepted as 
authority. Such reliance is against the presumable wish of the 
Masters. We must seize on our own truth and digest it ourselves; and 
if we do we cannot so pervert it. [Page 19] 
> A true servant should try not simply to obey, but, if possible, to 
intuitively grasp the wishes of the one served. In the article 
referred to in this paper it is said that H. P. B., is "willing to 
efface herself if thereby her mission might the better prosper". And 
would she not say: "First Humanity and then the Theosophical Society, 
and last myself". [Most decidedly so; such has been always my 
principle, and I hope it is that of my friend and colleague, Col. H. 
S, Olcott. our President - H. P. B. ] Referring to the Coulomb 
scandal it is said: "But then, instead of closing up around the 
assailed Teacher, and defending to the utmost her position and her 
honour, the fatal policy was adopted of attempting to minimise her 
position in the Society". True, perhaps; but how best could she have 
been defended ? An ill-planned sortie is, of course, unwise. There 
may be a hidden enemy in wait, and we are told that the powers of 
darkness are very active, vigilant and cunning. We may in ill-advised 
movements be simply following out their hypnotic suggestions and any 
statement which does not tally with the exact truth is an ill-advised 
sortie. And when it is said that " If there are no Masters, the 
Theosophical Society is an absurdity, and there is no use in keeping 
it up", a mis-statement is made. Let us by all means close round our 
Teacher, but as she would have us; not as we ourselves might like. 
And to do this we must remember [Page 20] that we must lead, not 
force, people to the truth. We must do it with all tenderness, all 
gentleness, all patience, all sweetness. We must present our views 
for the weak ones, not the strong ones. Not in the way of 
temporising, but by giving out those truths which are most needed. We 
must try to understand that we are now to learn to be true shepherds 
when our time comes, and while being schooled must bear in mind that 
it is the lost sheep we are to save, The honest materialist, the 
honest agnostic, the honest spiritualist, the honest Christian 
scientist, the honest dogmatic Christian, maybe an honest disbeliever 
in H.P.B. and the Masters, and an honest member of the Theosophical 
Society too, provided he is enlisted in the cause of humanity.[ I 
have repeated these words for years: it is my stereotyped answer to 
enquirers who ask me whether belief in the Masters is obligatory in 
joining the T.S. - [H.P.B.] ] Let us hold the doors wide open; let us 
set up no unnecessary barriers, and let us wait outside until the 
last one has entered. We can thus best serve, thus best defend. This 
is not a policy of silence; it does not prevent our using pen and 
voice in defence of our beloved leader; but it should prevent our 
making belief in her a qualification, even if an unwritten one, for 
membership in good standing in the Theosophical Society. There are 
now many good members who are doubters on this point. Don't let us 
drive them away by intolerance. Perhaps they are under a [Page 21] 
dark illusion cast by the Brothers of the Shadow. But to force them 
will not help them, and do no good to anyone. If, metaphorically 
speaking, we slap the face of anyone who may speak disrespectfully of 
H.P.B., we will not help her reputation but rather strengthen the 
calumniator in his attitude. Our line of defence cannot be well 
chosen if it does harm. And it will do harm if made in such a way as 
to make a belief in any person or philosophy a criterion of good 
standing. Let us stand shoulder to shoulder; let us strengthen those 
ties which we are forming for this and the coming incarnations; let 
us by all means be grateful to her from whom so much has come to us 
and the rest of humanity, but let us for the sake of others be 
judicious. Let us make disbelievers in H.P. H., disbelievers in 
Karma, disbelievers in Reincarnation, disbelievers in the Masters as 
welcome, or more welcome, into the Society than others, provided 
always they wish to form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood.
> All this is said earnestly and sincerely, but with some 
trepidation, the higher plane of carelessness not having been 
attained, and indifference to others' opinions not having been 
acquired. But when so prominent a member of our Society as the author 
of "The Theosophical Society and H.P.B." propounds what appears to 
some of us dangerous doctrine, we have no right to be silent. 
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> PERSONALLY, I should have been content to have left Brother 
Patterson's "comments" unanswered, for when both sides have had their 
say on any matter of controversy, the outside public is a better 
judge of the merits of the question than either of the disputants can 
be. But it is thought better that I should point out some 
misconceptions of my critic, lest my silence should seem to assent to 
them, even though H. P- B. has already noted that much of Mr. 
Patterson's protest "is not exactly aimed at what Mrs. Besant wrote".
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> LET me say at the outset of my "re-comments " that I thoroughly and 
heartily endorse, as must every F.T.S., the statement of Mr. 
Patterson that "the Theosophical Society has no creeds". This is 
indeed a truism rather than a truth, since the Constitution of the 
Society so decrees, and since anyone who accepts the first object has 
right of entrance. By all means "let us make disbelievers in H. P. 
B., disbelievers in Karma, disbelievers in [Page 23] Reincarnation, 
disbelievers in the Masters "welcome" provided always they wish to 
form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood"; as H. P. B. has often 
pointed out, it is not necessary to become a Theosophist in order to 
enter the Theosophical Society. It is not I who would shut out 
disbelievers in H. P. B. if they want to come in; but what puzzles me 
is why they should want to come in. Enquirers may rationally enter; 
people whose judgment is in suspension until they have acquired 
fuller information, and who hope to obtain that information in the 
Society; seekers after truth, who join in order to prosecute their 
search under conditions which appear to be favourable. All these 
classes of people may become members of the T. S. on intelligible 
grounds without belief in H. P. B. or in the Masters; a person who 
regards H. P. B. as a fraud has an equal right to join, but I frankly 
say that his action is, to me, unintelligible and illogical. Que 
diable va-t-il faire dans cette galère?
> But where Mr. Patterson seems to me to misread my article and to be 
rather misty in his own views, is in his apparent idea that the 
object of the "Theosophical movement" is merely to get people into 
the Theosophical Society, without the least regard to what they do 
when they are in. What "movement" can there be of any utility to the 
world, which does not tend towards some recognised goal ? Granted 
that the honest materialist and his [Page 24] opponent the honest 
spiritualist, the honest agnostic and his opponent the honest 
dogmatic Christian, all enter, with co-equal honesty, the 
Theosophical Society. The Society extends to all an equal welcome. So 
far, so good. They all unite in believing in the brotherhood of man. 
But they can only unite passively, not actively, for their honest 
beliefs must govern their actions and all they do must be done in 
concert, not with each other but with those who share their creeds. 
They cannot even wisely talk about the brotherhood, since each will 
have for it a different foundation, and the laying of one foundation 
undermines the other. Nor must they study together, for study will 
lead to opinions, and opinions will become - absit omem - beliefs and 
even doctrines. So that if those who enter the T. S. are never to 
emerge from the chrysalis state which is quite permissible at their 
entry, they seem likely to prove as stationary as the chrysalis, 
instead of passing onwards into a movement which is to sway the 
destinies of the world. My object in the original article was to turn 
members of the Theosophical Society into the path that leads to 
Theosophy, or at least to awaken in them the idea that if they are to 
rationalise their position they should make up their minds to accept 
one of two mutually exclusive positions.
> Mr. Patterson passes by without comment my first four positions to 
object to the fifth: but the [Page 25] fifth depends on those that 
precede it. He does not deny No. 1. "Either she is a messenger from 
the Masters, or else she is a fraud" Yet everything turns on this, 
and the issue cannot be evaded. In the first case, it will not be 
said that I have put the argument too strongly. In the second, the 
magnitude of her fraud is undeniable: and in that case what 
honourable man or woman can condone that fraud and assist in 
maintaining it by remaining in a Society in which she holds an 
official position? For this is no question of merely accepting or not 
accepting a philosophy. A certain definite philosophy has been put 
forward by Madame. Blavatsky; I grant that, legally and technically, 
the philosophy is not the philosophy of the Society, and that "the 
Society has none". But she is distinctly committed to it, and either 
holds it in good faith from Those from whom she says she received it, 
or is palming off on the world a shameless deceit. The Society, by 
accepting her as one of its Founders, by recognising her as one of 
its two chief officials, and lately in its Convention, through its 
appointed delegates, announcing to the world by formal vote its 
confidence in her, makes itself a party to the fraud, if fraud there 
be. If, under these circumstances, a person believing her to be a 
deceiver, likes to join the Society, there is nothing in the Rules to 
keep him out; but persons of ordinary morality, to say nothing of 
intelligence, will surely form [Page 26] their own judgment on the 
incongruity of his position.
> But Mr. Patterson takes exception to the view that "if there are no 
Masters the Theosophical Society is an absurdity . What does Mr. 
Patterson understand by the word "Theosophical" and what is its force 
as a qualification of "Society"? When I see "Geographical Society", I 
understand it is a Society for gathering and spreading knowledge of 
geography; the "Astronomical Society" deal, similarly with astronomy; 
and it seems to me that the Theosophical Society ought to have some 
connection with Theosophy. I may be quite wrong, for I am merely 
putting my own view of the matter; but it seems to me that many other 
Societies teach Brotherhood; that the Asiatic Society and many 
Sanskritists have done more than we for the second object; while the 
Psychical Research Society devotes its attention to the third. None 
of these objects justifies in itself our title "Theosophical", and 
what have we to differentiate us from other societies, if it be not 
the mission of spreading the knowledge of such fragments of 
Theosophy, of the Hidden Wisdom, of the Secret Doctrine, as may be 
placed in our hand ? But the existence of Theosophy implies the 
existence of Masters. I do not mean that it implies the particular 
existence of those two who have been specially mentioned in 
connection with the Society; but of a Sacred Brotherhood, of a [Page 
27] Hierarchy of Initiates, of Masters in whose hands rests the 
sacred charge of the garnered Esoteric Knowledge of all Time. Moat 
certainly they are not "seeking . . . recognition of themselves". 
What to Them could import our recognition ? They seek but the good of 
the race, but the elevation of Humanity. But it may be our wisdom to 
yield that which They do not ask, for the good of the race lies in 
approaching its highest children, and in following the way marked by 
the sacred feet of those who have trodden the Path.
> How could the Hidden Wisdom be preserved in the absence of such a 
Brotherhood ? How could it be handed down from generation to 
generation if there were none who learned it, none who verified it, 
none who increased it, none who transmitted it to their trained 
successors ? And if there be no Hidden Wisdom, what is the raison 
d'être of the Theosophical Society ? Some of us hove looked to it 
with yearning hope that it will save the world from the deluge of 
materiality; we have joined it with the one idea of strengthening the 
struggling spirituality which alone can prevent the perishing of 
civilisation in a whirlpool of class strife and terrible hatreds, and 
preserve the nations from the horrors of a universal internecine war. 
If this hope be vain, we have nothing left to look to. Theosophy is 
our last chance, our last stake. If the Theosophical Society is not 
founded for the propagation [Page 28] of Theosophy, I for one, feel 
no interest in its future. What force has its declaration of 
brotherhood, on what foundation is its belief in brotherhood laid? 
Surely on that unity of Humanity which is the central truth of 
Theosophy, on that spiritual oneness which, according to Theosophy, 
makes of Man one indivisible whole. Take away this, and the first 
object is without basis, and with the baselessness of its main 
object, its one enforced obligation, how shall the Theosophical 
Society stand? Granted that the Theosophical Society has no creed, 
and teaches no doctrines; none the less is it without foundation 
unless it be built on the rock of the Hidden Wisdom. By all means 
open its door wide that all may enter it; but let no Theosophist deny 
that it is built on the sure basis of the Esoteric Doctrine, and that 
its brotherhood is founded on the oneness of man's spiritual nature, 
that nature which exists alike in those who affirm and in those who 
deny. Welcome into the sacred circle with brotherly greeting those 
who reject the "Holy Spirit of Man", but never lot them for one 
moment doubt that the very core of that welcome is the Theosophical 
belief in the presence in them of that Spirit which they are unable 
to discern.
> With regard to the policy adopted in connection with the Coulomb 
slanders, the event has proved its unwisdom. Where members have 
shrunk from the defence of their Teacher, the Society has languished; 
[Page 29] where they have loyally supported her, the Society has 
flourished. That she will never ask such support, we all know, and 
her notes to Mr. Patterson's article sufficiently re-prove it, if 
fresh proof be necessary. But, as an Esotericist writes to me: "An 
attitude of mind towards her work which in H.P.B. is right and 
perfect, is not necessarily so in her disciples, however generous she 
may be in making it appear so." After all, was it not just because 
the exoteric Society was weak, uncertain, and wavering in its 
allegiance, that the E.S. was formed, so that the necessary work 
might be done ? It is doubtless true that I look at all these matters 
from the Esoteric standpoint, and knowing how great the loss of the 
half-hearted, I am over-eager to show them "the things that belong to 
their peace" ere they are hidden from their eyes by the century's 
closing years, lest to them, as to others long centuries ago, the 
whisper shall come across the waves when it is all too late: "Ye 
would not come . . . that ye might have life". Bitter will be the 
struggle in the twentieth century between the dying materiality and 
the growing spirituality of the world, and it lies in our hands today 
to strengthen the forces which then shall work for good. And so I 
plead to all Theosophists that, while opening wide to all who seek 
the gateway of the Theosophical Society, they who have insight will 
speak out in no faltering tones; that they who halt between two 
opinions [Page 30] shall be helped to make their choice; and that no 
ill-timed hesitation, no half-hearted allegiance, shall put stumbling-
blocks in the way of those who otherwise might walk in safety, or 
make our weaker brothers suppose that their blindness is more 
admirable than sight."
> M. Sufilight
> H. P. Blavatsky said: 
> "The Society founded to remedy the glaring evils of Christianity, 
to shun bigotry and intolerance, cant and superstition and to 
cultivate real universal love extending even to the dumb brute". 
> (The Collected Writings of H. P. Blavatsky, vol. 7, p.246) 
> Master KH wrote in a Mahatma Letter: 
> For the opposition represents enormous vested interests, and they 
have enthusiastic help from the Dugpas -- in Bhootan and the Vatican! 
> (Here is all of Mahtama Letter, No. 55. Dugpas are the same as 
selfish Magicians.) 
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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