Annie Besant's Many Lives, by Kumari Jayawardena

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Re: Annie Besant's Many Lives, by Kumari Jayawardena

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The Central Hindu College and Mrs. Besant
by Sri Bhagavan Das
Benares, India.
17. 7. 1913



Former General Secretary of the Indian Section of the THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY

(As published in pamphlet form by The Divine Life Press from a discourse sent to the Editor of The Christian Commonwealth, London, England in 1913)

SIR -- will you kindly extend to the undersigned the fairness and courtesy of your columns to enable him to place before your readers the following, with reference to Mrs. Besant's remarks on the "Central Hindu College," which appeared in the Christian Commonwealth of 4th June, 1913? The nature of these makes it unavoidable to publish a full statement of facts.

To understand the situation clearly we have to bear in mind that, like every other human being, Mrs. Besant has two natures, a higher and a lower. Because of her extraordinary gifts and powers, the manifestation of these two in her are also extraordinary. Because of the high level of her intellectual development, they work in a correspondingly subtile and sublimated form. In her case, these two time-old natures, altruism and egoism, have taken on the particular forms of (1) the wish "to save" mankind, and (2) the wish "to be regarded as a Saviour" of the same. The two aspects are very subtly and very closely connected as the poles of a magnet; and yet are as wide apart and opposed.

While the former wish prevailed on the whole over the latter, from 1894 to 1907, with the help of good advice and influence, she did magnificent work: carried the torch of the Ancient Science of the Spirit from land to land in continuation of the labours of Madame Blavatsky and under the Presidency of Col. Olcott; enhanced the good influence of the Theosophical Society; won respect for true Theosophy from erstwhile scoffers; and helped India in particular by her eloquent and admirable lectures on the higher Hinduism which is the very core of Theosophy, and by helping to found and rear the Central Hindu College at Benares. By this last piece of work especially, (in which she was naturally given the lead because of her wonderful gifts of speech and writing combined with her profession of being a Hindu by faith and her Hindu ways of living in India,) she proved to the "tangible"-seeking portion of the public also that Theosophy is not mere daydreaming but has a very useful practical application; and she thereby built up her own reputation, for sound and reliable public work, with the people as well as the Government of the land.

Now that the second nature in her has been unhappily dominating the first, more and more, since the passing away of Col. Olcott in 1907 under other guidance and influence, she has been unconsciously but grievously undermining and bringing confusion upon her own good work, in a manner which is a source of the greatest possible sorrow to her old friends and colleagues. These, she now says, 'hate' her and 'persecute' her, simply because they have been compelled to express dissent publicly from her recent policy and conduct of affairs in the T.S. and the Central Hindu College.

Her remarks on the Central Hindu College in your paper are illustrations of this sad change in her. This Institution, for which she has done more than anyone else perhaps, she now openly and obviously tries to injure most deeply in the minds of the public by wild suggestions that it and the Hindu University, into which it is proposed to be expanded, are mixed up with political seditionists and extremists under the influence of an alliance of orthodoxy and free thinkers and so on.

That the Hindu University movement -- of which the Honorable the Maharaja of Durbhanga, K.C.I.E., (Members of the Executive Council of H.K., the Lieutenant Governor of Behar and Orissa) and the Honorable Dr. Sundar Lal, R.B., C.I.E., Member of the Legislative Council of H.K., the Lieutenant Governor of the U.P. of Agra and Oudh, and Vice-Chancellor of the Allahabad University), and the Honorable Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (Member of the Imperial Legislative Council of H.E. the Viceroy and Governor-General of India), are the prominent and officially recognized workers and office-bearers, (the first and second being respectively President and Secretary of the Hindu University Society) and Ruling Chiefs like their Highnesses, the Maharajas of Bikaner, Kashmir, Jodhpur, Gwalior, Indore, Benares, Udarpore, Alwar, etc., and many Hindu leaders, ex-Justices of High Courts, Legislative Councillors and others, honoured by the Government and the public alike, are supporters and donors -- that such an educational movement is in any way mixed up with seditionism and extremism is an idea as fatuously ludicrous as that the Duke of Sutherland and Lord Haldane and the Rev. J. J. Campbell, the eloquent exponent of the New Theology, are plotting together with other Lords and Commoners to blow up the House of Parliament with dynamite.

The reckless, incoherent, self-contradictory, incorrect and misleading statements that Mrs. Besant has been freely making latterly in the public press, have only injured her own reputation in India with the Government officers as well as all classes of the public.

A plain chronicle of events, condensed as much as possible; will enable your readers to judge for themselves.

The C.H.C. was founded in July 1898, in order to do for the numerous sects and subdivisions of Hinduism what the T.S. was endeavoring to do for all views and religions. viz., to harmonize, to rationatize, to liberalize and thereby to preserve essentials and promote organizing cooperations, as against disruptive blind struggle. Princes and people helped, both theosophist and non- theosophist, with lands, buildings, donations, and unremunerated work; and the Government with sympathy and goodwill and the necessary sanctions and permissions, and the College grew and prospered year by year, under the Presidentship of Mrs. Besant, and won the confidence, nay, the enthusiasm, of Hindus of almost all shades of opinion, 'ancient' as well as 'modern.' But with the transfer of Mrs. Besant from Benares to Adyar in 1907, as President of the T.S., elected under very peculiar circumstances foreshadowing the coming policies, a change began to come over the spirit of all her work and surroundings. Despite the suggestions, advice, entreaties, expostulations and warnings of her old colleagues and counsellors who had made her work in India possible, she developed more and more and beyond all due bounds, the germ of person-worship so long held in restraint. Entirely proofless claims to super-physical powers and experiences, to being an Initiate, an Arhat a Mukta and whatnot; claims to read Mars and Mercury and the whole Solar System, past, present and future, (but with careful avoidance of even the most easy test, such as reading a given page of a closed book); claims to be the sole authorized agent of 'the Great White Brotherhood which guides Evolution on earth' and to be in communication with 'the Supreme Director of the world' and with the World-Teacher' etc.; in short, all the elements of sensationalism and emotionalism -- which were sub-dominant and private (confined mostly to the 'inner' E.S.T. organization within the T.S.), now began to be predominant and public.

When, as Job says, God raises up profound blessings in the soul out of darkness, and brings up to light the shadow of death, so that, as David says, His light comes to be as was His darkness; yet notwithstanding, by reason of the dreadful pain which the soul is suffering, and of the great uncertainty which it has concerning the remedy for it, since it believes, as this prophet says here, that its evil will never end, and it thinks, as David says likewise, that God set it in dark places like those that are dead, and for this reason brought its spirit within it into anguish and troubled its heart, it suffers great pain and grief, since there is added to all this (because of the solitude and abandonment caused in it by this dark night) the fact that it finds no consolation or support in any instruction nor in a spiritual master. For, although in many ways its director may show it good reason for being comforted because of the blessings which are contained in these afflictions, it cannot believe him. For it is so greatly absorbed and immersed in the realization of those evils wherein it sees its own miseries so clearly, that it thinks that, as its director observes not that which it sees and feels, he is speaking in this manner because he understands it not; and so, instead of comfort, it rather receives fresh affliction, since it believes that its director's advice contains no remedy for its troubles.

-- Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross

Differences with colleagues gradually grew in strength and intensity, in the T.S. as well as the Central Hindu College. Some of the oldest and best workers of the T.S., Messrs. Sinnett, Mead and others in the West; Messrs. Keightley, Bhawani Shanker, Miss Edgar and others in India, either resigned outright or retired practically.

In the spring of 1909, a 'brother Initiate' of Mrs. Besant's, 'discovered' the boy, now nicknamed Alcyone, as the future vehicle of the Coming Christ. In the winter of 1909-1910, what is now currently and variously known as the 'J. K. cult,' 'Alcyone worship,' Maitreya-Christ-Advent, etc., all comprehended (together with later developments) 'neo-theosophy, in the convenient word, was started more or less definitely.

In the winter of 1910-1911, or earlier, a small private 'Group' was formed, consisting mostly of C.H.C. staff-members and students pledged to devotion and loyalty and obedience and service to Mrs. Besant. The exact terms of the pledge have not been publicly disclosed, but the purport is undisputed. What should students have to do with 'private groups' and 'secret Societies' and 'confidential pledges' etc.? Fortunately a psychological law ordains that such students' groups' affairs should not long remain secret. Shortly after, in January, 1911, was started publicly by the then Principal of the C.H.C., as the chief member of the 'Group,' an 'Order' called The Order of the Rising Sun with the idea of 'preparing for a Coming World-Teacher' as its publicly avowed central idea, and the creed that the boy J. K., (Alcyone) would be the 'vehicle' of the 'Coming Christ-Maitreya-Bodhisattva' etc., as it's privately understood creed, to spread which amongst the students was the duty of the inner 'pledged group.' Some 170 members of the C.H.C. (staff and students) were enrolled. The 'Order' began to be pushed within the C.H.C. with usual sectarian zeal. Friction began between the members of the O.R.S. and the 'Group' on the one hand, and on the other, those of the staff and students who stood out despite of pressure.

In April, 1911, on remonstrance by the older members of the managing Committee, Mrs. Besant arranged that the Order of the Rising Sun should be disbanded. But this was mere show. When the disbandment was announced to the managers, it had already been arranged to replace the O.R.S. on a larger scale by The Order of the Star in the East, with the Principal, Head Master, and various Professors of the C.H.C. as the Private and other Secretaries of the boy J. K. as Head of the Order, and Mrs. Besant as Protectress of the whole.

This rejuvenated Order began to be pushed and 'the Coming Christ' to be advertised like a stage-play, in the most perverted and gushing language, on the principle of selling the skin before killing the bear, amongst the general public as well as in the T.S., and scarcely more quietly within the C.H.C.

In the summer of 1911, side by side with this public activity, there was started by Mrs. Besant within the E.S.T. (Eastern School, or Esoteric Section, of Theosophy, an 'inner' organization recruited from the members of the T.S.), a written pledge of absolute obedience to herself without cavil or delay. This fact, 'private and confidential' at the time, is now public property since the Madras lawsuits.

As was naturally unavoidable where person-worship began to be so acutely emphasized, very serious differences began in all circles and departments of work with which Mrs. Besant was connected.

In the same summer of 1911, the Hindu University movement, began in 1904, but dormant in the interim, was taken up strongly by its promoters; a scheme of Mrs. Besant's, first discussed amongst friends in 1907, for a 'University of India,' on all -- including Theosophical lines, having been made impracticable by the wish of Musalman leaders for a separate University. It was tacitly understood by all concerned, from the very beginning of the Hindu University movement that the C.H.C. would serve as nucleus. This was obvious -- on grounds of aims, ideals, public sentiments, as also of finance. There could be no sense at all in keeping the C.H.C. out of that movement. The Hindu public could not give monetary support to the C.H.C, separately from the Hindu University, and the Hindu University could only be glad to have a ready-made first-class college to begin with. Some of the foremost supporters and workers of the Hindu University had already been long connected with the C.H.C., as Patrons, Vice-Patrons or Trustees. So the C.H.C. management and the Hindu University movement were only too anxious all along to interwork and amalgamate.

But a very great difficulty was caused by the simultaneous overzealous propagandism of Mrs. Besant and her followers in respect to the O.S.E. and 'neo-theosophy.' The confidence of the Hindu public in the catholicity of spirit of the C.H.C. management was greatly disturbed.

In August, 1911, the trustees of the C.H.C., to allay the apprehension in the public mind that the C.H.C. was being diverted from its constitutional broad and liberal Hinduism into a bizarre and unhealthy personal-cult and bigoted Second-Adventism, passed formal resolutions to the effect that the Institution had nothing to do with any such Orders as those of the Rising Sun or the Star in the East.
But such resolutions clearly could not abolish the emotionally delicious sectarianism into which Mrs. Besant and her pledged 'Groups' had now converted their former less-immediately-sweet humanitarianism.

However, after much difficulty and discussion in the public press, caused by the vagaries going on within the C.H.C. and elsewhere, certain conditions were agreed upon in writing, as below, between the promoters of the Hindu University on the one hand and Mrs. Besant on the other, on 22nd October, 1911. The conditions were:

1. "That the name of the University shall be the Hindu University.
2. That the first governing body shall consist of representatives of the Hindu Community and Mrs. Annie Besant and representative Trustees of the Central Hindu College.
3. That the Theological faculty shall be entirely in the hands of the Hindus.
4. That the petition for a charter now before the Secretary of State for India shall be withdrawn."

Shortly after, on 24th, December, 1911, resolutions were passed by the Trustees, agreeing that the C.H.C. should become part of the Hindu University. Neither the promoters of the University nor the C.H.C. trustees have deviated from the conditions and the policy agreed to by them and Mrs. Besant; only she has changed her attitude.

The neo-theosophic propagandism within (as without) the C.H.C. continued, even after the above agreements and resolutions, in a score of evasive and elusive forms. Inner 'Groups' and 'Esoteric Section Groups' of persons formally pledged to obedience of Mrs. Besant, 'Leagues of Service' of various kinds, 'Orders of S.E.' and 'S.I.' and 'D.I.,' 'Co-Masonry Lodges,' 'Temple of the R. C.,' and corresponding badges, bands, 'regalia,' 'jewels' and 'pink' and 'blue' and 'yellow' scarfs, and 'magnetized ribbons,' and 'stars' in pin-brooch and button forms, etc., multiplied and replaced one another in interest like mushrooms in the raintime, a very fever of restless sound and movement hiding back of substance and of wise purpose. Fuss of the most absurd and mischievous kind became rampant. Lectures, meetings, nightclasses, outside the college rooms and buildings, took place perpetually in the neighboring T.S. premises and private residences, for expounding the doctrines of neo-theosophy and especially the book called At the Feet of the Master alleged to have been written down by Alcyone, [J. Krishnamurti,] as the embryonic scriptures and revelation of 'the Embryo of a New Religion' as Mrs. Besant declares the O.S.E. to be. Resident students were advised, and a number of them began, to keep photos of Alcyone, as the 'vehicle' of the 'Coming Christ' and himself an 'Initiate of the Great White Brotherhood' (and Mrs. Besant and one or two other living persons,) 'on the threshold of divinity,' and to worship them with flowers, incense, etc. Old and young believers prostrating, and genuflected literally, at the feet of the living original when within reach.

Efforts were made to so allot the seats in the boarding-houses of the College that a member of the pledged 'Group' should have charge of and influence three or four Juniors and gradually lead them in the direction of the 'Group,' and 'its only true faith.' The then Principal of the College, [who had founded the O.R.S.] proclaimed in his lectures in the neighboring T.S. Hall and elsewhere, that he was a 'High Disciple of the 'Master'; and that the C.H.C. was 'founded only to prepare for the Advent of the World-Teacher.'

The legitimate work of the College was neglected and suffered, and lack of discipline and insubordination towards those teachers, professors and other office-bearers who did not approve of these doings, began. Yet for the sake of old friendship and past collaborations, these insubordinations and breaches of discipline were persistently overlooked and smothered over, by the older Trustees and Managers, instead of being 'fanned into flame.' as Mrs Besant most incorrectly alleges. Even to the neglect of their plain duty, they continued to avoid taking formal steps to call to account the pledged votaries of Mrs. Besant on the C.H.C. staff who were disregarding and breaking, in the letter as well as in the spirit, the wishes and resolutions of the Trustees. No official action was ever taken with regard to any of these doings, except twice: once as already mentioned, when resolutions were passed by the Trustees, publically disassociating the College from the new and strange Orders, in August, 1911, and again in May, 1912, when the Managing Committee requested Mrs. Besant as Editor of the C.H.C. Magazine not to introduce her pet World-Teacher into the pages of that Magazine as had then recently been done.

It seems that within or without the O.S.E., there is yet another core-Order called the 'O.S.L.', about which Mrs. Besant and other friends evaded giving information when asked, but which, it seems, was formed in 1911, and consists of the creme de la creme from amongst the [then} C.H.C. students and others who are being specially trained for acting the part of Apostles when Alcyone receives the afflatus and takes up the role of the 'Coming Christ.'!

In 1912, a public discussion was carried on in the pages of the Theosophy in India, as to whether the pushing of the O.S.E. with its very specific and dogmatic creed within the T.S., in the manner in which such pushing was being obviously carried on, was or was not in accordance with the Constitutional Rules and objects of the T.S. For the inception of these "discussions regarding the T.S. Policy," the undersigned was undoubtedly responsible; and hence, perhaps the special anger against him. At that time he was the General Secretary of the Indian Section of the T.S., as well as Secretary of the C.H.C. As such he felt it his duty to invite, in the pages of the Sectional Gazette, the attention of the members of the T.S., to the immanent danger of the broad and all inclusive objects of the T.S. being swamped by the clear-cut, narrow, exclusive and zealously propagated credo of the O.S.E.

As the result of these discussions, Mrs. Besant admitted publicly that the O.S.E. was "the Embryo of a New Religion" which must not be identified with the T.S. ... the representative of Universal Religion," but claimed that she had the right to push it within the T.S. as much as anybody else had the right to push any other opinion. Other members differed entirely from this extreme theory and profession (which will appear in a moment, worked out very peculiarly in the hands of Mrs. Besant), and while unable to question the obviously uncontrollable right of every one to think and believe as he pleased, thought that the right to preach and proselytise was limited within the T.S. by the Constitution of the T.S.

In any case, the Discussions failed to change Mrs. Besant's practice in the T.S., as the Trustees' Resolution had failed to check the O.S.E. propagandism by the 'Group' within the C.H.C. She went on nourishing and developing this parent-bursting 'Embryo of a New Religion' within the womb of the T.S. in such a fashion that the father of its juvenile [figure] Head found himself compelled to go to the Civil Court to recover from Mrs. Besant the custody of his minor sons, viz., the Head of the O.S.E. and his younger brother, who were being exploited and transformed into 'shows' for no fault of their own.

Mrs. Besant, on her part found it desirable, as a tactical counterblast to go, together with another member of the Esoteric Section, to the Criminal Courts, with charges of defamation against various people; charges based on a newspaper article referring specifically to another person and published nearly two years before. She wrote at that time in one of her many journals, of her "Captains fretting under the embargo laid upon them by their General [herself], and springing out upon the enemy as soon as the prohibition was withdrawn" by her, etc. These cases began with the winter of 1912-1913. In April and in May, 1913, both the Civil and Criminal Courts decided against Mrs. Besant. The two judgments at least ought to be perused in full by every one who would learn facts accurately. Messrs. Goodwin & Co., [Malypore, Madras] have published the proceedings of the Civil Court case, in a separate volume, entitled "Mrs. Besant and the Alcyone Case." The contents speaks for itself. Appeals and applications to higher Courts by her are now pending.

Other regrettable occurrences took place in this last winter so eventful for the T.S. and the C.H.C. ... Because the German Section, under the General Secretaryship of Dr. Steiner, opposed the pushing of the O.S.E. within the T.S. in Germany, Mrs. Besant, as President of the T.S., in March, 1913, dischartered and expelled from the T.S. the whole of that Section with all its Branches and over two thousand members, cancelling the diplomas of all these. She so successfully worked her theory, (that anyone may push within the T.S. any view he pleases,) that she has pushed out of that T.S. all these two thousand members and more at one push -- simply because they did not approve of her O.S.E. propaganda. It appears that in the course of the last few months, the two thousand have swelled to three thousand, because of resignations, in consequence of this highhanded procedure, in England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Russia, and elsewhere, also.

Such an autocratic, unconstitutional and tactless act undoing the good work of a whole generation of laborers in the cause of Universal Brotherhood and the federation of the nations, would have been inconceivably impossible for Col. Olcott., or even for the Mrs. Besant herself of five or six years ago. The various Sections of the T.S. have always been understood to be entirely autonomous. They might make their own rules and additional conditions of membership. Individual Branches have been permitted to be denominational, even as individual members may and do have their own private creeds, without seeking aggressively to convert others.

With a little more tact and balance, and a little less self-assertiveness and impulsive haste, with a few more of the long-sighted Counsellors whom she had 'shaken out' (in her favorite phrase) and a few less of the 'obedient' courtiers whom she had 'taken in' instead, on the General Council of the T.S., she could most easily have arranged to put the O.S.E. members of the T.S. in Germany into separate Branches and a Section of their own, and retained all the older members also intact. But as she has publicly stated, all of the members of the General Council of the T.S. now belong, with one or two exceptions perhaps, to the 'Esoteric Section,' prime condition of membership which is, the formal written pledge of absolute obedience to Mrs. Besant; and so while the loud profession is freedom of thought 'for all,' the practice is sedulously 'for herself,' and her pledged votaries only, while the theory is that the O.S.E., "must not be identified with the T.S.," the practice is that the T.S. must be merged in the O.S.E.

Let us turn to the C.H.C. to bring the narrative up to date. In March and April 1913, there came into the hands of another Manager and Trustee, a printed 'letter,' covering some three foolscap pages, bearing the signature of the gentleman who was then Principal of the C.H.C., the date, 20th October 1912, and the imprint of Mrs. Besant's Vasanta Press, Adyar, Madras, and not bearing any word like 'private' or 'personal' or 'confidential.' In this 'Letter' amazingly extravagant and fantastic statements are made as regards Mrs. Besant; she is hailed repeatedly as one who is "to become one of the greatest Rulers of the World of Gods and men;" mention is made of "the recognition of the God without us which made us members of this Group from which we draw our life today;" it is said "that her light to ours was and is as the rays of the Sun at noon-time to the rays of a lamp at night, and we did not desire to examine the Sun to see under what conditions it might possibly ray forth a more dazzling brilliance," and the members of the 'Group' are reminded that "We pledged ourselves in our hearts that we should strive to become her true and loyal servants that we have determined to follow her and support her to the uttermost, and that however much she might become discredited, even by those nearest and dearest to her, we, at least, would remain true to her, seeking only to understand her and to help to carry out her plan, whatever it might be."

Thus complete was the hypnosis and surrender of reason which was sought to be effected amongst the votaries. It was a case of emotionalism run amuck. The finest emotions, useful, beautiful, nay necessary to full and rounded life, when controlled and well-directed by a balanced wisdom, become instruments of disaster when allowed to become masters instead of servants and to run away in wrong paths. The sublime and the ridiculous, health and disease are separated only by a hair's breadth.

