[Trevor Barker was, as he himself declared, a dyed in the wool H. P. B. Theosophist, that is, he looked to H. P. Blavatsky as the criterion of the teachings of Theosophy. He recognised in her the chosen Messenger of the Masters of Wisdom for that most difficult period of history, the end of the nineteenth century, marking the beginning of the breaking up of materialism and the first faint dawn of renewed spiritual light for the western world.
Without H. P. B. it is difficult to imagine what Theosophy would be. She was its great champion, its great interpreter to the west. She labored for it until death unremittingly. She died for her beloved Theosophical Society. She poured her very heart's blood into it and gave it dynamic life. No wonder that those who are students of the teachings she brought hold her in reverence, for her message was for the spiritual regeneration of the human race. It was nobly begun. It has continued to this day; and each one who studies the teachings of Theosophy and endeavors to practise them and pass them on to others aids in that spiritual march begun again in 1875, with the blessing of Masters, and the guiding hand of H. P. B.
In this chapter Trevor Barker pays tribute to the grand soul we knew as H. P. B. Included also is a valuable article on W. Q. Judge, H. P. B.'s loyal sustainer and esoteric successor.]
[The connexion with the historic occasion of the H. P. B. Centennial Conference in London in June 1931, the following invitation was sent to outstanding members and executive officers of the different Theosophical Societies in Europe.]
Dear ----, As you know, 1931 is the Centenary of the birth of H. P. B., and we are endeavoring to make the year a memorable one in the history of the Theosophical Movement by inviting representative members of all the different Theosophical Societies to come together in friendly conference — not only to pay a tribute in words to the memory of H. P. B., but to realize practically the great ideal of a "real living fraternity" for which she labored and gave her life.
We feel sure that you will have constructive ideas which would be of value to the whole Movement, just as we hope and believe that we may have ideas which would be of similar benefit. For these reasons we are confident that nothing but good can result if some of the active members of the different societies come together on this occasion for a fair, free and friendly exchange of views in the true spirit of Theosophical comradeship. The time is surely ripe for us all to realize that the ideal of Universal Brotherhood must be given a wider application than mere harmony amongst the individual associates of one particular society — absolutely necessary as that may be.
Owing to the practical impossibility for many European Theosophists of undertaking the long and expensive journey to Point Loma for the Centennial Conference which will take place there on August 11th, we are holding a similar gathering here in London on June 24th, which should be more convenient for the majority. Therefore on behalf of the Leader of the Society, Dr. de Purucker, who intends to be in London himself, it is with very great pleasure that I extend to you his invitation to take part with us in what should prove a truly memorable gathering. The meeting will begin probably at 11 a.m. at this address. Admission will be by card only, and this will be sent to you in due course.
It is not proposed, and I would emphasize this, that our Conference should take the form of a business meeting at which definite undertakings would be entered into. On the contrary the procedure will be as informal as possible, and there will be no voting. All those taking part will meet on equal terms, and everyone will be invited to state his views without fear or favor, so that by mutual understanding and good-will we may learn to know each other better.
May we ask you to be so good as to reply at an early date to this invitation, which we trust, in the interest of the Movement, you will see your way to accept.
Believe me, Very sincerely and fraternally yours,
A. TREVOR BARKER,
President English Section.
— Remarks of A. Trevor Barker as Chairman of the H. P. B. Centennial Conference held in London, June 24, 1931.
Fellow Theosophists and Brothers: We are assembled here together today to pay a tribute to the work and memory of H. P. Blavatsky who founded the Theosophical Society in 1875 as the agent and messenger of that holy Brotherhood of living men whom we call the Masters of Wisdom, Compassion, and Peace. In Their name she performed her great work for humanity through toil and sacrifice and suffering which is only paralleled in the lives of the Great Teachers and Saviors of the Human Race. She lived and worked to make possible a real living Fraternity among men — and with the same high end in view we have come here at the invitation of Dr. de Purucker.
Brothers, there is no higher tribute we can pay to the memory of the Great Teacher than to honor the Truths she taught, to demonstrate them practically in our own lives and make them part of the very fabric of our being.
I venture to say that in coming here today, many from long distances by land and by sea, and accepting the hand of friendship so sincerely held out to you, you have by that act alone paid a genuine tribute to H. P. B., and have proved before the world that Theosophists are capable of practising the Brotherhood they preach. Just as you have trusted us in coming here today, so do we trust you not to break the sacred law of Brotherhood in anything you may say from this platform. We want to use this magnificent opportunity to get to know and understand each other better and to discuss in an entirely impersonal and constructive way how as members of different Theosophical organizations we can best co-operate to present H. P. B.'s message to the world. It is a great opportunity, Brothers, and we must all feel called in this hour to rise above limited personal views into the pure air of Eternal Ideas. Let us disabuse our minds here and now of any intention in our speeches to criticize any brother Theosophist, present or absent, and that applies equally to the policy pursued by any Society. This conference is not merely to listen to the views of the Point Loma Society or its Leader, not at all; on the contrary, we are sincerely desirous of hearing from you an expression of the ideals for which you stand, of the hopes and aspirations towards which you are looking in the sacred cause which we all hold dear. The Society to which belong stands simply and truly for what is known as the Blavatsky tradition in Theosophical work. We are proud to wear the uniform of H. P. B., and to uphold her teaching in any and every circumstance. We believe that in remaining true to the lines she laid down as the direct agent of the Masters who sent her forth, lies the road of Salvation for the Theosophical Movement today.
