THEOSOPHY, Vol. 23, No. 4, February, 1935
(Pages 145-155: 30K)
(Number 2 of a 10-part series)



The wheel of the Good Law moves swiftly on. It grinds by night and day. The worthless husks it drives from out the golden grain, the refuse from the flour. The hand of Karma guides the wheel; the revolutions mark the beatings of the karmic heart. 

THE literature of any movement is the public "voice of the silence," for in it is recorded the only mental deposits which are accessible to succeeding generations. From these remains of what at one time were the vital moving causes of conduct and events, each student must revisualize for himself as best he can the invisible, esoteric, governing motives, tendencies, forces at work in the minds of those Egos to whose works he has fallen heir under his own Karma.

From such study he can recognize his own present affinities, the coming to life of his own mental deposits from past egoic associations, and, in the light of this combined spiritual biography and autobiography, bring his own intelligence and will into conscious determination of his own course. Either he will be dominated by the influences of his own vast past, which constitute his existing internal conditions, as they are energized by external relations, and thus become the creature of Karma -- or, he will, by deliberate and informed choice, struggle to overcome adverse circumstances within and without, and thus regain his true status of a creator, the "will-born Lord." In either eventuality he will have to fight, or flee from the field of battle, for he is at the turning point, whence the ways go up or down. The great majority of men have not as yet arrived in their evolution at "the moment of choice," but every Theosophist has, or he would not be within the sphere of the Movement at all.

The outward actions, the visible personal equations, are, among Theosophists, the mere silhouettes on the screen of time we call the past, the present, and the future. The real, because the causal aspect of the Movement, individually and collectively, is not in the visible record but in the mind, whether in the mind of him who makes, or of him who reads, the "great register." Theosophy, the Theosophical Movement, and Theosophists, are all one and the same -- whether as creature, creator, or as Perceiver pure and simple, they belong in the domain of psychology, and should be observed, studied, dealt with from the standpoint of the reincarnating Ego who is beyond time, as beyond the physical and the personal field of battle in which he is involved, eternally between his own Will and Karma.

The value of all history is, therefore, wholly psychological. Whatever reality things possess must be looked for in them before or after they have passed like a flash through the material world. The thing done or witnessed a moment since is as irrevocably beyond the horizon of physical force or perception as the thing not yet come within their range. Merely to attempt retrospection or forevision is to assume the position of the Spectator, the Witness, the true Self. To maintain that attitude is to be a Disciple. The story of the Movement is the story of the efforts of Theosophists to achieve and hold that position; their successes and failures so to do are merely imaged in the fluctuating fortunes of the visible Movement.

The turning point in the centenary cycle of the Movement was, then, imaged and concentrated in what are now but printed records. These shed a great light on the then past and the then future. If, now, they can be read for their psychological value, they will shed a great light on the present and thus enable living Theosophists to see more clearly the meaning of what is continuously passing before their eyes.

In 1924 was published The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett -- Letters originally written during the period 1880-1885. During all those forty years the existence of these Letters was known to all Theosophists in the least informed. Copies of them were supplied by the Masters to H.P.B. at the time; copies were by her furnished to Mr. Judge. Mr. Sinnett was instructed by the writers of the Letters not to make them public, but to use them as source-material for his own study, self-education, and his own literary efforts to aid the cause of Theosophy. He was permitted to allow copies to be made within his own discretion, provided he took a pledge from those so favored that they would not violate the injunction to withhold the Letters in toto. C. W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant were among those who had copies from Mr. Sinnett, at least as early as 1893, two years after the death of H.P.B.

What light is shed by the publication of these Letters -- on the past, the present, and the future, for Theosophists now living?

They show that long before they were written, the Theosophical conduct of both H.P.B. and Judge were in the most strict accord with the letter and the spirit, the teachings and the objects of the Masters of Wisdom. They show that, from the beginning, H.P.B. knew all that is contained in these Letters; that Isis Unveiled, published in 1877, contains far more than is in the Letters and that explicit and implicit in that book is all that has since been recorded in the literature of the cycle; that all her subsequent writings were but amplifications and explanations of what is in fact contained in Isis.

The Letters show that from the earliest of his writings, beginning with the first number of his Path in April, 1886, Mr. Judge had the same cognizance, showed the same understanding appreciation and fidelity, in his sphere of work that H.P.B. exemplified in hers; that the two were one in fidelity to the Theosophy of the Masters, to the Objects of the Movement, to the instructions of the Masters as to the use to be made of the material provided by Them.