The trustee and manager into whose hands a copy of this astonishing document came, with the information that it had been circulated amongst a number of the C.H.C. Students informed the Secretaries of the College, and sent the letter with comments on the same for publication in a daily paper, in order to show to the public how the person-worship-creeds of Mrs. Besant's 'neo-theosophy' were being sown and grown within the C.H.C., despite the resolutions of the Trustees.

On publication of the rhapsody, a great outcry, on the lines of 'injured innocence,' was raised by the members of the 'Group,' and the undersigned and others were charged with 'dishonorable persecution' and hatred of Mrs. Besant and her followers. [These words are repeated by Mrs. Besant in her article under reply.] It is not quite clear what made these persons peculiarly sensitive at this particular time; for not much less ecstatic statements had been made before, times out of number, by them and by Mrs. Besant, in public speeches and writings. Perhaps the lawsuits had made the atmosphere especially tense. As to the dishonorableness of the publication, competent judges of such matters have pronounced that it was dishonorable only, if it be dishonorable to expose what cannot be called otherwise than gross treason to the Constitution and the ideals of the C.H.C., and to bring to light, and to the bar of public opinion, underhand or half-concealed or openly defiant efforts to convert students to a grotesque person-worship and demoralizing and soul-stunting blind obedience to Mrs. Besant.

After the publication of this letter on 13th April, 1913, [in the Leader of Allahabad,] and after the delivery of judgment against Mrs. Besant on the 15th April 1913, in the Civil Case at Madras, and with her previous approval, out of a total of about seventy members of the staff of the C.H.C. and the attached School and Girl's School, some twenty, [six honorary and the rest salaried] -- all pledged members of the 'Group' and the Esoteric Section -- presented an ultimatum, on the 27th April 1913, to the Trustees and the Managers, to the effect that unless the undersigned was "condemned publicly, unequivocally, and unreservedly," they would resign in a body.

Presumably the idea was that if such condemnation was made, the undersigned and a number of the other oldest workers of the C.H.C. who were opposed to the propagation of neo-theosophy, in its various forms within an institution founded for far other purposes, would naturally resign and withdraw; and then the whole College -- and School -- full of some one thousand impressionable youths and boys and one hundred girls would become the happy hunting-ground and recruiting preserve of the propagandists of 'neo-theosophy,' pledged to absolute obedience of Mrs. Besant
, the Protectress of the Head of the 'Embryo of a New Religion' who was the destined vehicle of the 'World-Teacher;' and if the condemnation could not be secured, then they could retire under the cover of the cry of 'dishonorable persecution' etc., from a place where their extraordinary doings were beginning to be challenged publicly. The Trustees and Managers saw no reason to condemn the undersigned as desired: and when the resignants refused to reconsider their conditions, the Managers found themselves compelled to accept their resignation and look for others to fill their places.

Mrs. Besant herself posted, to the Trustees on the evening of the 15th April 1913, from Adyar, a printed letter bearing the previous date, in which she says, ... "I should have liked to have continued President of the Board of Trustees for the short time which remains ere the C.H.C. is merged in the Hindu University. After fourteen years of work it would have been pleasant to have worked to the end. But I appear to have lost for some reason the confidence and good will of some of my old friends. ... I therefore place my resignation ... in your hands ... If you signify your wish that the resignation should be accepted, I bid you farewell with regret ... If you say that I should remain, I will gladly do so, until our cherished charge is handed over to the Hindu University ..." The meeting of the Trustees which considered this letter, out of gratitude and regard for her past invaluable services to the College, requesting her to remain President.

And now we have the very painful spectacle of Mrs Besant 'descending,' as an Indian Journal recently remarked, "from the role of Spiritual Teacher, to that of revengeful person." She is now endeavoring to injure the C.H.C., of which she continues President, by creating a prejudice against it in the mind of the public of England, through the pages of The Christian Commonwealth; (in India she has lost the confidence alike of the Indian and English) in a way which only the memory of her past good work prevents one from characterizing adequately. Yet her present policy must be publicly and unmistakably resisted by her former colleagues themselves, and in the interest of her own better-self and of the preservation of her own past good work.

Verily, Mrs. Besant's crowning blunder, in a life full of blunders (admitted by herself in her Autobiography and elsewhere) as well as of good works and generous impulses, has been the asking for, and the receiving of the pledges of obedience to herself without cavil or delay, etc. -- an act of over-weening presumption against the God in every man, which has called down upon her the wrath of her own indwelling spirit, so that ever since she encouraged and started them, her mind has worked less and less correctly and confusion has fallen even worse and worse upon her work, losing to the T.S. many thousand of old members, alienating from her all her old co-workers and co-founders of the C.H.C., and destroying the confidence in her of the Indian public.

Such one-sided pledges of obedience to mere mortals, feeble and frequently erring, without even any adequate counter pledge of loyalty and service and rational and moral direction, have been associated in history only with that dread thing of black soul-gloom -- and all evil for which the English language has no other than Jesuitism.

Great indeed, is the change in Mrs. Besant's mind. From the somewhat overeager democracy of her earlier years, through the restrained period of the golden mien of true Theosophy, she has now passed over to a grotesquely exaggerated and openly avowed hierarchical autocracy
[vide, e.g. The Herald of the Star for July 1912, one of her many organs]

Down to nearly the close of 1911, the undersigned was struggling, on the one hand. though with ever-growing doubts and misgivings, in the pages of various Indian Journals, for Mrs. Besant, and against her critics; and, on the other hand, he was doing what he could by friendly private talks and remonstrances with Mrs. Besant and members of the pledged band, to check the evil growth within the T.S. and the C.H.C. But the subsequent rapid development have forced him to realize with the deepest sorrow that Mrs. Besant and her pledged votaries have justified their critics and put her older friends to shame.

The persecution of which Mrs. Besant and her votaries accuse these older friends, is indeed the same in quality with which the lamb of Esop was charged by the wolf. Fortunately, in the present case the 'persecuting' lamb has had, up to now, the help of a protecting Providence, so far as the C.H.C at least is concerned, in the shape of the support of the majority of the College Trustees and Managers. As to 'hatred' -- to object to take a pledge of obedience to Mrs. Besant, to demand tests and proofs of her ever-expanding claims to marvellous super-physical powers, and, worse, to express dissent from her policy of booming an all unproven lad as the vehicle of an equally all-unproven 'World-Teacher' and fail to support her lawsuits, is of course to 'hate' her and to take up "a violently hostile attitude." She says, "The Hon. Pandit openly declared that Theosophy would have no part in the Hindustan University." It is not Theosophy which is objected to; for Theosophy is older than Mrs. Besant, and indeed is nothing else than 'Atma-Vidya.' the Eternal Science of the Spirit, the very heart of Hinduism and of all religions. But it is Mrs. Besant's neotheosophy that is objected to. At least seven of the Trustees and Managers of the C.H.C. who have disapproved of Mrs. Besant's ways and policies in the recent controversy, are much older in the membership of the T.S. than Mrs. Besant.

Mrs. Besant's wildly reckless statements about "the same great orthodox Party" engineering the Hindu University movement and "instigating the lawsuit" at Madras; about extremists joining in the attack; about "anti-English spirit" etc., are all simply and utterly untrue.

It is enough to say here that in her first written defence in the recent civil suit at Madras, she made practically the same statements, and Mr. Justice Bakewell characterized them as "highly scandalous" and "irrelevant," and directed that, "the written statement is ordered to be struck out, since it is impossible to separate the objectionable portions from the necessary assertions," and that a fresh and amended written statement should be filed by her.

To show how incoherently her mind has been working latterly, I will only quote one instance out of her perpetual recent self-contradictions. In her article under reply she says, "the anti-English spirit ... is most regrettable." In a letter, dated 14th May 1913, which she addressed to all the Trustees of the C.H.C., and at the same time sent to the daily press [it appears, e.g. in the Allahabad Leader of the 15th May 1913,] she says, "only one thing is good in the present catastrophe -- it is not a question of race. English and Indian have united to persecute English and Indian. Mr. Bertram Keightley joins hands with the Hon. Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya on the one side, and Mr. Arundale and Mr. P. K. Telang are united on the other. That at least is well."

As an unquestionable fact, it has always been clearly understood that the help of competent and sympathetic English workers would be engaged and welcomed on the staff and the Senate of the projected University in ample proportion in respect of all secular matters. The feeling of the H.U. Society may be inferred from the fact that it elected Mrs. Besant in the very beginning i.e., November, 1911, as one of its three Vice-Presidents, notwithstanding the immediately preceding controversies in the public press over her O.S.E. cult; and that of the C.H.C. Trustees from their requesting her to remain President despite her recent most remarkable sayings and doings.

Mrs. Besant has now started a rival THEOSOPHICAL EDUCATIONAL TRUST, as she mentions at the end of her article under reply. This is a most misleading misnomer. A brief Prospectus of the Trust, published in the Lucknow advocate of the 8th May 1913, says, "The members of the TRUST will all belong to the Esoteric Section of the T.S., and the President of the Trustees will be the Head of the Esoteric Section," i.e. Mrs. Besant herself, with plenary "discretionary powers." What this means will appear in its fullness only when it is remembered that MEMBERS OF THE ESOTERIC SECTION HAVE TO SIGN A WRITTEN PLEDGE OF ABSOLUTE AND UNCONDITIONED OBEDIENCE, WITHOUT CAVIL OR DELAY, TO MRS. BESANT. Can such a body be said to be Theosophical at all?

The work of the T.S. and of Theosophy is to "universalize" aspirations; that of the E.S. and neo-theosophy is expressly and acutely to "personalise" them.
Indeed, the Esoteric Section as at present organized and conducted is the veritable antipodes and anticlimax of the T.S. and of Theosophy. The spirit which will pervade education guided by such a Trust may be easily inferred.

Let us conclude, when a person like Mrs. Besant, with a biography full of remarkable changes, full of fine works as well as bad blunders, having established herself, in her own belief, and that of her pledged band, as the present chief Spiritual Teacher and Saviour of Mankind, as "the God without us" now, and as the future "greatest Ruler of the World of Gods and men," suddenly adds on the role of political Saviours of India in particular and predetermined martyr in constant danger of assassination (mirabile dictu) by anarchist miscreants, (for the quality of her own pacifism, see her remarks in the Theosophist for 1912 on miner's strikes, suffragettes, Ulster-demonstrations, etc.,) and proclaims that those who differ from her are in league with those miscreants, -- when this happens, what explanation can be offered to their own minds by her old friends, who have worked with her for almost a score of years, and served her as perhaps her own relations and children have not done, and as perhaps they have not served their own families -- this means much more in India than it does in the West where customs are different -- but are now classed with such miscreants?

The only sad explanation that they can postulate is that she is suffering from mental delusions.

The following quotations from a recent small book on Psychology by Dr. B. Hart, (Cambridge Manuals) may be of use in throwing light upon the sorrowful problem: "Delusions may be of all kinds, but there are two groups which call for special mention ... grandiose and persecutory. In the former, the patient believes himself to be some exalted personage, or to possess some other attribute which raised him far above the level of his fellows ... A patient who exhibits the second ... believes that deliberate attempts are made to harm him in some way. Thus he may believe that certain people are plotting to destroy his life. Both ... are often associated with hallucinations: voices hail the patient as the rightful owner of the throne, or cover him with abuse and threaten some dire fate. The two types are frequently combined; for example, a patient may maintain that he is king, but that an organized conspiracy exists to deprive him of his birthright. In this way delusions are sometimes elaborated into an extraordinary complicated system and every fact of the patient's experience is distorted until it is capable of taking its place in the delusional scheme ... Delusions of grandeur are, indeed, almost invariably accompanied by delusions of persecution. The patient cannot conceal from himself that his claims to exalted rank and position are not recognized by his environment, but he rationalizes this failure of recognition by persuading himself that it is the work of a malignant and envious enemy ... (p. 32, 33, 87)"


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Re: Annie Besant's Many Lives, by Kumari Jayawardena

Postby admin » Tue May 08, 2018 4:13 am

Bhagwan Das
by Wikipedia




Bhagwan Das (January 12, 1869 - September 18, 1958) was an Indian theosophist and public figure. For a time he served in the Central Legislative Assembly of British India. He became allied with the Hindustani Culture Society and was active in opposing rioting as a form of protest. As an advocate for national freedom from the British rule, he was often in danger of reprisals from the Colonial government.


Born in Varanasi, India, he graduated school to became a deputy in the collections bureau, and later left to continue his academic pursuits. Das joined the Theosophical Society in 1894 inspired by a speech by Annie Besant. After the 1895 split, he sided with the Theosophical Society Adyar. Within that society, he was an opponent of Jiddu Krishnamurti and his "Order of the Star in the East". Das joined the Indian National Congress during the Non-cooperation movement and was honoured with the Bharat Ratna in 1955.

With Besant he formed a professional collaboration which led to the founding of the Central Hindu College, which became Benaras Hindu University. Das would later found the Kashi Vidya Peeth, a national university where he served as headmaster. Das was a scholar of Sanskrit, from which he added to the body of Hindi language. He wrote approximately 30 books, many of these in Sanskrit and Hindi. Das received the Bharat Ratna award in 1955.

He belonged to the prosperous and eccentric Shah family of Varanasi. He was excommunicated from the Agrawal Samaj for advocating that going across the sea does not cause one to lose his caste. The situation arose when his son Sri Prakasa wanted to go to Britain to study law.

A prominent road in New Delhi is named after him and a colony is also named after his name in Sigra area of Varanasi 'Dr. Bhagwan Das Nagar.'


• A concordance dictionary to The yoga-sutras of Patanjali. Kaashai, Benares 1938.
A few Truths about Theosophy. in The Theosophist, Adyar September 1889. [1]
• Ancient solutions of modern problems. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar 1933.
• Ancient versus modern "scientific socialism", or, Theosophy and capitalism, fascism, communism. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar 1934. [2]
• Annie Besant and the changing world. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar 1934.
• Communalism and its cure by theosophy, Or spiritual health, the only sure basis of material wealth. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar 1934. [3]
• Eugenics, Ethics and Metaphysics. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar 1930. [4]
• Indian ideals of women's education. Current Thought Press, Madras 1929. [5]
• Krishna, a study in the theory of Avataras. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar 1924.
• My picture of free India. Indian Book Shop, Benares et al. 1944. [6]
• The central Hindu college and Mrs. Besant, the rise of the Alcyone cult. Divine Life Press, London 1913. [7]
• The dawn of another Renaissance. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar 1931. [8]
• The essential Unity of all Religions. Theosophical Press, Wheaton 1939. [9]
• The Ethico-Psychological Crux in Political Science and Art, or, Who Should be Legislators?. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar 1931. [10]
• The fundamental idea of theosophy. Theosophist Office, Madras 1912. [11]
• The metaphysics and psychology of Theosophy. in The Theosophist, Adyar 1916. [12] und [13]
• The philosophy of non-co-operation and of spiritual-political swaraj. Tagore & Co., Madras 1922.
• The psychology of conversion. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar 1917. [14]
• The religion of theosophy. Theosophist Office, Madras 1911. [15]
• The science of peace, an attempt at an exposition of the first principles of the science of the self. Theosophical Publishing House, Benares et al. 1904. [16]
• The science of religion, or, Sanatana vaidika dharma, an attempt at an exposition of principles. Indian Book Shop, Benares 1948.
• The Science Of Social Organization, or, The Laws Of Manu In The Light Of Atma Vidya. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar 1935. [17]
• The science of social organisation, or, The laws of Manu in the light of Theosophy. Theosophist Office, Adyar 1910. [18]
• The science of the emotions. Theosophical Publishing House, Benares et al. 1908. [19]
• The spiritualisation of the science of politics by Brahma-vidya. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar 1919.
• The superphysics of the Great War. Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar 1916.
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Re: Annie Besant's Many Lives, by Kumari Jayawardena

Postby admin » Tue May 08, 2018 4:17 am

The Order of the Star in the East: Its Outer and Inner Work
by Professor E. A. Wodehouse, M.A.
September 1911



Ever since the announcement by our revered President, in the July number of The Theosophist, of the foundation of a new Order, the special work of which will be to help in preparing the way for the near coming of a great spiritual Teacher, so many inquiries have been pouring in from all parts, as to the precise character, objects and regulations of this Order, that it has been felt desirable to collect together whatever information may be available on these points and to present it, in compact form, to those who are interested in the matter. This, it is hoped, will, at least, be useful to some intending applicants; it may set at test a few of the difficulties which have arisen in certain minds with regard to the Order; and it will assuredly save the handful of officers, already appointed, from the task of having to send separate answers, in full and elaborate detail, to individual applications.
Briefly then, the Order of the Star in the East is the coming forth in a new dress, and it is advisable that for all practical purposes the Order of the Star in the East should be regarded as a new Order; and that those who, at the beginning of the year, enrolled their names as members in the Order of the Rising Sun should be asked to do so anew, if they wish to join the Order as it now is. Let it be noted then, briefly, that the Order of the Rising Sun (for purposes of membership) is disbanded, and its place taken by the new Order of the Star in the East. Members of the former Order, therefore, must express their wish to be transferred to the latter, before their names can be enrolled, as no such wish can, in any case, be taken for granted.

Turing, then, to the Order, as it now stands, we think that we cannot make a better beginning than by quoting, for the benefit of those who may not have seen it, the first part of the announcement made by its Protector in the July Theosophist.

This Order -- writes Mrs. Besant -- has been founded to draw together those who, whether inside or outside the Theosophical Society, believe in the near coming of a great Spiritual Teacher for the helping of the world. It is thought that its members may, on the for [??] His coming and to create an atmosphere of welcome and of reverence: and on the higher planes may unite in forming an instrument of service ready for His use. The Declaration of Principles, acceptance of which is all that is necessary for admission to the Order, is as follow:

1. We believe that a great Teacher will soon appear in the world, and we wish so to live now that we may be worthy to know Him when He comes.
2. We shall try, therefore, to keep Him in our minds always, and to do in His name, and therefore to the best of our ability, all the work which comes to us in our daily occupations.
3. As far as our ordinary duties allow, we shall endeavour to devote a portion of our time each day to some definite work which may help to prepare for His coming.
4. We shall seek to make Devotion, Steadfastness and Gentleness prominent characteristics of our daily life.
5. We shall try to begin and end each day with a short period devoted to the asking of His blessing upon all that we try to do for Him and in His name.
6. We regard it as our special duty to try to recognise and reverence greatness in whomsoever shown, and to strive to co-operate, as far as we can, with those whom we feel to be spiritually our superiors.

The first point to be noted in the above statement is, that the Order is not exclusively a Theosophical Order, but is intended to include all who share the common hope for, and belief in the near coming of a mighty Teacher, no matter to what faith, creed, or school of thought they may belong. The Great Teacher, when He comes, comes for the whole world; and if it so happens that we, in the Theosophical Society, have been among the earliest to receive the news of His coming, it is rather that we have the privilege to have amongst us a few who are in direct contact with the Sources, from which alone such information can come, than because of any peculiar claim, or merit, of our own. The Order of the Star in the East is intended to be a world-wide Order, not merely in the territorial sense, but in the sense that it can leave none outside its ranks who, holding that common hope, desire to enter. All are welcome to the Order, because they are welcome to Him. To accept the tenets commonly held by members of the Theosophical Society is not necessary. All that is necessary is to accept the Declaration of Principles just quoted; and this will be the one formal link binding all members in all countries together.

The second point to be noted is, that the perfect freedom of thought and belief embodied in the Declaration will be embodied also in the whole scheme upon which it is proposed that the Order shall be organised. Each country, in this scheme, will be self-governing unit with its own Chief Officers, a Representative and an Organising Secretary; and, within its own limits, will manage its own affairs and develop its own work as it may think best. Little thought is needed to see how necessary it is that such freedom and elasticity should be preserved in an organisation which will have to meet so many problems and to deal with life in so many presentations and shapes as this Order will have to do. Every country, every faith, has its own problems. Different methods and different solutions are demanded in the various cases. Even the Great Teacher, when He comes, cannot speak to all alike. His teaching, universal thought it be, will yet, in its outer expression, have to be coloured by the peculiar needs and difficulties of those whom He may be addressing at any particular time. And so in the Order which is to prepare for His coming, a similar freedom must be observed. Each member, whatever his position, should feel himself free to grapple with the problems around him in the way most suitable to the conditions amid which he moves, taking as his guide the general principles laid down in the Declaration, but applying and adopting those to the special needs of the case.

Such is the plan on which the Order should develop its work. IT remains, next, to consider in what ways an organisation, thus devised, may hope to do useful work and so justify its existence. What exactly can members of the Order do to prepare for the coming of the Lord?

If we turn back to the second sentence of the Protector's announcement, we shall find that there the work to be done by the Order is characterised as twofold. "It is thought" she says "that its members may, on the physical plane, do something to prepare public opinion for His coming and to create an atmosphere of welcome and of reverence, and on the higher planes, may unite in forming an instrument of service ready for His use". We may, then, classify these two kinds of work as outer and inner work; and it will be best to take each separately; treating them, first of all, in the most general way and afterwards coming down to practical details.

Outer Work

All so-called "outer" work must clearly consist in so preparing the conditions in the every-day physical world, with which we are familiar, that they will present the least possible obstacle, and the greatest possible help, to the work of a divine Teacher. In other words it is necessary to work upon the minds of men.

Now of the obstacles which the mind of the ordinary man of today would conceivably present and put in the way of such a Teacher, the first and foremost would be, quite plainly, sheer unbelief. The typical modern mind, in its admirable struggle to comprehend and define, has almost inevitably tended to reduce everything in life to the compass of its own limitations. Hence it has largely lost sight of the vast stretches of truth and of experience which lie beyond its bounds. The coming of a World-Teacher is likely to be to it, quite frankly, something bizarre, out of the accepted order of things, and hence to be regarded, at the very least, with suspicion and mistrust. The obvious question "How do you know?" springs naturally to every lip, and it is clear that much of the work of an Order like the one which we are considering, devoted to the specific task of preparation, must consist in a definite campaign, waged in many different fashions and with many different weapons, against the chill obsession of an intellectual unbelief.

