The Theosophical Forum – January 1941

A VINDICATION OF H. P. BLAVATSKY'S WORK AND MESSAGE — J. H. Venema

Well might the great lion-hearted H. P. Blavatsky have said with Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice

What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?

but, on the contrary, as we must recognise more and more every year, doing a grand and sublime work for the benefit of humanity! There is a story of a famous and inspired singer, a man with a heavenly voice, whose audiences were enraptured night after night. But one evening, when he was to sing in a great concert, an embittered rival of his had played a trick upon him and had put in the first row a man who even during the most inspiring music and songs did not respond and who sat motionless, with cold staring eyes, untouched by the most spiritual notes, apparently without any feelings, no "music in his soul" The story tells that the famous singer, moved by profound love and compassion — for he always sang to bring beauty and inspiration to his audience through the medium of impersonal art, the "most divine and spiritual of arts," music — though at first greatly distressed by the icy coldness of that man in the first row, firmly determined to awaken him, to bring a wonderful beauty into his life. Pathetically the author reveals to us how the singer sacrifices himself, how he gives heart and soul, and succeeds in bringing down to earth the divine music of the Gods above, the harmony of the spheres, indeed, how in the end he sacrifices his physical vehicle in the supreme effort to awaken one human being, and died on the platform, a victim to the machinations of his rival — for that one man in the first row was a deaf-mute.

When H. P. B. came to this world in the previous century — the "Heavenly Gandharva," the Singer and Revealer of Heaven and Divine Truths — she was in a similar position, with this great difference, that she brought her message to hundreds of thousands who were spiritually deaf and dumb, ignorant of what they were, what their destiny might be, and who, consequently, at first remained unmoved, cold, bearing malice toward her and her work. And she did succeed in awakening them, partly in the beginning, more as time when on, until she was recognised by a certain number of noble souls, who began to help her in her titanic task. She also sacrificed her very heart-blood in order to bring an ancient, divine Message to this world.

Perhaps, as Theosophists who study and try to grasp the teachings, we are so accustomed to reckon by manvantaric and pralayic periods, that in 1938 we are inclined to think of H. P. B.'s time as a cycle long ago! That she and her workers were the "pioneers," and we continue, we of a later period. In one way this thought contains truth; there have indeed been great changes since she passed away, indescribably great work has been done. But, on the other hand, there are in many respects no very great differences, for we know that the spiritual evolution of mankind takes ages and ages. From that point of view we are still pioneers and we shall be for many, many years; millions around us are still educated on the basis of the old dogmas and crystallized ideas of the last century, though numbers and numbers continually outgrow them! To these millions Theosophy is and will remain a new message!

In studying the subject under discussion let us pay attention to Judge's words in The Ocean of Theosophy, Ch. XIV, the conclusion:

The first 5000 years of Kali Yuga will end between the years 1897 and 1898. This Yuga began about 3102 years before the Christian era, at the time of Krishna's death. As 1897-98 are not far off, the scientific men of today will have an opportunity of seeing whether the close of the five thousand year cycle will be preceded or followed by any convulsions or great changes political, scientific, or physical, or all of these combined. Cyclic changes are now proceeding as year after year the souls from prior civilizations are being incarnated in this period when liberty of thought and action are not so restricted in the West as they have been in the past by dogmatic religious prejudice and bigotry. And at the present time we are in a cycle of transition, when, as a transition period should indicate, everything in philosophy, religion, and society is changing. In a transition period the full and complete figures and rules respecting cycles are not given out to a generation which elevates money above all thoughts and scoffs at the spiritual view of man and nature.

Let us also pay attention to H. P. B.'s own words in The Secret Doctrine:

They [the esoteric doctrines] are said to emanate from a source (Occultism) repudiated by science. . . . The rejection of these teachings may be expected, and must be accepted beforehand. . . . They will be derided and rejected a priori in this century; but only in this one. For in the twentieth century of our era scholars will begin to recognize that the Secret Doctrine has neither been invented nor exaggerated, but, on the contrary, simply outlined; and finally, that its teachings antedate the Vedas. — I, p. xxxvii

And on page xxiv, referring to the first cycle of Kali-Yuga:

We have not long to wait, and many of us will witness the Dawn of the New Cycle at the end of which not a few accounts will be settled and squared between the races.