The Letters show the difficulties and limitations of Mr. Sinnett, his failure to grasp either Their spirit or Their meaning; and, equally, the very great and real service he was nevertheless able to give and did give to the struggling Cause by his adhesion, his bold utterances, his literary ability, and his influential standing. The Letters show throughout that Mr. Sinnett was never anything but a novice in Theosophical understanding, a tyro and less than a tyro in Occultism; that he had no appreciation of anything but the "third object," and that his misunderstanding of that was not merely lamentable but grotesque. He never took to himself a single warning or prophetic hint contained in them. What is the evidence. The answer is to be read in the subsequent course of Mr. Sinnett himself.

When the Masters ceased replying to his letters to Them, Mr. Sinnett inferred that the cause was the failure in Occultism of H.P.B., who had been the mediator for the correspondence. He then began using psychics, one after another, the chief from 1889 to 1894 being C. W. Leadbeater. Through these psychics he received what he assumed to be communication from the same Masters as before, and on these communications were based all his subsequent voluminous writings and claims to pre-eminence for himself, as well as his openly published charges that H.P.B. "fell under dark influences," and his privately circulated charges that Mr. Judge, following H.P.B.'s example, had also fallen victim to the same fate. When Mr. Sinnett's writings and conduct are traced in the light of the Mahatma Letters, no one can fail to perceive that his understanding and conduct were in the reverse direction from those of H.P.B. and Judge. Theosophists of to-day need to recall that from 1881, when The Occult World was published, until 1886, when his Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky was written, Mr. Sinnett was the most influential of all those then connected with the Movement. His books circulated more than any and all others; his voice was the only one regarded as authoritative by the public and by most inquirers and students; he was the only one upon whose integrity no attacks were made; the only one upon whom no filth was thrown. During the fury of the Coulomb charges and the "investigation" by the Society for Psychical Research, which reduced H.P.B. to impotency and Col. Olcott to despair, Mr. Sinnett alone represented whatever of prestige remained or was recoverable. It was Mr. Sinnett's acquaintance with and influence on the principal figures, other than H.P.B. and Judge, which infected them with his views. They were a major factor in the reversionary course of Col. Olcott, Bertram Keightley, C. W. Leadbeater, Annie Besant, and others through them. It was the direct and indirect consequences of the ideas personified in Mr. Sinnett's theosophical conduct which compelled H.P.B. and Judge to establish the "Esoteric Section" in 1888, and which have, in their logical developments, governed the course of the public Movement ever since. The Mahatma Letters made the two poles of the Movement unmistakably plain in 1925, as they do now, for they show that the course pursued by H.P.B. and Judge is the Path of Masters, while the other course led and can only lead to mere intellectualism, sacerdotalism, or psychism, as opposed to Psychology.

Early in 1925 The Theosophy Company published a photographic reprint of the original edition of The Secret Doctrine which had been out of print since 1893, and had been replaced by the corrupt "Third and Revised Edition" bearing that date -- a "revision" made by Mrs. Besant as Recorder of H.P.B.'s teachings. The publication of the photographic facsimile of the original enabled anyone so minded to verify for himself how unfaithful Mrs. Besant and her coadjutor Mr. G. R. S. Mead had been to their trust. Likewise it enabled everyone to compare the teachings of The Secret Doctrine with the contents of the Mahatma Letters and know for himself why the Masters had forbidden the publication broadcast of Their Letters to Mr. Sinnett. All that is taught in the Letters is contained in The Secret Doctrine which was originally published in 1888, and is there presented in proper form for students under the direct instruction and sponsoring of the Mahatmas Themselves. The publication of the Mahatma Letters in violation of Their own injunction, and recourse to these Letters instead of to The Secret Doctrine for instruction in Occultism, shows the difference between true and false psychology. Mr. Sinnett's use of the Letters was such as to close to him the door opened via H.P.B. with the Mahatmas: what will be the effect of the unlawful publication and use of them thus made possible to so many "hopeless Incurables in the Mysteries"?