All over the world, in a general sense, the battle has already begun. The Order will but enlist itself in an army which is already enrolled, but it may surely do something to give to the work of that army an aim and a hope which it had not before. Those who know, realise that the whole battle of today is but a preparation of the World-Teacher. While, then, the members of the Order should throw in their lot with those who, in every country are fighting for a higher and more spiritual interpretation of life, and should do this, regardless of dogmas and of creeds, they may still give to the whole movement a more definite shape, by infusing into it the expectation of a Person, who, coming forth ere long amongst men, shall be the crown and consummation of the whole.

Thus the first task of the Order should be, wherever minds are aspiring upwards to a larger light, to endeavour to personalise those aspirations; to breed, at any rate, a sense of expectation, an acknowledgment of the possibility of the promise, which will go far to kindle recognition when He comes.

The second task will be, slowly and painfully, to seek to wear away the walls of intellectual unbelief. There are, quite briefly, only two possible ways in which the thing can be done. We can either meet intellect with intellect, or we can meet it with something higher. The former method will consist in marshalling all the arguments which seem to indicate that the time has come for another great manifestation on Earth, a task which, for example, has been very thoroughly done in The Changing World and other more recent lectures of our President. The latter method will consist in awakening that inner mysticism, that sense of the wonder and of the largeness of things, which, however deeply concealed it may be beneath many folds of intellectual scepticism, is yet latent in every man and ready to be awakened, if only the magic formula may be found. We should remember that, in the case of both methods, it is only a partial task that has to be performed. In both it is only the awakening to a possibility that is required. Let the intellectualist merely acknowledge the possibility, in terms of reason, of another manifestation in our own day; let the man who, after long darkness, has recovered a glimpse of his Soul, but acknowledge that in a world of wonders nothing is too wondrous to happen; and surely we may leave the Teacher Himself to justify His claim when He comes. After all, no amount of anticipatory statement can ever fully justify a Great One to the world. By His own teaching He stands or falls. "How", asks Mrs. Besant in her great lecture on "The Coming of a World-Teacher", recently delivered at the Queen's Hall, London, "How shall a man know the Teacher?" And she answers in seven brief words: "Only by the teaching that He gives". That is the conclusive, the ultimate criterion, and all that this or any other Order can do is merely to create the conditions in which this criterion shall have free and ample chance of being fairly applied.

And herein, lies the answer to a possible objection. "Why", it may be asked, "if the teaching is to be its own justification, is it necessary to prepare the way at all?" The answer is, quite briefly, that certain preliminary conditions are essential, before the teaching can be fairly judged. It is at least necessary that the Teacher should receive a fair hearing; since in justifying Himself in the face of blind prejudice and unreasoning hatred. Sooner or later His teaching will prevail -- that is certain: but it will be only after many generations, when the challenge and (must we say it?) the odium of His sacred presence shall have been removed from the eyes of men. Retrospective acceptance there will be; but what we want, this time, is surely somewhat more of contemporary acknowledgment. It is for this that the Order has been founded. The eventual future may take care of itself, for it must inevitably work itself out, in the long run, according to the great plan. The immediate object of the Order is that the Lord, when He comes a few years hence, shall find welcome and hospitality upon earth, that He shall be met, so far as is possible, with love and not with hatred; with reverence and not with scorn.

And, for that, one little thing alone is needed; a thing so simple, and demanding so little sacrifice, that one would think that it need hardly be asked. Give to Him only, in the words used above, "a fair hearing" and He will do the rest for Himself. In these words lies the key to all the outer preparatory work of the Order in the few years that lie before it. It is useless, in the majority of cases, to seek to convince. Rather, we should appeal to a sense of justice, and ask only that the Teacher, whose coming we anticipate, shall be judged by what He actually says and does, not by hearsay or by prejudice; and if this be conceded, the utmost will have been conceded that we have a right to ask of the world. Why, indeed, should it give more? It, like ourselves, has the right to make up its own mind on debatable questions. There have, as we know, been many false teachers ere now. The statement of no individual is, a priori, binding upon the world at large. All then that can be asked is a fair hearing, a willingness to wait and to judge; a readiness to acknowledge the theoretical possibility of the appearance of Great Teachers, together with freedom to determine, when the hour comes, if this be truly one.

On these lines our Order should work, whether it be in private conversation, in public lectures, or in whatever literature it may think fit to publish as time goes on. If it go beyond these and demand more rigorous standards, it is likely to repel instead of attract. While seeking to persuade, it should also respect; and herein, perhaps, lies one reason for the selection of Gentleness as one of the three qualifications chiefly to be striven after in the Order. It is not only that He whom we expect is the Lord of Gentleness and Compassion, it is that the more enlightened spirits of today, all over the world, are passing out of the region where anger and intolerance are considered essential accompaniments of difference of belief. The dawning age is one of Brotherhood. The great Teacher Himself comes to inaugurate that age. Even therefore, upon the question of His coming, there should be gentleness as tolerance shown, and not their opposites. The first propagandist in the world is love. Where that is, all else tends to follow. Hence in all its work the Order should remember what Matthew Arnold has called the virtue of "sweet reasonableness"; for thus alone is it likely to succeed in preparing a suitable environment for the Great One when He comes.

That granted, there are certain things of which the world in general surely needs to be reminded, and warned if it would be prepared for the acceptance of a Great Teacher. It must be reminded that the Great Ones do not speak according to the popular standard of their age, but far in front of it; that what They preach must needs go directly against may of the most deeply rooted, because most primitive, instincts of mankind; that the laws of the spirit are not the emendation but the direct negation, of the laws of worldly life; and that, in consequence, there can be little in the words of the truly great Teacher of what is known as "popular appeal". The churches and the priesthoods, moreover -- from which in all countries, from the very nature of things, the most powerful and unyielding opposition of all is to be feared -- must needs learn the bitter lesson of the essential and the unessential, of the spirit and the letter, ere they can make themselves ready to meet face to face the common Master of them all. And so, in this age as in all others, the very alphabet of the spiritual life has to be learnt anew -- how hatred disappears not by hatred, but by love alone; how true greatness is meek and gentle and long suffering; how all reform, to be true and lasting, must come by the self-sacrifice of the higher, not by the rebellion of the lower; and how the greatness of life comes not from outer, but from inner possessions.

These are the rudiments and the common-places of the higher life; and yet it is impossible to insist on them too strongly, or too often, in an age, whose habitual philosophy is the exact antithesis of these; an age of egoism and rivalry, of militarism and commercialism, of the insistence of such outward distinctions as those of creed and colour and race. For according to the philosophy of an age, will its attitude be towards its teachers, and unless the public expectation be guided into the right channels, and an approximately correct mental picture created of what a great Teacher is likely to be, and what kind of teachings He is likely to give, the profound shock of the actuality, when it comes, will certainly repel and make bitter enemies instead of willing adherents. And for this guidance -- lest it should seem that special knowledge of the Great Ones and of Their way of looking at things is claimed -- all that is needed is merely the re-reading of existing scriptures. We have but to turn to the sacred books of the nations to find what manner of Beings the great Teachers of mankind have ever been, how they have lived, and what kind of doctrine they have taught And having found these things, we have only to insist upon the logical inference that when that Teacher comes, whom we are expecting, He will be moulded after the fashion of His great Forerunners, and not after the fashion of our passing age. This is a task to which the Order must assuredly set itself, and which it should untiringly pursue. Common sense; the expectation of what is most probable; the drawing of logical inferences from all that we know of the past and, generally, of the spiritual life in all ages, if these can be attained, in any appreciable degree, in the few years which lie before us, then the Order will have done its work efficiently, and little need then be feared. A fair hearing, and common sense: these are the things for which, in brief, it has to work in the outer world; and upon these it should concentrate all the energies of its soul.

One thing further, however, is needed, in order that the work may be effectual, and that is, that there should exist, between the members of the Order and the coming manifestation, a kinship born not merely of intellectual anticipation, but, so far as possible, of character also; to prepare the way they must themselves embody that way. They must not merely indicate qualities; they must, in some measure, possess them. The mere existence of the Order in the world for a number of years before the coming of the Lord should do something, at least, to accustom men to the "atmosphere" which, enormously strengthened, He will bring with Him when He comes. And so we are led, almost insensibly as it were, to the consideration of that second part of the activities of the Order, to which we have given the name of Inner Work.

Inner Work

Two things are necessary here -- the cultivation of certain qualities, of a certain attitude of mind; and Unity.

Regarding the cultivation of an attitude of mind, we can surely do no better than quote from that wonderful lecture on "The Coming of a World-Teacher" to which reference has already been made. There, in words which, we hear, produced a never-to-be-forgotten effect upon the minds of her vast audience, Mrs. Besant spoke of the characteristics which, above all, were necessary for the recognition and the acceptance of the great Teacher of the Worlds. How, she asked, is that inner recognition to be assured?

The Teacher, I said, is justified by the teaching. How shall we be able to recognise the spirituality of the teaching, if it puts things in a different way from the way to which we are accustomed; if it presents some great spiritual truth from a new aspect and in a new light? First, by trying in our own selves to develop the spiritual above the intellectual life which will recognise its kin when it sees spirituality in its highest and most wonderful form. For the measures of heaven are not the measures of earth, and the divine scales differ very much from our human balances. We admire very often pride and high estate, splendour of intellect or magic of emotion. But the spiritual man is gentle, calm, meek and unresentful. How shall you, ever ready to prove you are in the right and the other in the wrong, ever eager to take up the weapon to strike when you have been struck, who think it unmanly to bear insult in silence -- how shall you appreciate the majesty of the dignity which when accused remained silent before His judges, and to every threat and accusation made He answered not a word? Why! If you hear an accusation against anyone and that person remains silent and does not defend himself, you say he is guilty, otherwise he would defend himself, bring a suit for libel, or take some other means of that kind. But that is not the way of the spiritual life. Those are not the weapons of the great Ones of the race. "When He was reviled He reviled not again; when He suffered He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously". There is the spiritual secret; the law is sure, the law is just, the law is good; you do not need to avenge yourselves. If you have been wronged the great law will right you; and none can harm you unless you have made the weapon for your striking; for only those who have wronged receive back the blow on themselves. And so, if you would know the Christ when He comes, cultivate the spirit of the Christ -- to bear insult with forgiveness, to bear accusation in silence, to refrain from anger, not to return evil with evil but with good. And if in yourselves you can develop those Christlike qualities, then shall your vision be clear to recognise Him when He comes, for although in you they are imperfect and in Him perfection, still the nature will be the same and will know its own, and recognise the greatness that otherwise would blind the vision.

If you would know the Christ when He comes, try to develop in yourself not only that gentleness and patience, but all the qualities which go to the making of the spiritual man -- the love for all you meet, whether attractive or unattractive; the patience which becomes more patient face to face with ignorance and stupidity; the love which becomes more gentle when it finds shyness, when it finds weakness in its way; the qualities that are sometimes laughed at as womanly -- but would that every woman had them; the heart that feels and understands when misery is before it, and that keeps nothing back when it has aught to give.

If you would know Him when He comes, then check the tendency to decry the great, and to find faults in what is noble. So many people, looking at the sun, only see the spots, and no man, they say, is a hero to his valet de chambre. But why not? Not because he is not heroic, but because the heart of the valet de chambre cannot appreciate heroism. We criticise; we find petty faults; we lay stress on petty mistakes, and we miss the soul of goodness and of greatness, perchance, in those who be against the common feeling of the time. Be not ashamed to admire. Be not ashamed to be reverent to that which is greater, nobler than yourself, for the power to admire means really the faculty to achieve. That which you recognise to the noble, by the very recognition you rise nearer to it and become liker to it. Reverence greatness wherever you see it, in outer life, in inner life, in the genius of the writer, the painter, the sculptor, in the holiness of the saint, in the compassion of the pitiful. In everyone that you meet try to see the best and not the worst. Meet everyone, be it even the criminal, as the potential saint; for by that love and respect to that which only exists in germ, the seed will burst, and presently will grow into flower and into fruit. God is in every man, and if you do not see Him it is your eyes that are blinded; and if you would see the divine in its mighty perfection in a Christ, then see the Christ in our poorest fellow-man or fellow-woman, and verily then you shall know Him when He comes.

When you are able to feel reverence, then do not put a check on the love that flows out to that which you see to be greater than yourself; but nourish the feeling of devotion which is ready to love, which is ready to give, which is able to give itself utterly to that which it knows to be greater than itself. Oh, they said of old that there were some who, when they met the Christ, left all and followed Him. And if, when He stands amongst us in our twentieth century, any of you would fain be among those who on seeing Him leave all and follow, then cultivate that feeling in your daily life while still He is not present, manifest amongst us. Thus practise the virtues that will burst into flower when you are in His presence. Try to realise what He must be, the Teacher of angels and men. Try to catch some touch of His spirit of perfect love, some gleam of His nature of perfect purity, some understanding of a power which conquers everything because it wins everything to knowledge and to answer.

If it be so amongst some of us, enough of us to influence the public opinion of our time, then when the Lord of Love comes again, it shall not be a Cross that will meet Him; then when He stands amongst us it shall not be hatred that shall be poured out against Him; not three brief years alone will He stay with us, but our love will not let Him go, for love fetters even the Lord of Love. Then we who have tried to grow into His likeness, we who have longed for the glory of His presence, we with our eyes shall behold the King in his beauty, and know the Supreme Teacher when again, ere very long He treads the roads of earth.

To these noble and eloquent words nothing can be added. It would be impossible to paint more vividly, or with more impressive effect, the lofty ideals of character and the utter desertion of all ordinary worldly standards of conduct, toward which members of the Order should even now begin to strive, if they would fit themselves to be accepted servants of the Lord when He comes.

All this, however, belongs, by its very nature, to the more intimate and personal side of the work of the Order; and in this region each member must, of necessity, shape his course according to his own ideals and opportunities and the promptings of his own inner self. For the purposes of the present very general article, therefore, we may leave this inner side of the work and pass on to another aspect of the Order, which seems to us to be of the highest importance; its aspect, namely, as an organised body.

The Order as an Organisation

Every organised body, in which large numbers of persons are banded together in pursuit of a common purpose, possesses, as we know, a significance as well as a strength quite over and above that embodied in the sum of the separate individuals concerned. An organisation, if it deserve the name, becomes verily an entity, and can do the work of an entity; and this is why, if efficient and united, it may have the advantage over a vastly greater amount of loose and uncorrelated opposing forces. This peculiar dynamic power, moreover, thus resident in all organised bodies, becomes intensified according, as both, the force of union on the one side, and the variety and multiplicity of activity on the other, are increased; the perfect organisation being one in which the highest unity of aim is combined with the utmost possible variety of faculty and outward expression and the utmost intensity of life and force.

Now it seems to the writer that in the Order of the Star in the East there are potentially present, in a very peculiar degree, all the elements which go to make the perfect organisation. We have here an Order, bound together by one common aim and -- what is ever a yet more potent force for unity -- finding its centre in a common Figure, and that Figure the mightiest of all Figures which might unite a world-wide organisation by links of passionate love and devotion, the Supreme Teacher of Gods and men. Round that Figure the Order is already gathering. He is already its centre in promise and potentiality, even though the time may not yet have come for Him to assume control in His own person. But even now the thought of Him is present. We look for His coming, although He is not here. And so, from the very birth of the Order, that all-compelling and dominating principle of unity is at work, which is one of the conditions of true organisation. Then as to the next condition, variety; nothing could conceivably be more various than the tasks of the Order amid the multitudinous conditions which it will have to meet in different parts of the globe. Each country, each religion, each race and community has its own problems, and for each the vision of the coming Teacher will have its own appropriate promise and significance. Each, therefore, must adapt itself to the future according to its own needs and according to its own interpretation of that future; and it is for this reason that it has been expressly laid down that in this Order "there are no rules". Such infinite variety demands, as its complement, the very fullest liberty -- liberty of thought, liberty of action, liberty of organisation -- in order that in every part of the world members of the Order may address themselves, unhampered by restriction or regulation from without, to the special problems which confront them in their own environment.

Two, then, of the conditions of the ideal organisation are here -- a unifying force of almost infinite power and an almost infinite variety of work and expression. And may we not hope that the third condition -- namely "intensity of life and force" -- may also be found in an Order with so mighty a central aim and such an immensity of possibilities before it? All over the world the life is quickening today, in preparation for the coming of the Lord. May it not be that an Order, which definitely foresees that coming and seeks to make ready the way, shall focus and organise something of that force and so render it a little more definitely, and perhaps a little more widely, effective than it might otherwise be?

This, at least, is what the Order should strive to do; and it will perhaps do so with the greater energy and enthusiasm if it realise a certain very notable and significant fact: and that is, that there would seem to be opening before this Order an opportunity to which, so far as we know, the history of the world presents no parallel. The Supreme Teacher has many times come and gone. Great religions have sprung from His teaching. His mighty work has invariably achieved its purpose in the length of time. But never before has that work been heralded and prepared for, on the physical plane, by a world-wide organisation of men and women, definitely conscious of the future, seeking to tune themselves beforehand to the note which the Teacher shall sound forth, and striving to school themselves by actual service to be instruments in His hands when He comes. The conditions of today are new, perhaps unique; and so with these conditions new possibilities and new hopes arise. It is impossible, indeed, to conceive how great a difference the existence of such an Order as this might make if only it could avail itself of the great opportunity which opens before it. For let us consider what it might do. Such an organisation would, in the first place, be a vast generator of thought. Its existence for a number of years amongst men and its continual concentration on one central idea, would (quite apart from any outward work, even) help enormously to breed in the thought of our times an ever-growing and more definite expectation of the coming of a great Teacher; its own attitude towards that Teacher would help in Mrs. Besant's words, "to create an atmosphere of welcome and of reference", while, by declaring itself in advance and facing something of the world's antagonism before the actual coming of the Lord, it might have the glorious privilege of taking upon itself a little of that anguish and sorrow which every World-Teacher has to bear, and so enabling Him to stay, perchance, a little longer for the blessing of the world.

It is because all this is possible for the Order, and because the time in which it can be made possible in action is now so short, that it is most earnestly to be hoped that members will begin at once to develop and organise the life and work of the Order, as vigorously and whole-heartedly as they can, each in his own way and amid his own conditions. And here it is possible, perhaps, in quite a general way, to make a few suggestions.

1. Wherever there are two or three members in a place, they should at once begin meeting together regularly for the purpose of bringing the Order and its work as a reality into their lives; and such meetings should be as frequent as possible, if only for the purpose of creating centres of thought which may serve as nuclei in preparing the general atmosphere for the future.
2. The members in any locality should try to have a common time and (if it can be arranged) a common place for daily meditation on the subject of the coming Teacher and the work
-- such joint meditation being an exceedingly potent force upon the subtler planes.
3. They should remember that, as has been already suggested, their work as members of the Order is first of all to impress upon the mind of those about them the intellectual possibility of such a manifestation in our times; secondly, to anticipate by taking thought of some of the probable difficulties which the great Teacher will have to meet, and to endeavour, so far as may be, to grapple with these beforehand; and thirdly, wherever intellectual assent to the possibility of His coming has been won, to do everything in their power to win over the person or persons so convinced to the attitude of mind and heart by which they will best be able to respond to the message of the Teacher when He comes.
4. There will be many methods of doing all this work -- by conversation, by public speaking, by correspondence or by published writings (articles, pamphlets, etc.) from which every member, or group of members, must choose what is most readily convenient. Whatever be the means selected, each member, wherever he may be, should feel that his usefulness must eventually be estimated by the members of those surrounding him whom he shall have succeeded in preparing intellectually and spiritually for the coming of the Lord, and he should shape his life and activities accordingly.
5. It is desirable that means should be taken, through mutual reports of activities, etc. to keep different sections of the Order in communication and touch with one another, thus promoting that sense of unity through which so much of the life of the Order should be derived. It is also desirable that members everywhere should gradually grow to think of themselves as belonging to one large family, united under a common Father and Head, and that this feeling should, if possible, objectify itself in some actual code of fellowship and "Free-masonry", shaping itself tangibly and definitely on the physical plane.
6. Finally, every member should feel that he has a certain responsibility in the way of searching out possible ways of usefulness, and giving the Order the benefit of his suggestions. There should, we think, be some kind of central bureau of activities, to which such suggestions could be sent. Also each member should note the chief difficulties which seem to confront him in his work; the chief arguments used against him, the points which he finds hardest to explain, or to put convincingly, and so forth -- in order that, wherever possible, assistance should be given; or, even where assistance is not actually possible, the Order as a whole should have the benefit of the tried experience of its workers.

On these and a great many other points, it is to be hoped that very much more definite information and help may eventually be given by those who are in a position to do so. The present article is but a rough introductory sketch, intended merely to give to would-be members and applicants a general idea of the ideals and objects of the Order. As such, we may perhaps conclude it by alluding to one or two more detailed points which, we think, will be useful to intending applicants, and which may save both them and the officers of the Order many questions and answers respectively.

