A PUZZLE FROM ADYAR
WHEN the cat is abroad the mice dance in the
house it seems. Since Colonel Olcott sailed for Japan, the Theosophist
has never ceased to surprise its European readers, and especially
the Fellows of our Society, with most unexpected capers. It is
as if the Sphinx had emigrated from the Nile and was determined
to continue offering her puzzles broadcast to the dipuses
of the Society.
Now what may be the meaning of this extraordinary, and most
tactless "sortie" of the esteemed acting editor
of our Theosophist? Is he, owing to the relaxing climate
of Southern India, ill, or like our (and his) editor-enemies across
the Atlantic, also dreaming uncanny dreams and seeing Lying visions--or
what? And let me remind him at once that he must not feel offended
by these remarks, as he has imperatively called them forth himself.
LUCIFER, the PATH and
the THEOSOPHIST are the only organs of communication
with the Fellows of our Society, each in its respective country.
Since the acting editor of the Theosophist has chosen to
give a wide publicity in his organ to abnormal fancies, he has
no right to expect a reply through any other channel than LUCIFER.
Moreover, if he fails to understand all the seriousness of his
implied charges against me and several honourable men,
he may realise them better, when he reads the present. Already
his enigmatical letter to Light has done mischief enough.
While its purport was evidently to fight some windmills of his
own creation, an inimical spiritualist who signs "Colenso"
has jumped at the good opportunity afforded him to misrepresent
that letter. In his malicious philippic called "Koothoomi
Dethroned" he seeks to show that Mr. Harte's letter announces
that the "Masters" are thrown overboard by the T. S.
and "Mme. Blavatsky dethroned." Is it this that "Richard
Harte, acting editor of the Theosophist," sought to
convey to the Spiritualists in his letter in Light of July
Without further enquiry as to the real meaning of the Light
letter, what does he try to insinuate by the following in
the July number of the Theosophist?
The Editor of the Theosophist has much pleasure in publishing
the following extracts from a letter from Mr. Bertram Keightley,
Secretary of the "Esoteric Section" of the Theosophical
Society, to one of the Commissioners, which have been handed to
him for publication. It should be explained that the denial therein
contained refers to certain surmises and reports afloat in the
Society, and which were seemingly corroborated by apparently arbitrary
and underhand proceedings by certain Fellows known
to be members of the Esoteric Section.
To this 1, the "Head of the Esoteric Section," answer:
1. Mr. Bertram Keightley's letter, though containing the truth,
and nothing but the truth, was never intended for publication,
as a sentence in it proves. Therefore the acting Editor had
no right to publish it.
2. Fellows of the E. S. having to be first of all Fellows of the
Theosophical Society, what does the sentence "Fellows known
to be members of the E. S."--who stand accused by Mr. Harte
(or even by some idiotic reports afloat in the Society) of "arbitrary
and underhand proceedings"--mean? Is not such a sentence
a gross insult thrown into the face of honourable men--far better
Theosophists than any of their accusers--and of myself?
3. What were the silly reports? That the "British or the
American Section," and even the "Blavatsky Lodge"
of the Theosophical Society wanted to "boss Adyar."
For this is what is said in the Theosophist in the alleged
Mr. Keightley tells this Commissioner that he must not believe
"that the Esoteric Section has any, even the slightest,
pretension to `boss' the Theosophical Society or anything of the
kind." Again he says: "We are all, H.P.B. first
and foremost, just as loyal to the Theosophical Society and to
Adyar as the Colonel can possibly he." And yet again
he says: 1 have nothing more to say, except to repeat in the
most formal and positive manner my assurance that there is not
a word of truth in the statement that the Esoteric Section has
any desire or pretension to `boss' any other part or Section of
the T. S."
Amen! But before I reproduce the acting editor's further
marvellous comments thereon, I claim the right to say a few words
on the subject. Since, as said, the letter was never meant to
be paraded in print--chiefly, perhaps, because qui s' excuse
s'accuse--it is no criticism to show that it contains that
which I would describe as a meaningless flap-doodle, or,
rather, a pair of them, something quite pardonable in a private
and hastily-written letter, but quite unpardonable and grotesque
when appearing as a published document.
1st. That the E. S. had never any pretensions to "boss
the T. S." stands to reason: with the exception of Col.
Olcott, the President, the Esoteric Section has nothing whatever
to do with the Theosophical Society, its Council or officers.
It is a Section entirely apart from the exoteric body, and independent
of it, H.P.B. alone being responsible for its members, as
shown in the official announcement over the signature of the President
Founder himself. It follows, therefore, that the E. S., as a body,
owes no allegiance whatever to the Theosophical Society, as
a Society, least of all to Adyar.
2nd. It is pure nonsense to say that "H.P.B.... is loyal
to the Theosophical Society and to Adyar" (!?). 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. Together with Col.
Olcott, she is the chief Founder and Builder of the Society which
was and is meant to represent that CAUSE;
and if she is so loyal to H. S. Olcott, it is not at all because
of his being its "President," but, firstly, because
there is no man living who has worked harder for that Society,
or been more devoted to it than the Colonel, and, secondly, because
she regards him as a loyal friend and co-worker. Therefore the
degree of her sympathies with the "Theosophical Society and
Adyar" depends upon the degree of the loyalty of that Society
to the CAUSE. Let it break away from the original
lines and show disloyalty in its policy to the CAUSE
and the original programme of the Society, and H.P.B., calling
the T. S. disloyal, will shake it off like dust from her
And what does "loyalty to Adyar" mean, in the name of
all wonders? What is Adyar, apart from that CAUSE
and the two (not one Founder, if you please) who
represent it? Why not loyal to the compound or the bath-room of
Adyar? Adyar is the present Headquarters of the Society, because
these "Headquarters are wherever the President is,"
as stated in the rules. To be logical, the Fellows of the T. S.
had to be loyal to Japan while Col. Olcott was there, and to London
during his presence here. There is no longer a "Parent Society";
it is abolished and replaced by an aggregate body of Theosophical
Societies, all autonomous, as are the States of America,
and all under one Head President, who, together with H. P. Blavatsky,
will champion the CAUSE against the whole
world. Such is the real state of things.