Though we do not as yet know anything about that "end" spoken of, let us recognise the truth and importance of the words just now quoted. Let us admit that we are still — and Heaven knows how long yet — right in the middle of this transition period. It is worth considering for all of us to what extent H. P. B.'s work and message has been vindicated so far, both in what we might call "outside" the T. S., in the world, and inside the T. S. or rather the Theosophical Movement, though, of course, we realize that there is no real separation here; there is a constant influence through the "channel" into the world and the influences of the latter react on the Movement, at least in exoteric aspects.

Now a Convention like this, where so many subjects are tackled, is not the place to go into a detailed and technical study of what is happening in science, philosophy and religion and to make comparisons. Those of us who are alert and study magazines and books of the present day get one example after the other of the truth of H. P. B.'s statements and — shall we call them "predictions?" (Predictions here were based on knowledge of the cycles!) Our own periodicals and books continually point to the hundreds and hundreds of instances, and it would indeed be interesting to quote some of them here.

We are living in a strange period; on the one hand turmoil and struggle, discord and strife, reminding us of the cruelty and darkness of the Middle Ages, on the other hand a breaking through of light, a search of human minds for truth about life and death, about the universe, as never before. New conceptions everywhere, broadening of ideas and ideals, all in themselves a vindication of what H. P. B. stated and predicted. We are reminded here of her IF at the end of The Key to Theosophy:

ENQUIRER. But if this danger be averted? [the danger of dogmas and degeneration into sects of the T. S.]

THEOSOPHIST. Then the Society will live on into and through the twentieth century. It will gradually leaven and permeate the great mass of thinking and intelligent people with its large-minded and noble ideas of Religion, Duty and Philanthropy. Slowly but surely it will burst asunder the iron fetters of creeds and dogmas, of social and caste prejudices; it will break down racial and national antipathies and barriers, and will open the way to the practical realization of the Brotherhood of all men.

It is especially the statements in this concluding chapter of H. P. B.'s Key to Theosophy that are very important to us, for either partly or wholly we find her work and message vindicated by comparing what she stated with what has happened after she left us and what at present takes place in the world around us.

In the world of science almost every new discovery means a vindication. Read the books on astronomy, biology, archaeology, on the therapy of many medical men of the present day. Cosmic ideas penetrating everywhere! Here is an instance, the concluding words of a well-known Doctor of Medicine in a weekly article in one of the big Netherlands papers:

The tragedy of man is that all sorrow finds its origin in his own nature, because he does not know what he is doing. There will probably come a time when we, doctors of medicine, no longer make a difference between diseases of the body and of the mind (soul), because there is no difference between matter and spirit. For matter is spirit and spirit is matter. However, this is not a modern view at all; we do not owe it to modern science, physics and chemistry, though they have given recent proofs of the fact. Four hundred years ago already the physician Paracelsus stated it in his Volumen Paramirum. And in curing diseases this fact will have to be taken into consideration. For the more deeply one penetrates into some process of a disease, the more one realizes that the causes of it lie in the occult, and that nobody, with the light of nature, can be a (real) physician, if he fails to find the causes of the visible in the invisible (realms). — Dr. P. H. van de Hoog, in Het Vaderland, The Hague

And here is a statement from a book by Geraldine Coster on Yoga and Western Psychology, a most interesting work:

My plea is then that Yoga as followed in the East is a practical method of mind development, quite as practical as analytical therapy, and far more practical and closely related to real life than the average university course.

H. P. B. said in the Key:

The West will learn to understand and appreciate the East at its true value.

Only a couple of weeks ago in The Hague two very well known men of science lectured on the publication of a book called Scientia. It was a significant gathering; there were interesting people, one could feel the predominance of the manasic qualities throughout the hall. But what struck us was the great effort of the two learned speakers to convince the audience that a unification of the various and specialized branches of science had absolutely become necessary, so that the men of science could approach each other and a synthesis could be found, seeing that Spirit is one. We were led to think of many passages in The Secret Doctrine when listening to the very interesting speeches of these two scholars.