1. An application for membership should be made to the Organising Secretary of the country to which the applicant belongs. In cases where no such Secretary has yet been appointed, the applicant is asked to wait until the appointment has been made, since it is intended to organise the Order on the basis of countries, each country being a separate and autonomous unit. All members, therefore, are primarily members of their own national section and stand, first of all, in relation to the officers of that section.
2. It should be noted, in this connection, that the two chief officers of each country -- namely, the Local Representative and the Organising Secretary -- are, in every case, chosen by the Head of the Order, and by him alone. All such appointments, therefore, as may have been locally made, for inaugurating the work of these offices, will of course have to be ratified by the Head before they can be held to be permanent.
3. An applicant for membership in the Order should, in every case, give his full name and address, as well as his profession or occupation. His application, moreover, should contain the definite statement that he accepts the Declaration of Principles. These, however, he need not (as some have done) go to the trouble of copying out in his letter of application. All that it necessary is a brief line to the following effect -- Dear Sir, I wish to join the Order of the Star in the East and fully accept its Declaration of Principles. Your etc. Then name in full, occupation and address.
4. Each member, on admission, will receive from his Organising Secretary a certificate of membership.
5. The Badge of the Order is a five-pointed silver star, to be had in two forms, either as a pin or as a brooch. Inquiries have reached us as to whether it is necessary to wear the badge in either of these forms, or whether the star might not, for example, be unobtrusively hung upon the watch-chain. In answer to these, we can only repeat that in this Order "there are no rules", and that members may therefore, presumably, do exactly what they like in the matter. At present, however, the Badge is not being manufactured for wearing upon the watch-chain; though it is possible that later on something of the kind might be attempted. But, in so far as the question is one of shrinking from publicity or comments, our answer would be (and this applies of course still more definitely to those who ask whether they need wear the Badge at all) that, although there is, and can be, no compulsion in the matter, yet -- in view of the future before the Order -- it would seem well if members of the Order could begin to become a little hardened to the comments and publicity which must inevitably, one day or another, be their lot. But here too, no definite rule can be enforced, or even suggested. Perhaps the whole thing might remain exactly as Mrs. Besant has worded it, i.e, members are requested to wear them as far as possible, leaving the interpretation to members themselves.
6. Every member, on joining, should try to find out whether there are other members in his neighbourhood, in order that he may get into communication with them and arrange plans for future work. The best medium for acquiring this information will probably be the local T.S. Lodge, if any; or the information could be obtained by writing directly to the Organising Secretary.
7. In cases where a member finds himself, for the time being, in isolation, he is asked to begin in some small way arranging his life as a member, taking as the basis of his arrangement the Declaration of Principles quoted in the first portion of this article. It is suggested also that such a member should put himself in correspondence with some other member elsewhere, and should write to the latter regularly at not very long intervals -- a fortnight, or a month. This will help to keep him in touch.
8. Applicants and members are particularly requested to note that, besides there being no rules in the Order, there is also no subscription. A careful notice of these two points will prevent many questions.
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Re: Annie Besant's Many Lives, by Kumari Jayawardena

Postby admin » Tue May 08, 2018 4:28 am

The Beacon Light of Truth (Le Phare De L'Inconnu)
by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
La Revue Theosophique, May, 1889
Theosophist, July, August, September, 1889



"IT is written in an old book upon the Occult Sciences: "Gupta Vidya (Secret Science) is an attractive sea, but stormy and full of rocks. The navigator who risks himself thereon, if he be not wise and full of experience, [1] will be swallowed up, wrecked upon one of the thousand submerged reefs. Great billows, in colour like sapphires, rubies and emeralds, billows full of beauty and mystery will overtake him, ready to bear the voyager away towards other and numberless lights that burn in every direction. But these are will-o-the-wisps, lighted by the sons of Kâliya [2] for the destruction of those who thirst for life. Happy are they who remain blind to these false deceivers; more happy still those who never turn their eyes from the only true Beacon-light whose eternal flame burns in solitude in the depths of the water of the Sacred Science. Numberless are the pilgrims that desire to enter those waters; very few are the strong swimmers who reach the Light. He who gets there must have ceased to be a number, and have become all numbers. He must have forgotten the illusion of separation, and accept only the truth of collective individuality. [3] He must "see with the ears, hear with the eyes, [4] understand the language of the rainbow, and have concentrated his six senses in his seventh sense." [5]

The Beacon-light of Truth is Nature without the veil of the senses. It can be reached only when the adept has become absolute master of his personal self, able to control all his physical and psychic senses by the aid of his "seventh sense," through which he is gifted also with the true wisdom of the gods -- Theosophia.

Needless to say that the profane -- the non-initiated, outside the temple or pro-fanes, -- judge of the "lights" and the "Light" above mentioned in a reversed sense. For them it is the Beacon-light of Occult truth which is the Ignis fatuus, the great will-o-the-wisp of human illusion and folly; and they regard all the others as marking beneficent sand banks, which stop in time those who are excitedly sailing on the sea of folly and superstition.

"Is it not enough," say our kind critics, "that the world by dint of isms has arrived at Theosophism, which is nothing but transcendental humbuggery (fumisterie), without the latter offering further us a réchauffée of mediæval magic, with its grand Sabbath and chronic hysteria?"

"Stop, stop, gentlemen. Do you know, when you talk like that, what true magic is, or the Occult Sciences? You have allowed yourselves in your schools to be stuffed full of the 'diabolical sorcery' of Simon the magician, and his disciple Menander, according to the good Father Ireneus, the too zealous Theodoret and the unknown author of Philosophumena. You have permitted yourselves to be told on the one hand that this magic came from the devil; and on the other hand that it was the result of imposture and fraud. Very well. But what do you know of the true nature of the system followed by Apollonius of Tyana, Iamblicus and other magi? And what is your opinion about the identity of the theurgy of Iamblicus with the 'magic' of the Simons and the Menanders? Its true character is only half revealed by the author of the book De Mysteriis. [6] Nevertheless his explanations sufficed to convert Porphyry, Plotinus, and others, who from enemies to the esoteric theory became its most fervent adherents." The reason is extremely simple.

True Magic, the theurgy of Iamblicus, is in its turn identical with the gnosis of Pythagoras, the science of things which are, and with the divine ecstacy of the Philaletheans, "the lovers of Truth." But, one can judge of the tree only by its fruits. Who are those who have witnessed to the divine character and the reality of that ecstacy which is called Samâdhi in India? [7]

A long series of men, who, had they been Christians, would have been canonized, -- not by the decision of the Church, which has its partialities and predilections, but by that of whole nations, and by the vox populi, which is hardly ever wrong in its judgments. There is, for instance, Ammonius Saccas, called the Theodidaktos, "God-instructed"; the great master whose life was so chaste and so pure, that Plotinus, his pupil, had not the slightest hope of ever seeing any mortal comparable to him. Then there is this same Plotinus who was for Ammonius what Plato was for Socrates -- a disciple worthy of his illustrious master. Then there is Porphyry, the pupil of Plotinus, [8] the author of the biography of Pythagoras. Under the shadow of this divine gnosis, whose beneficent influence has extended to our own days, all the celebrated mystics of the later centuries have been developed, such as Jacob Boehme, Emanuel Swedenborg, and so many others. Madame Guyon is the feminine counterpart of Iamblicus. The Christian Quietists, the Mussulman Soufis, the Rosicrucians of all countries, drink the waters of that inexhaustible fountain -- the Theosophy of the Neo-Platonists of the first centuries of the Christian Era. The gnosis preceded that era, for it was the direct continuation of the Gupta Vidya and of the Brahmâ-Vidya ("secret knowledge" and "knowledge of Brahmâ") of ancient India, transmitted through Egypt; just as the theurgy of the Philaletheans was the continuation of the Egyptian mysteries. In any case, the point from which this "diabolic" magic starts, is the Supreme Divinity; its end and aim, the union of the divine spark which animates man with the parent-flame, which is the Divine ALL.

This consummation is the ultima thule of those Theosophists, who devote themselves entirely to the service of humanity. Apart from these, others, who are not yet ready to sacrifice everything, may occupy themselves with the transcendental sciences, such as Mesmerism, and the modern phenomena under all their forms. They have the right to do so according to the clause which specifies as one of the objects of the Theosophical Society "the investigation of unexplained laws of nature and the psychic powers latent in man."

The first named are not numerous, -- complete altruism being a rara avis even among modern Theosophists. The other members are free to occupy themselves with whatever they like. Notwithstanding this, and in spite of the openness of our proceedings, in which there is nothing mysterious, we are constantly called upon to explain ourselves, and to satisfy the public that we do not celebrate witches' Sabbaths, and manufacture broom-sticks for the use of Theosophists. This kind of thing, indeed, sometimes borders on the grotesque. When it is not of having invented a new "ism," a religion extracted from the depths of a disordered brain, or else of humbugging that we are accused, it is of having exercised the arts of Circé upon men and beasts. Jests and satires fall upon the Theosophical Society thick as hail. Nevertheless it has stood unshaken during all the fourteen years during which that kind of thing has been going on: it is a "tough customer," truly.


After all, critics who judge only by appearances are not altogether wrong. There is Theosophy and Theosophy: the true Theosophy of the Theosophist, and the Theosophy of a Fellow of the Society of that name. What does the world know of true Theosophy? How can it distinguish between that of a Plotinus, and that of the false brothers? And of the latter the Society possesses more than its share. The egoism, vanity and self-sufficiency of the majority of mortals is incredible. There are some for whom their little personality constitutes the whole universe, beyond which there is no salvation. Suggest to one of these that the alpha and omega of wisdom are not limited by the circumference of his or her head, that his or her judgment could not be considered quite equal to that of Solomon, and straight away he or she accuses you of anti-theosophy. You have been guilty of blasphemy against the spirit, which will not be pardoned in this century, nor in the next. These people say, "I am Theosophy," as Louis XIV said "I am the State." They speak of fraternity and of altruism and only care in reality for that for which no one else cares -- themselves -- in other words their little "me." Their egoism makes them fancy that it is they only who represent the temple of Theosophy, and that in proclaiming themselves to the world they are proclaiming Theosophy. Alas! the doors and windows of that "temple" are no better than so many channels through which enter, but very seldom depart, the vices and illusions characteristic of egoistical mediocrities.

These people are the white ants of the Theosophical Society, which eat away its foundations, and are a perpetual menace to it. It is only when they leave it that it is possible to breathe freely.

It is not such as these that can ever give a correct idea of practical Theosophy, still less of the transcendental Theosophy which occupies the minds of a little group of the elect. Every one of us possesses the faculty, the interior sense, that is known by the name of intuition, but how rare are those who know how to develop it! It is, however, only by the aid of this faculty that men can ever see things in their true colours. It is an instinct of the soul, which grows in us in proportion to the employment we give it, and which helps us to perceive and understand the realities of things with far more certainty than can the simple use of our senses and exercise of our reason. What are called good sense and logic enable us to see only the appearances of things, that which is evident to every one. The instinct of which I speak, being a projection of our perceptive consciousness, a projection which acts from the subjective to the objective, and not vice versa, awakens in us spiritual senses and power to act; these senses assimilate to themselves the essence of the object or of the action under examination, and represent it to us as it really is, not as it appears to our physical senses and to our cold reason. "We begin with instinct, we end with omniscience" says Professor A. Wilder, our oldest colleague. Iamblicus has described this faculty, and certain Theosophists have been able to appreciate the truth of his description.

"There exists," he says, "a faculty in the human mind which is immeasurably superior to all those which are grafted or engendered in us. By it we can attain to union with superior intelligences, finding ourselves raised above the scenes of this earthly life, and partaking of the higher existence and superhuman powers of the inhabitants of the celestial spheres. By this faculty we find ourselves liberated finally from the dominion of destiny (Karma), and we become, as it were, the arbiters of our own fates. For, when the most excellent parts in us find themselves filled with energy, and when our soul is lifted up towards essences higher than science, it can separate itself from the conditions which hold it in the bondage of every-day life; it exchanges its ordinary existence for another one, it renounces the conventional habits which belong to the external order of things, to give itself up to and mix itself with another order of things which reigns in that most elevated state of existence."

Plato has expressed the same idea in two lines: "The light and spirit of the Divinity are the wings of the soul. They raise it to communion with the gods, above this earth, with which the spirit of man is too ready to soil itself.... To become like the gods, is to become holy, just and wise. That is the end for which man was created, and that ought to be his aim in the acquisition of knowledge."

This is true Theosophy, inner Theosophy, that of the soul. But followed with a selfish aim Theosophy changes its nature and becomes demonosophy. That is why Oriental wisdom teaches us that the Hindu Yogi who isolates himself in an impenetrable forest, like the Christian hermit who, as was common in former times, retires to the desert, are both of them nothing but accomplished egoists. The one acts with the sole idea of finding a nirvanic refuge against reincarnation; the other acts with the unique idea of saving his soul, -- both of them think only of themselves. Their motive is altogether personal; for, even supposing they attain their end, are they not like cowardly soldiers, who desert from their regiment when it is going into action, in order to keep out of the way of the bullets?

In isolating themselves as they do, neither the Yogi nor the "Saint" helps anyone but himself; on the contrary both show themselves profoundly indifferent to the fate of mankind whom they fly from and desert. Mount Athos [9] contains, perhaps, a few sincere fanatics; nevertheless even these have without knowing it got off the only track that leads to the truth, -- the path of Calvary, on which each one voluntarily bears the cross of humanity, and for humanity. In reality it is a nest of the coarsest kind of selfishness; and it is to such places that Adams' remark on monasteries applies: "There are solitary creatures there who seem to have fled from the rest of mankind for the sole pleasure of communing with the Devil tête-à-tête."

Gautama, the Buddha, only remained in solitude long enough to enable him to arrive at the truth, which he devoted himself from that time on to promulgate, begging his bread, and living for humanity. Jesus retired to the desert only for forty days, and died for this same humanity. Apollonius of Tyana, Plotinus, Iamblicus, while leading lives of singular abstinence, almost of asceticism, lived in the world and for the world. The greatest ascetics and saints of our days are not those who retire into inaccessible places, but those who pass their lives in travelling from place to place, doing good and trying to raise mankind; although, indeed, they may avoid Europe, and those civilized countries where no one has any eyes or ears except for himself, countries divided into two camps -- of Cains and Abels.

Those who regard the human soul as an emanation of the Deity, as a particle or ray of the universal and ABSOLUTE soul, understand the parable of the Talents better than do the Christians. He who hides in the earth the talent which has been given him by his "Lord," will lose that talent, as the ascetic loses it, who takes it into his head to "save his soul" in egoistical solitude. The "good and faithful servant" who doubles his capital, by harvesting for him who has not sown, because he had not the means of doing so, and who reaps for the poor who have not scattered the grain, acts like a true altruist. He will receive his recompense, just because he has worked for another, without any idea of remuneration or reward. That man is the altruistic Theosophist, while the other is an egoist and a coward.

The Beacon-light upon which the eyes of all real Theosophists are fixed is the same towards which in all ages the imprisoned human soul has struggled. This Beacon, whose light shines upon no earthly seas, but which has mirrored itself in the sombre depths of the primordial waters of infinite space, is called by us, as by the earliest Theosophists, "Divine Wisdom." That is the last word of the esoteric doctrine; and, in antiquity, where was the country, having the right to call itself civilized, that did not possess a double system of WISDOM, of which one part was for the masses, and the other for the few, -- the exoteric and the esoteric? This name, WISDOM, or, as we say sometimes, the "Wisdom Religion" or Theosophy, is as old as the human mind. The title of Sages -- the priests of this worship of truth -- was its first derivative. These names were afterwards transformed into philosophy, and philosophers -- the "lovers of science" or of wisdom. It is to Pythagoras that we owe that name, as also that of gnosis, the system of "the knowledge of things as they are," or of the essence that is hidden beneath the external appearances. Under that name, so noble and so correct in its definition, all the masters of antiquity designated the aggregate of our knowledge of things human and divine. The sages and Brachmânes of India, the magi of Chaldea and Persia, the hierophants of Egypt and Arabia, the prophets or Nabi of Judea and of Israel, as well as the philosophers of Greece and Rome, have always classified that science in two divisions -- the esoteric, or the true, and the exoteric, disguised in symbols. To this day the Jewish Rabbis give the name of Mercabah to the body or vehicle of their religious system, that which contains within it the higher knowledge, accessible only to the initiates, and of which higher knowledge it is only the husk.

We are accused of mystery, and we are reproached with making a secret of the higher Theosophy. We confess that the doctrine which we call gupta vidya (secret science) is only for the few. But where were the masters in ancient times who did not keep their teachings secret, for fear they would be profaned? From Orpheus and Zoroaster, Pythagoras and Plato, down to the Rosicrucians, and to the more modern Free-Masons, it has been the invariable rule that the disciple must gain the confidence of the master before receiving from him the supreme and final word. The most ancient religions have always had their greater and lesser mysteries. The neophytes and catechumens took an inviolable oath before they were accepted. The Essenes of Judea and Mount Carmel required the same thing. The Nabi and the Nazars (the "separated ones" of Israel), like the lay Chelas and the Brahmâcharyas of India, differed greatly from each other. The former could, and can, be married and remain in the world, while they are studying the sacred writings up to a certain point; the latter, the Nazars and the Brahmâcharyas, have always been entirely vowed to the mysteries of initiation. The great schools of Esotericism were international, although exclusive, as is proved by the fact that Plato, Herodotus and others, went to Egypt to be initiated; while Pythagoras, after visiting the Brahmins of India, stopped at an Egyptian sanctuary, and finally was received, according to Iamblicus, at Mount Carmel. Jesus followed the traditional custom, and justified his reticence by quoting the well known precept:

Give not the sacred
things to the dogs,
Cast not your pearls before the swine,
Lest these tread them under their feet,
And lest the dogs turn and rend you.

Certain ancient writings -- known, for that matter, to the bibliophiles -- personify WISDOM; which they represent as emanating from Ain-Soph, the Parabrahm of the Jewish Kabbalists, and make it the associate and companion of the manifested Deity. Thence its sacred character with every people. Wisdom is inseparable from divinity. Thus we have the Vedas coming from the mouth of the Hindu "Brahmâ" (the logos); the name Buddha comes from Budha, "Wisdom," divine intelligence; the Babylonian Nebo, the Thot of Memphis, Hermes of the Greeks, were all gods of esoteric wisdom.
The Greek Athena, Metis and Neitha of the Egyptians, are the prototypes of Sophia-Achamoth, the feminine wisdom of the Gnostics. The Samaritan Pentateuch calls the book of Genesis Akarnauth, or "Wisdom," as also two fragments of very ancient manuscripts, "the Wisdom of Solomon," and "the Wisdom of Iasous (Jesus)." The book called Mashalim or "Sayings and Proverbs of Solomon," personifies Wisdom by calling it "the helper of the (Logos) creator," in the following terms, (literally translated):

I (a) HV

(e) H* possessed me from the beginning.
But the first emanation in the eternities,
I appeared from all antiquity, the primordial. --
From the first day of the earth;
I was born before the great abyss.
And when there were neither springs nor waters,
When he traced the circle on the face of the deep,
I was with him Amun.
I was his delight, day by day.

This is exoteric, like all that has reference to the personal gods of the nations. The INFINITE cannot be known to our reason, which can only distinguish and define; -- but we can always conceive the abstract idea thereof, thanks to that faculty higher than our reason, -- intuition, or the spiritual instinct of which I have spoken. Only the great initiates, who have the rare power of throwing themselves into the state of Samadhi, -- which can be but imperfectly translated by the word ecstacy, a state in which one ceases to be the conditioned and personal "I," and becomes one with the ALL, -- only those can boast of having been in contact with the infinite: but no more than other mortals can they describe that state in words.

These few characteristics of true theosophy and of its practice, have been sketched for the small number of our readers who are gifted with the desired intuition.


Do our benevolent critics always know what they are laughing at? Have they the smallest idea of the work which is being performed in the world and the mental changes that are being brought about by that Theosophy at which they smile? The progress already due to our literature is evident, and, thanks to the untiring labours of a certain number of Theosophists, it is becoming recognized even by the blindest. There are not a few who are persuaded that Theosophy will be the philosophy and the law, if not the religion of the future. The party of reaction, captivated by the dolce far niente of conservatism, feel all this, hence come the hatred and persecution which call in criticism to their aid. But criticism, inaugurated by Aristotle, has fallen far away from its primitive standard. The ancient philosophers, those sublime ignoramuses as regards modern civilization, when they criticised a system or a work, did so with impartiality, and with the sole object of amending and improving that with which they found fault. First they studied the subject, and then they analyzed it. It was a service rendered, and was recognized and accepted as such by both parties. Does modern criticism always conform to that golden rule? It is very evident that it does not.

Our judges of today are far below the level even of the philosophical criticism of Kant. Criticism, which takes unpopularity and prejudice for its canons, has replaced that of "pure reason"; and the critic ends by tearing to pieces with his teeth everything he does not comprehend, and especially whatever he does not care in the least to understand. In the last century -- the golden age of the goose-quill -- criticism was biting enough sometimes; but still it did justice. Caesar's wife might be suspected, but she was never condemned without being heard in her defence. In our century Montyon prizes [10] and public statues are for him who invents the most murderous engine of war; today, when the steel pen has replaced its more humble predecessor, the fangs of the Bengal tiger or the teeth of the terrible saurian of the Nile would make wounds less cruel and less deep than does the steel nib (bec) of the modern critic, who is almost always absolutely ignorant of that which he tears so thoroughly to pieces.

It is some consolation, perhaps, to know that the majority of our literary critics, trans-atlantic and continental, are ex-scribblers who have made a fiasco in literature, and are revenging themselves now for their mediocrity upon everything they come across
. The small blue wine, insipid and doctored, almost always turns into very strong vinegar. Unfortunately the reporters of the press in general -- hungry poor devils whom we would be sorry to grudge the little they make, even at our expense -- are not our only or our most dangerous critics. The bigots and the materialists -- the sheep and goats of religions -- having placed us in turn in their index expurgatorius, our books are banished from their libraries, our journals are boycotted, and ourselves subjected to the most complete ostracism. One pious soul, who accepts literally the miracles of the Bible, following with emotion the ichthyographical investigations of Jonas in the whale's belly, or the trans-ethereal journey of Elias, when like a salamander he flew off in his chariot of fire, nevertheless regards the Theosophists as wonder-mongers and cheats. Another -- áme damnée of Hæckel, -- while he displays a credulity as blind as that of the bigot in his belief in the evolution of man and the gorilla from a common ancestor (considering the total absence of every trace in nature of any connecting link whatever), nearly dies with laughing when he finds that his neighbour believes in occult phenomena and psychic manifestations. Nevertheless, neither the bigot nor the man of science, nor even the academician, counted among the number of the "Immortals," can explain to us the smallest of the problems of existence. The metaphysicians who for centuries have studied the phenomena of being in their first principles, and who smile pityingly when they listen to the wanderings of Theosophy, would be greatly embarrassed to explain to us the philosophy or even the cause of dreams. Which of them can tell us why all the mental operations, -- except reasoning, which faculty alone finds itself suspended and paralysed, -- go on while we dream with as much activity and energy as when we are awake? The disciple of Herbert Spencer would send anyone to the biologist who squarely asked him that question. But he, for whom digestion is the alpha and omega of every dream, -- like hysteria, that great Proteus with a thousand forms, which is present in every psychic phenomenon -- can by no means satisfy us. Indigestion and hysteria are, in fact, twin sisters, two goddesses, to whom the modern psychologist has raised an altar at which he has constituted himself the officiating priest. But this is his business so long as he does not meddle with the gods of his neighbours.