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Brothers, I want you to allow me to express what I feel, as nominal chairman of this Conference today. I want to thank you for the very fair spirit which everybody has shown in speaking here today, because I do think that all must agree that they have played the game in the spirit in which the meeting was convened; and it must mean for us that in the future we shall not have the same hesitation in joining together in an impersonal way for our common purposes; and that is, after all, the thing to be achieved.
Several remarks have been made about practical proposals. May I say, just speaking for myself as a Blavatsky Theosophist, that I believe one of the most practical things that we can do, while still remaining as members of our own different organizations, is to come together every so often, not in a semi-formal affair of this kind, but just in an informal friendly way, for joint study; because we can give to each other such a tremendous amount of help. We none of us know the whole philosophy, and only comparatively little of any part of it; and to hear Brother-Theosophists of other Societies expounding H. P. B.'s teachings is something that warms the heart and brings our minds together as nothing else in the world can.
I confess to you that I am a dyed-in-the-wool H. P. B. Theosophist. For me her writings will always be the criterion of Theosophy, and I try in my own studies to empty my mind of whatever preconceptions I may have, and, as it were, to go with as clean a slate as I can to those great teachings, and there to hear and to listen and to study and to read and to try to fill my mind with the great truths that she brought to us. Ultimately I believe that it is on the basis of H. P. B.'s teachings that all the different Theosophical Sections will come together. That is my own belief.
One speaks about such a subject as we have in tonight's lecture with a good deal of diffidence, because it is very difficult for ordinary mortals to do justice in any way to all that lies enshrined for Theosophists in the name of H. P. B. and those Great Teachers who sent her forth into the world.
As her name implies she was a Russian, and she was born in the year 1831, on the 31st of July. She came of aristocratic parents, and she married, very much against her will, the elderly Russian general Blavatsky when she was but seventeen years of age. The story goes that she ran away from him after the first few hours of this purely nominal marriage. She was now entirely dependent upon her father, a Colonel in the army, and she proceeded to travel extensively, not only in the West but also (and mainly) in the Near and Far East, seeking always for those centers of occult learning which she had always felt to exist, hidden from the sight of men. She believed in the existence of an Occult Brotherhood in whose hands were the keys of many, if not all, of the problems and mysteries that perplex men and women in the world — scientific, religious and philosophic — and in seeking she found.
The reason, I suggest, why she was admitted into the sanctuaries in Eastern lands, was because the real entity within H. P. Blavatsky, within the outer form of the woman of Western blood, was actually one of the Great Brotherhood of Adepts or Initiates who guard these occult centers, and thus she had an "Open Sesame" to every one of them. You will find in Theosophical literature the statement that there are two or three main centers of this Occult Brotherhood, and the first one that she visited was in Egypt. That center, of course, still exists today, and the agents of the Egyptian Section of the Great Lodge are particularly active in that ancient and mysterious land.
Then she traveled through Persia and the Near East, going through Afghanistan, I believe, also visiting various parts of India; and eventually spending many years in Tibet, from which country she had actually been sent to the Western world. These are all details of the inner or private life of one that we knew, or that history speaks of, as H. P. Blavatsky.
Many, I dare say, will wonder as to the nature of those mysterious beings who have the power to send such a person as H. P. B. into the world.
The teachers of H. P. B. were men, but saintly men — men of vast Wisdom and Knowledge and Compassion: men who had mastered the occult secrets of nature by perfecting their own spiritual, intellectual, psychical and physical natures to the utmost possible degree. Therefore not alone with spirit entities did she commune but with living men, who were able to show her how to unlock the mysteries of nature, and thus regain the knowledge that had been hers in former incarnations.
She had been exiled from the physical presence of her Teachers for many years, and however much she might have lived with them spiritually and psychically during every hour of the day and every hour of the night, her actual life was naturally an exiled one and in a very true sense a crucifixion. So you can understand what a tremendous thing it meant to her when she received an order one day to go to Sikkim and there to spend at least a few hours with the two Teachers to whom she owed all that she had of spiritual value in her life; those two to whom she owed all the occult knowledge that she possessed; and, as she said in one part of her writings, with whose help and by whose hands her very soul was brought to birth in that incarnation. It is in this atmosphere that we read her own words about the journey.
The fact is that had I not left Bombay in the greatest secrecy-even some Theosophists who visit us believing me at home but busy and invisible as usual — had I not gone incognito so to say till I reached the hills and turned off the railway to enter Sikkim I would have never been allowed to enter it unmolested, and would not have seen M. and K. H. in their bodies both. Lord, I would have been dead by this time. Oh the blessed blessed two days! It was like the old times when the bear paid me a visit. The same kind of wooden hut, a box divided into three compartments for rooms, and standing in a jungle on four pelican's legs; the same yellow chelas gliding noiselessly; the same eternal "gul-gul-gul" sound of my Boss's inextinguishable chelum pipe; the old familiar sweet voice of your K. H. (whose voice is still sweeter and face still thinner and more transparent) the same entourage for furniture — skins, and yak-tail stuffed pillows and dishes for salt tea, etc. Well when I went to Darjeeling sent away by them — "out of reach of the chelas, who might fall in love with my beauty" said my polite boss — on the following day already I received the note I enclose from the Deputy Commissioner warning me not to go to Tibet! ! He locked the stable door after the horse had been already out. Very luckily; because when the infernal six or seven babus who stuck to me like parasites went to ask passes for Sikkim they were refused point blank and the Theos. Society abused and jeered at. But I had my revenge. I wrote to the Deputy Commissioner and told him I had permission from Government — the fact of Government not answering for my safety being of little importance since I would be safer in Tibet than in London; that after all I did go twenty or thirty miles beyond Sikkim territory and remained there two days and nothing happened bad to me and there I was. Several ladies and gentlemen anxious to see "the remarkable woman," pester me to death with their visits, but I have refused persistently to see any of them. Let them be offended. What the d----- do I care. I won't see anyone. I came here for our Brothers and Chelas and the rest may go and be hanged. Thanks for your offer. I do mean to pay you a visit but I cannot leave Darjeeling until my Boss is hovering near by. He goes away in a week or ten days and then I will leave D. and if you permit me to wait for you at your house I will do so with real pleasure. But I cannot be there much before the 20th so if you write to tell them it will be all right.
