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Blavatsky Net - Theosophy

This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.

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[From Light, 1883.]

BOTTOM.—Let me play the lion. . . . I will roar, that I will do any man’s heart good to hear me. . . . I will make the Duke say, . . . "Let him roar let him roar again." . . . Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves; to bring in—God shield us!—a lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing; for, there is not a more fearful wild-fowl than your lion living; and we ought to look to’t. . . . Nay, you must name his name, and half his face must be seen through the lion’s neck; and he himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the same defect: "Ladies," or "fair ladies [or Theosophists] I would wish you," or "I would request you," or "I would entreat you," not to fear, not to tremble: . . . If you think I come hither as a lion, . . . no, I am no such thing: I am a man . . . and there indeed let him name his name.—Midsummer Night’s Dream.

IN Light of July 21st, in the "Correspondence," appears a letter signed "G. W., M.D." Most transparent initials these, which "name the name" at once, and show the writer’s face "through the lion’s neck." The communication consists of just fifty-eight paragraphs, containing an equal number of sneering, rancorous, vulgar, personal flings, the whole distributed over three and a half columns. It pretends to criticize, while only misquoting and misinterpreting Eastern Esotericism. Its author would create a laugh at the expense of Mr. Sinnett’s book, and succeeds in showing us what a harmless creature is the "lion," "wild-fowl" though he may be; and where he would make a show of wit, the letter is only—nasty.

I should not address your public, even in my private capacity, but that the feelings of many hundreds of my Asiatic brothers have been outraged by this, to them, ribald attack upon what they hold sacred. For them, and at their instance, I protest. It might be regarded as beneath contempt had it come from an outsider upon whom rested no obligation to uphold the dignity of the Theosophical Society; in such case it would have passed for a clumsy attempt to injure an unpalatable cause: that of Esoteric Buddhism. But when it is a wide-open secret that the letter came from a member of about five years’ standing, and one who, upon the protogenesis of the "British Theosophical Society" as the "London Lodge of the Theosophical Society," retained membership. the case has quite another aspect. The cutting insult having been inflicted publicly and without antecedent warning, it appears necessary to enquire as to the occult motive.

I shall not stop to remark upon the wild résumé, which, professedly "a criticism from a European and arithmetical standpoint," passed muster with you. Nor shall I lose time over the harmless flings at "incorrigible Buddhists and other lunatics," beyond remarking à propos of "moon" and "dust-bins" that the former seems to have found a good symbol of herself as a "dust-bin" in the heads of those whose perceptive faculties seem so dusty as to prevent the entrance of a single ray of Occult light. Briefly then, since the year 1879 when we came to India, the author of the letter in question has made attempts to put himself into communication with the "Brothers." Besides trying to enter into correspondence with Colonel Olcott’s Guru, he sent twice, through myself, letters addressed to the Mahâtmâs. Being, as it appears, full of one-sided prejudiced questions, suggesting to Buddhist Philosophers the immense superiority of his own "Esoteric" Christianity over the system of the Lord Buddha, which is characterized as fruitful of selfishness, human blindness, misanthropy and spiritual death, they were returned by the addressees for our edification and to show us why they would not notice them. Whoever has read a novelette contributed by this same gentleman to The Psychological Review and entitled "The Man from the East" will readily infer what must have been his attitude towards the "Himâlayan" and Tibetan Mystics. A Scotch doctor, the hero, meets at a place in Syria, in an Occult Brotherhood, a Christian convert from this "Himâlayan heathen Brotherhood," who—a Hindû—utters against his late Adept Masters the self-same libels as are now repeated in the letter under notice.*

The shot at Theosophy being badly aimed, flew wide of the mark; but still, like Richard III, "G. W., M.D." resolved, as it appears, to keep up the gunnery—

If not to fight with foreign enemies,
Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.

The three indignant answers called out by "G. W., M.D.," having emanated from an English lady and two genuine English gentlemen, are, in my humble opinion, too dignified and mild for the present case. So brutal an attack demanded something stronger than well-bred protests; and at the risk of being taken by "G. W., M.D." as the reverse of well-bred, I shall use plain words about this whilom friend, but now traitor—I hope to show the term is not too harsh. As an ardent Theosophist, the grateful loyal friend of the author denounced—who deserves and has the regard of Mahâtmâ Koot-Hoomi—and as the humble pupil of Those to whom I owe my life and the future of my soul, I shall speak. While I have breath, I shall never allow to pass unnoticed such ugly manifestations of religious intolerance, nay, bigotry, and personal rancour resulting from envy, in a member of our Society.

Before closing, I must notice one specially glaring fact. Touched evidently to the quick by Mr. Sinnett’s very proper refusal to let one so inimical see the "Divine Face" (yes, truly Divine, though not so much so as the original) of the Mahâtmâ, "G. W., M.D." with a sneer of equivocal propriety, calls it a mistake. He says:

For just as some second-class saints have been made by gazing on halfpenny prints of the Mother of God, so who can say that if my good friend had permitted my sceptical eyes to look on the Divine face of Koot-Hoomi I might not forthwith have been converted into an Esoteric Buddhist?