From all this it follows that, since the Christian characterises Theosophy as the "accursed science" and the forbidden fruit; since the man of science sees nothing in metaphysics but "the domain of the crazy poet" (Tyndall); since the "reporter" touches it only with poisoned forceps; and since the missionaries associate it with idolatry and "the benighted Hindu," -- it follows, we say, that poor Theo-Sophia is as shamefully treated as she was when the ancients called her the TRUTH, -- while they relegated her to the bottom of a well. Even the "Christian" Kabbalists, who love so much to mirror themselves in the dark waters of this deep well, although they see nothing there but the reflection of their own faces, which they mistake for that of the Truth, -- even the Kabbalists make war upon us. Nevertheless, all that is no reason why Theosophy should have nothing to say in its own defence, and in its favour; or that it should cease to assert its right to be listened to, or why its loyal and faithful servants should neglect their duty by acknowledging themselves beaten.

"The accursed science," you say, good Ultramontanes? You should remember, nevertheless, that the tree of science is grafted on the tree of life. That the fruit which you declare "forbidden," and which you have proclaimed for sixteen centuries to be the cause of the original sin that brought death into the world, -- that this fruit, whose flower blossoms on an immortal stem, was nourished by that same trunk, and that therefore it is the only fruit which can insure us immortality. You also, good Kabbalists, ignore, -- or wish to ignore, -- that the allegory of the earthly paradise is as old as the world, and that the tree, the fruit and the sin had once a far profounder and more philosophic signification than they have today, -- when the secrets of initiation are lost.

Protestantism and Ultramontanism are opposed to Theosophy, just as they are opposed to everything not emanating from themselves; as Calvinism opposed the replacing of its two fetishes, the Jewish Bible and Sabbath, by the Gospel and the Christian Sunday; as Rome opposed secular education and Free-masonry. Dead-letter and theocracy have, however, had their day. The world must move and advance under penalty of stagnation and death. Mental evolution progresses pari passu with physical evolution, and both advance towards the ONE TRUTH, -- which is the heart of the system of Humanity, as evolution is the blood. Let the circulation stop for one moment and the heart stops at the same time, and it is all up with the human machine! And it is the servants of Christ who wish to kill, or at least paralyze, the Truth by the blows of a club which is called "the letter that kills!" But the end is nigh. That which Coleridge said of political despotism applies also to religious. The Church, unless she withdraws her heavy hand, which weighs like a nightmare on the oppressed bosoms of millions of believers whether they resent it or not, and whose reason remains paralyzed in the clutch of superstition, the ritualistic Church is sentenced to give up its place to Religion and -- to die. Soon it will have but a choice. For once the people become enlightened about the truth which it hides with so much care, one of two things will happen, the Church will either perish by the people; or else, if the masses are left in ignorance and in slavery to the dead letter, it will perish with the people. Will the servants of eternal Truth, -- out of which Truth they have made a squirrel that runs round an ecclesiastical wheel, -- will they show themselves sufficiently altruistic to choose the first of these alternative necessities? Who knows!

I say it again; it is only theosophy, well understood, that can save the world from despair, by reproducing social and religious reform -- a task once before accomplished in history, by Gautama, the Buddha: a peaceful reform, without one drop of blood spilt, each one remaining in the faith of his fathers if he so chooses. To do this he will only have to reject the parasitic plants of human fabrication, which at the present moment are choking all religions and churches in the world. Let him accept but the essence, which is the same in all: that is to say, the spirit which gives life to man in whom it resides, and renders him immortal. Let every man inclined to go on find his ideal, -- a star before him to guide him. Let him follow it, without ever deviating from his path; and he is almost certain to reach the Beacon-light of life -- the TRUTH: no matter whether he seeks for and finds it at the bottom of a cradle or of a well.


Laugh, then, at the science of sciences without knowing the first word of it! We will be told, perhaps, that such is the literary right of our critics. With all my heart. If people always talked about what they understood, they would only say things that are true, and -- that would not always be so amusing. When I read the criticisms now written on Theosophy, the platitudes and the stupid ridicule employed against the most grandiose and sublime philosophy in the world, -- one of whose aspects only is found in the noble ethics of Philalethes, -- I ask myself whether the Academies of any country have ever understood the Theosophy of the Philosophers of Alexandria better than they understood us now? What does any one know, what can he know, of Universal Theosophy, unless he has studied under the masters of wisdom? and understanding so little of Iamblicus, Plotinus and even Proclus, that is to say, of the Theosophy of the third and fourth centuries, people yet pride themselves upon delivering judgment on the Neo-Theosophy of the nineteenth!

Theosophy, we say, comes to us from the extreme Last, as did the Theosophy of Plotinus and Iamblicus and even the mysteries of ancient Egypt. Do not Homer and Herodotus tell us, in fact, that the ancient Egyptians were "Ethiopians of the East," who came from Lanka or Ceylon, according to their descriptions? For it is generally acknowledged that the people whom those two authors call Ethiopians of the East were no other than a colony of very dark skinned Aryans, the Dravidians of Southern India, who took an already existing civilization with them to Egypt. This migration occurred during the prehistoric ages which Baron Bunson calls pre-Menite (before Menes) but which ages have a history of their own, to be found in the ancient annals of Kalouka Batta. Besides, and apart from the esoteric teachings, which are not divulged to a mocking public, the historical researches of Colonel Vans Kennedy, the great rival in India of Dr. Wilson as a Sanskritist, show us that pre-Assyrian Babylonia was the home of Brahmanism, and of the Sanskrit as a sacerdotal language. We know also, if Exodus is to be believed, that Egypt had, long before the time of Moses, its diviner, its hierophants and its magicians, that is to say, before the XIX dynasty. Finally Brugsh Bey sees in many of the gods of Egypt, immigrants from beyond the Red Sea -- and the great waters of the Indian Ocean.

Whether that be so or not, Theosophy is a descendant in direct line of the great tree of universal GNOSIS, a tree the luxuriant branches of which, spreading over the whole earth like a great canopy, gave shelter at one epoch -- which biblical chronology is pleased to call "antediluvian" -- to all the temples and to all the nations of the earth. That gnosis represents the aggregate of all the sciences, the accumulated wisdom (savoir) of all the gods and demi-gods incarnated in former times upon the earth. There are some who would like to see in these, the fallen angels and the enemy of mankind; these sons of God who, seeing that the daughters of men were beautiful, took them for wives and imparted to them the secrets of heaven and earth. Let them think so. We believe in Avatars and in divine dynasties, in the epoch when there were, in fact, "giants upon the earth," but we altogether repudiate the idea of "fallen angels" and of Satan and his army.

"What then is your religion or your belief?" we are asked. "What is your favourite study?"

"The TRUTH," we reply. The truth wherever we can find it; for, like Ammonius Saccas, our greatest ambition would be to reconcile the different religious systems, to help each one to find the truth in his own religion, while obliging him to recognize it in that of his neighbour. What does the name signify if the thing itself is essentially the same? Plotinus, Iamblicus and Apollonius of Tyana, had all three, it is said, the wonderful gifts of prophecy, of clairvoyance, and of healing, although belonging to three different schools. Prophecy was an art that was cultivated by the Essenes and the B'ni Nebim among the Jews, as well as by the priests of the pagan oracles. Plotinus's disciples attributed miraculous powers to their master; Philostratus has claimed the same for Apollonius while Iamblicus had the reputation of surpassing all the other Eclectics in Theosophic theurgy. Ammonius declared that all moral and practical WISDOM was contained in the books of Thoth or Hermes Trismegistus. But Thoth means "a college," school or assembly, and the works of that name, according to the Theodidactos, were identical with the doctrines of the sages of the extreme East. If Pythagoras acquired his knowledge in India (when even now he is mentioned in old manuscripts under the name of Yavanachárya,11 the Greek Master), Plato gained his from the books of Thoth-Hermes. How it happened that the younger Hermes, the god of the shepherds, surnamed "the good shepherd," who presided over divination and clairvoyance became identical with Thoth (or Thot) the deified sage, and the author of the Book of the Dead, -- the esoteric doctrine only can reveal to Orientalists.

Every country has had its saviours. He who dissipates the darkness of ignorance by the help of the torch of science, thus discovering to us the truth, deserves that title as a mark of our gratitude quite as much as he who saves us from death by healing our bodies. Such an one awakens in our benumbed souls the faculty of distinguishing the true from the false, by kindling a divine flame, hitherto absent, and he has the right to our grateful worship, for he has become our creator. What matters the name or the symbol that personifies the abstract idea, if that idea is always the same and is true! Whether the concrete symbol bears one title or another, whether the saviour in whom we believe has for an earthly name Krishna, Buddha, Jesus or Æsculapius, -- also called "the saviour god", -- we have but to remember one thing: symbols of divine truths were not invented for the amusement of the ignorant; they are the alpha and omega of philosophic thought.

Theosophy being the way that leads to truth, in every religion, as in every science, occultism is, so to say, the touchstone and universal solvent. It is the thread of Ariadne given by the master to the disciple who ventures into the labyrinth of the mysteries of being; the torch that lights him through the dangerous maze of life, for ever the enigma of the Sphinx. But the light thrown by this torch can be discerned only by the eye of the awakened soul -- by our spiritual senses; it blinds the eye of the materialist as the sun blinds that of the owl.

Having neither dogma nor ritual, -- these two being but fetters, the material body which suffocates the soul, -- we do not employ the "ceremonial magic" of the Western Kabalists; we know its dangers too well to have anything to do with it. In the T.S. every Fellow is at liberty to study what he pleases, provided he does not venture into unknown paths which would of a certainty lead him to black magic, -- the sorcery against which Eliphas Lévi so openly warned the public. The occult sciences are dangerous for him who understands them imperfectly. Any one who gave himself up to their practice by himself, would run the risk of becoming insane; and those who study them would do well to unite in little groups of from three to seven. These groups ought to be uneven in numbers in order to have more power; a group, however little cohesion it possesses, forming a single united body, wherein the senses and perceptions of those who work together complement and mutually help each other, one member supplying to another the quality in which he is wanting, -- such a group will always end by becoming a perfect and invincible body. "Union is strength." The moral of the fable of the old man bequeathing to his sons a bundle of sticks which were never to be separated is a truth which will forever remain axiomatic.


"The disciples (Lanous) of the law of the Heart of Diamant (magic) will help each other in their lessons. The grammarian will be at the service of him who looks for the soul of the metals (chemist)" etc. -- (Catechism of the Gupta-Vidja).

The ignorant would laugh if they were told that in the Occult sciences, the alchemist can be useful to the philologist and vice versa. They would understand the matter better, perhaps, if they were told that by this substantive (grammarian or philologist), we mean to designate one who makes a study of the universal language of corresponding symbols, although only the members of the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society can understand clearly what the term "philologist" means in that sense. All things in nature have correspondences and are mutually interdependent. In its abstract sense, Theosophy is the white ray, from which arise the seven colours of the solar spectrum, each human being assimilating one of these rays to a greater degree than the other six. It follows that seven persons, each imbued with his special ray, can help each other mutually. Having at their service the septenary bundle of rays, they have the seven forces of nature at their command. But it follows also that, to reach that end, the choosing of the seven persons who are to form a group, should be left to an expert, -- to an initiate in the science of occult rays.

But we are here upon dangerous ground, where the Sphinx of esotericism runs the risk of being accused of mystification. Still, orthodox science furnishes a proof of the truth of what we say, and we find a corroboration in physical and materialistic astronomy. The sun is one, and its light shines for every one; it warms the ignorant as well as the astronomers. As to the hypotheses about our luminary, its constitution and nature, -- their name is legion. Not one of these hypotheses contains the whole truth, or even an approximation to it. Frequently they are only fictions soon to be replaced by others. For it is to scientific theories more than to anything else in this world below that the lines of Malherbe are applicable:

... Et rose, elle a vècu ce que vivent les roses,
L'espace d'un matin.

Nevertheless, whether they adorn or not the altar of Science, each of these theories may contain a fragment of truth. Selected, compared, analysed, pieced together, all these hypotheses may one day supply an astronomical axiom, a fact in nature, instead of a chimera in the scientific brain.

This is far from meaning that we accept as an increment of truth every axiom accepted as true by the Academies. For instance, in the evolution and phantasmagorical transformations of the sun spots,--Nasmyth's theory at the present moment, -- Sir John Herschell began by seeing in them the inhabitants of the sun, beautiful and gigantic angels. William Herschell, maintaining a prudent silence about these celestial salamanders, shared the opinion of the elder Herschell, that the solar globe was nothing but a beautiful metaphor, a maya -- thus announcing an occult axiom. The sun spots have found a Darwin in the person of every astronomer of any eminence. They were taken successively for planetary spirits, solar mortals, columns of volcanic smoke (engendered, one must think, in brains academical), opaque clouds, and finally for shadows in the shape of the leaves of the willow tree, ("willow leaf theory"). At the present day the sun is degraded. According to men of science it is nothing but a gigantic coal, still aglow, but prepared to go out in the grate of our solar system.

Even so with the speculations published by Fellows of the Theosophical Society, when the authors of these, although they belong to the Theosophical fraternity, have never studied the true esoteric doctrines. These speculations can never be other than hypotheses, no more than coloured with a ray of truth, enveloped in a chaos of fancy and sometimes of unreason. By selecting them from the heap and placing them side by side, one succeeds, nevertheless, in extracting a philosophic truth from these ideas. For, let it be well understood, theosophy has this in common with ordinary science, that it examines the reverse side of every apparent truth. It tests and analyses every fact put forward by physical science, looking only for the essence and the ultimate and occult constitution in every cosmical or physical manifestation, whether in the domain of ethics, intellect, or matter. In a word, Theosophy begins its researches where materialists finish theirs.

"It is then metaphysics that you offer us!" it may be objected, "Why not say so at once."

No, it is not metaphysics, as that term is generally understood, although it plays that part sometimes. The speculations of Kant, of Leibnitz, and of Schopenhauer belong to the domain of metaphysics, as also those of Herbert Spencer. Still, when one studies the latter, one cannot help dreaming of Dame Metaphysics figuring at a bal masqué of the Academical Sciences, adorned with a false nose. The metaphysics of Kant and of Leibnitz -- as proved by his monads -- is above the metaphysics of our days, as a balloon in the clouds is above a pumpkin in the field below. Nevertheless this balloon, however much better it may be than the pumpkin, is too artificial to serve as a vehicle for the truth of the occult sciences. The latter is, perhaps, a goddess too freely uncovered to suit the taste of our savants, so modest. The metaphysics of Kant taught its author, without the help of the present methods or perfected instruments, the identity of the constitution and essence of the sun and the planets; and Kant affirmed, when the best astronomers, even during the first half of this century, still denied. But this same metaphysics did not succeed in proving to him the true nature of that essence, any more than it has helped modern physics, notwithstanding its noisy hypotheses, to discover that true nature.

Theosophy, therefore, or rather the occult sciences it studies, is something more than simple metaphysics. It is, if I may be allowed to use the double terms, meta-metaphysics, meta-geometry, etc., etc., or a universal transcendentalism. Theosophy rejects the testimony of the physical senses entirely, if the latter be not based upon that afforded by the psychic and spiritual perceptions. Even in the case of the most highly developed clairvoyance and clairaudience, the final testimony of both must be rejected, unless by those terms is signified the of Iamblicus, or the ecstatic illumination, the of Plotinus and of Porphyry. The same holds good for the physical sciences; the evidence of the reason upon the terrestrial plane, like that of our five senses, should receive the imprimatur of the sixth and seventh senses of the divine ego, before a fact can be accepted by the true occultist.

Official science hears what we say and -- laughs. We read its "reports," we behold the apotheoses of its self-styled progress, of its great discoveries, -- more than one of which, while enriching the more a small number of those already wealthy, have plunged millions of the poor into still more terrible misery -- and we leave it to its own devices. But, finding that physical science has not made a step towards the knowledge of the real nature and constitution of matter since the days of Anaximenes and the Ionian school, we laugh in our turn.

In that direction, the best work has been done and the most valuable scientific discoveries of this century have, without contradiction, been made by the great chemist Mr. William Crookes. [12] In his particular case, a remarkable intuition of occult truth has been of more service to him than all his great knowledge of physical science. It is certain that neither scientific methods, nor official routine, have helped him much in his discovery of radiant matter, or in his researches into protyle, or primordial matter. [13]


That which the Theosophists who hold to orthodox and official science try to accomplish in their own domain, the Occultists or the Theosophists of the "inner group" study according to the method of the esoteric school. If up to the present this method has demonstrated its superiority only to its students, that is to say, to those who have pledged themselves by oath not to reveal it, that circumstance proves nothing against it. Not only have the terms magic and theurgy been never even approximately understood, but even the name Theosophy has been disfigured. The definitions thereof which are given in dictionaries and encyclopædias are as absurd as they are grotesque. Webster, for instance, in explanation of the word Theosophy assures his readers that it is "a direct connection or communication with God and superior spirits"; and, further on, that it is "the attainment of superhuman and supernatural knowledge and powers by physical processes(!?) as by the theurgic operations of some ancient Platonists, or by the chemical processes of the German fire philosophers." This is nonsensical verbiage. It is precisely as if we were to say that it is possible to transform a crazy brain into one of the calibre of Newton's, and to develop in it a genius for mathematics by riding five miles every day upon a wooden horse.

Theosophy is synonymous with Gnanâ-Vidya, and with the Brahmâ-Vidya [14] of the Hindus, and again with the Dzyan of the trans-Himalayan adepts, the science of the true Raj-Yogas, who are much more accessible than one thinks. This science has many schools in the East. But its offshoots are still more numerous, each one having ended by separating itself from the parent stem, -- the true Archaic Wisdom, -- and varying in its form.

But, while these forms varied, departing further with each generation from the light of truth, the basis of initiatory truths remained always the same. The symbols used to express the same idea may differ, but in their hidden sense they always do express the same idea. Ragon, the most erudite mason of all the "Widow's sons," has said the same. There exists a sacerdotal language, the "mystery language," and unless one knows it well, he cannot go far in the occult sciences. According to Ragon "to build or found a town" meant the same thing as to "found a religion"; therefore, that phrase when it occurs in Homer is equivalent to the expression in the Brahmins, to distribute the "Soma juice." It means, "to found an esoteric school," not "a religion" as Ragon pretends. Was he mistaken? We do not think so. But as a Theosophist belonging to the esoteric section dare not tell to an ordinary member of the Theosophical Society the things about which he has promised to keep silent, so Ragon found himself obliged to divulge merely relative truths to his pupils. Still, it is certain that he had made at least an elementary study of "THE MYSTERY LANGUAGE."

"How can one learn this language?" we may be asked. We reply: study all religions and compare them with one another. To learn thoroughly requires a teacher, a guru; to succeed by oneself needs more than genius: it demands inspiration like that of Ammonius Saccas. Encouraged in the Church by Clement of Alexandria and by Athenagoras, protected by the learned men of the synagogue and of the academy, and adored by the Gentiles, "he learned the language of the mysteries by teaching the common origin of all religions, and a common religion." To do this, he had only to teach according to the ancient canons of Hermes which Plato and Pythagoras had studied so well, and from which they drew their respective philosophies. Can we be surprised if, finding in the first verses of the gospel according to St. John the same doctrines that are contained in the three systems of philosophy above mentioned, he concluded with every show of reason that the intention of the great Nazarene was to restore the sublime science of ancient wisdom in all its primitive integrity? We think as did Ammonius. The biblical narrations and the histories of the gods have only two possible explanations: either they are great and profound allegories, illustrating universal truths, or else they are fables of no use but to put the ignorant to sleep.

Therefore the allegories, -- Jewish as well as Pagan, -- contain all the truths that can only be understood by him who knows the mystical language of antiquity. Let us see what is said on this subject by one of our most distinguished Theosophists, a fervent Platonist and a Hebraist, who knows his Greek and Latin like his mother tongue, Professor Alexander Wilder, [15] of New York:

The root idea of the Neo-Platonists was the existence of one only and supreme Essence. This was the Diu, or "Lord of the Heavens" of the Aryan nations, identical with the (Iao) of the Chaldeans and Hebrews, the Iabe of the Samaritans, the Tiu or Tuiseo of the Norwegians, the Duw of the ancient tribes of Britain, the Zeus of those of Thrace, and the Jupiter of the Romans. It was the Being -- (non-Being), the Facit, one and supreme. It is from it that all other beings proceeded by emanation. The moderns have, it seems, substituted for this their theory of evolution. Perchance some day a wiser man than they will combine these systems in a single one. The names of these different divinities seem often to have been invented with little or no regard to their etymological meaning, but chiefly on account of some particular mystical signification attached to the numerical value of the letters employed in their orthography.

This numerical signification is one of the branches of the mystery language, or the ancient sacerdotal language. This was taught in the "Lesser Mysteries," but the language itself was reserved for the high initiates alone. The candidate must have come victorious out of the terrible trials of the Greater Mysteries before receiving instruction in it. That is why Ammonius Saccas, like Pythagoras, obliged his disciples to take an oath never to divulge the higher doctrines to any one to whom the preliminary ones had not already been imparted, and who, therefore, was not ready for initiation. Another sage, who preceded him by three centuries, did the same by his disciples, in saying to them that he spoke "in similes" (or parables) "because to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given ... because in seeing they see not, and in hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."

Therefore the "similes" employed by Jesus were part of the "language of the mysteries," the sacerdotal tongue of the initiates. Rome has lost the key to it: by rejecting theosophy and pronouncing her anathema against the occult sciences, -- she loses it for ever.



* "The Beacon-Light of the Unknown."

1. Acquired under a Guru.

2. The great serpent conquered by Krishna and driven from the river Yanuma into the sea, where the Serpent Kaliya took for wife a kind of Siren, by whom he had a numerous family.

3. The illusion of the personality of the Ego, placed by our egotism in the first rank. In a word, it is necessary to assimilate the whole of humanity, live by it, for it, and in it, in other terms, cease to be "one," and become "all" or the total.

4. A Vedic expression. The senses, counting in the two mystic senses, are seven in Occultism; but an Initiate does not separate these senses from each other, any more than he separates his unity from Humanity. Every sense contains all the others,

5. Symbology of colours. The Language of the prism, of which "the seven mother colours have each seven sons," that is to say, forty-nine shades or "sons" between the seven which graduated tints are so many letters or alphabetical characters. The language of colours has, therefore, fifty-six letters for the Initiate. Of these letters each septenary is absorbed by the mother colour, as each of the seven mother colours is absorbed finally in the white ray, Divine Unity symbolized by these colours.