That is just one little cameo from her own writings. You will find that letter on page 38 in the volume called The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett and many such incidents which throw a side-light upon the esotericism of the Great Lodge.
One has to remember that H. P. Blavatsky's life was necessarily a very strange one, and there is a great difference between her life after 1875, when she founded the Theosophical Society, and the period up to that time.
One of the things that was hardest for her to bear was the fact that when the enemies of the Theosophical Movement, of which she raised a perfect legion, could not sink her philosophy; when they found that she was capable of tearing to pieces their materialistic and dogmatic arguments, and confounding them with logic and titanic intellectual power that simply staggered them; when they found that she gave them a philosophy that for completeness the world has never had anything to equal, one which literally embraced the Universe; then they fell back upon trying to pick holes in some detail, some incident, that might besmirch the early days of her life before she became a public character — the old, old trick. This is what she says on page 145 of the same book before quoted:
The whole of my life except the weeks and months I passed with the Masters, in Egypt or in Tibet, is so inextricably full of events with whose secrets and real actuality the dead and the living are concerned, and I made only responsible for their outward appearance, that to vindicate myself, I would have to step on a hecatomb of the dead and cover with dirt the living. I will not do so. For, firstly, it will do me no good except adding to the other epithets I am graced with, that of a slanderer of post mortem reputation, and accused, perhaps, of chantage and blackmail; and secondly I am an Occultist, as I told you. You speak of my "susceptibilities" with regard to my relatives, I say it is occultism, not susceptibilities. I KNOW the effect it would have on the dead, and want to forget the living. This is my last and final decision: I WILL NOT TOUCH THEM.
Now I could, but I do not want to, omit mention altogether of the gross attack that was made on H. P. B. It is very difficult, in attempting to deal with this extraordinary and outstanding figure of the latter part of the last century, to know how to present to those who know nothing about the subject the essential facts: what to say; what to leave out. It is certain that no uninitiated psychologist could ever solve the mystery of H. P. B., for he would be dealing with problems of the mysteries of occult development, mysteries of the sanctuary and the mind of an Initiated Adept — all incarnated in a woman's body.
She was accused of fraud; she was accused, like some common or garden medium, of descending to trickery in the production of what are known as "The Mahatma Letters," and the agents for this conspiracy — for such it was — were a certain Monsieur and Madame Coulomb, whom she befriended when they were starving. She picked them up in Egypt; took them with her, if I am not mistaken, or they followed her, to Bombay, where they deliberately set about to collect bits and snippets of letters and communications in her own hand-writing, and even went so far as to take odd sentences from them. Then Coulomb, who was capable of copying perfectly the writing of the Mahatma, proceeded to make up letters based upon these odd sentences, which produced the most fiendish indictment of the whole of H. P. B.'s work and mission, and needless to say, her private character.
This is what she says about it on pages 110 and 111:
But those secrets were "open letters" for years. Why should I complain? Has not Master left it to my choice, to either follow the dictates of Lord Buddha, who enjoins us not to fail to feed even a starving serpent, scorning all fear lest it should turn round and bite the hand that feeds it — or to face Karma which is sure to punish him, who turns away from the sight of sin and misery, or fails to relieve the sinner and the sufferer. I knew her and tried my best not to hate her, and since I always failed in the latter, I tried to make it up by sheltering and feeding the vile snake. I have what I deserve, not for the sins I am charged with but for those which no one — save Master and myself know of. Am I greater, or in any way better, than were St. Germain, and Cagliostro, Giordano Bruno and Paracelsus, and so many many other martyrs whose names appear in the Encyclopedias of the 19th cent. over the meritorious titles of charlatans and impostors? It shall be the Karma of the blind and wicked judges — not mine. In Rome, Darbargiri Nath went to the prison of Cagliostro at the Fort Sant Angelo, and remained in the terrible hole for more than an hour. What he did there, would give Mr. Hodgson the ground work for another scientific Report if he could only investigate the fact.
No; it is not "the Brothers' policy of covering up such evidence . . . of their existence" — but that of the MAHA CHOHAN, and it is Mahatma K. H.'s Karma. If you have never given a thought to what may be His suffering during the human intervals of His Mahatmaship — then you have something yet to learn. "You were warned" — says his Chohan — and He answers — "I was." Still He says He is glad He is yet no Mejnoor, no dried up plant, and that had He to suffer over and over again — He would still do the same for He knows that real good for humanity has come out from all this suffering, and that such books as "Esoteric Buddhism" and "Karma" would not have been written for years to come had He not communicated with you, and had not orders been given to me to do what I have done — stupidly sometimes as I may have carried them out.
These are Mahatma K. H.'s own words. No; He is not "right away in Nirvana" — except during the hours of His Mahatmaship. His "devachan" is far off yet, and people may hear of Him when they expect it the least. I never see or hear of Him, lately — D. N. does. But I know what I say, though I have no orders to tell it to anyone. Remember only that He suffers more, perhaps, than any one of us. And you do not know how right you are in saying that "Well as He loved, He will love me truly — Yea, even better than I love Him" — for even you can never love Him as well as He loves you — that particle of Humanity which did its best to help on and benefit Humanity — "the great orphan" He speaks of in one of His letters.
If we use our minds rightly when we read or hear these sacred things, we shall necessarily gain a deeper understanding of what the great Masters really are, the nature of their work, and what they are trying to bring about in the Movement which They founded.
"I pledge myself to support before the world the Theosophical Movement, its Leaders and its Members. . . .
". . . A brave declaration of principles, and a valiant defence of those who are unjustly attacked. . . ." — M.
All active workers in the Theosophical Movement are under an obligation to act always in terms of the above quotations, and probably most of them are under the impression that they do give effect to the principles involved at least sufficiently to keep their conscience quiet. There is an all too prevalent attitude of apathy among Theosophists in regard to the whole question of the support of H. P. Blavatsky before the world, and the defence of her reputation and literary integrity whenever these are attacked. There are those who have accepted her Teaching, but have not for a moment considered that in doing so they have incurred a debt and an obligation to her memory which they could not adequately repay, even if they did all that lies in their power to support her before the world in every situation in which such support is called for. More than one of this kind of Theosophist has stated: "H. P. B. does not need any defence as far as I am concerned; therefore I do not need to bother my head about it." It does not seem to have occurred to them that the following words of the Master K. H. on this subject were not uttered for amusement, but on the contrary as a warning, and indeed almost as a command. In The Mahatma Letters we find these passages:
p. 362. Let the eyes of the most intellectual among the public be opened to the foul conspiracy against Theosophy that is going on in missionary circles and in one year's time you will have regained your footing. In India it is: "either Christ or the Founders (!!) Let us stone them to death!" They have nearly finished killing one — they are now attacking the other victim — Olcott. The padris are as busy as bees. The P. R. S. has given them an excellent opportunity of making capital of their ambassador. — Mr. Hodgson fell quite easily a victim to false evidence; . . . but there is no doubt that if the Society collapses it will be due to him.
p. 257. I say again what you like me not to say, namely that no regular instruction, no regular communication is possible between us before our mutual path is cleared of its many impediments. The greatest being the public misconception about the Founders.
p. 365. Could but your London Lodge understand, or so much as suspect, that the present crisis that is shaking the T. S. to its foundations is a question of perdition or salvation to thousands; a question of the progress of the human race or its retrogression, of its glory or dishonour, and for the majority of this race — of being or not being, of annihilation, in fact-perchance many of you would look into the very root of evil, and instead of being — guided by false appearances and scientific decisions, you would set to work and save the situation by disclosing the dishonourable doings of your missionary world.
p. 251. On the other hand we claim to know more of the secret cause of events than you men of the world do. I say then that it is the vilification and abuse of the Founders, the general misconception of the aims and objects of the Society that paralyses its progress — nothing else.
Words could not be more clear, and herein lies the root cause of the lack of wide public support of the modern Theosophical Movement that we all of us deplore and for which many of us are seeking the right means to overcome. The plain truth is that the reputation of the Founders down to the present moment has never been rehabilitated in the public mind in a thoroughly radical fashion. This is partly due to the fact that the data to be found scattered over the early Theosophical literature has never up to the present time been available in published documents. But today that situation is changed. Most if not all of the necessary information is now available for those who seek it.
Probably many of our readers are unaware of these words of H. P. B. to William Q. Judge, which we quote from a private letter written about 1887, and referred to occasionally in Theosophical periodicals: "I am the Mother and the Creator of the Society; it has my magnetic fluid. . . . Therefore I alone, and to a degree Olcott, can serve as a lightning conductor of Karma for it. I was asked whether I was willing when at the point of dying — and I said Yes — for it was the only means to save it. Therefore I consented to live — which in my case means to suffer physically during 12 hours of the day — mentally 12 hours of the night when I get rid of the physical shell. . . ."
In Occultism ingratitude is a crime which inevitably brings its own nemesis by the withdrawal of at least some of the influence and inspiration of the Higher Self. Can we take the waters of life from a spiritual Teacher and at the same time by our supine passivity and neglect insult the memory of that Teacher without paying for it? Should we not do well to reflect on the deep meaning of that little known incident which occurred during H. P. B.'s lifetime at her house in Lansdowne Road? Six or eight of her pupils were gathered together one evening in one of the upper rooms. Bertram Keightley was there, and also Mrs. Cleather, who recorded the incident on page 17 of her book H. P. Blavatsky as I knew her. They had been discussing a scurrilous attack on H. P. B. that had just appeared in the Westminster Gazette, but it had never occurred to any of them that they should do anything about it, or make any reply. We quote:
Suddenly H. P. B.'s bell rang somewhat violently, and Mr. Keightley jumped up with some semi-jocular remark and ran downstairs to her room. . . . While Mr. Keightley was downstairs we just went on with our desultory talk; after a few minutes he returned with a very long face and serious manner. He said we were under severe reproof by the Master, who (unseen, of course) had been in the room while we were so light-heartedly discussing the newspaper attack on our "Outer Head." He had descended immediately to H. P. B. in great displeasure, telling her to inform us that if this was our conception of keeping our newly-taken pledge we had better all resign at once. We — at least I can speak for myself — were terribly ashamed, and all with one accord sat down at once and wrote as good a defence and indignant protest as in us lay. I do not remember the sequel, but certainly one, if not more, of those letters were inserted.
Surely this is sufficient evidence for those who are in need of it, of what must be the opinion of the Teachers of H. P. B. today whenever they look over the record of the activities of the members of the different Theosophical organizations. Need we doubt for a moment that they will not hold us guiltless for failing to seize the glorious opportunity that is now presented to us of establishing H. P. B. in the public mind in that place which was rightfully hers even during her lifetime? The thing that made H. P. B. suffer almost more than anything else was the weakness and slackness in her defence on the part of those for whom she had given her lifeblood to teach. It is not suggested that individual Theosophists should rush into print, for at the moment of writing these words there is no immediate necessity, but what we believe they are called upon to do is to instruct themselves as to the evidence which is now available, which proves conclusively to any interested person that H. P. B. was neither a fraud nor a charlatan; that she was never a deceiver, but a transmitter from The Great Lodge to the Western World of that priceless body of Occult doctrine which is at once the spiritual heritage of our race, and our hope for the future.
— From a Report of a White Lotus Day Meeting, held in London, May, 1932. At this gathering were members of various Theosophical Societies as well as friends from other Groups who came to join in tribute to H. P. Blavatsky.
Fellow Theosophists, Friends, Brothers: May I welcome you here tonight in the name of Dr. de Purucker and the Point Loma Theosophical Society? There are present members of at least six different organizations. Let us each realize our unity with each other in this short hour that we will be together in the memory of our beloved H. P. B. Let us first together enter into two minutes of silence in memory of H. P. B. and those who have passed on since 1891, and let us strive together to enter into the consciousness of that Brotherhood whose Messenger she was.
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It is almost a year since some of us met together (on June 24th it was) to celebrate the Centennial Conference. That occasion was one of which afterwards quite a number of people said, "Well, it did not accomplish very much," but we of Point Loma felt that far more had been accomplished than actually appeared on the surface. And, Brothers, you see actually what was accomplished, in this wonderful meeting here tonight. Do you realize that had it not been for the fact that we came together for the first time, I believe, in some thirty years, as members of different Theosophical organizations, this meeting here tonight would not have been possible?
Many prematurely are looking for concrete, tangible agreements between Theosophists of different organizations; but we must not try to run before we can walk. I believe that the greatest tribute that we, as individual Theosophists, can pay to H. P. B., is to demonstrate to each other and to the world the fact that we have made Theosophy a living power in our lives to the extent that at least we practice the brotherhood that we preach.
Now I want to say just one thing in this same connexion. It is this: the most that we can hope for at the present time is that by coming together occasionally on such occasions as this, and I hope by the interchange of speakers and lecturers among different Theosophical organizations, we shall learn to trust each other — and do not think that by that I mean any empty platitude — I do not; because too long has it been the unfortunate circumstance that to approach a fellow Theosophist of another organization means suspicion and distrust. Brothers, I believe that era has gone for ever, and believe me we do far more for the cause of Theosophy than we imagine if we have succeeded in just laying that one basis in our hearts and in our minds; the knowledge nay, the certainty that if one organization approaches another they know that their confidence will not be misplaced; that there will be nothing said by speakers of that other organization which would betray their trust and betray their confidence; and if we hold to just that one fact progressively in the coming months, you will be astonished, I believe, at the progress that we make toward the unification of the Theosophical movement.
H. P. B. stands as a symbol. What of? Is it her personality that we worship? Brothers and friends, let no one run away with such a misapprehension. All who love the memory of H. P. B. do so because she stands as a symbol of Masters' work — nothing else; and if we are going to do more than pay lip-tributes to the memory of H. P. B., as I see it, we have got to do two things; we have got to acquire a knowledge of what she has written, we have to study it and apply it in our own lives; and then we have got to take that knowledge, not only to the public, but on the basis of H. P. B.'s teachings we have got to find the basis for unity amongst the different Theosophical Societies. Let there be no mistake about it as to what H. P. B.'s position really was and is for the Theosophical movement. I am going to quote you these few words from one who remained true to her to the end of his life:
'The plain unvarnished truth, which hurts no one save the man who denies it, is that H. P. Blavatsky was the head, front, bottom, top, outskirts, past and future of the Theosophical Society. We were all but pawns on the chess-board, but however the facts may come out it remains a fact that the Theosophical Society stands or falls by H. P. Blavatsky. Give her up as an idea, withdraw from the Path traced by her under orders, belittle her, and the organization will rot; but remember her and what she represented and we triumph.'
Brothers, that is the position today. You demonstrate here tonight that the cause of H. P. B. is going to triumph; and the cause of H. P. B. is that of Universal Brotherhood; it is the cause of Theosophy, and in the lifetime of most of us the success of that cause is assured.
Brother Theosophists, before we part tonight may I appeal to those who are Theosophists at heart to take back with them to their Lodge-rooms the memory of the fact that it was the force of the spirit of H. P. B. that had the drawing power to bring us together tonight; and remember that the power of her message will fill your Lodge-rooms in just the same way in the years that are coming. Let us remember this meeting by welcoming to our individual Lodges the members of all other Theosophical organizations.
— From a Report of a joint Meeting of the London Lodge of the Point Loma T. S. with the Phoenix Lodge of the Adyar T. S., May 8, 1934.
Fellow Theosophists, Brothers and Friends: We meet together here on the 8th of May as we love to do, to do honor to the memory of H. P. B., and I would like first of all, just to give a warm welcome to our guests, the members of the Phoenix Lodge, and any members of other Societies who are present with us tonight. We believe that on this day of the year there is probably no more fitting tribute to H. P. B.'s memory than that we should do something to demonstrate, as it were, that the idea of a real spiritual fraternity or fellowship is gradually coming to birth in this Western world of ours; that members of different organizations can come together upon a common basis in their realization of their unity with one and all, their common search for Truth, and their devotion to the Ancient Wisdom teachings that she brought to us. The main work of H. P. B. was the giving of the teachings which the Theosophical Society was created as an instrument to disseminate; but during her lifetime, unfortunately, the knowledge was brought home to her that her efforts were largely frustrated: the soil in which the teachings could alone germinate and fructify, the indispensable pre-requisite, was the existence of real brotherhood amongst the Theosophists and those who study her teachings.
I believe the time is very close at hand now when the work of the modern Theosophical Movement will really become a living fire; not only amongst the members of the different Theosophical Societies, but it will arouse the attention of the highest minds all over the world because they will discover that Theosophists, of whatever affiliation, can meet and work together in the common cause that they all love, and which she came to serve.
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It needs very few words of mine to conclude what is to me always one of the most beautiful meetings of the year. I would just like to say how at one I feel with the remarks of Brother Hamilton-Jones [President, Phoenix Lodge], where he emphasizes that part of the message of H. P. B., which insisted upon the necessity of our rising out of our ordinary everyday consciousness into a realization of the higher one. I would like to add this thought. Can we not, as our tribute to H. P. B. today, with the Fellowship that we have with each other now, begin to recognise that Universal Brotherhood need no longer be for us a mere hope and an ideal, but that it is possible for us to realize it in the true way. We cannot do the brotherly things that we would unless we follow her teaching, to the extent that we are able to rise into that higher self-consciousness which Brother Hamilton-Jones spoke about. It is in that common experience — a realization of the Divinity within us — that we can, actually do, create amongst ourselves, the Brotherhood that H. P. B. came to found; and I would like to see, in the not too distant future, the respective Lodges that are met together here tonight find some basis upon which they could work more closely than they do even in spirit today. May I just say this: that there is a Lodge already founded in Canada which has a charter from Adyar, a Charter from Point Loma, and yet another from the United Lodge of Theosophists. What the result of it will be I do not know, but at least it seems a move in the right direction.
Shall we close with a minute or two of silence in memory of H. P. B. and the Wisdom that she brought us.
Wherever H. P. B. was, there appeared signs of new vitality in every direction; she was the center of energy.
It was said by many that her knowledge was ill-digested, that she arranged her materials badly, that she was misty, muddled and self-contradictory, and that she was hasty, that she "shut up" inquirers, that she repelled would-be disciples. Little wonder that she wrote to W. Q. J. that the T. S. was a "fiend" and that it needed a soul if not a spirit to incarnate into it to save it from destruction. But we must never forget that H. P. B. varied with the people who approached her. To the honest inquirer she was gentle and patient; she was abrupt, sharp and repellent to the merely curious, even if disguised under polite forms and fake courtesy. She was the test of the members, whatever substance was present was precipitated by the test. Do we not pledge ourselves to carry on this Work of which Humanity stands in as much need today as it did in H. P. B.'s time? This is really all one must care about. Being chosen by the Great Ones means that, whatever his personal oscillations, he has evolved "a holding center" to Them. Let us therefore try to aim at this ideal, of having a "holding center" to Those responsible for the Society, and remembering at the same time that others may have that "holding center" as well, and that we must fix our minds on that and not on the imperfections of their human frailty.
QUESTION: We are all well aware of the fact that Mme. Blavatsky was an unusually intellectual woman and most helpful to the Masters; but why did the Masters single out a personality irritable at the slightest provocation and one with so little self-control? How is it that a more Christ-like figure was not chosen than H. P. B. for the Theosophical work? Her personal life does not encourage one to accept all she says.
ANSWER: Well, I am sorry in a way that somebody has picked on the personal life of H. P. B.! I would suggest that the questioner make himself or herself familiar with records of what was the life of H. P. B. I would suggest that he read The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett. I would suggest that he read what the Masters of Wisdom have said about H. P. B.
"That her life was not Christ-like"! Are you sure? What basis do you judge from? How can you judge? You never knew her and have only got mere stories of various people, and most of them uncharitable, destructive critics. How many people agree upon the report of the simplest incident of human life, and how much can you expect of those whose whole being was challenged by that titanic force that was imbodied in H. P. B.? Don't you see that she took the Western world in a grip of the lion's paw, and simply shook their beliefs and their prejudices and their preconceptions, based upon the materialistic scientific thought of the age, their religious conceptions? She was out to smash the molds of men's minds; she was out to draw them from those ideas that enslave men's minds. From every point of view she simply created a furor, and in the middle of it she gave us a philosophy which is second to none that the world has ever known or seen, and, moreover, that has never once been successfully challenged. There is not one of you that can knock a hole in the bottom of H. P. B.'s philosophy. I ask you to try it. You cannot do it; and what does this mean? It means that her opponents are driven to do — what? To traduce her moral character. You see it is the old, old trick.
H. P. B. in the records of our own Theosophical literature was outwardly a sick, rickety old personality. She was extremely ill; but remember that she was working here sixteen or eighteen hours a day chained to a desk. Look at her writings; look what she produced. Do you know that her works will run to fourteen or fifteen volumes when they are all put together? Think of it! And then see the innumerable records of that kindly, compassionate heart. Do you think that the kind of wisdom that you find in H. P. B.'s works could come from other than a member of the Brotherhood that sent her forth? The very keynote of her is compassion, which is something that flows forth from the Christ-like nature; and I am afraid I take very little account of her nervous excitability, which came about as much as anything from her ill-health and from the psychic maelstrom of which she was the focus by reason of the iconoclastic work that she did. Do you not see the picture? If I were you I should hesitate to judge one of the titan intellects of the age. I should indeed!
I will just give you one suggestion as to a possible reason why she was imbodied in such a — shades of H. P. B.! she probably wouldn't mind my saying it — such a clumsy old female body. Do you know what they did to Jesus? Worshiped the external form, and made a personal God of it. It looks to me as if the Masters of Wisdom had no intention of permitting their Messenger in this cycle to be made into any kind of personal God. Human nature instinctively worships external beauty. She had not, perhaps, a beautiful external form; and the very nature of her mission was such that I do not think there was any danger of the later generations of human beings being permitted to make a personal God of her. The Masters were determined that her Message should be judged upon its merits and nothing else.
Friends: We are met together here tonight to do honor to the memory of William Q. Judge, to whom we owe it that we have the privilege of meeting together here week after week. It was owing to William Quan Judge that the American Section of the Society remained in being; and it has been said, and said very truly, that the present state of the Theosophical Movement cannot be understood correctly unless one understands the significance and place of Judge's work. For a few minutes we want to go over the facts of his life as they are recorded for us, to see why he holds such a high place in our hearts.
Judge was born in 1851 in Ireland, and he died in 1896, so that he was still in his forties — he was a young man; and it was as a young man of only twenty-one years of age that he came into contact with H. P. B. He met her in New York just before 1875 and he was associated with her at the founding of the Society.
There is one wonderful thing that each of us, individually, as students of the great philosophy, ought to think of, and that is the amazing difficulties and personal struggles that Judge had to overcome in his own life. We are apt to remember only the splendor of the achievement of his later years, forgetting perhaps that, although it is on record that he took up his work in the body of William Quan Judge with a long history and record of devoted service to his credit, in spite of that and his great innate inherent knowledge, he passed through trials and tribulations and suffered in the Cause to which he was pledged more than any other with the exception of H. P. B.
H. P. B. herself said that Judge suffered more than any other chela at that time — and still he asked the least. That is one of the many things that she said about him; and there are on record many of his letters that go to show that, although H. P. B.'s great mission was brought home to him personally, by daily contact, throughout those early years before she left for India in 1878, the Masters, through her, became a reality to him, and as a result one might expect to find that Judge had that wonderful sense, that inner sense of contact with the blessed Masters throughout the whole of his Theosophical career. But Brothers, it was not so.
In spite of the fact that in 1888 we find H. P. B. writing of Judge that he was an accepted chela of thirteen years' standing, which meant that his past service had entitled him to become a chela from the very commencement of his contact with H. P. B.; in spite of that, he has placed it on record that after H. P. B. left for India he felt almost completely isolated, almost completely alone. He complains bitterly in his letters to Colonel Olcott — writing to H. P. B. begging for some news, some word through H. P. B. that he was not altogether forgotten. He was left to fight out his battle and conquer himself and he had to win that battle alone, and yet we know that during those years when he seemed even to himself to be left very much alone, the Masters themselves gave him the name of the "Resuscitator of Theosophy in America," during those years in which he slowly built the foundation of the Movement in that country.
Because he was a married man and had a child, we realize that he passed through all the experiences of humanity; and it must be that fact — added to his struggles against poverty and all the difficulties that we know that every aspirant to Theosophical knowledge has to pass through — it was those facts undoubtedly that gave him his tremendous breadth, his great sympathy, and his wonderful understanding and compassion.
Finally the clouds lifted in 1886, the hour of Judge's mission struck, and then he started that wonderful beacon of light — The Path. H. P. B. herself, then the editor of Lucifer said: "Judge, your magazine is pure Buddhi, and poor old Lucifer is nothing but the fighting, combating Manas." That is what she said of her pupil and his work, and there is no more delightful task for a student of Theosophy than to turn over the early pages of this magazine, in fact all the volumes of The Path, and see the inspiration that was in the articles that Mr. Judge put there. They are an absolute revelation to those in this day who are not familiar with his writings.
To anyone who would understand Theosophy I would earnestly recommend the study of those magazine-writings, because in them Theosophy is simplified, expounded and applied, made comprehensible to us. He was the first to bring it to the understanding, so to speak, of the man in the street.
Judge always did that. They said that he was not a good speaker. He had hardly any gifts of 'personality,' and yet, so those who heard him have told me, there was something in Judge's talks that always appealed to the very hearts of his listeners — because he had that profound knowledge and that profound understanding, he was able to strike fire into the hearts of all that heard him. It was a very wonderful quality; and more than once, to those of his pupils who complained to him personally that the clouds were coming and the light was blotted out he said: "I know, I know that place. Sit down till the clouds roll by, because certainly they will," and that is what he did himself.
The place of Judge in the Theosophical Movement, his important place, is that which be held after H. P. B. died, for he it was alone who maintained the esoteric tradition in the Theosophical Movement. By that I mean something very definite. Judge, throughout all his writings, throughout everything that he ever said, never wavered once in his loyalty to his first teacher, H. P. B. There was never any evidence that he wrote even a fraction off the line that she laid down. In that I suppose he gives us one of the most wonderful examples of constancy that any Theosophical student could possibly wish to have, and I draw your attention to it for this reason — that Judge died a martyr, and he died accused of having tampered with various communications from the Masters of whom he was the agent. If there were any truth in those accusations, there is not the slightest doubt that they would have found a reflexion in his public writings. At least, if there were a fraction of truth in them, he would have reacted by condemning his accusers, but he did not do it.
Judge, throughout the whole of those last two bitter years of his life, when he stood accused by those whom he had helped the most, and by some who should have known him best, simply bent his head. He denied the truth of the accusations. He could not offer any complete explanation, for the simple reason that he was bound by the esoteric rule of silence under which he was forced to work, and under which H. P. B. was also forced to work.
To try to understand the apparent inconsistencies in the life of H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge demands a far greater knowledge, a far greater understanding of the laws of the occult universe than most of us have; but you will find the explanation of many of those apparent inconsistencies in the first letter of the section called 'Probation and Chelaship' in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett. It deals with H. P. B. and there is a statement there that no messenger of the great Lodge is allowed to go out into the world "in his integral whole" unless he be an initiate of the fifth circle.
H. P. B., who taught William Quan Judge, had not passed that point, and therefore she was actually a psychological cripple in a peculiar way, because a certain portion of the constitution of the Messenger is actually missing, as the phrase in that letter goes. It is something which has never been publicly explained; but nevertheless the Master says that many apparent inconsistencies of conduct were due to the fact that the Messengers had not the power to fight and defend themselves. They had become, friends, literally in many respects, as regards their consciousness, as little children, and they had no more power either to offend or defend themselves in many ways than little children; and therefore those of us who can look over the history of the last fifty years, if we have not already as students, become convinced of the integrity of William Quan Judge, let us pause, let us hesitate before in our remotest thought we condemn one of the great Messengers that have come to us from the Lodge of Masters. It is a dangerous thing at any time to condemn others, but it is still more dangerous in the case of those who have come to bring us the light and the teachings that the great Messengers do bring.
I am irresistibly reminded of something that the present Leader of this Society, Dr. G. de Purucker, said recently at Point Loma in connexion with another great and misunderstood Messenger of the Great Lodge, Cagliostro. He was explaining something about the life of that individual; and having shown that the different names that he bore could all be explained esoterically and rendered in a particularly interesting manner, he goes on to say how strange it is that Cagliostro was called "an orphan, the unhappy child of nature." Friends, I just want to say that I am reading this to you because it does throw light on this question of William Quan Judge:
. . . every initiate is in 'orphan' without father, without mother, because mystically speaking every initiate is self-born. How strange it is that other names under which Cagliostro is stated to have lived at various times have in each instance a singular esoteric signification! Study these names. They are very interesting.
Perhaps I might go one shade of thought farther: to every Cagliostro who appears there is always a Balsamo. Closely accompanying and indeed inseparable from every Messenger there is his 'Shadow.' With every Christ appears a Judas. And as regards what you, my brothers, have so admirably set forth this evening concerning the reason, as given by our beloved H. P. Blavatsky, of Cagliostro's 'failure,' let me point this out: that Cagliostro's failure was not one of merely vulgar human passion, nor was it one of vulgar human ambition, as ordinary men understand these terms. When Julian the Apostate — called 'apostate' because he refused to be an apostate from the ancient religion of his forefathers — led his army against Shapur, King of Persia, he did so well knowing that he was acting against the esoteric Law; and yet in one sense be could not do otherwise, for his individual karman compelled him to the act. I tell you that there are at times more tragedies in the life of a Messenger than you could easily understand, for a Messenger is sworn to obedience in both directions — obedience to the general law of his karman from which he may not turn aside a single step, and obedience equally strict to the Law of those who sent him forth. There are in such cases problems to solve sometimes which break the heart, but which nevertheless must be solved.
Be, therefore, charitable in your judgment of that great and unhappy man, Cagliostro! — Lucifer: the Light-Bringer, January-February, 1931, pp. 21-2
That is what Dr. de Purucker said about him, and it is something that I think we would do well to reflect upon, because with every Messenger, I do not care who he is, there will be inexplicable acts, but, friends, there will never be criminal acts. There will be things we do not understand, and they spring from that childlikeness (not childishness) of mind and heart that make them appear as nothing in the eyes of men — and that all the great Teachers have while they live and work among us.
Now the results of that campaign against Judge were very successful. They split the Society, and it has resulted in — i. e. the Karma of the whole thing is — the many different Theosophical Societies that exist today. But its main result was to blind the great majority of Theosophists by blackening the memory of Judge, and to blind modern students to the great light that lies enshrined in his writing and teaching. It had another effect in that many Theosophical students are unaware that it was Judge who fulfilled H. P. B.'s last hope, which was to keep the link unbroken with the blessed Lodge of Masters.
Friends, he did this, and he died a broken man; but he died with complete forgiveness in his heart, and it was a wonderful thing that was placed on record by his own students: that throughout those last two years of his life, when those who still worked with him outwardly were constantly plotting against him, he worked with them well knowing it. He 'carried on,' and his last message to the sections of his own Society, and to the thousands of his own students who remained true to him and the work he did, was to "Hold fast, go slow"; and he said: "Whatever you do, stand ready for the time when the great injustice and the great wrong that has been done will be recognised by those members of other Societies. Then be ready to hold out the hand of friendship, to hold out the hand of brotherly co-operation, that the wounds of the past may be healed."
It is not too much to say that those who honor the memory of William Quan Judge by living and practising the truths that he taught are actually walking in the footsteps of their predecessors, the footsteps of those predecessors who have gone before them in the age-old path that leads to the feet of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace.
Let us close our meeting tonight by invoking the aid of those same Masters through the divinity that exists in the heart of each one of us:
Oh my Divinity! thou dost blend with the earth and fashion for Thyself temples of mighty power.
Oh my Divinity! thou livest in the heart life of all things, and dost radiate a golden light that shineth for ever and doth illumine even the darkest corners of the earth.
Oh my Divinity! blend thou with me that from the corruptible I may become incorruptible; that from imperfection I may become perfection; that from darkness I may go forth in Light.