Early in 1925 The Theosophical Movement, 1875-1925: A History and a Survey, was published in book form. Its original issue was in the form of a series of articles in the magazine THEOSOPHY, ending in October, 1922. The original publication thus preceded by two years the publication of the Mahatma Letters. During its serial publication the circulation of the magazine more than doubled, thus showing the widespread interest among individual Theosophists in the history of the Movement, till then accessible only fragmentarily and through biased channels. The book issuance of the work made it the hitherto "undisclosed Veda" of Theosophical history, as the publication of the Mahatma Letters made accessible the hitherto "undisclosed Veda" of the transmission of Theosophical teachings. Every statement of moot or controversial fact in The Theosophical Movement was fully documented; its reasoning from the facts, its application of Theosophical teachings to events and conduct could, upon comparison, be substantiated as in strict accord with the Mahatma Letters, and with the example, method and policy of H.P.B. and Judge. The work had been inspired by Robert Crosbie. Its preparation and authentication of materials had been an arduous and uphill work for many years on the part of a group of his original associates under his direction and with his invaluable assistance due to his uninterrupted relations with H.P.B. and Judge from the early years of the Movement, his lifelong devotion to them as the true Teachers.

When advance copies of The Theosophical Movement were sent out an instant and powerful effort was made by leading officials in the Adyar society and its ill-starred offspring, the Liberal Catholic Church, to cajole or coerce the publishers into the suppression of the book. Personal interviews, letters, every available influence, was brought to bear. Finally, Mr. C. Jinarajadasa, then Vice-President, now Head of the "esoteric section" in the Adyar society, cabled the publishers, and his New York lawyer demanded retraction of statements made and the withdrawal of the book from sale until the offensive statements were eliminated. The publishers, E. P. Dutton & Co., transmitted the various representations and demands made, including the threat of libel proceedings, to the writers of the book, who thereupon satisfied Messrs. Dutton and Co. of their financial, legal, and moral responsibility, and their readiness to prove in open court every statement of fact in the book. The publishers thereupon proceeded with the distribution of the work, which has been very widely read, and still continues in demand among those who wish to know the truth of Theosophical history.

Faced with either making good their threats or resorting to less hazardous tactics, the Adyar-Liberal Catholic Church protagonists chose the latter. Hurried efforts were made to counteract the feared effects of The Theosophical Movement; a book of their own was gotten together which was published near the close of 1925, under the editorship of Mr. Jinarajadasa, "for the General Council of the T.S.," as The Golden Book of the Theosophical Society. Anyone can compare this book with The Theosophical Movement. On all disputed facts the Adyar publication contents itself with sheer unsupported assertions, whereas The Theosophical Movement buttresses every statement made with the supporting evidences, so that the reader can verify the facts stated, and follow the reasoning logically. It is well-known to judges and lawyers that partisan testimony and biased evidence cannot stand up under cross-examination, while the more any disinterested witness is questioned the stronger it becomes. Had this practical principle been availed of by Theosophists the mistakes of the past would have been avoided, the present confusions be cleared up. Thus, in Mr. Jinarajadasa's Golden Book he all unwittingly punctures Mrs. Besant's claims which so powerfully influenced the corruption of the Movement. Mr. Jinarajadasa says, page 122:

"The death of H.P.B. made no difference to the outer organisation of the T.S., for Colonel Olcott was in charge of the Society as President. But it made a very great difference to the occult part of the work, the E.S.T. founded by H.P.B. Before her death, she had appointed by writing Mrs. Besant 'Chief Secretary of the Inner Group of the Esoteric Section and Recorder of the Teachings,' and also made her verbally the Outer Head of the E.S.T. Mr. W. Q. Judge had previously been appointed by H.P.B. her agent for America to distribute documents. After her death, and at Mr. Judge's suggestion, supported by what purported to be a message from Adept who was the Inner Head of the E.S.T., Mrs. Besant consented to divide the E.S.T. into two divisions, Eastern and Western.... There were to be two joint Heads, Mrs. Besant for the Eastern Division and Mr. Judge for the Western.... this arrangement broke down after three years."
It would be difficult to find a more disingenuous statement of fact, a more ingenious injection of fiction, or a better example of the Jesuitical maxim, suppressio veri, suggestio falsi, than is contained in the above-quoted "history" of the most crucial events in the cycle of the Movement. It will repay close examination.

First, as is characteristic of the book, there is no authentication of the statements made. They are recited as unquestioned facts, whereas they are dubious and disputable to the last degree. The same subject matters are covered in The Theosophical Movement, pp. 296-301, 559-573, and 643-652, where the actual facts are given, fully authenticated over the signatures of those involved. They show:

(1) That the entire Council of the E.S.T., including both the English and American "Inner Groups" affirmed, in the statement signed May 27, 1891, that Judge attended the Council as "the representative of H.P.B.," under written statements made by H.P.B. and Mrs. Besant attended as "Recorder and Secretary," as Mr. Jinarajadasa states, under a written appointment by H.P.B. The Minutes of the Council proceedings were signed by all, Mrs. Besant included. Mr. Jinarajadasa inserts in his "history" that H.P.B. had "verbally made Mrs. Besant Outer Head of the E.S.T." What is the evidence? It could only rest on Mrs. Besant's say-so -- to which the whole document of May 27, 1891, signed by her, gives the lie. And if H.P.B. thought it worth while to give Mrs. Besant a written appointment to the duties of a mere prothonotary only, it would be strange indeed that the "appointment" to the most responsible post in the whole E.S.T. and T.S. would be so casually regarded by H.P.B. as to cause her to make it "verbally." This "story" was fabricated by Mrs. Besant at the close of the year 1894, just after Mr. Judge, under the authorization of H.P.B. -- authorization which Mrs. Besant and the rest had withessed by their signatures at the Council of the E.S.T. -- had deposed Mrs. Besant from her joint-headship with him, as unanimously agreed to at that Council. Mrs. Besant was in the throes of the reaction against her among Theosophists for her infamous part in the "charges" against Judge the preceding July, and its recrudescence in November following. At the same time Mrs. Besant put out the claim that H.P.B. had "appointed" her "successor." Such was Mrs. Besant's prestige at the time that great numbers of Theosophists took her word for anything she might choose to affirm. Great numbers have done it ever since -- to their sorrow, and to the ruin of a large part of the Movement.

(2) The "purported message from Adept" which Mr. Jinarajadasa says caused Mrs. Besant to "consent to divide the E.S.T. into two divisions, Eastern and Western" was declared by Mrs. Besant early in 1895 to have been a forgery by Judge, and her then assertion has been accepted far and wide ever since as the truth. Yet, under date of July 6th, 1891, in December of the same year, and again in an E.S.T. Statement dated "August, 1893" Mrs. Besant herself had formally stated (a) that the "Judge message" had nothing to do with the Council proceedings as it was discovered after the arrangements had been decided; (b) that it was herself, not Judge, who had found and introduced the message, and that the circumstances were such that Judge had no possible opportunity to have a hand in it physically. If, then, Judge had anything whatever to do with this "message" it was an Occult phenomenon indeed, as, according to Mrs. Besant herself, she was the only possible person to have had anything to do with it physically. Mrs. Besant's Statement of "August, 1893," is complete, categorical, unmistakable. She was then certain the "message" was genuine; two years later she asserted it fraudulent. If she were herself the Occultist she claimed to have been, what kind of "powers" did she have to be deceived into accepting as genuine a bogus message? If she were a bogus "occultist" what more inevitable than that she should pronounce false what was in fact genuine? It is a sorry story throughout, and Mrs. Besant's part in it so unenviable that one would willingly ignore it, gladly forget it, were it not that the wholly innocent victim, Judge, is still made the target for repetitions of Mrs. Besant's baseless calumnies, and that so long as the bona fides of Judge and H.P.B. remain under stigma of forgeries, the actual facts have to be made accessible to those who want them. (c) At the same time Mrs. Besant declared Judge a forger of false messages she made the same charges against the dead H.P.B., whose "Successor" she nevertheless claimed to be.

(3) "The Eastern and Western Division" of the E.S.T. was not made in 1891, but in 1894, following the fiasco of the "Judge case," and the division was made by Mr. Judge, not Mrs. Besant, though gladly "consented" to by her, as it was done both to save the School from open rupture and to "save the face" of Mrs. Besant following her apology for her charges before the British Convention. The rupture came in 1895 when it was Mrs. Besant, not Mr. Judge, who "seceded" and started an E.S.T. of her own within the T.S., thereby forcing the action of the American Convention of April, 1895.

(4) Mr. Jinarajadasa says, as noted, that "Mr. W. Q. Judge had previously been appointed by H.P.B. her agent for America to distribute documents." What H.P.B. herself said puts Mr. Jinarajadasa, not Mr. Judge, in a sorry light indeed as a "distributor of documents" which is all that any historian is in regard to facts. Here are the facts, as stated by H.P.B., and as mis-stated by Mr. Jinarajadasa:

(a) December 14, 1888: "As Head of the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society, I hereby declare that William Q. Judge ... is my only representative for said Section in America,..."

