THEOSOPHY, Vol. 15, No. 2, December, 1926
(Pages 49-54; Size: 18K)
(Number 3 of a 13-part series)


LAST month this Magazine reprinted H.P.B.'s article, "A Puzzle From Adyar," with a brief prefatory note showing the applicability of the statements of H.P.B. to the men, things and methods in the theosophical world today, quite as much as in the battle of 1888-90, when the article was originally published.

The same confusions, contradictions and false witness among professed theosophists came to the surface once more in the great struggle of 1894-96, when Mr. Judge was the living target for the assaults of pseudo-theosophists because of his defence of the knowledge and status of the departed H.P.B. Col. Olcott, Mrs. Besant and Mr. Sinnett, posing as friends and pupils of H.P.B. and as devoted to the Cause which she represented, took advantage of the confidence and trust reposed in them by the great bulk of their lesser informed fellow students, to hold themselves out as true exponents of theosophical history and teachings, while doing their utmost to undermine the character and repute of H.P.B. It is the world-old method of the parasite, the ingrate and the pretender.

After the death of H.P.B. and Judge the bogus occultists and pseudo-theosophists had the field to themselves for many years. Of what Col. Olcott, Mr. Sinnett, and with them and after them Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater, have done with theosophical philosophy and theosophical history, the present condition in their society bears overwhelming testimony. They have wholly buried the teachings and the influence of H.P.B., and have substituted a gigantic fraud and counterfeit -- to their own glory and profit. What they have done to those who have trusted them is equally in evidence.

The "successors" of Mr. Judge have done the same things so far as they were able, but being of lesser ability than Mrs. Besant and her satellites they have not deceived so many nor achieved in so great a degree the attention and following for themselves which they coveted. Mrs. Tingley holds theosophical court at Point Loma much as the late German Kaiser keeps up a faded imperial state in his tumbled castle in Holland. Mr. Hargrove and some of his fellow witnesses who testified to the marvelous occult powers and status of Madam Tingley, now in New York City proclaim themselves and their corporal's guard of retainers the theosophical society. Others have done and continue to do the same things.

One such recent case is that of James Morgan Pryse. Mr. Pryse, originally a printer by trade and a searcher for truth by profession, came in contact with the Theosophical Society during the lifetime of the Founders. He went to New York City and entered the employ of The Path Publishing Company. He was a good printer and Mr. Judge and the Society owed him much for his work and workmanship in making accessible the early publications. From New York Mr. Pryse went to London and there worked first in getting out the "revised" edition of "The Secret Doctrine" and other publications. He was in charge of the printing work of The Theosophical Publishing Company, Ltd., until the period of the charges against Judge, whose good name he defended, and whose cause he espoused, despite the opposition and antagonism of Mrs. Besant and Mr. Mead, his superior powers -- who finally ousted him. Mr. Pryse then returned to America and resumed his old occupation at the headquarters of the newly formed "Theosophical Society in America" in New York City. After Mr. Judge's death Mr. Pryse, like the others of the "eight witnesses" to the "successorship" of Madam Tingley, posed as an authority in "Occultism" and attached his signature to the "E.S.T." documents of March 29 and April 3, 1896, solemnly asseverating of his own personal knowledge that Madam Tingley had been "appointed" by Mr. Judge as his "occult successor," certifying to the genuineness of the "messages from the Masters" received by him and the others "through" Madam Tingley, and verbally enforced all this by declaring in person before the assembled students the following:

"We cannot be too careful of our words. So the little I have to say I have written down here, simply for the sake of clearness.... I am here for only one reason: because our Chief (Mr. Judge) desired it. And to carry out his wishes and make the movement a success, I will do the little that lies in my power, continuing to do as I have done for the past ten years -- abandon all my personal affairs, and be an unthanked slave to this movement, give up all prospect of study, of individual improvement and progress, all personal ties, become if necessary an exile again from my own land, my own people, sacrifice personal comfort, health and life in this work ... my companions and myself ... ask only your confidence and cooperation in keeping the School united and in making it an instrument that the Master may use for the salvation of mankind."
Here were unequivocal assertions, made under the most solemn sanctions by one who was known by those present to have been for ten years more or less in the company of Mr. Judge. H.P.B. and Mr. Judge being dead could not deny his declaration that he was there at the desire of Mr. Judge, and to carry out the wishes of Judge and H.P.B. The others of the eight witnesses solemnly swore to essentially the same pledges as those uttered by Mr. Pryse. The living falsehoods were accepted by the assembled students in place of the recorded statements of H.P.B. and Judge. Thereafter for two years or more Mr. Pryse, as well as the other witnesses, was a diligent and unflagging singer of anthems to the greater glory of Madam Tingley. Having used them to the extent of her ability, as they had used Judge and H.P.B., Madam Tingley found fresher voices for her angelic choir. Having failed in using Madam Tingley as they had used H.P.B. and Judge, Mr. Pryse and the others dropped Madam Tingley, and set themselves up as soothsayers and harpists on their own account. Meantime, the thousands of sincere and devoted members of the T.S. in A. were left to shift for themselves, to find out for themselves by dear and disillusioning experience how far they had been misled, and how utterly unworthy of respect was either the credibility or the testimony of these witnesses to the "successorship" of Madam Tingley.

Meantime, Robert Crosbie began his work to restore the name and fame of H.P.B. and Judge by circulating their original teachings and by making public the facts of theosophical history -- not according to the methods of the parasites and pretenders, but by following the example set by H.P.B. and Judge -- that is to say, by producing verifiable evidence, by citing chapter and verse for every statement of teaching; by giving exact authentic references to original documents on matters of fact. Ten years of this patient, persistent, impersonal, equitable application in affording to all and sundry the means of Theosophical Education has achieved its legitimate fruits. It has educated thousands; it has largely restored the pristine teachings and the pristine lustre of the Message, the Messenger and the Colleague; it has, of sad necessity, made the lukewarm blow hot or blow cold as the theosophical pot began to boil and the scum to come to the surface.

In the Canadian Theosophist for September, 1926, writing a third of a century after the occurrences discussed, Mr. Pryse gives his version (a) of the corruption of the "Third and Revised Edition" of The Secret Doctrine, issued by Mrs. Besant and Mr. Mead as Editors in 1893-4; (b) of the so-called "Third Volume" of The Secret Doctrine, issued by Mrs. Besant in 1897. Mr. Pryse testifies just as unequivocally and positively on these subjects as he testified in regard to Madam Tingley's "successorship" as quoted. He says:

"...among the many fantastic legends and foolish fables that have sprung up since the disruption of the T.S. is this malicious accusation brought against Mrs. Besant and Mr. Mead, which it would be wrong for me to ignore: for, as I was for four years in the London headquarters, had charge of the printing office, and printed the revised S.D., I naturally had every opportunity to know the facts; whereas this absurd accusation is the fabrication of semi-theosophists who hung on the fringe of the Society, and is being circulated by pseudo-theosophists who were never in any way connected with the original T.S., and who quite evidently have not absorbed its philosophy and ethical principles....

No changes were made by Mr. Mead or by Mrs. Besant except such as should have been made in the original manuscript before printing.

For his scholarly and conscientious work in the revision Mr. Mead deserves the gratitude of all discriminating readers of the S.D., as does Mrs. Besant also for her share in the arduous task....

Living as I did for four years in the family group at the London headquarters over which Mrs. Besant presided, and knowing that both she and Mr. Mead, during all those years, were devoted followers of H.P.B., sincere, honourable, truthful and conscientious, I cannot leave uncontradicted the mendacious statements and insinuations that they, my old comrades, mutilated, corrupted, suppressed or made any dishonest use of the writings left by their teacher, H.P.B."

As in 1896 and since, statements like the above, from Witnesses known, as Mr. Pryse remarks himself, to have had "every opportunity to know the facts," are taken by the unwary and the unthinking to be the facts simply because the Witness had the "opportunity" to know them. To those -- and they constitute the great majority -- who do not know the tremendous distinction between first-hand and second-hand evidence, such hearsay testimony as the above carries great weight. Col. Olcott, Mr. Sinnett, Mrs. Besant and many others have constantly traded on this popular weakness and ignorance of what constitutes the "best evidence" -- as the Courts call it -- and have found it highly profitable as well in gaining prominence as in defending that prominence when achieved. So why should not Mr. Pryse also avail himself, as he has, of the able example set him while he "was living for four years in the family group over which Mrs. Besant presided"?