Impossible; an Esoteric Buddhist never broke his pledged word; and one who upon entering the Society gave his solemn word of honour, in the presence of witnesses, that he would

Defend the interests of the Society and the honour of a brother Theosophist, when unjustly assailed, even at the peril of my [his] own life,

and then could write such a letter, would never be accepted in that capacity. One who unjustly assails the honour of hundreds of his Asiatic brothers, slanders their religion and wounds their most sacred feelings, may be a very esoteric Christian, but certainly is a disloyal Theosophist. My perceptions of what constitutes a man of honour may be very faulty, but I confess that I could not imagine such a one making public caricatures upon confessedly "private instructions." (See second column, paragraph 14 of his letter.) Private instructions of this sort, given at confidential private meetings of the Society in advance of their publication, are exactly what the entering member’s "word of honour" pledges him not to reveal.

The broken faith hath made thee prey for worms;
What canst thou swear by now?

Your correspondent deprecates

At the outset this Oriental practice of secrecy; [he knows] that secrecy and cunning are ever twin sisters, [and it appears to him] childish and effeminate [to pretend] by secret words and signs to enshrine great truths behind a veil, which is only useful as a concealment of ignorance and nakedness.

Indeed: so he is not an "Esoteric Christian" after all, else I have misread the Bible. For what I find there in various passages, of which I cite but one, shows me that he is as disloyal to his own Master and Ideal Christ, as he is to Theosophy:

And He said unto them [His own disciples], Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but unto them that are without [the "G.W., M.D.’s" of the day] all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. (Mark, iv. II, 12.)

Shall we characterize this also as "childish and effeminate," say that the twins sisters "secrecy and cunning" lurk behind this veil, and that in this instance, as usual, it was "only useful as a concealment of ignorance and nakedness"? The grandeur of Esoteric Buddhism is that it hides what it does from the vulgar, not "lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins forgiven them," or as they would say, "cheat their Karma"—but lest by learning prematurely that which can safely be trusted only to those who have proved their unselfishness and self-abnegation, even the wicked, the sinners should be hurt.

And now, may the hope of Bottom be realized, and some London Duke say to this harmless lion: "Let him roar, let him roar again."

Nilgherry Hills, Aug. 23rd, 1883.

* The mythical hero of the story would seem to have met at Paris with a certain pseudo-Brâhman, a convert to Roman Catholicism, who is giving himself out as an ex-Chelâ—his statements and all corroborative ones to the contrary notwithstanding; he may have misled, if not the mythical Scotch doctor, at least the actual "M.D." of London. And, by the way, our French Fellows may as well know, that unless this pretender ceases his bogus revelations as to the phenomenal powers of our Mahâtmâs being "of the devil" a certain native gentleman who has known this convert of the Jesuits from childhood, will expose him most fully.—H. P. B.
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List of Articles
African Magic
Ahkoond of Swat
An Astral Prophet
An Unsolved Mystery
Ancient Doctrines Vindicated
Ancient Magic in Modern Science
Animated Statues
Answers to Queries
Antiquity of the Vedas
Apollonius Tyaneus and Simon Magus
Are Chelas "Mediums"?
Are Dreams but Idle Visions?
Arya Samaj
The Babel of Modern Thought
Black Magic in Science
Blessings of Publicity
Bright Spot of Light
Buddhism, Christianity and Phallicism
Buddhism in America
Can the Double Murder?
Can the Mahatmas Be Selfish?
Case of Obsession
Chelas and Lay Chelas
Chinese Spirits
Christmas Then and Christmas Now
Civilization, the Death of Art and Beauty
Claims of Occultism
Classification of "Principles"
Count St. Germain
Cross and Fire
Cycle Moveth
Denials and the Mistakes of the Nineteenth Century
Devil's Own-Thoughts on Ormuzd and Ahriman
Diagnoses and Palliatives
Dialogue on the Mysteries of the After Life
Dialogues between the Two Editors
Do the Rishis Exist?
Does Vaccination Prevent Smallpox?
Dr. Beard Criticized
Dreamland and Somnambulism
Drift of Western Spiritualism
Dual Aspect of Wisdomhe
Echoes from India. What is Hindu Spiritualism?
Eddy Manifestations
Editorial Comment
Editorial Appendix
Eighth Wonder
Electric and Magnetic Affinities between Man and Nature
Esoteric Axioms and Spiritual Speculations
"Esoteric Buddhism" and its Critic
"Esoteric Buddhism" and the "Secret Doctrine"
Esoteric Character of the Gospels
Fakirs and Tables
Fall of Ideals
Fate of the Occultist
Few Thoughts on Some Wise Words from a Wise Man
Force of Prejudice
French View of Women's Rights
Grand Inquisitor
"H. M." and the Todas
H. P. Blavatsky on Precipitation and Other Matters
H. P. Blavatsky's Masonic Patent
Have Animals Souls?
Hindu Widow-Marriage
History of a "Book"
History of a Planet
Holmes Controversy
Holmes Controversy(continued)
Huxley and Slade
Hypnotism, and Its Relations to Other Modes of Fascination
Imperfections of Science
Indian Metaphysics
Intro-Version of Mental Vision
Is Creation Possible for Man?
Is Denunciation a Duty?
Is Foeticide a Crime?
"Is it Idle to Argue Further?"
Is Suicide a Crime?
Is the Desire to "Live" Selfish?
Is Theosophy a Religion?
"Isis Unveiled" and the "Theosophist" on Reincarnation
Isis Unveiled and the Vishishtadwaita
"It's the Cat!"
Jews in Russia
Kabalah and the Kabalists
Kabalistic Views of "Spirits"
Karmic Visions
Knout, The. As Wielded by the Great Russian Theosophist
Kosmic Mind
Lack of Unity among Spiritualists
Lamas and Druses
Land of Mystery
Last Song of the Swan
Le Phare de L'Inconnu
Leaven of Theosophy
Leo Tolstoi and His Unecclesiastical Christianity
"Let Every Man Prove His Own Work"
Life and Death
Life Principle
Literary Jottings on Criticism, Authorities, and Other Matters
Lodges of Magic
Logic versus Peripatetic
Madame Blavatsky on "The Himalayan Brothers"
Mahatmas and Chelas
Memory in the Dying
Mind in Nature
Missing Link
Missionaries Militant
Mistaken Notions on "The Secret Doctrine"
Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs
Mote and the Beam
Mr. A. Lillie's Delusions
My Books
Mysterious Race
Nature's Human Magnets
Negations of Science
New Cycle
(New) York against Lankester. A new War of the Roses
"Not a Christian"!
Note on Eliphas Levi
Note on "Memory"
Notes on some Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenets
Notice to Mediums
Number Seven
Number Seven and Our Society
Occult or Exact Science?
Occult Phenomena
Occultism or Magic
Occultism versus the Occult Arts
Old Hindu Ships
Old Philosophers and Modern Critics
On Pseudo-Theosophy
On The New Year's Morrow
"Oppressed Widowhood" in America
Organisation of the Theosophical Society
Origin of Evil
Our Cycle and the Next
Our Three Objects
Paradoxical World
Parting Words
Persian Zoroastrianism and Russian Vandalism
Pertinent Queries
Pertinent Questions
Philosophers and Philosophicules
Popular Idea of Soul-Survival
Posthumous Publication
Practical Occultism
Pralaya of Modern Science
Premature and Phenomenal Growths
Progress and Culture
Psychic and Noetic Action
Psychic Warning
Psychology - The Science of the Soul
Puzzle from Adyar
Puzzle in "Esoteric Buddhism"
Queries and Answers
Questions Answered about Yoga Vidya
Re-Classification of Principles
Recent Progress in Theosophy
Reincarnations in Tibet
Reply to Our Critics, A.
Republican Citizen
Retort Courteous
Roots of Ritualism in Church and Masonry
Russian Atrocities
Sacred Tree of Kum Bum
Science of Life
Science of Magic
"Scrutator Again"
Search after Occultism
Seeming "Discrepancies"
Seventeen-Rayed Sun-Disc
She Being Dead Yet Speaketh
Signal of Danger
Signs of the Times
Six-Pointed and Five-Pointed Stars
Society Without a Dogma
Some Scientific Questions Answered
Spiritual Progress
Spiritualism and Occult Truth
Spiritualism and Spiritualists
Spiritualism in Russia
Spiritualistic Tricksters
Star-Angel-Worship in the Roman Catholic Church
Stars and Numbers
Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan
Substantial Nature of Magnetism
Theories about Reincarnation and Spirits
Theory of Cycles
"Theosophical Mahatmas"
Theosophical Society: Its Mission and Its Future
Theosophists and their Opponents
Theosophy and Spiritualism
Theosophy or Jesuitism?
Thoughts of the Dead
Thoughts on the Elementals
Tibetan Teachings
Tidal Wave
"To the Readers of 'Lucifer'"
Transmigration of the Life Atoms
Trickery or Magic?
Universe in a Nut-Shell
Views of the Theosophists
War in Olympus
Warning to Mediums
Was Cagliostro a "Charlatan"?
Washing the Disciples' Feet
What Are the Theosophists?
What is Occultism?
What is Theosophy?
"What Is Truth?"
What of Phenomena?
What Shall We Do for Our Fellow-Men?
What's in a Name? - Why the Magazine is called "Lucifer"
Which First - the Egg or the Bird?
Why Do Animals Suffer?
Why I Do Not Return to India
Why the "Vahan"?
"Word with Our Friends"
World-Improvement or World-Deliverance
Year is Dead, Long Live the Year
Year of Theosophy
Yoga Philosophy