6. By Iamblicus, who used the name of his master, the Egyptian priest Abammon as a pseudonym.

7. Samâdhi is a state of abstract contemplation, defined in Sanskrit terms that each require a whole sentence to explain them. It is a mental, or, rather, spiritual state, which is not dependent upon any perceptible object, and during which the subject, absorbed in the region of pure spirit, lives in the Divinity.

8. He lived in Rome for 28 years, and was so virtuous a man that it was considered an honour to have him as guardian for the orphans of the highest patricians. He died without having made an enemy during those 28 years.

9. A celebrated Grecian monastery.

* JHVH, or Jahveh (Jehovah) is the Tetragrammaton, consequently the Emanated Logos and the creator the ALL, without beginning or end, -- AIN-SOPH -- not being able to create nor wishing to create in its quality of the ABSOLUTE.

10. Prizes instituted in France during the last century by the Baron de Montyon for those who, in various ways, benefitted their fellow men.--Ed.

11. A term which comes from the words Yavana or "the Ionian." And achârya, "professor or master."

12. Member of the Executive Council of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society, and President of the Chemical Society of Great Britain.

13. The homogeneous, non-differentiated element which he calls meta-element.

14. The meaning of the word Vidya can only be rendered by the Greek term Gnosis, the knowledge of hidden and spiritual things; or again, the knowledge of Brahm, that is to say, of the God that contains all the gods.

15. The first Vice-President of the Theosophical Society when it was founded.
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Re: Annie Besant's Many Lives, by Kumari Jayawardena

Postby admin » Tue May 08, 2018 4:46 am

The Sources of Madame Blavatsky's Writings
by William Emmette Coleman
2nd August, 1893.



During the past three years I have made a more or less exhaustive analysis of the contents of the writings of Madame H. P. Blavatsky; and I have traced the sources whence she derived - and mostly without credit being given - nearly the whole of their subject-matter. The presentation, in detail, of the evidences of this derivation would constitute a volume; but the limitations of this paper will admit only of a brief summary of the results attained by my analysis of these writings. The detailed proofs and evidence of every assertion herein are now partly in print and partly in manuscript; and they will be embodied in full in a work I am preparing for publication, - an expose of theosophy as a whole. So far as pertains to Isis Unveiled, Madame Blavatsky’s first work, the proofs of its wholesale plagiarisms have been in print two years, and no attempt has been made to deny or discredit any of the data therein contained. In that portion of my work which is already in print, as well as that as yet in manuscript, many parallel passages are given from the two sets of writings, - the works of Madame Blavatsky, and the books whence she copied the plagiarised passages; they also contain complete lists of the passages plagiarised, giving in each case the page of Madame Blavatsky’s work in which the passage is found, and the page and name of the book whence she copied it. Any one can, therefore, easily test the accuracy of my statements.

In Isis Unveiled, published in 1877, I discovered some 2000 passages copied from other books without proper credit. By careful analysis I found that in compiling Isis about 100 books were used. About 1400 books are quoted from and referred to in this work; but, from the 100 books which its author possessed, she copied everything in Isis taken from and relating to the other 1300. There are in Isis about 2100 quotations from and references to books that were copied, at second-hand, from books other than the originals; and of this number only about 140 are credited to the books from which Madame Blavatsky copied them at second-hand. The others are quoted in such a manner as to lead the reader to think that Madame Blavatsky had read and utilised the original works, and had quoted from them at first-hand, - the truth being that these originals had evidently never been read by Madame Blavatsky. By this means many readers of Isis, and subsequently those of her Secret Doctrine and Theosophical Glossary, have been misled into thinking Madame Blavatsky an enormous reader, possessed of vast erudition; while the fact is her reading was very limited, and her ignorance was profound in all branches of knowledge.

The books utilised in compiling Isis were nearly all current nineteenth-century literature. Only one of the old and rare books named and quoted from was in Madame Blavatsky’s possession, - Henry More’s Immortality of the Soul, published in the seventeenth century. One or two others dated from the early part of the present century; and all the rest pertained to the middle and later part of this century. Our author made great pretensions to Cabbalistic learning; but every quotation from and every allusion to the Cabbala, in Isis and all her later works, were copied at second-hand from certain books containing scattered quotations from Cabbalistic writings; among them being Mackenzie’s Masonic Cyclopaedia, King’s Gnostics, and the works of S. F. Dunlap, L. Jacolliot, and Eliphas Levi. Not a line of the quotations in Isis, from the old-time mystics, Paracelsus, Van Helmont, Cardan, Robert Fludd, Philalethes, Gaffarel, and others, was taken from the original works; the whole of them were copied from other books containing scattered quotations from those writers. The same thing obtains with her quotations from Josephus, Philo, and the Church Fathers, as Justin Martyr, Origen, Clement, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Eusebius, and all the rest. The same holds good with the classical authors, - Homer, Ovid, Horace, Virgil, Plato, Pliny, and many others. The quotations from all these were copied at second-hand from some of the 100 books which were used by the compiler of Isis.

In a number of instances Madame Blavatsky, in Isis claimed to possess or to have read certain books quoted from, which it is evident she neither possessed nor had read. In Isis, i., 369-377, are a number of quotations from a work of Figuier’s, that she claimed to have taken from the original work, which she says (i., 369) now "lies before us". As every word from Figuier in Isis was copied from Des Mousseaux’s Magie au Dix-neuvieme Siecle, pp. 451-457, the word "lies" in the sentence used by her is quite a propos. In Isis, i., 353, 354, et seq., she professed to quote from a work in her possession, whereas all that she quoted was copied from Demonologia, pp. 224-259. In ii., 8, she claimed that she had read a work by Bellarmin, whereas all that she says about him, and all that she quotes from him, are copied from Demonologia, pp. 294, 295. In ii., 71, she stated that she had a treatise by De Nogen, but all that she knows about him or his treatise was taken from Demonologia, p. 431. In ii., 74, 75, the reader is led to believe that certain quotations from The Golden Legend were copied by her from the original; the truth being that they were taken from Demonologia, 420-427. In ii., 59, she gave a description of a standard of the Inquisition, derived, she said, from "a photograph in our possession, from an original procured at the Escurial of Madrid"; but this description was copied from Demonologia, p. 300.

In Isis, i., pp. xii, to xxii., is an account of the philosophy of Plato and his successors. Nearly the whole of these ten pages was copied from two books, - Cocker’s Christianity and Greek Philosophy, and Zeller’s Plato and the Old Academy. There are some 25 passages from Cocker and 35 from Zeller; and, of all these, credit is given for but one citation from Cocker and about a dozen lines from Zeller. In Isis, ii., 344, 345, 9 passages are copied from Zeller, but one of which is credited.

Here follows a list of some other of the more extensive plagiarisms in Isis. It includes the names of the books plagiarised from, and the number of passages in them that were plagiarised:

Ennemoser’s History of Magic, English translation 107 passages.
Demonologia, 85 "
Dunlap’s Sod: the Son of the Man, 134 "
Dunlap’s Sod: the Mysteries of Adoni, 65 "
Dunlap’s Spirit History of Man, 77 "
Salverte’s Philosophy of Magic, English translation 68 "
Des Mousseaux’s Magic au Dix-neuvieme Siecle, 63 "
Des Mousseaux’s Hauts Phenomenes de la Magie, 45 "
Des Mousseaux’s Moeurs et Pratiques des Demons,. 16 "
Supernatural Religion, 40 "
King’s Gnostics, 1st edition, 42 "
Mackenzie’s Masonic Cyclopaedia, 36 "
Jacolliot’s Christna et le Christ, 23 "
Jacolliot’s Bible in India, English translation. 17 "
Jacolliot’s Le Spiritisme dans le Monde, 19 "
Hone’s Apocryphal New Testament, 27 "
Cory’s Ancient Fragments, 20 "
Howitt’s History of the Supernatural, 20 "

Among the other books plagiarised from may be named Eliphas Levi’s Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, and his La Science des Esprits, La Clef des Grands Mysteres, and Histoire de la Magie; Amberley’s Analysis of Religious Belief, Yule’s Ser Marco Polo, Max Muller’s Chips, vols. i. and ii., Lundy’s Monumental Christianity, Taylor’s Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries (1875 ed.), Reber’s Christ of Paul, Jenning’s Rosicrucians, Higgins’s Anacalypsis, Inman’s Ancient Faiths in Ancient Names, Inman’s Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism, Inman’s Ancient Faiths and Modern, Wright’s Sorcery and Witchcraft, Bunsen’s Egypt, Payne Knight’s Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology, Westropp and Wake’s Ancient Symbol Worship, Pococke’s India in Greece, Findel’s History of Freemasonry, The Unseen Universe, Elam’s A Physician’s Problems, Emma Hardinge’s Modern American Spiritualism, More’s Immortality of the Soul, Draper’s Conflict between Religion and Science, Randolph’s Pre-Adamite Man, Peebles’s Jesus: Myth, Man, or God, Peebles’s Around the World, Principles of the Jesuits (1893), Septenary Institutions (1850), Gasparin’s Science and Spiritualism, Report on Spiritualism of the London Dialectical Society (1873), Wallace’s Miracles and Modern Spiritualism, and Maudsley’s Body and Mind.

Two years ago I published the statement that the whole of Isis was compiled from a little over 100 books and periodicals. In the Theosophist, April, 1893, pp. 387, 388, Colonel Olcott states that when Isis was written the library of the author comprised about 100 books, and that during its composition various friends lent her a few books, - the latter with her own library thus making up a little over 100, in precise accordance with the well-established results of my critical analysis of every quotation and plagiarism in Isis.

The Secret Doctrine, published in 1888, is of a piece with Isis. It is permeated with plagiarisms, and is in all its parts a rehash of other books. Two books very largely form the basis of this work, - Wilson’s translation of the Vishnu Purana, and Prof. Winchell’s World Life. The Secret Doctrine is saturated with Hinduism and Sanskrit terminology, and the bulk of this was copied from Wilson’s Vishnu Purana. A large part of the work is devoted to the discussion of various points in modern science, and the work most largely used by Madame Blavatsky in this department of her book was Winchell’s World Life. A specimen of the wholesale plagiarisms in this book appears in vol. ii., pp. 599-603. Nearly the whole of four pages was copied from Oliver’s Pythagorean Triangle, while only a few lines were credited to that work. Considerable other matter in Secret Doctrine was copied, uncredited, from Oliver’s work. Donnelly’s Atlantis was largely plagiarised from. Madame Blavatsky not only borrowed from this writer the general idea of the derivation of Eastern civilisation, mythology, etc., from Atlantis; but she coolly appropriated from him a number of the alleged detailed evidences of this derivation, without crediting him therewith. Vol. ii., pp. 790-793, contains a number of facts, numbered seriatim, said to prove this Atlantean derivation. These facts were almost wholly copied from Donnelly’s book, ch. iv., where they are also numbered seriatim; but there is no intimation in Secret Doctrine that its author was indebted to Donnelly’s book for this mass of matter. In addition to those credited, there are 130 passages from Wilson’s Vishnu Purana copied uncredited; and there are some 70 passages from Winchell’s World Life not credited. From Dowson’s Hindu Classical Dictionary, 123 passages were plagiarised. From Decharme’s Mythologie de la Grece Antique, about 60 passages were plagiarised; and from Myer’s Qabbala, 34. These are some of the other books plagiarised from: Kenealy’s Book of God, Faber’s Cabiri, Wake’s Great Pyramid, Gould’s Mythical Monsters, Joly’s Man before Metals, Stallo’s, Modern Physics, Massey’s Natural Genesis, Mackey’s Mythological Astronomy, Schmidt’s Descent and Darwinism, Quatrefages’s Human Species, Laing’s Modern Science and Modern Thought, Mather’s Cabbala Unveiled, Maspero’s Musee de Boulaq, Ragon’s Maconnerie Occulte, Lefevre’s Philosophy, and Buchner’s Force and Matter.

The Secret Doctrine is ostensibly based upon certain stanzas, claimed to have been translated by Madame Blavatsky from the Book of Dzyan, - the oldest book in the world, written in a language unknown to philology. The Book of Dzyan was the work of Madame Blavatsky, - a compilation, in her own language, from a variety of sources, embracing the general principles of the doctrines and dogmas taught in the Secret Doctrine. I find in this "oldest book in the world" statements copied from nineteenth-century books, and in the usual blundering manner of Madame Blavatsky. Letters and other writings of the adepts are found in the Secret Doctrine. In these Mahatmic productions I have traced various plagiarised passages from Wilson’s Vishnu Purana and Winchell’s World Life, - of like character to those in Madame Blavatsky’s acknowledged writings. Detailed proofs of this will be given in my book. I have also traced the source whence she derived the word Dzyan.

The Theosophical Glossary, published in 1892, contains an alphabetical arrangement of words and terms pertaining to occultism and theosophy, with explanations and definitions thereof. The whole of this book, except the garblings, distortions and fabrications of Madame Blavatsky scattered through it, was copied from other books. The explanations and definitions of 425 names and terms were copied from Dowson’s Hindu Classical Dictionary. From Wilson’s Vishnu Purana were taken those of 242 terms; from Eitel’s Handbook of Chinese Buddhism, 179; and from Mackenzie’s Masonic Cyclopaedia, 164. A modicum of credit was given to these four books in the preface. But, inasmuch as, scattered through the Glossary, credit was given at intervals to these books for a certain few of the passages extracted therefrom, its readers might easily be misled, by the remark in the preface relative to these four books, into the belief that said remark was intended to cover the various passages in the Glossary where these books are named as the sources whence they were derived and these alone, - that the passages duly credited to said books comprised the whole of the matter in the volume taken from them, instead of being but a small part of the immense collection of matter transferred en masse to the Glossary. But the four named in the preface are not the only books thus utilised. A glossary of Sanskrit and occultic terms was appended to a work called Five Years of Theosophy, published by Mohini M. Chatterji in 1885. At least 229 of these terms and their definitions were copied in Blavatsky’s Glossary, nearly verbatim in every instance; and no credit whatever was given for this wholesale appropriation of another’s work. I cannot find a single reference to Chatterji’s glossary in any part of the later Glossary. Nearly all of the matter concerning Egyptian mythology, etc., in the latter, was copied from Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought. A small part of this was credited, but over 100 passages from Bonwick were not credited. Nearly every word in relation to Norse and Teutonic mythology was copied from Wagner’s Asgard and the Gods, - a little being credited, and some 100 passages not. Most of the Thibetan matter was taken from Schlagintweit’s Buddhism in Thibet, - some credited, but nearly 50 passages were not. Much of the material anent Southern Buddhism was copied from Spence Hardy’s Eastern Monachism, - nearly 50 passages being uncredited. Most of the Babylonian and Chaldean material was extracted from Smith’s Chaldean Account of Genesis, with nearly 50 passages not credited. The Parsi and Zoroastrian matter was from Darmesteter’s translation of the Zend-Avesta, and West’s translation of the Bundahish in the Sacred Books of the East, - mostly uncredited. Among other books levied upon in the compilation of the Glossary, principally with no credit given, are these: Sayce’s Hibbert Lectures Myer’s Qabbala, Hartmann’s Paracelsus, Crawford’s translation of the Kalevala, King’s Gnostics, Faber’s Cabiri, Beal’s Catena of Buddhist Scriptures, Rhys Davids’s Buddhism, Edkins’s Chinese Buddhism, Maspero’s Guide au Musee de Boulaq, Subba Row’s Notes on the Bhagavad Gita, Kenealy’s Book of God, Eliphas Levi’s Works, and various others.

The Voice of the Silence, published in 1889, purports to be a translation by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky from a Thibetan work. It is said to belong to the same series as the Book of Dzyan, which is true; as, like that work, it is a compilation of ideas and terminology from various nineteenth-century books, the diction and phraseology being those of Madame Blavatsky. I have traced the sources whence it was taken, and it is a hotch-potch from Brahmanical books on Yoga and other Hindu writings; Southern Buddhistic books, from the Pali and Sinhalese; and Northern Buddhistic writings, from the Chinese and Thibetan, - the whole having been taken by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky from translations by, and the writings of, European and other Orientalists of to-day. In this work are intermingled Sanskrit, Pali, Thibetan, Chinese, and Sinhalese terms, - a manifest absurdity in a Thibetan work. I have traced the books from which each of these terms was taken. I find embedded in the text of this alleged ancient Thibetan work quotations, phrases, and terms copied from current Oriental literature. The books most utilised in its compilation are these: Schlagintweit’s Buddhism in Thibet, Edkins's’s Chinese Buddhism, Hardy’s Eastern Monachism, Rhys Davids’s Buddhism, Dvivedi’s Raja Yoga, and Raja Yoga Philosophy (1888); also an article, "The Dream of Ravan," published in the Dublin University Magazine, January, 1854, extracts from which appeared in the Theosophist of January, 1880. Passages from this article, and from the books named above, are scattered about in the text of the Voice of the Silence, as well as in the annotations thereon, which latter are admitted to be the work of Blavatsky. Full proofs of this, including the parallel passages, will be given in my work on theosophy; including evidence that this old Thibetan book contains not only passages from the Hindu books quoted in the article in the Dublin Magazine, but also ideas and phrases stolen from the nineteenth-century writer of said article. One example of the incongruity of the elements composing the conglomerate admixture of terms and ideas in the Voice of the Silence will be given. On p. 87, it is said that the Narjols of the Northern Buddhists are "learned in Gotrabhu-gnyana and gnyana-dassana-suddhi". Helena Petrovna Blavatsky copied these two terms from Hardy’s Eastern Monachism, p. 281. The terms used in Northern Buddhism are usually Sanskrit, or from the Sanskrit; those in Southern Buddhism, Pali, or from the Pali. Hardy’s work, devoted to Sinhalese Buddhism, is composed of translations from Sinhalese books, and its terms and phrases are largely Sinhalese corruptions of the Pali. Sinhalese terms are unknown in Northern Buddhism. The two terms in the Voice of the Silence, descriptive of the wisdom of the Narjols, are Sinhalese-Pali corruptions, and therefore unknown in Thibet. Narjol is a word manufactured by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, from the Thibetan Nal-jor, which she found in Schlagintweit’s work, p. 138, - the r and l being transposed by her.

Esoteric Buddhism, by A. P. Sinnett, was based upon statements in letters received by Mr. Sinnett and Mr. A. O. Hume, through Madame Blavatsky, purporting to be written by the Mahatmas Koot Hoomi and Morya, - principally the former. Mr. Richard Hodgson has kindly lent me a considerable number of the original letters of the Mahatmas leading to the production of Esoteric Buddhism. I find in them overwhelming evidence that all of them were written by Madame Blavatsky, which evidence will be presented in full in my book. In these letters are a number of extracts from Buddhist books, alleged to be translations from the originals by the Mahatmic writers themselves. These letters claim for the adepts a knowledge of Sanskrit, Thibetan, Pali and Chinese. I have traced to its source each quotation from the Buddhist scriptures in the letters, and they were all copied from current English translations, including even the notes and explanations of the English translators. They were principally copied from Beal’s Catena of Buddhist Scriptures from the Chinese. In other places where the adept (?) is using his own language in explanation of Buddhistic terms and ideas, I find that his presumed original language was copied nearly word for word from Rhys Davids’s Buddhism, and other books. I have traced every Buddhistic idea in these letters and in Esoteric Buddhism, and every Buddhistic term, such as Devachan, Avitchi, etc., to the books whence Helena Petrovna Blavatsky derived them. Although said to be proficient in the knowledge of Thibetan and Sanskrit, the words and terms in these languages in the letters of the adepts were nearly all used in a ludicrously erroneous and absurd manner. The writer of those letters was an ignoramus in Sanskrit and Thibetan; and the mistakes and blunders in them, in these languages, are in exact accordance with the known ignorance of Madame Blavatsky thereanent. Esoteric Buddhism, like all of Madame Blavatsky’s works, was based upon wholesale plagiarism and ignorance.

From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan, although published, in letters to a Russian journal, as a veracious narrative of actual experiences of Madame Blavatsky in India, was admitted by Colonel Olcott in Theosophist, January, 1893, pp. 245, 246, to be largely a work of fiction; and this has been even partially conceded in its preface. Like her other books it swarms with blunders, misstatements, falsehoods and garblings. Full expose of it will be included in my work. The Key to Theosophy, by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, being a compendium of doctrines, its plagiarism consists in the ideas and teachings which it contains, rather than in plagiarised passages from other books.

In addition to wholesale plagiarism, other marked characteristics of Madame Blavatsky’s writings are these: (1) Wholesale garbling, distortion and literary forgery, of which there are very many instances in Isis particularly. The Koot Hoomi letters to Hume and Sinnett contain garbled and spurious quotations from Buddhist sacred books, manufactured by the writer to embody her own peculiar ideas, under the fictitious guise of genuine Buddhism. (2) Wealth of misstatement and error in all branches of knowledge treated by her; e.g., in Isis there are over 600 false statements in Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Assyriology, Egyptology, etc. (3) Mistakes and blunders of many varied kinds - in names of books and authors, in words and figures and what not; nearly 700 being in Isis alone. (4) Great contradiction and inconsistency, both in primary and essential points and in minor matters and details. There are probably thousands of contradictions in the whole circuit of her writings.

The doctrines, teachings, dogmas, etc., of theosophy, as published by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and affirmed to be derived from the quasi-infallible Mahatmas of Thibet, were borrowed from the philosophies and religions of the past and present, with some admixture of modern science. There is nothing original in this "Wisdom of the Gods," or "Wisdom Religion," save the work of compilation into a composite whole of the heterogeneous mass of materials gathered by Madame Blavatsky from so many sources, and the garblings, perversions, and fabrications indulged in by her in the preparation of the system of thought called theosophy. A careful analysis of her teachings shows that they were collected from the sources named below. (1) Madame Blavatsky was a spiritualistic medium many years before she became a theosophist, and in its inception theosophy was an off-shoot from spiritualism; and from this source was a large part of her theosophy taken. I find that its teachings upon some 267 points were copied from those of spiritualism. (2) In its later form, Hinduism constitutes one of the larger portions of theosophy. I have not attempted an exhaustive classification of the numerous minor points taken from this source, but I have noted 281 of the more important. (3) From Buddhism I have noted 63. (4) In the beginnings of theosophy, the basis of most of its teachings was derived from the works of Eliphas Levi, and I count 102 points therefrom borrowed. (5) From Paracelsus’s works were taken 49. (6) From Jacob Bohme, 81. (7) From the Cabbala, 86. (8) From Plato, the Platonists, the Neo-Platonists, and Hermes, 80. (9) From Gnosticism, 61. (10) From modern science and philosophy, 75. (11) From Zoroastrianism, 26. (12) From Kingsford and Maitland’s Perfect Way, 24. (13) From general mythology, 20. (14) From Egyptology, 17. (15) From the Rosicrucians, 16. (16) From other mediaeval and modern mystics, 20. (17) From miscellaneous classical writers, 16. (18) From Assyriology, 14. (19) From Christianity and the Bible, 10. In addition, doctrines and data, in lesser number, have been derived from the following-named sources: The writings of Gerald Massey, John Yarker, Subba Row, Ragon, J. Ralston Skinner, Inman, Keeley, Godfrey Higgins, Jacolliot, Wilford, Oliver, Donnelly, Mackenzie, Bulwer-Lytton, Kenealy, and various others; also from Chinese, Japanese, Phoenician, and Quiche mythologies.

There is not a single dogma or tenet in theosophy, nor any detail of moment in the multiplex and complex concatenation of alleged revelations of occult truth in the teachings of Madame Blavatsky and the pretended adepts, the source of which cannot be pointed out in the world’s literature. From first to last, their writings are dominated by a duplex plagiarism, - plagiarism in idea, and plagiarism in language.



(1) Member, American Oriental Society, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Pali Text Society, Egypt Exploration Fund, Geographical Society of California; Corresponding Member, Brooklyn Ethical Association; and Member, Advisory Council, Psychic Science Congress, Chicago, Illinois.
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Re: Annie Besant's Many Lives, by Kumari Jayawardena

Postby admin » Tue May 08, 2018 4:50 am

Order of the Star in the East
by Wikipedia



The Order of the Star in the East (OSE) was an organization established by the leadership of the Theosophical Society at Adyar, India, from 1911 to 1927. Its mission was to prepare the world for the expected arrival of the World Teacher or Maitreya. The precursor of the OSE was the Order of the Rising Sun (1910-1911) and the successor was the Order of the Star (1927-1929). The founding, as well as the disbanding of the Order in 1929, led to crises in the Theosophical Society.



One of the founders of modern-era Theosophy and of the Theosophical Society, Helena Blavatsky, wrote about its future in the Key to Theosophy:

"Not only so, but besides a large and accessible literature ready to men's hands, the next impulse will find a numerous and united body of people ready to welcome the new torch-bearer of Truth. He will find the minds of men prepared for his message, a language ready for him in which to clothe the new truths he brings, an organization awaiting his arrival, which will remove the merely mechanical, material obstacles and difficulties from his path. Think how much one, to whom such an opportunity is given, could accomplish. Measure it by comparison with what the Theosophical Society actually has achieved in the last fourteen years, without any of these advantages and surrounded by hosts of hindrances which would not hamper the new leader." [1]

Following the original publication of the book in 1889, and based on this passage, many Theosophists anticipated the advent of Maitreya.[2] Blavatsky had also founded, and led, the so-called Esoteric Section of the Society, whose main purpose was to inform and prepare select members of the Society about the expected World Teacher. [3]

Sometime in late April or early May 1909,[4] one of the members of the Esoteric Section instructed on the World Teacher, the high-ranking Theosophist and occultist C.W. Leadbeater, encountered 14 year old Jiddu Krishnamurti on the private beach attached to the headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Adyar. At the time, Krishnamurti's father was employed by the Society, and the family lived next to the compound. Leadbeater came to believe young Krishnamurti was a suitable candidate for the "vehicle" of the supposed soon-to-reappear World Teacher, and placed him under his and the Society's wing. In late 1909, Annie Besant, then President of the Society and head of its Esoteric Section, admitted Krishnamurti into both [5] and in March 1910 she became his legal guardian. [6]

Order of the Rising Sun

Annie Besant had started commenting on the possible imminent arrival of the World Teacher in 1896, several years before her assumption of the Society's presidency in 1907. By 1909 the "coming" Teacher was a main topic of her lectures and writings.[7][8] In late 1910 the Order of the Rising Sun was founded by prominent theosophist George Arundale (the official founding date was in January 1911). The organization was generally focused on the expected World Teacher, yet the newly "discovered" Krishnamurti was - somewhat obliquely - at the center of its attention. [2]

Order of the Star in the East

Membership Card of the Order of the Star in the East (Dutch Section).

In April 1911 Besant founded the Order of the Star in the East (OSE), which replaced the Order of the Rising Sun. The high offices of the organization were filled: "Mrs Besant and Leadbeater were made Protectors of the new Order of which Krishna" [Jiddu Krishnamurti] "was the Head, Arundale Private Secretary to the Head, and Wodehouse Organizing Secretary". [9] [10]

In December 1911 during a ceremony officiated by Krishnamurti at the close of the annual Theosophical Convention, those present were reported to be suddenly overwhelmed by a strange feeling of "tremendous power" that seemed to be flowing through Krishnamurti. In Leadbeater's description, "it reminded one irresistibly of the rushing, mighty wind, and the outpouring of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost. The tension was enormous, and every one in the room was most powerfully affected." The next day, at a meeting of the Esoteric Section, Annie Besant for the first time announced that it was now obvious Krishnamurti was indeed the chosen "vehicle". [11]

In 1912 Krishnamurti's father sued Annie Besant in order to annul her guardianship of Krishnamurti, which he had previously granted. Among other reasons stated in his deposition was his objection to the "deification" of Krishnamurti caused by Besant's "announcement that he was to be the Lord Christ, with the result that a number of respectable persons had prostrated before him." Besant eventually won the case on appeal. [12]

Because the German Section, under the General Secretaryship of Dr. Steiner, opposed the pushing of the Order of the Star in the East within the Theosophical Society in Germany, Mrs. Besant, as President of the Theosophical Society, in March, 1913, dischartered and expelled from the Theosophical Society the whole of that Section with all its Branches and over two thousand members, cancelling the diplomas of all these. [14] Most of the German Section left with Dr. Steiner and the Antroposophical Society was formed.

In 1913 some members of the OSE had to leave the Central Hindu College (CHC) in Varanasi, because the activities of the Order were deemed "unacademical". [14]

The goal of the Order was to remove the mechanical, material obstacles and difficulties from the path of the World Teacher. Most of the members were also members of the Theosophical Society; [2] however, membership was open to anyone, the only precondition being acceptance of the Order's Six Principles.

The Six Principles

The six principles of the Order of the Star in the East were: [15]

• 1. We believe that a great Teacher will soon appear in the world, and we wish so to live now that we may be worthy to know Him when He comes.
• 2. We shall try, therefore, to keep Him in our minds always, and to do in His name, and therefore to the best of our ability, all the work which comes to us in our daily occupations.
• 3. As far as our ordinary duties allow, we shall endeavour to devote a portion of our time each day to some definite work which may help to prepare for His coming.
• 4. We shall seek to make Devotion, Steadfastness and Gentleness prominent characteristics of our daily life.
• 5. We shall try to begin and end each day with a short period devoted to the asking of His blessing upon all that we try to do for Him and in His name.
• 6. We regard it as our special duty to try to recognise and reverence greatness in whomsoever shown, and to strive to co-operate, as far as we can, with those whom we feel to be spiritually our superiors.

During the existence of the OSE, Krishnamurti held many discourses and lectures in several countries, and had a large following among the membership of the Theosophical Society. National Sections of the Order were organized in many countries, with official bulletins eventually appearing in twenty-one of them, in fourteen different languages. [16] [2]

Order of the Star

In June 1927 the name of the organization was changed to Order of the Star, headquartered in Ommen, the Netherlands. In ongoing developments, Besant had proclaimed in January 1927 that "the World Teacher is here", [17] and many members expected Krishnamurti's unequivocal public proclamation of his messianic status. The renamed order had two objectives: [18]

• 1. To draw together all those who believe in the Presence of the World Teacher in the world.
• 2. To work with Him for the establishment of His ideas.

However, Krishnamurti's emphasis, in public talks and private discussions, had changed, and he talked less about the expected World Teacher. This shift in emphasis mirrored fundamental changes in Krishnamurti as a person, including his gradual disenchantment with the "World Teacher Project", which led to a complete reevaluation of his continuing association with it. [19] Finally, he disbanded the Order in Ommen on 3 August 1929, in front of about 3000 members [20] [21] and Besant herself. The Order had about 60000 members at the time. In his speech dissolving the organization, Krishnamurti said:

"I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path." [22]

Krishnamurti denounced the concept of saviors, leaders and spiritual teachers, and soon after the dissolution severed his ties to Theosophy and the Theosophical Society. [23] He returned to donors estates, property, and funds that had been gifted to the Order in its various incarnations, [24] and spent the rest of his life pursuing an independent course, becoming widely known as an original, influential thinker and speaker on philosophical and religious subjects.


In 1907 - the first year for which reliable records were kept [25] -- the worldwide membership of the Theosophical Society was estimated at over 15000; membership peaked in 1928 at about 45000. [26] Many members of the OSE were also members of the Theosophical Society; [27] consequently, as many as a third of the members of the Theosophical Society left "within a few years" of Krishnamurti's disbanding of the Order. [28] [2]


1. Blavatsky, H. P. (1889). The Key to Theosophy. London: The Theosophical Publishing Company. pp. 306-307. Italics in quoted text appear in original.
2. Schuller, Govert W. (1997). "Krishnamurti and the World Teacher Project". Theosophical History: Occasional Papers 5. (Fullerton, California: Theosophical History Foundation). ISSN 1068-2597. Alpheus. 2001. Retrieved 2010-04-12.
3. Blavatsky, H. P. (August 1931). "The Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society: Preliminary Memorandum, 1888". The Theosophist 52: 594-595. (Adyar: Theosophical Publishing House). ISSN 0040-5892.
4. Lutyens, Mary (1975). Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening. Farrar Straus and Giroux. pp. 20-21. ISBN 0374182221.
5. Lutyens p. 30.
6. Lutyens p. 40.
7. Lutyens pp. 11-12, 46.
8. "Christ Will Soon Visit Earth Again. Head of Theosophical Society Declares His Spirit Will Manifest Itself." Associated Press (New York City). New York: 3 August 1909. Newswire report on Besant's lecture tour in the United States.
9. Lutyens p. 46. A.E. Wodehouse, an educator and brother of the poet and writer P.G. Wodehouse, was another prominent Theosophist.
10. News regarding Krishnamurti and the Order received wide coverage: "New Religion is Headed by Youth". Grand Forks Herald (Grand Forks, North Dakota). 2 April 1912. p. 1. OCLC 12165939. "A stipling of fifteen, Krishnamurti, a Hindu is thought by many Theosophists to be a second Messiah and a new sect has been formed for his support with the star of the east the emblem."
11. Lutyens pp. 54-55. According to Leadbeater and other Theosophists, Krishnamurti had already previously passed a spiritual Initiation and had been "accepted" as a pupil by Theosophy's Spiritual Hierarchy. Lutyens "Chapter 4: First Initiation" and "Chapter 5: First Teaching", pp. 29-46 [cumulative].
12. Lutyens pp. 62, 64, 82, 84; "Chapter 8: The Lawsuit" pp 64-71.
13. Rudolf Steiner, at the time leader of the German Section of the Theosophical Society, rejected the claims made of Krishnamurti's messianic status. The resulting tensions between the German Section and Besant and Leadbeater was one of the reasons that led to a split in the Society and, in 1912, to Steiner forming the Anthroposophical Society; immediately following this step, Besant revoked the German Section's charter. The great majority of German members left the Theosophical Society in 1912-13 to join Steiner in the new group. Steiner, Rudolph; Buursink, Marijke; Schuwirth, Wim; Blomaard, Pim & Mees, Wijnand (1993) (in Dutch). Wegen naar Christus [Roads to Christ. (Bing Translator)]. Partially translated from German by Marijke Buursink. Zeist, Netherlands: Vrij Geestesleven. ISBN 9060385128.
14. Das, Bhagwan (Bhagavan) (1913). "The Central Hindu College and Mrs. Besant". (PDF). Parascience. Guerneville, California: The Science and Spirit Foundation. Retrieved 2010-04-12. The author, a co-founder (along with Annie Besant) of the CHC, was in opposition to the World Teacher Project and to the creation of the OSE.
15. Wodehouse, Ernest A. (1911). The Order of the Star in the East: its outer and inner work. Adyar: Theosophist Office. Pamphlet. OCLC 258767581.
16. "The Star: Its Purpose and Policy" (All issue dates). The Star [All issues, usually in back pages]. (Los Angeles: Star Publishing Trust). OCLC 10990552. Bulletin of the USA National Section of the Order.
17. Lutyens p. 241. Statement of Besant to the Associated Press.
18. "The Order of the Star" (All issue dates). The Star [All issues, usually in back pages]. (Los Angeles: Star Publishing Trust). OCLC 10990552. Bulletin of the USA National Section of the Order.
19. In sympathy with Krishnamurti, in 1928 Besant closed the Esoteric Section. She reopened it after the dissolution of the Order. Lutyens pp. 265-266, 276.
20. "Editorial Policy". International Star Bulletin 2 [Volume not numbered in original] (2) [Issues renumbered starting August 1929]: 4. September 1929. (Eerde: Star Publishing Trust). OCLC 34693176. From the previously official bulletin of the Order of the Star. The bulletin published several issues post-dissolution, following Krishnamurti's new direction.
21. "Cult Is Dissolved By Krishnamurti; Surprises Devotees by Asserting Organization Is Not Necessary". The Washington Post. p. M21. 4 August 1929. Associated Press (New York City). [Dateline Ommen, 3 August 1929]. ISSN 0190-8286.
22. Jiddu, Krishnamurti (September 1929). "The Dissolution of the Order of the Star: A Statement by J. Krishnamurti". International Star Bulletin 2 [Volume not numbered in original] (2) [Issues renumbered starting August 1929]: 28-34. (Eerde: Star Publishing Trust). OCLC 34693176. J.Krishnamurti Online. Retrieved 2010-04-12.
23. Lutyens pp. 276, 285.
24. Lutyens p. 276.
25. Tillet, Gregory John (1987). "Appendix 4: Membership of the Theosophical Society: Statistical Summary". Charles Webster Leadbeater 1854-1934: A Biographical Study. Volume III: Appendices, Notes and Bibliographies. [Thesis (Ph. D.)]. Department of Religious Studies. University of Sydney. pp. 942-950. OCLC 271774444. (Context from p. 943n[2]). URI [Filename: "10Append&NotesTillett.pdf"]. Sydney escholarship. 2007. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
26. Taylor, Anne (1992). Annie Besant: A Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 328. ISBN 0192117963.
27. Roe, Jill (1986). Beyond Belief: Theosophy in Australia 1879-1939. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press. p. 288. ISBN 0868400424.
28. Campbell, Bruce F. (1980). History of the Theosophical Movement. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. Hardcover. p. 130. ISBN 0-520-03968-8.
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Re: Annie Besant's Many Lives, by Kumari Jayawardena

Postby admin » Tue May 08, 2018 5:14 am

Beatrice Webb
by Wikipedia



Martha Beatrice Webb, Lady Passfield (née Potter; 22 January 1858 – 30 April 1943) was an English sociologist, economist, socialist and social reformer. Although her husband became Baron Passfield in 1929, she refused to be known as Lady Passfield. She coined the term collective bargaining.[1]

Along with her husband Sidney Webb and numerous others, she co-founded the London School of Economics and Political Science and played a crucial role in the forming of the Fabian Society.

Webb, photographed circa 1875


Beatrice Potter was born in Standish House in the village of Standish, Gloucestershire, the daughter of a businessman Richard Potter and Laurencina Heyworth, daughter of a Liverpool merchant. Her grandfather was Radical MP, Richard Potter. From an early age she was self-taught and cited her influences as the cooperative movement and the philosopher Herbert Spencer with whom she became acquainted after an early stay with relatives in Lancashire.

In 1882, she had a relationship with Radical politician Joseph Chamberlain, by then a Cabinet minister. After this relationship failed, she took up Social Work and assisted her cousin Charles Booth who was carrying out a pioneering survey of the Victorian slums of London, bringing her own experiences as rent-collector in the model dwellings at Katherine Buildings, Aldgate, operated by the East End Dwellings Company. Upon the death of her father, Potter inherited an endowment of £1,000 pounds a year which she used to support herself during this research. In 1890 she was introduced to Sidney Webb whose help she sought in this research and in 1891 she published The Co-operative Movement in Great Britain, based on her experiences in Lancashire. Marrying Webb in 1892, the two remained together and shared political and professional activities, becoming active members of the Fabian Society. With support from the Fabians, she co-authored books and pamphlets on socialism and the co-operative movement including The History of Trade Unionism in 1894 and Industrial Democracy in 1897. In 1895, a donation from Henry Hutchinson, a solicitor from Derby, was used by the Society to found the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Minority Report to Royal Commission


Between 1905 and 1909, Beatrice Webb was a member of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and Relief of Distress 1905-09. The Commission was established by the Conservative government of AJ Balfour, and reported to the Liberal government of HH Asquith.[2][3] Webb headed the minority report which outlined a welfare state which would "secure a national minimum of civilised life ... open to all alike, of both sexes and all classes, by which we meant sufficient nourishment and training when young, a living wage when able-bodied, treatment when sick, and modest but secure livelihood when disabled or aged". William Beveridge, who was later to author the Beveridge Report in 1942, worked as a researcher for the Webbs on the Minority Report.

Later career

In 1913, she co-founded with her husband the New Statesman, a political weekly edited by Clifford Sharp with contributions from many philosophers, economists and politicians of the time including George Bernard Shaw and John Maynard Keynes.

In late 1914, the Webbs became members of the Labour Party. At this time, their leadership of the Fabian Society was facing opposition from H.G. Wells, who lampooned them in his 1911 novel The New Machiavelli as 'the Baileys', a pair of short-sighted, bourgeois manipulators. They were also opposed from the left in the Labour Party by the Guild Socialists and the historian and economist G.D.H. Cole. During this time, Webb collaborated with her husband in his writings and policy statement such as Labour and the New Social Order in 1918 and his election in 1922 to the parliamentary seat of Seaham in Durham.

In 1928 the Webbs retired to Liphook in Hampshire, where they lived until their deaths. In 1932, Sidney and Beatrice travelled to the Soviet Union and later published in support of the Soviet economic experiment with Soviet Communism: A New Civilisation? and The Truth About Soviet Russia. When she died in 1943, Webb's ashes were interred in the nave of Westminster Abbey, close to those of her husband, and were to be joined subsequently by the remains of Clement Attlee and Ernest Bevin.

Webb as co-operative theorist

Beatrice and Sidney Webb during a trip to the Soviet Union in 1932

Webb made a number of important contributions to political and economic theory of the co-operative movement. It was, for example, Webb who coined the terms “Co-operative Federalism” and “Co-operative Individualism” in her 1891 book Cooperative Movement in Great Britain. Out of these two categories, Webb identified herself as a co-operative federalist; a school of thought which advocates consumer co-operative societies. Webb argued that consumers’ co-operatives should form co-operative wholesale societies (by forming co-operatives in which all members are co-operatives, the best historical example being the English Co-operative Wholesale Society) and that these federal co-operatives should undertake purchasing farms or factories. Webb dismissed the idea of worker co-operatives where the people who did the work and benefited from it had some control over how it was done, arguing that – at the time she was writing – such ventures had proved largely unsuccessful, at least in ushering in her form of socialism led by volunteer committees of people like herself.[4] Examples of successful worker Cooperatives did of course exist then as now. In some professions they were the norm. But Webb’s final book, The Truth About The Soviet Union celebrated central planning.


Webb's nephew, Sir Stafford Cripps, became a well-known British Labour politician in the 1930s and 1940s, serving as British ambassador to Moscow during World War II and later as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Clement Attlee. His daughter, Peggy, went on to marry the Nana Joe Appiah, a noted African statesman and tribal chieftain who served as something of a founding father of the Republic of Ghana.

Her niece, Barbara Drake, was a prominent trade unionist and a member of the Fabian Society. Another niece, Katherine Dobbs, married the journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, whose experience reporting from the Soviet Union subsequently made him highly critical of the Webbs' optimistic portrayal of Stalin's rule. Their books, Soviet Communism: A new civilization? (1935) and The Truth About Soviet Russia (1942) have been widely denounced for adopting an uncritical view of Stalin's conduct during periods that witnessed a brutal process of agricultural collectivization as well as extensive purges and the creation of the gulag system.[5]


Beatrice Webb's papers, including her diaries, are among the Passfield archive at the London School of Economics. For a small online exhibition featuring some of these papers see 'A poor thing but our own': the Webbs and the Labour Party. Posts about Beatrice Webb regularly appear in the LSE Archives blog, Out of the box.


Works by Beatrice Webb

• Cooperative Movement in Great Britain (1891)
• Wages of Men and Women: Should they be equal? (1919)
• My Apprenticeship (1926)
• Our Partnership (1948)

Works by Beatrice and Sidney Webb

• History of Trade Unionism (1894)
• Industrial Democracy (1897)
• The Webbs' Australian Diary (1898)
• English Local Government Vol. I-X (1906 through 1929)
• The Manor and the Borough (1908)
• The Break-Up of the Poor Law (1909)
• English Poor-Law Policy (1910)
• The Cooperative Movement (1914)
• Works Manager Today (1917)
• The Consumer's Cooperative Movement (1921)
• Decay of Capitalist Civilization (1923)
• Methods of Social Study (1932)
• Soviet Communism: A New Civilization? (1935)
• The Truth About Soviet Russia (1942)


1. "A Timeline of Events in Modern American Labor Relations". Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (United States). ... emID=15810. Retrieved 2010-08-18. "1891: The term “collective bargaining” is first used by Mrs. Sidney Webb, a British labor historian."
2. BBC Radio 4 Women's Hour discussion on 1909 Minority Report ... _wed.shtml
3. From the Workhouse to Welfare, edited by Ed Wallis (Fabian Society and Webb Memorial Trust, 2009)
4. Potter, Beatrice, "The Co-operative Movement in Great Britain", London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1891.
5. See, e.g., Robert Conquest, The Great Terror (1968 and subsequent editions).
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Re: Annie Besant's Many Lives, by Kumari Jayawardena

Postby admin » Tue Mar 26, 2019 3:48 am

Order of the Star in the East
by Theosophy Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/25/19



Copper plate used to print The Herald of the Star. From Theosophical Society in America Archives.

The Order of the Star in the East (OSE) was an organization established by the leadership of the Theosophical Society (Adyar), India, from 1911 to 1927. Its mission was to prepare the world for the expected arrival of World Teacher, known as Lord Maitreya in Theosophical circles.

Order of the Rising Sun

In May, 1909, C. W. Leadbeater discovered Jiddu Krishnamurti and regarded him as a likely "vehicle" for Lord Maitreya, the World Teacher.

On January 11, 1911, George S. Arundale formed The Order of the Rising Sun to draw together those in India who believed in the near coming of a great spiritual teacher and prepare public opinion to receive him. At the same time a quarterly magazine printed at Adyar called The Herald of the Star was started.

Order of the Star in the East

A few months after The Order of the Rising Sun was formed, Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater made of this Order an international movement and renamed it as The Order of the Star in the East, with J. Krishnamurti as its head.

Order of the Star

The Order of the Star was a successor to the OSE. It was formed in June 1927, after what many regarded as the manifestation of the World Teacher. Krishnamurti's close associate and friend D. Rajagopal served as the Chief Organizer.

The renamed order had two stated objectives:

- To draw together all those who believe in the Presence of the World Teacher in the world.
- To work with Him for the establishment of His ideas.

Relationship of the Order to the Theosophical Society

The Order of the Star in the East under its various names was founded by prominent leaders of the Theosophical Society. It was a surprising development to members, and unwelcome to many who questioned its cult-like qualities.

An example was published in the "Questions Answered" section of the American Section's journal. The response was written by Mr. Leadbeater:

Q. Do you regard it as important that members of the T. S. should join the Order of the Star in the East when (say) they feel they are not from their own studies acquainted with the grounds of expectation of the coming of the Great World-Teacher?

A. Certainly. If they are not by their own study acquainted with the grounds for such expectation, they should study more. All T. S. members should join, because they alone can bring knowledge and reason to bear on the subject where others can only bring a feeling. And even if they cannot grasp it intellectually, they should still join, because the President is the one chosen to be the Outer Head for this organization in the world. As members of the T. S. have followed her in other things, they should be able to follow her in this too. C. W. L.[1]

Charles Leadbeater was unequivocal in expecting members to embrace the Order based purely on his own supposedly superior intellectual understanding of the World Teacher and on the authority of President Annie Besant. This ran counter to the principles of intellectual freedom and responsibility on which the Society was founded.


During a Camp of the Order of the Star at Ommen, on August 3, 1929, Krishnamurti made a speech dissolving it.

Krishnamurti speech

Among other things, Krishnamurti said:

I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organised; nor should any organisation be formed to lead or coerce people along any particular path...

Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountain-top to the valley...

If an organisation be created for this purpose, it becomes a crutch, a weakness, a bondage, and must cripple the individual, and prevent him from growing, from establishing his uniqueness, which lies in the discovery for himself of that absolute, unconditioned Truth...

I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies...

You are all depending for your spirituality on someone else, for your happiness on someone else, for your enlightenment on someone else; and although you have been preparing for me for eighteen years, when I say all these things are unnecessary, when I say that you must put them all away and look within yourselves for the enlightenment, for the glory, for the purification, and for the incorruptibility of the self, not one of you is willing to do it. There may be a few, but very, very few. So why have an organization? ...

"How many members are there in it?" That is the first question I am asked by all newspaper reporters. "How many followers have you? By their number we shall judge whether what you say is true or false." I do not know how many there are. I am not concerned with that. As I said, if there were even one man who had been set free, that were enough...

But those who really desire to understand, who are looking to find that which is eternal, without beginning and without an end, will walk together with a greater intensity, will be a danger to everything that is unessential, to unrealities, to shadows. And they will concentrate, they will become the flame, because they understand. Such a body we must create, and that is my purpose. Because of that real understanding there will be true friendship. Because of that true friendship–which you do not seem to know–there will be real cooperation on the part of each one. And this not because of authority, not because of salvation, not because of immolation for a cause, but because you really understand, and hence are capable of living in the eternal. This is a greater thing than all pleasure, than all sacrifice...

For two years I have been thinking about this, slowly, carefully, patiently, and I have now decided to disband the Order, as I happen to be its Head. You can form other organizations and expect someone else. With that I am not concerned, nor with creating new cages, new decorations for those cages. My only concern is to set men absolutely, unconditionally free.[2]

Reactions to dissolution


See also

• Jiddu Krishnamurti
Online resources


• Information for Inquirers Extract from an Order of the Star in the East pamphlet at


• "C W Leadbeater, Annie Besant, Krishnamurti - Theosophy UK". Footage of Annie Besant, C. W. Leadbeater, and J. Krishnamurti in mid-1920s, found in the archives of The International Theosophical Centre, Naarden, Netherlands. Available from Theosophy World Resource Centre.


1. C.W.L. [Charles Webster Leadbeater], "Questions Answered" The Messenger 3.6 (November, 1915), 180.
2. Truth is a pathless land at J. Krishnamurti Online
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Re: Annie Besant's Many Lives, by Kumari Jayawardena

Postby admin » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:00 am

Sidney Webb, 1st Baron Passfield
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/7/19



The Right Honourable
The Lord Passfield
Carbon print by W. & D. Downey, published in 1893
President of the Board of Trade
In office: 22 January 1924 – 3 November 1924
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
Preceded by Sir Philip Lloyd-Graeme
Succeeded by Sir Philip Lloyd-Graeme
Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
In office: 7 June 1929 – 5 June 1930
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
Preceded by Leo Amery
Succeeded by James Henry Thomas
Secretary of State for the Colonies
In office
7 June 1929 – 24 August 1931
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
Preceded by Leo Amery
Succeeded by James Henry Thomas
Personal details
Born 13 July 1859
Died 13 October 1947 (aged 88)
Liphook, Hampshire
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Beatrice Potter
Alma mater Birkbeck, University of London
King's College London

Sidney James Webb, 1st Baron Passfield, OM, PC (13 July 1859 – 13 October 1947) was a British socialist, economist, reformer and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. He was one of the early members of the Fabian Society in 1884, along with George Bernard Shaw (they joined three months after its inception). Along with his wife Beatrice Webb, Annie Besant, Graham Wallas, Edward R. Pease, Hubert Bland, and Sydney Olivier, Shaw and Webb turned the Fabian Society into the pre-eminent political-intellectual society of England during the Edwardian era and beyond. He wrote the original Clause IV for the British Labour Party.

Background and education

Webb was born in London to a professional family. He studied law at the Birkbeck Literary and Scientific Institution for a degree of the University of London in his spare time, while holding down an office job. He also studied at King's College London, prior to being called to the Bar in 1885.

Professional life

In 1895, he helped to establish the London School of Economics, using a bequest left to the Fabian Society. He was appointed Professor of Public Administration in 1912, a post he held for fifteen years. In 1892, Webb married Beatrice Potter, who shared his interests and beliefs.[1] The money she brought with her enabled him to give up his clerical job and concentrate on his other activities. Sidney and Beatrice Webb founded the New Statesman magazine in 1913.[2]

Political career

Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb

Webb and Potter were members of the Labour Party and took an active role in politics. Sidney became Member of Parliament for Seaham at the 1922 general election.[3] The couple's influence can be seen in their hosting of the Coefficients, a dining club which attracted some of the leading statesmen and thinkers of the day. In 1929, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Passfield, of Passfield Corner in the County of Southampton.[4] He served as both Secretary of State for the Colonies and Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs in Ramsay MacDonald second Labour Government in 1929. As Colonial Secretary he issued the Passfield White Paper revising the government's policy in Palestine, previously set by the Churchill White Paper of 1922. In 1930, failing health caused him to step down as Dominions Secretary, but he stayed on as Colonial Secretary till the fall of the Labour government in August 1931.

Ignoring mounting evidence of the atrocities committed by Joseph Stalin, the Webbs were supporters of the Soviet Union until their deaths. Having reached their seventies and early eighties, their books Soviet Communism: A New Civilisation? (1935) and The Truth About Soviet Russia (1942) give a very positive assessment of Joseph Stalin's regime. Trotskyist historian Al Richardson later described Soviet Communism: A New Civilization? as "pure Soviet propaganda at its most mendacious".[5]


Webb co-authored, with his wife, a pivotal book on The History of Trade Unionism (1894). For the Fabian Society he wrote on poverty in London,[6] the eight-hour day,[7][8] land nationalisation[9] the nature of socialism,[10] education,[11] eugenics[12] and reform of the House of Lords.[13] He also drafted Clause IV, which committed the Labour Party to public ownership of industry.

References in literature

Beatrice and Sidney Webb working together in 1895

In H. G. Wells' The New Machiavelli (1911), the Webbs, as "the Baileys", are mercilessly lampooned as short-sighted, bourgeois manipulators. The Fabian Society, of which Wells was briefly a member (1903–08), fares no better in his estimation.

In her diary, Beatrice Webb records that they have "read the caricatures of ourselves … with much interest and amusement. The portraits are very clever in a malicious way."[14] She reviews the book and Wells' character in detail, summarising: "As an attempt at representing a political philosophy the book utterly fails …".[15]

Personal life

When Beatrice Webb died in 1943, the casket containing her ashes was buried in the garden of their house in Passfield Corner. Lord Passfield's ashes were also buried there in 1947. Shortly afterwards, George Bernard Shaw launched a petition to have both reburied to Westminster Abbey, which was eventually granted. Today, the Webbs' ashes are interred in the nave of Westminster Abbey, close to those of Clement Attlee and Ernest Bevin.

He and his wife were friends with the philosopher Bertrand Russell.[16]

In 2006, the London School of Economics, alongside the Housing Association landlord Places for People, renamed their Great Dover Street student residence Sidney Webb House in his honour.


Sidney Webb's papers are among the Passfield archive at the London School of Economics. Posts about Sidney Webb regularly appear in the LSE Archives blog, Out of the box.


Works by Sidney Webb

• Facts for Socialists (1887)
• Fabian Essays in Socialism – The Basis of Socialism – Historic(1889)
• A plea for an eight hours bill (1890)
• English progress towards social democracy (1890)
• Practicable land nationalization (1890)
• The workers' political programme (1890)
• What the farm laborer wants (1890)
• A Labour policy for public authorities (1891)
• London's neglected heritage (1891)
• London's water tribute (1891)
• Municipal tramways (1891)
• The municipalisation of the gas supply (1891)
• The reform of the poor law (1891)
• The scandal of London's markets (1891)
• The "unearned increment" (1891)
• Socialism : true and false (1894)
• The London vestries : what they are and what they do : with map, table of vestries, etc. (1894)
• The difficulties of individualism (1896)
• Labor in the longest reign (1837-1897) (1897)
• Problems of Modern Industry (1898)
• The economics of direct employment (1898)
• Five years' fruits of the Parish Councils Act (1901)
• The education muddle and the way out (1901)
• Twentieth century politics : a policy of national efficiency (1901)
• The Education Act, 1902 : how to make the best of it (1903)
• London Education (1904)
• The London Education Act, 1903 : how to make the best of it(1904)
• Paupers and old age pensions (1907)
• The decline in the birth-rate (1907)
• Grants in Aid: A Criticism and a Proposal (1911)
• The necessary basis of society (1911)
• Seasonal Trades, with A. Freeman (1912)
• What about the rates? : or, Municipal finance and municipal autonomy (1913)
• The War and the workers : handbook of some immediate measures to prevent unemployment and relieve distress (1914)
• The Restoration of Trade Union Conditions (1916)
• When peace comes : the way of industrial reconstruction (1916)
• The reform of the House of Lords (1917)
• The teacher in politics (1918)
• National finance and a levy on capital (1919)
• The root of labour unrest (1920)
• The constitutional problems of a co-operative society (1923)
• The Labour Party on the threshold (1923)
• The need for federal reorganisation in the co-operative movement(1923)
• The Local Government Act, 1929 - how to make the best of it(1929)
• What happened in 1931 : a record (1932)
Works by Sidney and Beatrice Webb
• History of Trade Unionism (1894).
• Industrial Democracy (1897); translated into Russian by Lenin as The Theory and Practice of British Trade Unionism, St Petersburg, 1900.
• English Local Government (1906 through 1929) Vol. I–X
• The Manor and the Borough (1908)
• The Break-Up of the Poor Law (1909)
• English Poor-Law Policy (1910)
• The Cooperative Movement (1914)
• Works Manager Today (1917)
• The Consumer's Cooperative Movement (1921)
• Decay of Capitalist Civilization (1923)
• Methods of Social Study (1932)
• Soviet Communism: A new civilisation? (1935, Vol I Vol II) (the 2nd and 3rd editions of 1941 and 1944 did not have "?" in the title)
• The Truth About Soviet Russia (1942)


1. "Sidney and Beatrice Webb | British economists". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
2. The world movement towards collectivism, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, New Statesman, 12 April 1913;
Bending the arc of history towards justice and freedom, New Statesman, 12 April 2013; retrieved 13 May 2014.
3. The History of the Fabian Society, Edward R. Pease, Frank Cass and Co. LTD, 1963
4. "No. 33509". The London Gazette. 25 June 1929. p. 4189.
5. Al Richardson, "Introduction" to C. L. R. James, World Revolution 1917–1936: The Rise and Fall of the Communist International. Humanities Press, 1937 ISBN 0-391-03790-0
6. Webb, Sidney (1889), "Facts for Londoners: An exhaustive collection of statistical and other facts relating to the metropolis: with suggestions for reform on socialist principles", Fabian Tract, 8
7. Webb, Sidney (May 1890), "An Eight Hours Bill in the form of an amendment of the Factory Acts, with further provisions for the improvement of the conditions of labour", Fabian Tract, 9
8. Webb, Sidney (1891), "The case for an Eight Hours Bill", Fabian Tract, 23
9. Webb, Sidney (1890), "Practicable land nationalization", Fabian Tract, 12
10. Webb, Sidney (21 January 1894), "Socialism: true and false. A lecture delivered to the Fabian Society", Fabian Tract, 51
11. Webb, Sidney (1901), "The education muddle and the way out: a constructive criticism of English educational machinery", Fabian Tract, 106
12. Webb, Sidney (1907), "The decline in the birth-rate", Fabian Tract, 131
13. Webb, Sidney (1917), "The reform of the House of Lords", Fabian Tract, 183
14. Beatrice Webb's typescript diary, 2 January 1901 – 10 February 1911, LSE Digital Library ... 2/mode/2up
15. Beatrice Webb's typescript diary, 2 January 1901 – 10 February 1911, LSE Digital Library ... /mode/2up/
16. Autobiography of Bertrand Russell (London:Allen and Unwin, 1969).

Further reading

• Bevir, Mark. "Sidney Webb: Utilitarianism, positivism, and social democracy." Journal of Modern History 74.2 (2002): 217-252. online
• Cole, Margaret, et al. The Webbs and their work (1949).
• Davanzati, Guglielmo Forges, and Andrea Pacella. "Sidney and Beatrice Webb: Towards an Ethical Foundation of the Operation of the Labour Market." History of Economic Ideas (2004): 25-49.
• Farnham, David. “Beatrice and Sidney Webb and the Intellectual Origins of British Industrial Relations.” Employee Relations (2008). 30: 534-52
• Harrison, Royden. The Life and Times of Sydney and Beatrice Webb, 1858-1905 (2001)
• Kaufman, Bruce E. "Sidney and Beatrice Webb's Institutional Theory of Labor Markets and Wage Determination." Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society 52.3 (2013): 765-791. online
• MacKenzie, Norman Ian, and Jeanne MacKenzie. The First Fabians (Quartet Books, 1979).
• Radice, Lisanne. Beatrice and Sidney Webb: Fabian Socialists (Springer, 1984).
• Stigler, George. “Bernard Shaw, Sidney Webb, and the Theory of Fabian Socialism,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society (1959) 103#3: 469-75.

Primary sources

• Mackenzie, Norman,ed. The Letters of Sidney and Beatrice Webb (3 volumes. Cambridge University Press, 1978. Pp. xvii, 453; xi, 405; ix, 482).
o Volume 1, Apprenticeships 1873-1892. (1978).
o Volume 2. Partnership 1892-1912 (1978).
o Volume 3: Pilgrimage, 1912–1947 (1978).

External links

• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Sidney Webb
• Critique of Webb by Leon Trotsky in The Revolution Betrayed
• The Webb Bibliography
• The Webb Diaries available in full from LSE
• Works by Sidney Webb at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Sidney Webb at Internet Archive
• Newspaper clippings about Sidney Webb, 1st Baron Passfield in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics
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Re: Annie Besant's Many Lives, by Kumari Jayawardena

Postby admin » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:13 am

Coefficients (dining club)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/7/19



Milner was the creator of the Round Table Group (since this is but another name for the Kindergarten) and remained in close personal contact with it for the rest of his life. In the sketch of Milner in the Dictionary of National Biography, written by Basil Williams of the Kindergarten, we read: "He was always ready to discuss national questions on a non-party basis, joining with former members of his South African 'Kindergarten' in their 'moot,' from which originated the political review, The Round Table, and in a more heterogeneous society, the 'Coefficients,' where he discussed social and imperial problems with such curiously assorted members as L. S. Amery, H. G. Wells, (Lord) Haldane, Sir Edward Grey, (Sir) Michael Sadler, Bernard Shaw, J. L. Garvin, William Pember Reeves, and W. A. S. Hewins.""

-- The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden, by Carroll Quigley

The Coefficients was a monthly dining club founded in 1902 by the Fabian campaigners Sidney and Beatrice Webb as a forum for British socialist reformers and imperialists of the Edwardian era.[1] The name of the dining club was a reflection of the group's focus on "efficiency".[2]


The Webbs proposed that the club's membership reflect the entire gamut of political beliefs, and "proposed to collect politicians from each of the parties". Representing the Liberal Imperialists were Sir Edward Grey and Richard Burdon Haldane; the Tories were represented by economist William Hewins and editor of the National Review Leopold Maxse; and the British military was represented by Leo Amery, an "expert on the conditions of the army", and Carlyon Bellairs, a naval officer.[2]

The club's membership included:[3]

Leo Amery, statesman and Conservative politician
Richard Burdon Haldane, Liberal politician, lawyer, and philosopher
• Halford John Mackinder, geographer and politician
• Leopold Maxse, editor, National Review
Alfred Milner, statesman and colonial administrator
• Henry Newbolt, author and poet
• Carlyon Bellairs, naval commander and MP
James Louis Garvin, journalist and editor
• William Hewins, economist
• William Pember Reeves, New Zealand statesman, historian, and poet
Bertrand Russell, philosopher and mathematician
• Sir Clinton Edward Dawkins, businessman and civil servant
• Sir Henry Birchenough, businessman and civil servant
Sir Edward Grey, Liberal politician
H. G. Wells, novelist

Of the initiates or probable initiates whom we have mentioned, Rothschild, Johnston, Hawksley, Rosebery, Jameson, Michell, and Maguire played little or no role in the society after 1902. Beit died in 1906, and Garrett the following year. Of the others, Grey, Brassey, Esher, and Balfour continued in active cooperation with the members of the Group. The real circle of initiates in the twentieth century, however, would appear to include the following names: [Alfred] Milner, Abe Bailey, George Parkin, Lord Selborne, Jan Smuts, A. J. Glazebrook, R. H. Brand (Lord Brand), Philip Kerr (Lord Lothian), Lionel Curtis, Geoffrey Dawson, H. A. L. Fisher, Edward Grigg, Leopold Amery, and Lord Astor. Since 1925, when Milner died, others have undoubtedly been added. This circle, with certain additional names, we shall call the "inner core" or the "inner circle" of the Milner Group....

The Cecil Bloc became increasingly a political force. Gladstone remained socially a member of it, and so did his protege, John Morley, but almost all the other members of the Bloc were Unionists or Conservatives. The chief exceptions were the four leaders of the Liberal Party after Gladstone, who were strong imperialists: Rosebery, Asquith, Edward Grey, and Haldane. These four supported the Boer War, grew increasingly anti-German, supported the World War in 1914, and were close to the Milner Group politically, intellectually, and socially. (7)

-- The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden, by Carroll Quigley

Wells was recruited because he was deemed "capable of original thoughts on every subject" and proved to be "an especially active member".[2]


The Webbs came up with the idea of the dinner club as a forum for "serious discussions and to formulate or propose political policy", but shortly after its founding the members "abandoned immediate political goals" but continued to meet and discuss issues of interest. Haldane hosted the first dinner at his home in December 1902.[2]

In 1903 Bertrand Russell, who believed that the Entente cordiale policy would lead to war, resigned after Edward Grey espoused it in a speech.[4]The group was further divided over the issue of Tariff Reform following Joseph Chamberlain's resignation as Secretary of State for the Colonies and the increasing dominance of the pro-Unionist membership, which favoured Chamberlain and his tariff reform policies, contributed to the club's dissolution in 1909.[5] Amery would invite those Coefficients supporting reform to form a new club called "The Compatriots".[6]

Printed minutes of its meetings are held by the British Library of Political and Economic Science.


1. Bertrand Russell. The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell. p. 452. ISBN 0-415-10462-9.
2. Gollin, Alfred M. (1984). No Longer an Island: Britain and the Wright Brothers, 1902-1909. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. p. 231. ISBN 978-0804712651.
3. "Archives Catalogue - Coefficients". LSE Library.
4. Bertrand Russell. Autobiography. p. 156. ISBN 0-415-22862-X.
5. Russell, Bertrand (1985). The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell, Vol. 12: Contemplation and Action (1902-14). London: George Allen & Unwin. p. 452. ISBN 9780049200951.
6. Walter Nimocks (1970). Milner's young men: The "kindergarten" in Edwardian Imperial affairs. Hodder & Stoughton. p. 145. ISBN 0-340-12931-X.
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