(b) October 23, 1889: "The Esoteric Section and its life in the U.S.A. depend upon W.Q.J. remaining its agent and what he now is. The day W.Q.J. resigns, H.P.B. will be virtually dead for the Americans."

(c) August 9, 1890: "The only 'orders' in Instructions which I issue in the U.S. are through Mr. William Q. Judge, or those which I myself sign my name to with my physical hand."

"Any report or statement by anyone of orders or instructions alleged to be by me in any other form than as stated ... are and shall be false; and any member acting on any other sort of order and without first sending the same to Mr. William Q. Judge will be expelled from the Section."

Five years subsequent to the issuance of The Theosophical Movement, Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn prepared his book, Theosophy, as his thesis for the degree of Ph.D. at Columbia University. Dr. Kuhn's work was published by Henry Holt & Co., as one of a series of works sponsored by the University. Dr. Kuhn drew largely upon The Theosophical Movement and its documentation of facts in his treatments of the developments so ably misrepresented in the Golden Book. When Dr. Kuhn's book came out, the same effort to suppress it was made. The tactics failed as they had before, and Dr. Kuhn's work has been read by many Theosophists, is to be found in many public libraries, and has proved a useful contribution to the literature of the Movement.

One amusing feature, as well as an informative one, developed from the publication of The Theosophical Movement. The book was in due course reviewed in Mrs. Besant's Theosophist by an "orthodox" contributor, A. Horne. It formed the most important review in The Theosophist for January, 1926, and was notably written by a sincere man, however misinformed. The review recommended the book as an important one which should be read by all members and placed in every T.S. library. Owing to peculiar events then absorbing the attention of Mrs. Besant and her satellites, the review got by the Adyar "censorship" and the magazine issue was "off the press" before its "dynamite" was discovered. Mrs. Besant thereupon wrote a "paster" which was put on the first page of the issue and, for "safety first" sake, repeated in the February Theosophist. Between the review and Mrs. Besant's "paster," The Theosophical Movement was sharply brought before the members of her society -- with the result that the book was in such demand that the Golden Book suffered both historically and financially, unsold copies still burdening Mrs. Besant's publishing house.

Mrs. Besant's "paster" ran as follows:

"A REVIEW in a magazine is generally supposed to give the editorial opinion of the book reviewed. In the rush of work in preparation for the Jubilee Convention, a review of The Theosophical Movement, 1875-1925 was passed for the present issue recomending it as a fair account of the Society. It is necessary, therefore, that I should express my emphatic dissent from this recommendation as the book is one of the most distorted statements that I have come across.

It is written anonymously. A writer who so misrepresents facts should at least have the courage to print his name to his production. 

The "peculiar events" then taking place at Adyar have now to be considered.

COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:


If our own observation and experience have shown that H. P. Blavatsky's ideas about apostolic succession are correct we are fully justified in refusing allegiance to any exponent of Theosophy who claims right to successorship on any grounds whatsoever. Nevertheless, Theosophists believe in continuity -- the kind of succession taught by the Buddha. Of him it is related that as bodily death approached he addressed his disciple Ananda in these words,

"It may be, Ananda, that some of you will think 'The word of the Teacher is a thing of the past; we have now no Teacher.' But that, Ananda, is not the correct view. The Doctrine and Discipline, Ananda, which I have taught and enjoined upon you is to be your Teacher when I am gone."
We need never be deceived by the claims of "Successors" if we keep the above words in mind. To those who have intuition in any degree, the Buddha's statement is axiomatic, and to all unprejudiced thinkers it is at least logical. As there is succession of the teachings there is also an explanation of the fact of Teachers -- but not if we consider them as successors. Unless we are prepared to prove that Jesus was a reincarnation of Krishna, we have no right to speak of him as Krishna's successor, even though the identity of their teachings demonstrates its succession. Unless we can show that Buddha reincarnated in H.P.B. we should not speak of her as his successor, though the succession of his teachings in the philosophy of Theosophy is plain to all who will see.

The recognition of this latter fact will lead to the recognition of true teachers when they appear. Every so-called "Successor" in the history of the theosophical movement has either altered the teachings or diverted the minds of his followers from them. Not so the real teachers, who prove themselves by the identity of the truths they preach. Said Jesus, "I come not to destroy the law but to fulfil it." Here we have the criterion; the subject is of sufficient importance to Theosophists and enquirers to make knowing worth while in view of claims made and yet to be made.

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