Courts are familiar with the necessity of exposing false Witnesses and false testimony if the Truth is to be revealed, and the method of doing so is drawn from the age-old experience of jurisprudence. It is called impeachment. There is no other way to show the perjury and the perjurer for what they are. And of all impeachments, that which is most damning is the impeachment of the credibility and testimony of the Witness out of his own mouth. We are sorry to have to impeach James Morgan Pryse, but Justice to Truth is the best Charity to the bearer of false witness. Writing in Theosophy (successor to The Path) for September, 1897, pages 314-316, at the time the spurious "Third Volume" of The Secret Doctrine was just off the press, Mr. Pryse wrote as follows, over his own signature:

"With admirable adroitness Mr. Mead shifts all responsibility for it, and especially for the impossible Greek and doubtful Hebrew and Sanskrit, upon the shoulders of Mrs. Besant. The only marvel is that two such prodigious pandits should have wasted their valuable time correcting the works of so 'ignorant' a writer as H.P.B. ...

"Those who have compared the first edition of Vols. I. and II. with the 'third and revised edition' know the deadly results of Mr. Mead's and Mrs. Besant's 'editing.' It is deeply to be regretted that H.P.B. left no directions concerning her posthumous works, and that, dying intestate, her heirs should have permitted valuable MSS. to fall into the hands of individuals who have not scrupled to mutilate her literary work under the bald pretense of correcting 'errors of form,' and have sought to decry her in insulting prefaces and notes. . . . Fortunately, Vols. I. and II. may hereafter be reprinted from the first and unrevised edition; but it is to be feared that Vol. III. is practically lost to the world, hopelessly mutilated as it now is.

. . . H.P.B., who can blame your enemies for traducing you when those professing to be your friends and pupils can thus decry your writings and belittle your works!"

Doubtless, in writing in 1926 to The Canadian Theosophist, Mr. Pryse had forgotten what he wrote in 1897 for Theosophy -- as he has forgotten many other things in the same interval. A "convenient memory" and the "easy virtue" of a pliant imagination are the familiar devices of the false Witness and the pseudo-occultist. Not one of those who have belittled H.P.B. and Mr. Judge, who have claimed to be "successors," or who have otherwise itched to stand as objects of reverence and devotion in the light cast by the Great Messenger and her Disciple, but has the same convenient memory and tricky imagination: not one of them but can be impeached out of his own mouth as unquestionably as Mr. Pryse has impeached himself.

But the inquiring mind may well ask, "What is the 'best evidence' of the corruptions in the 'third and revised edition' of The Secret Doctrine, the spurious character of the so-called 'Third Volume' of the same work?" Any judge, any lawyer, any one accustomed to examine testimony, hearsay or second-hand, will answer: A comparison of the Original Edition itself with that "third and revised edition." Scarce a page of that comparison but will prove from one to a score of corruptions, and give the lie direct to the "testimony" of Mrs. Besant, Mr. Mead, Mr. Jinarajadasa, Mr. Pryse, and all the other defenders of corruption and would-be profiteers by it. And as to the "Third Volume," the suppressed and eliminated statements of H.P.B. herself, in the two volumes of the Original Edition, and in half a dozen other writings, equally give the lie to the publishers, editors, and proponents of that fraudulent "third volume."

Still other thoughtful and inquiring minds may ask: "But where, in all this mass of corruption of texts and false testimony, of false teachings and false practices, is there any evidence of a Rising Cycle in the Theosophical Movement?" The answer is not so hard to find or to recognize when found. The forgers and the frauds no longer have it their own way; the counterfeits and the pretenders no longer go unchallenged; the genuine teachings are once more accessible and in circulation; the true character of H.P.B. and Judge once more vindicated; the traitors shorn of their stolen robes; all, in the light of Truth, can be seen for what they are, not what they purport to be. The searcher for Truth can no longer be deceived, defrauded, despoiled by the false prophets and their minions. The consistency of the real Teachings, the real Teachers, the real facts and the true disciples stand side by side, in the clear Light, while the Shadows in all their grotesquerie and blackness are as clearly portrayed by that same Light. Who can doubt that, with the Witness of both unmistakably before them, the world at large and the world Theosophical will know the difference between the True and the False? For mankind in the mass, however ignorant and therefore deceived by whom it unwisely trusts, is of another nature from that of the false prophet and the false witness. The one can only be educated by the presentation of Truth, the other by the exposure of Falsehood.

Next article:
The Rising Cycle
(Part 4 of 13)

Back to the
"About the Theosophical Movement"
complete list of articles.

Back to the full listing containing all of the
"Additional Categories of Articles".

Main Page | Introductory Brochure | Volume 1--> Setting the Stage
Karma and Reincarnation | Science | Education | Economics | Race Relations
The WISDOM WORLD | World Problems & Solutions | The People*s Voice | Misc.