An Interesting Letter
From William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles, Vol. II.
Articles by WQJ
(Written to an Indian Brother)
144 Madison Avenue,
Dear Brother, -I have your last long and welcome letter. The fears you express of the T.S. leading to dogmatism or fanaticism seem to be groundless to me. If we had a creed there would be danger; if the Society declared any particular doctrine to be true, or to be the accepted view of the T.S., great danger would result. But we have no creed, and the T.S. has not declared for any doctrine. Its members have asserted certain beliefs, but that is their right. They do not force them on others. Their declaration of their own beliefs does not unfit them to be members. I have my own settled beliefs, but I do not say that another must accept these. The eternal duty of right thought, act, and speech, is not affected by my theories. Hence all I ask of another is, to do his own duty and let me do mine. Such, indeed is the very genius of our Society, and that is the very reason why it still lives and has an influence.
And when we come to examine the work and the foundation of the T.S. and its policy, I find it perfectly proper for me to assert, as I do, in accordance with my own knowledge and belief, that our true progress lies in fidelity to Masters as ideals and facts. Likewise is it perfectly proper for another to say that he dose not know anything about the Masters-if such be his case-but is willing to work in and for the T.S. But he has no right to go further and deny my privilege of asserting my belief in those Beings.
So also further; I have the right to say that I think a constant reliance on Masters as such ideals and facts-or either-will lead the T.S. on to greater work. And he has his right to say that he can work without that reliance. But neither has he nor have you any right to say that my belief in this, or any assertion of it, is wrong or in any way improper.
I belong to that class of person in the T.S. who out of their own experience know that the Masters exist and actually help the T.S. You belong to a class which-as I read your letters and those of others who write similarly-express a doubt on this, that, or the other, seeming to question the expediency, propriety and wisdom of a man's boldly asserting confidence and belief in Beings who are unprovable for many, although you say (as in your present letter) that you believe in and revere the same Masters as I do. What, then, must I conclude? Am I not forced to the conclusion that inasmuch as you say you believe in these Beings, you think it unwise in me to assert publicly and boldly my belief? Well, then, if this is a correct statement of the case, why cannot you go on your way of belief and concealment of it, and let me proceed with proclamations? I will take the Karma of my own beliefs. I force no man to accept my assertions.
But I am not acting impulsively in my many public statements as to the existence of Masters and help from Them. It is done upon an old order of Theirs and under a law of mind. The existence of Masters being a fact, the assertion of that fact made so often in America has opened up channels in men's minds which would have remained closed had silence been observed about the existence of those Beings. The giving out of names is another matter; that, I do not sanction nor practise. Experience has shown that a springing up of interest in Theosophy has followed declaration, and men's minds are more and more powerfully drawn away from the blank Materialism which is rooted in English, French, and German teaching. And the Masters have said "It is easier to help in America than Europe because in the former our existence has been persistently declared by so many." You may, perhaps, call this a commonplace remark, as you do some others, but for me it has a deep significance and contains a high endorsement. A very truism when uttered by a Mahâtmâ has a deeper meaning for which the student must seek, but which he will lose if he stops to criticize and weigh the words in mere ordinary scales.
Now, I may as well say it out very plainly that the latter half of your letter in which you refer to a message printed in the Path in 1891 in August is the part you consider of most importance. To that part of your letter you gave the most attention, and to the same portion you wish for a reply more than to the preliminary pages. Now, on the contrary, I consider the preceding half of your letter the important half. This last bit, all about the printed message, is not important at all. Why? Because your basic facts are wrong.
(1) I never published such a letter, for I was not in America, although if I had been I should have consented. In August of that year I was in Europe, and did not get back to New York until after that month's Path was published. I had sailed for London May 13th, on hearing of H.P.B.'s death, and stayed there three months. Of course while away I had to leave all the publishing in the hands of Bro. Fullerton and others. But I do approve their work.
(2)The next baseless fact is thus smashed: I did not write the article you quote. I am not Jasper Niemand. Hence I did not get the message he printed a part of in his article. Jasper Niemand is a real person and not a title to conceal my person. If you wish to write him about the article, or any other, you can address care of me; I will forward; in time he will reply. This wrong notion about Jasper ought to be exposed. People choose now and then to assume that I am the gentleman. But several who have corresponded with him know that he is as distinct from me in person, place, and mind as you are yourself.
(3)Now, in July it was that Jasper Niemand got his message containing, I believe, things relative to himself, and also the words of general interest quoted by him. The general words he saw fit to use. Having had privilege to send his articles to Path, which accepts them without examination, his article was used at once without it being necessary for me to see it, for my orders were to print any he might send. Hence I saw neither the article nor proofs before publication. But I fully approve now as I did when, in the next September, I read it.
It is true I had later the privilege of seeing his message, but only read the text, did not examine the signature, and do not remember if even it had a signature. The signature is not important. The means for identification are not located in signatures at all. If you have not the means yourself for proving and identifying such a message, then signature seal, papers, watermarks, what not, all are useless.
As the "Master's seal," about which you put me the question, I do not know. Whether He has a seal or uses one is something in which I am ignorant. In my experience I have had messages from the Master, but they bear no seal and I attach no significance to the point. A seal on other messages of His goes for nothing with me; the presence or absence of a seal is nothing to me; my means of proof and identification are within myself and everything else is trumpery. Can I be more definite? Anticipating -as a brother lawyer-your question, I say in reply that I have no recollection as to any signature or seal on this message to Jasper Niemand, because I read it but once.
Further, I think it a useful message. The qualities spoken of were more than ever needed at that crisis, and words of encouragement from Masters, however trite, were useful and stimulating. We do not-at least I do not- want Masters to utter veiled, mystical, or portentous phrases. The commonplace ones suit me best and are best understood. Perhaps, if you were satisfied with simple words from Them you might have had them. Who knows? They have written much of high import, enough for fifty years of effort in the letters published by Mr. Sinnett in the Occult World, and attributed to K.H. Why should one desire private messages in addition? I do not. Some men would sell their lives for the most commonplace phrase from Masters.
But as Masters are still living in bodies, and that in your own country and not so far from you as I am. I consider you privileged in, so to say, breathing the same air with those exalted personages. Yet I know beyond doubt or cavil that we, so far away, are not exempt from Masters' care and help. Knowing this we are content to "wait, to work, and tor hope."
P.S.-Perhaps I ought to say somewhat more fully that the message in Path from Master, had, in my judgment, far more value than you attribute to it. There are in this Section many members who need precisely its assurance that no worker, however feeble or insignificant, is outside the range of Master's eye and help. My co-workers in New York were so impressed with the value to the Section of this particular message, that one of them paid the cost of printing it on slips and sending it to every member of the Section in good standing. Of course its worth and importance are better understood here than they can be by anyone not familiar with the Section and I can see ample justification of the Master's wisdom in sending the words He did.
Lucifer, April 1893