It would take too much time to give the hundreds and hundreds of instances where H. P. B.'s work and message is vindicated in religious and philosophic thought. There is everywhere an enormous interest in Tibet just now, the existence of the Great Ones and their disciples or chelas is accepted. H. P. B.'s words are quoted either directly or indirectly in ever so many periodicals and books. After the first wild phases of psychism, an ignorant search to cultivate psychic powers, there may now be seen everywhere a turn of the tide. There is a closer investigation, a careful proceeding on this path of minds more receptive as to the existence of forces in man and nature, dangerous on one hand but worth investigating on the other hand, so that in course of time, as H. P. B. said, mankind may be guided along normal and healthy lines. She said in The Key to Theosophy:

Further, the development of the psychic powers and faculties . . . will proceed healthily and normally. Mankind will be saved from the terrible dangers, both mental and bodily, which are inevitable when that unfolding takes place, as it threatens to do, in a hot-bed of selfishness and all evil passions. Man's mental and psychic growth will proceed in harmony with his moral improvement, while his material surroundings will reflect the peace and fraternal goodwill which will reign in his mind, instead of the discord and strife which is everywhere apparent around us today.

Now speaking more from the standpoint of one inside the T.S.! What lessons we get! "Its future," said H. P. B. "will depend almost entirely upon the degree of selflessness, earnestness, devotion, and last, but not least, on the amount of knowledge and wisdom possessed by those members, on whom it will fall to carry on the work, and to direct the Society after the death of the Founders."

"Unite and work as one mind, one heart," said H. P. B. to the Conventions in her time (1890). And in 1891:

Never has it been more necessary for members of the T. S. to lay to heart the old parable of the bundle of sticks than it is at the present time; divided, they will inevitably be broken, one by one; united, there is no force on earth able to destroy our Brotherhood.

Well then, in our time, a man comes and again repeats the same message to the Theosophical Movement: UNITE! Our present Leader, Dr. de Purucker, issued the plea to all Theosophists, no matter what their present organizational affiliations may be, to unite on the fundamental principles of Theosophy, if they really love H. P. B. and her work. I sometimes ask if some of our friends are blind that they do not see that here especially H. P. B.'s work and efforts are vindicated. And as to deeper aspects, hardly to be understood by the outside world, read H. P. B.'s article on "Chelas and Lay Chelas," see the state of affairs in those times, the dangers and difficulties, nay, disasters, compare the work done by the Leaders after she left and by the forces behind them with that which was done later, leading to a limitation of the dangers of the inner Path, the avoiding of sudden occurrences by the gradual steps, just as in the Mystery-School, which the T. S. indeed is.

For those who have made a study of the influences at work in the Theosophical Movement it is not only a fact that the T. S. will live on and through the twentieth century, that it is leavening and permeating in any case a great part of the mass of thinking and intelligent people, but also that it is being guided by the same forces as in H. P. B.'s time. And that guidance is of such a great importance to them and such an indescribable and continual inspiration to them, for that is indeed the greatest vindication of H. P. B.'s work we can ever think of. There was the unforgettable training of K. T. — and I mention this especially, because it may not be so well known to the members who have come in in later years preparing the way for greater things and by this very method vindicating Blavatsky's work and message in the most esoteric way. There is the grand work of G. de P., whose methods of work and guidance, whose marvelously clear and profound statements in the magazines and books, always confirming and corroborating H. P. B.'s teachings, i. e., the doctrines of the Esoteric Wisdom, prove to us that Blavatsky's promise that more would be given in this century if all went well, has been fulfilled to the letter.

Reflect! no disappointments in our T. S. as regards leadership and teachings, always proofs of the impersonal forces working through the top of the hierarchy, always definite evidence that H. P. B.'s teachings were given out in strict conformity with the indications of the Great Ones who sent her. No withdrawal of fragments of doctrines or even of whole aspects of teachings, but, on the contrary, an ever greater vision is given to us of the esoteric, majestic verities in The Secret Doctrine. Is not this a vindication that should make us think and guide us as to the work we have to do for the future? For we should not forget that the greatest vindication of H. P. B.'s work is still to come by our work, i. e., by our trying to prepare the time as pioneers in our days for the realization of the Theosophical basis of life for every human being, for communities and nations, indeed for the whole world. This very Convention shows us that we mean business, this very meeting of members and officials from various places in Europe is a most beautiful vindication of the noble efforts of the lion-hearted Founder of the Theosophical Movement.

H. P. B., her work and message! The insignia majestatis of the really Great Ones were there. The real teachers always have that great impersonality, there is no desire or effort to make personal followers. They seem to say: I only do my duty, I teach but to pass on. They always make us love humanity and never attract attention to themselves, for which very fact they must needs get our attention in the shape of great respect and gratitude. They teach us that we should in our turn be impersonal instruments, that really nothing remains of us but the spiritual aroma of our work as such instruments, though this will come back even in future manvantaras!


The Theosophical Forum

THEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE