EXPLANATIONS CONCERNING THE CONTROVERSY ON OCCULTISM
[This is a translation from the French, copied from H. P. B.'s Scrapbook, Vol. XVII, pp. 125-29, by courtesy of the Theosophical Society, Adyar. The original appeared in Bulletin Mensuel de la Societe Scientifique d'Etudes Psychologiques (Paris), 15 juin, 1883. The Editor of the Bulletin evidently published only a few extracts from a letter he had received from H. P. Blavatsky. — Eds.]
Extracts from a Letter of Madame Blavatsky
Madras, 17 May, 1883.
To Mr. Fauvety, President of the Scientific Society for Psychological Studies.
The monthly Bulletin of the Society of which you are president, issue for April, 1883, has been read and translated to our members of the Occult branch of the Theosophical Society, and it is in the name of that branch, and of the entire Society which seems to have been confounded with that branch by the Spiritualists in a very unexpected manner, that I come to you to ask for justice. This letter will be followed by a formal reply, which, we earnestly hope, you will have the kindness to publish in your Bulletin.
It is impossible for me, in the limited space of an official letter, to enumerate all the errors and false interpretations which abound in the addresses delivered at the meetings of the 6th and 21st of March. It should suffice if I assure you that those persons who have accused us of such absurdities as I have found in "the refutations" have never read The Theosophist. . .
While waiting for our Refutation of the "Refutations of the Spiritualists" which will reach you by the next mail, I have the honor to beg you to make in our name the following declaration to your esteemed Society:
1. It is not true that the Theosophical Occultists of the Orient have ever preached or preach ANNIHILATION.
2. It is entirely false to say or to suggest, as Mr. T. . . . has done, that we, the Founders of the Society, or any of the members of the Occult branch, have ever declared that the basis on which you (Spiritualists) rest your inferences — "that of the immortality of the conscious (Spiritual) Ego is fundamentally false. . ." I can indicate places in The Theosophist, as well as in writings signed by Occultists, where it is affirmed in the clearest manner that the 7th, the 6th principles, the Divine Monad and its vehicle, the spiritual soul (which make a unity) are immortal, indestructible and infinite. Believing in the innumerable reincarnations of the "spiritual Ego," the only "conscious Self" in Eternity, not one of us, Occultists, could ever say that the individual consciousness was annihilated or that the "spiritual Ego" could fall back into the world of cosmic, primal matter. . .
Finally, let it be understood! The Society preaches universal brotherhood based on equality, charity, tolerance and mutual love. It accepts all beliefs because it does not admit infallibility (its own any more than that of others), and, in not admitting that, it observes, studies, compares, and takes note of everything without declaring anything as final. As to its branches, so long as they practice brotherhood, each branch can believe whatever it likes, because in matters of religion and belief, a Hottentot knows as much as a Fenelon. The fine speeches and assertions of a Tyndall are as worth-while as those of his housemaid, and the Society accepts nothing but FACTS.
Now, facts cannot be accepted as such on the evidence of one or a hundred thousand persons, but only on personal evidence appropriate to each individual. It goes without saying that I am speaking now of psychological and purely subjective facts, and not of physical facts. Hence the universal tolerance among Theosophists, one of the rules most positively enjoined. . . .
I offer you my apologies, Mr. President, for not being able to express my ideas more clearly. It is ten or eleven years since I have had occasion to speak or write in French, and I have therefore begun to forget it. But I have confidence in your intuition and above all in your deep sense of justice. As I have already had the honor of writing to you, we never attack anyone, but it is surely permissible for us to defend ourselves when we are attacked, and so unjustly at that. Mr. X. has been pleased. ... to present us as charlatans preaching a false science, and it has pleased you to publish that accusation. You will allow us then to answer these accusations with the proofs in our hands, etc. . . Meanwhile, please accept, etc. . . .
(Signed) H. P. Blavatsky,
Corresponding Secretary of the Theosophical Society,
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