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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 the New York World, April 6th, 1877.] 

THERE was a time when the geocentric theory was universally accepted by Christian nations, and if you and I had then been carrying on our little philological and psychological controversy, I should have bowed in humility to the dictum of an authority so particularly at home in "the Mysticism of the Orient." But despite all modifications of our astronomical system, I am no heliolater, though I do subscribe for The Sun as well as The World.I feel no more bound to "cajole" or conciliate the one than to suffer my feeble taper to be extinguished by the draught made by the other in its diurnal rush through journalistic space.

As near as I can judge from your writing there is this difference between us, that I write from personal experience, and you upon information and belief. My authorities are my eyes and ears; yours, obsolete works of reference and the pernicious advice of a spontaneously generated Lampsakano, who learned his Mysticism from the detached head of one Dummkopf. (See The Sun of March 25th.) My assertions may be corroborated by any traveller, as they have been by the first authorities. Elphinstone’s Kingdom of Kabul was published sixty-two years ago (1815), his History of India thirty-six years ago. If the latter is the "standard text-book" for British civil servants, it certainly is not so for native Hindûs, who perhaps know as much of their Philosophy and Religion as he. In fact, a pretty wide reading of European "authorities" has given me a very poor opinion of them, since no two agree. Sir William Jones himself, whose shoe-strings few Orientalists are worthy to untie, made very grave mistakes, which are now being corrected by Max Müller and others. He knew nothing of the Vedas (see Max Müller’s Chips, vol. i. p. 183), and even expressed his belief that Buddha was the same as the Teutonic deity Woden or Odin, and Shâkya—another name of Buddha—the same as Shishak, a king of Egypt! Why, therefore, could not Elphinstone make a mess of such subtle religious distinctions as the innumerable sects of Hindû Mystics existing at present?

I am charged with such ignorance that I imagine the Fakirs to be "holy mendicants of the religion of Brahma," while you say they are not of the religion of Brahma at all, but Mohammedans.

Does this precious piece of information also come from Elphinstone? Then I give you a Roland for your Oliver. I refer you to James Mill’s History of British India, vol. i. p. 283 (London: 1858). You say:

Those seeking ready-made information can find our statements corroborated in any encyclopædia.

Perhaps you refer to Appleton’s? Very well. In the article on James Mill (vol. ii. p. 501), you will find it saying that his India was the first complete work on the subject. It has without a rival as a source of information, and the justice of its views appeared in the subsequent measures for the government of that country.

Now, Mill says that the

Fakirs are a sect of Brâhmanism; and that their penances are prescribed by the Laws of Manu.

Will your Lamp-sickener, or whatever the English of that Greek may be, say that Manu was a Mohammedan? And yet this would be no worse than your clothing the Fakirs, who belong, as a rule, to the Brahman pagodas, in yellow—the colour exclusively worn by Buddhist lamas—and breeches—which form part of the costume of the Mohammedan dervishes. Perhaps it is a natural mistake for your Lampsakanoi, who rely upon Elphinstone for their facts and have not visited India, to confound the Persian dervishes with the Hindu Fakirs. But "while the lamp holds out to burn" read Louis Jacolliot’s Bible in India, just out, and learn from a man who has passed twenty years in India, that your correspondent is neither a fool nor a liar.

You charge me with saying that a Fakir is a "worshipper of God." I say I did not, as the expression I used, "Fakir is a loose word," well proves. It was a natural mistake of the reporter, who did not employ stenography at our interview. I said, "A Svamî is one who devotes himself entirely to the service of God."

All Svamîs of the Nir-Narrain sects are Fakirs, but all Fakirs are not necessarily Svamis. I refer you to Coleman’s Mythology of the Hindûs (p. 244), and to The Asiatic Journal. Coleman says precisely what Louis Jacolliot says, and both corroborate me. You very obligingly give me a lesson in Hindûstânî and Devanâgarî, and teach me the etymology of "Guru," "Fakir," "Gossain," etc. For answer I refer you to John Shakespear’s large Hindûstânî-English Dictionary. I may know less English than your Lampsakanoi, but I do know of Hindûstânî and Sanskrit more than can be learned on Park Row.

As I have said in another communication, I did not invite the visits of reporters, nor seek the notoriety which has suddenly been thrust upon me. If I reply to your criticisms—rhetorically brilliant, but wholly unwarranted by the facts—it is because I value your good opinion (without caring to cajole you), and at the same time cannot sit quiet and be made to appear alike devoid of experience, knowledge and truthfulness.

Respectfully, but still rebelliously, yours,
Monday, April 2nd, 1877.

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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