I first met William Q. Judge in the winter of 1885. He spent Christmas week at my home in company with Arthur Gebhardt, who at that time was greatly interested in the T.S. work in America. Mr. Judge was at that time a devoted student of the Bhagavad Gita. It was his constant companion, and his favorite book ever after. His life and work were shaped by its precepts. That “equal-mindedness” and ”skill in the performance of actions” inculcated in this “Book of Devotion,” and declared to constitute “Yoga,” or union with the Supreme Spirit, Mr. Judge possessed in greater measure than any one I have ever known. His devotion never wavered; his anchorage seemed ever sure and steadfast, and herein lay his strength. His skill in the performance of actions was marvelous, his executive ability of the highest order. He was never disturbed by passion or blinded by resentment, and when openly and strongly assailed, he held steadily on his course, working for the one object of his life, the success of the T.S.
A certain T.S. member once accused him of being ambitious, and Mr. Judge asked me what I thought of it. I replied, “It is true; you are the most ambitious man I know. You would like the earth so you could make sure to devote it to the T.S. movement.” That was indeed his ambition, and outside this he seemed to have neither thought nor wish. From 1885 we were often together and in constant correspondence. Indeed we corresponded for some time previously. In April following our first meeting he started The Path. This again was a work of devotion and begun on faith, for he had no money and few supporters in those days. I never knew him to ask for assistance financially, even in his work, unless one had signified willingness to assist. It was with difficulty, therefore, that at the end of the first year I got out of him a financial statement of The Path, and found him several hundred dollars in debt after spending all he had in the venture. A friend of the movement at that time sent him the amount necessary to start the second volume of The Path free from debt.
And so he worked on to the end, friends rallying around him and aiding him in his work. People on the other side of the ocean never understood Mr. Judge’s position in America, where he was well known in connection with his work, nor how impossible it would be to shake confidence in him. It is true the issues raised were seemingly altogether personal, and it took some time to make clear to the whole Society their real nature. When, however, these issues became clear and people had time to consider them, the verdict was overwhelming, and those who were present at Boston last April will never forget the scene there enacted. It has been my lot to preside over many conventions, both medical and Theosophical, but I never witnessed such a scene before and never expect to again. There was no noisy demonstration, but the very air throbbed with sympathy and appreciation. Few eyes were void of tears. Mr. Judge was even then a very sick man, hardly able to stand and at this crisis pale and unable to speak. And so the matter was settled forever so far as America was concerned, and the real workers almost without exception rallied around their leader closer than ever. An act of simple justice became a crown of love and devotion.
And now our friend and Brother has dropped into the silence of the unseen, and the memory of those stormy months and our steadfast reliance but makes more sure a future meeting in the Great Work in which we have all engaged before, and shall again, with our friend and leader.
If death wipes out all animosities it also makes more deep and tender the love and confidence so worthily won and generously bestowed. The friend and Brother who for ten years called my home his own, and came and went in sickness and in health, won his way to all our hearts, and in many acts of kindness and in thoughtfulness showed the real brother and the true man. Together we planned the work for every T.S. Convention for the past ten years, and together watched the progress and noted the growth of the Great Work. He was never narrow, never selfish, never conceited. He would drop his own plan in a moment if a better were suggested, and was delighted if some one would carry on the work he had devised, and immediately inaugurate other lines of work. To get on with the work and forward the movement seemed to be his only aim in life.
But I need not multiply details. How well his work was done the present is already showing and the future will abundantly demonstrate. How much we shall miss him words need not paint. We should transmute feeling into work as the highest honor to his memory. Fulsome praise he hated when living, and we should refrain from offering it over his ashes. But a just estimate of his character and loyal appreciation of his work is alike honorable to him and to us.
He may find detractors even now as did H.P.B., and we only reply without bitterness, ye knew him not. The unanimous testimony of thousands who saw him daily and knew him well may count for naught against opinions and pre-judgment, formed from fancied wrong or motive misinterpreted. Let it all pass. The good only is eternal: The true only endures. Pass on, O Lanoo! The Silence is melodious, and those whom men call dead speak more eloquently than the living, for they speak in the Eternal.
“The living power made free in him, that power which is HIMSELF, can raise the tabernacle of illusion high above the gods, above great Brahm and Indra. Now he shall surely reach his great reward.”
For myself, knowing Mr. Judge as I did, and associating with him day after day, at home, in the rush of work, in long days of travel over desert-wastes or over the trackless ocean, having traveled with him a distance equal to twice around the globe—there is not the slightest doubt of his connection with and service of the Great Lodge. He did the Master’s work to the best of his ability, and thus carried out the injunction of H.P.B. to “keep the link unbroken.”
And I am equally well satisfied that even with the departure of Mr. Judge the link still remains unbroken. There were little use of Masters, and little foundation for belief in the existence of the Great Lodge of Adepts if death could break connection with those who work, however humbly, for humanity on the outer plane. “The real worker is seen and helped.” Those who deny all this are not to be blamed. Those who accept it have also their reward. Let us close ranks my Brothers, and go on with the work; never doubting that others greater than we are will do theirs also.