What then, again, can be the meaning of the following comments
by the acting Editor, who follows Mr. Keightley's letter with
these profoundly wise remarks:
It is to be hoped that after this very distinct and authoritative
disclaimer no further "private circulars" will be issued
by any members of the Esoteric Section, calling upon the Fellows
to oppose the action of the General Council, because "Madame
Blavatsky does not approve of it"; and also that silly editorials,
declaring that Theosophy is degenerating into obedience to the
dictates of Madame Blavatsky, like that in a recent issue of the
Religio-Philosophical Journal, will cease to appear.
The "private circulars" of the E.S. have nothing to
do with the acting editor of the Theosophist nor has he
any right to meddle with them.
Whenever "Madame Blavatsky does not approve" of "an
action of the General Council,"1 she will say so openly
their faces. Because (a) Madame Blavatsky does not owe
the slightest allegiance to a Council which is liable at any moment
to issue silly and untheosophical ukases; and (b) for the
simple reason that she recognizes but one person in the T. S.
besides herself, namely Colonel Olcott, as having the right of
effecting fundamental re-organizations in a Society which owes
its life to them, and for which they are both karmically responsible.
If the acting editor makes slight account of a sacred pledge,
neither Col. Olcott nor H. P. Blavatsky are likely to do so.
H. P. Blavatsky will always bow before the decision of the majority
of a Section or even a simple Branch; but she will ever protest
against the decision of the General Council, were it composed
of Archangels and Dhyan Chohans themselves, if their decision
seems to her unjust, or untheosophical, or fails to meet with
the approval of the majority of the Fellows. No more than H. P.
Blavatsky has the President Founder the right of exercising autocracy
or papal powers, and Col. Olcott would be the last man
in the world to attempt to do so. It is the two Founders and especially
the President, who have virtually sworn allegiance to the Fellows,
whom they have to protect, and teach those who want to be taught,
and not to tyrannize and rule over them.
And now I have said over my own signature what I had to say and
that which ought to have been said in so many plain words long
ago. The public is all agog with the silliest stories about our
doings, and the supposed and real dissensions in the Society.
Let every one know the truth at last, in which there is nothing
to make any one ashamed, and which alone can put an end to a most
painful and strained feeling. This truth is as simple as can be.
The acting editor of the Theosophist has taken it into
his head that the Esoteric Section together with the British and
American Sections, were either conspiring or preparing to conspire
against what he most curiously calls "Adyar" and its
authority. Now being a most devoted fellow of the T. S. and attached
to the President, his zeal in hunting up this mare's nest has
led him to become more Catholic than the Pope. That is all, and
I hope that such misunderstandings and hallucinations will come
to an end with the return of the President to India. Had he been
at home, he, at any rate, would have objected to all those dark
hints and cloaked sayings that have of late incessantly appeared
in the Theosophist to the great delight of our enemies.
We readily understand that owing to lack of original contributions
the acting editor should reproduce a bungled up and sensational
report from the N. Y. Times and call it "Dr. Keightley
speaks." But when jumping at a sentence of Dr. Keightley's,
who in speaking of some "prominent members," said that
they had been "abandoned or been read out of the fold,"
he gravely adds in a foot-note that this is "another mistake
of the reporter," as "no Fellow of the Theosophical
Society has been expelled of recent years"; it is time some
one should tell the esteemed acting editor plainly that for the
pleasure of hitting imaginary enemies he allows the reader to
think that he does not know what he is talking about. If through
neglect at Adyar the names of the expelled Fellows have not been
entered in the books, it does not follow that Sections and Branches
like the "London Lodge" and others which are autonomous
have not expelled, or had no right to expel, any one. Again,
what on earth does he mean by pretending that the reporter has
"confounded the Blavatsky Lodge with the Theosophical Society?"
Is not the Blavatsky Lodge, like the London, Dublin, or any other
"Lodge," a branch of, and a Theosophical Society? What
next shall we read in our unfortunate Theosophist?
But it is time for me to close. If Mr. Harte persists still in
acting in such a strange and untheosophical way, then the sooner
the President settles these matters the better for all concerned.
Owing to such undignified quibbles, Adyar and especially the Theosophist
are fast becoming the laughing stock of Theosophists themselves
as well as of their enemies; the bushels of letters received by
me to that effect, being a good proof of it.
I end by assuring him that there is no need for him to pose as
Colonel Olcott's protecting angel. Neither he nor I need a third
party to screen us from each other. We have worked and toiled
and suffered together for fifteen long years, and if after all
these years of mutual friendship the President Founder were capable
of lending ear to insane accusations and turning against me, well--the
world is wide enough for both. Let the new Exoteric Theosophical
Society headed by Mr. Harte, play at red tape if the President
lets them and let the General Council expel me for "disloyalty,"
if again, Colonel Olcott should be so blind as to fail to see
where the "true friend" and his duty lie. Only unless
they hasten to do so, at the first sign of their disloyalty
to the CAUSE--it is I who will have resigned
my office of Corresponding Secretary for life and left the Society.
This will not prevent me from remaining at the head of those--who
will follow me.
H. P. BLAVATSKY
Lucifer, August, 1889
1 Or "Commissioners" of whom Mr. R. Harte is
back to text
"No Religion Higher Than Truth"
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