Theosophy – May 1896


There comes to every soul undergoing its tremendous experiences in material life some time or other an awakening. No matter how deeply absorbed in human pursuits or tossed about on the waves of psychism and passion, at length there dawns in it a spiritual consciousness, a god-like memory. It is the early blush of this dawn that the student, coming for the first time in contact with Theosophical literature, perceives; and even though the horizon be heavily clouded with mists, nevertheless there is at such a time an awakening — the sun can never sink back or its light be entirely lost for that incarnation at any rate. Therefore to many the first days of their studentship are remembered with more delight than any which follow. The awakening, the trust, the faith, the renewed sense of immortality, are all cherished far beyond whatever of knowledge may follow. Then, they saw clearly; since then, they have taken to speculation and suspicion, and dimmed their soul's intuitions. How we should like to drink again the deep draughts of spiritual wisdom we imbibed in our early Theosophical days. But we cannot, because we feel dull and despairing, suspicious, jealous and ambitious. We must needs now see the soul with our physical eyes before we will believe in it; reincarnation is relegated to the domain of metaphysical speculation; Berkeley turns out to have said almost everything that Theosophy teaches (and in so much better English!); and Blavatsky's tea-cup phenomena established her as a humorist more than as a philosopher. So we either resign from the T. S., or stay in it to disagree with everybody else's views — just to let the public see how broad our platform is. Or we preach the gloomy side of the whole matter, point out the horrible sufferings of "the candidate," the nightmare condition of the student — and call on the world to come and do likewise. We have got so far away from our real selves that nothing remains but a shell of unguided mentality.

This condition applies to the whole Society as much as to the units composing it. All spiritual organizations have entered into similar states. At first full of life and light, they gradually sink back to materialism, mentality and darkness. Priestcraft takes the place of Brotherhood, dogmas are exchanged for intuitions, and if such associations stand at all they do so simply as business institutions. This is the present state of the Christian Church. Whereas in the beginning the labors of the Initiates who established it made it a society for the restoration of the lost soul-wisdom of mankind, in the end by innumerable failures it has become a vehicle of materialism and superstition, and whatever inspiration still springs from it is only to be seen as purely ethical in its nature, being without the possibility of awakening the soul. So also with nearly all the past societies that played any part in the great Theosophical Movement.

Our present Society has passed through all these phases. Like the student when he first comes in contact with Theosophical literature, its early days were full of spiritual vigor and power. It was indeed this vigor, precipitated through one strong soul — H. P. B., — that originated the Society, not the Society which awakened it in her. And when this soul passed away that impulse was withdrawn, and the organization must surely have fallen to the state of all ordinary religious institutions, had not another stepped forward to the work. This latter was W. Q. Judge, who saved the Society from the danger of crystalization and carried it through a crisis scarcely paralleled in the history of such organizations.

In some ways Judge did a greater work than Blavatsky. At any rate he started out far more heavily handicapped than she. H. P. B., like all the other adepts, worked not merely to establish doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma, but to inspire the soul and raise it to the point of initiation. If in this it was a necessary part of her work to prepare the intellectual soil, by freeing the mind from ruts and its preconceived materialistic ideas, that did not mean that she lived only to found a school of speculative philosophy. The latter grew in the T. S. as auxiliary to her work; but some found room for nothing else, and forgot entirely the deeper purpose of her life. Consequently, when she passed away, many desired to transform the Society into an intellectual institution, without spiritual daylight, composed of mental grubbers in old philosophies, or vivisectors of the Secret Doctrine, and psychical researchers. They had done with belief in Masters and high powers. All this Judge had to combat, and, even if the Society were to be broken to pieces as a result of his actions, to restore at all costs its light. It is therefore little matter of surprise to find him arraigned for trial in London three years later by some of these fanatics, for stating that he had received messages from adepts and was possessed of psychical powers. In July, 1894, the dark powers were arrayed against the light, and temporarily the brightest side won. But the work was not fully accomplished. It was necessary, to save even a remnant of the Society, to separate the soul-learners from the intellectually wise. With all the skill and power at his command Judge carried over to the safe side practically the whole of the American societies at the Boston Convention in April, 1895, and from that date forward — his great work in the Western Hemisphere accomplished — he gradually relinquished his entire hold on the work, living only to see real nuclei for the carrying on of the movement established in Europe and Australasia.

And what is the significance of it all? Simply this, that the Theosophical movement, since it still lives, through the sacrifice of W. Q. Judge, cannot be destroyed in this century. Its momentum is such that it must be carried forward. As Judge himself said, just before he passed away," Even if I die, the movement will be all right; it has gone too far now for anything to interfere with it." And the significance of the movement in its present life and vigor is that there are thousands in the world calling for spiritual aid — and that aid cannot be withheld. It should be known by all that in order that a great occultist may die he must have an heir and successor to carry on his occult work. This is a law of nature and of the Lodge. A new centre must have been prepared to act as a vehicle to receive and transmit the life and power that is abandoning its present instrument. Once this preparation is made such an occultist may die; not before. That this was done in the case of W. Q. Judge, I know; for he had fully prepared the Antaskarana, and while the spiritual energy he exercised was at his death distributed among all members and workers, nevertheless his inner powers centred in one.

A new Messenger has come to us, to carry on the work of the spiritual revivifiers. Some have already felt the dawn of the new day, have once again had reawakened within them the freshness and sunshine of the soul. To them the early days of the Society have come again, a new spiritual vigor has been infused into its ranks. "The day-spring from on high," a light from the Lodge, has descended on the movement and the ranks organized by our late chief. Shall not all lend their aid now more than ever!

They crucified Blavatsky; they crucified Judge; who shall say if we can protect from the powers of darkness our latest helper?