(A Letter From A Friend)
From William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles, Vol. II.
Articles by WQJ
"It rejoices us all here more than I can tell you, to know that you have made such a start in America with Theosophy. We have had so many things to pull us back, that it has been quite as much as we could manage to keep our heads above water, and this not so much from the action of our enemies as from the apathy of our friends. It is strange to me to see how little faith there is in the power of truth, even among those who ought to realize this most strongly. Why should we fear and fold our hands when men speak evil of us or of the cause; why should we imagine that any attack on individual members can effect the position we take as a group or that theosophy can be endangered thereby? How few understand what theosophy is; they look upon it as solely an intellectual movement that can be damned by the folly of its adherents; they little dream of the strength that underlies the apparently inconsistent workings of this manifestation of truth which we call the Theosophical Society. And there is one thing which I believe establishes more than any other, the fact that the Society as a whole has true vitality within it, and that is the visible action of Karma in its developments.
"See how the mistaken value given to phenomena in the early history of the Society, brought immediately its Karmic developments in the troubles then, and whenever any undue importance has been given either to individualities or any particular line of practice, it is always on that particular point that the next attack comes. So that while fully realizing that as an organization, the T. S. is defective in some things, I yet believe that there is a power within it that will purge it from its defects and carry it on in spite of the attacks of its enemies and what is worse still, the follies of its friends. What I do feel more and more is the necessity that we should remember and constantly keep before us what it is we are working for and not think we accomplish our end when we number our converts in the world of fashion, and gather around us men and women who vainly hope for psychic powers and the arts of fortune telling and reading the future. I do not fear black magic in our midst, but I do feel very strongly that there are many who will sink to the level of mere wonder-seekers and that they will become the prey of elemental influences.
"What can be done to make men realize, as you say, a sense of universal brotherhood and the true meaning of Theosophy. Well, let us join you in America and the few here who do realize that psychism is not spirituality, and let us try to stir the hearts of men with the living truths of Theosophy.
"I am more anxious, and have been for a long time, that we should address ourselves to another stratum of society than that (the intellectual and the fashionable) which we have sought. It is not that I would depreciate intellect; if I err in that matter it is in putting too much stress on intellectual development. But I am beginning to realize that the lower intellect can only deal with physical facts and that it can never develop ideas; these can only be apprehended by the higher intellectual faculties, and the ethical and emotional nature of man has also its higher and lower aspects.
"I wish very much that we had a literature calculated to appeal to the general masses, and I think that we should resolutely turn our attention to this object. I think the little book that Dr. Buck has just published very useful and I should be glad to see many more such little works treating of the various points of doctrine such as Reincarnation, Karma, &c. It is also encouraging to see such efforts as that contained in the small book lately out - What is Theosophy? Doubtless, in connection with that, for it seems to have been written for the author's children, you will call to mind what was written by one of the adepts, not so long ago; 'there is a great likelihood that the sons of theosophists will become theosophists,' and will quite agree with me in the idea that we need a literature, not solely for highly intellectual persons, but of a more simple character, which attempts to appeal to ordinary common-sense minds, who are really fainting for such mental and moral assistance, which is not reached by the more pretentious works. Indeed, we all need this. It is fortunate that we have been able to live through the tide of mere psychism and bare intellectuality which threatened nearly to swamp us. And you know to whom we owe our escape, and now, that there are ten or twelve members left who are prepared to work on independently of perturbation, I thnk it is clear again. What does it matter to us whether H. P. Blavatsky has or has not fulfilled all of her duties, or whether investigation has cast doubt into the minds of some. In so far as she has done her duty, her work will remain, and if perchance she has come to the end of her capabilities-which I do not admit-it is for us to carry on what she has thus far done.
"In America, I hope you will not fall into running after wonders and psychic gifts to the detriment of true philosophical and moral progress.
Believe me to be, fraternally yours,
Note- The whole of this letter should be carefully studied, and in particular the point that Karma brings its attacks just on the point or persons where or by whom stress has been laid on phenomena. It may be accepted as almost axiomatic by our members, that if any group or single person has paid too undue attention to phenomena, to astralism, psychism, or whatever it is called, there will develop the next trouble or attack upon the Society. It has been authoritatively stated by one of the great Beings who are behind this movement, that it must prosper by moral worth and philosophy, and not by phenomena. Let us well beware then. Phenomena, powers -or sidhis as the Hindu say- are only incidental. Our real object is to spread Universal Brotherhood, in which task we necessarily explain phenomena, but the Society is not a Hall for Occultism, and that has also been asserted by an adept in India in reply to letters written him by certain well-known Englishmen who desired to establish a Branch then which should control all literature and phenomena. There are no secrets to be given out to any select persons, for no one receives a secret inaccessible to the rest, until he has acquired the right to it, and the proper sense to know when and to whom it is to be given out.-Editor.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
Path, May 1886