There are certain things connected with the personality of the great leader which have to be referred to and explained every now and again even in a Society whose effort is as much as possible to avoid the discussion of personalities. Sometimes they are disagreeable, especially when, as in the present instance, some other persons have to be brought in. And when the great leader is H.P. Blavatsky, a whole host of principles and postulates as to certain laws of nature cluster around her name. For not only was she one who brought to us from the wiser brothers of the human family a consistent philosophy of the solar system, but in herself she illustrated practically the existence of the supersensuous world and of the powers of the inner and astral man. Hence any theory or assertion touching on her relations with the unseen and with the Masters she spoke for inevitably opens up the discussion of some law or principle. This of course would not be the case if we were dealing with a mere ordinary person.
Many things were said about H.P.B. in her lifetime by those who tried to understand her, some of them being silly and some positively pernicious. The most pernicious was that made by Mr. A.P. Sinnett in London in the lifetime of H.P.B., and before the writing of the Secret Doctrine, that she was deserted by the Masters and was the prey of elementals and elemental forces. He was courageous about it, for he said it to her face, just as he had often told her he thought she was a fraud in other directions.
This theory was far-reaching, as can be seen at a glance. For if true, then anything she might say as from the Masters which did not agree with the opinion of the one addressed could be disposed of as being only the vaporing of some elementals. And that very use was made of it. It was not discussed only in the charmed seclusion of the London Lodge, but was talked of by nearly all of the many disciples and would-be disciples crowding around H.P.B. It has left its mark even unto this day. And when the total disagreement arose between H.P.B. and Mr. Sinnett as to the relation of Mars and Mercury to this earth, and as to the metaphysical character of the universe—H.P.B. having produced an explanation from the Master—then the pernicious theory and others like it were brought forward to show she was wrong, did not have word from the Master, and that Mr. Sinnett’s narrow and materialistic views of the Master’s statement—which had been made before the alleged desertion and elemental possession—were the correct ones. The dispute is imbedded in the Secret Doctrine. The whole philosophy hangs upon it. The disagreement came about because Mr. Sinnett held that his view of one of the letters from the Master received in India—through the hand of H.P.B.—was the correct view, whereas she said it was not. He kept rigidly to his position, and she asked the Master for further explanation. When this was received by her and shown to Mr. Sinnett he denied its authenticity, and then the desertion theory would explain the rest. He seemed to forget that she was the channel and he was not.
Although wide publicity was not given to the charge then, it was fully discussed by the many visitors to both camps, and its effect remains to this day among those who of late have turned in private against H.P.B. Among themselves they explain away very easily, and in public they oppose those who adhere firmly to her memory, her honor, and the truth of her statements about the Masters and their communications to her. They think that by dragging her down to the mediocre level on which they stand they may pretend to understand her, and look wise as they tell when she was and when she was not obsessed. This effort will, of course, be unsuccessful; and some will think the matter need not be brought forward. There are many reasons why it should be discussed and left no longer as a secret poison: because it leads to a negation of brotherhood; to an upholding of ingratitude, one of the blackest crimes; and, if believed, will inevitably lead to the destruction of the great philosophy broadly outlined by the Masters through H.P.B.
If, as claimed by Mr. Sinnett, H.P.B. was deserted by the Masters after they had used her for many years as their agent and channel of communication, such desertion would be evidence of unimaginable disloyalty on their part, utterly opposed to their principles as stated by themselves. For when the advisability of similar desertion was in Mr. Sinnett’s mind many years before, when he did not approve of H.P.B.’s methods of conducting the movement in India, Master K.H. emphatically wrote him that “ingratitude is not among our vices,” asking him if he would consider it just, “supposing you were thus to come,” as H.P.B. did, and were to “abandon all for the truth; to toil wearily for years up the hard, steep road, not daunted by obstacles, firm under every temptation; were to faithfully keep within your heart the secrets entrusted to you as a trial; had worked with all your energies, and unselfishly to spread the truth and provoke men to correct thinking and a correct life—would you consider it just, if, after all your efforts,” you were to be treated as you propose Mdme. Blavatsky should be treated? But this warning evidently produced only a transient effect, for in a few years’ time, as stated, Mr. Sinnett came to the conclusion that his suggestion had been acted upon to an even greater extent than he had originally intended. At first he had only wished that H.P.B. should be put on one side as a channel between himself and the Master, leaving a newly organized T.S. to his own management under those conditions; but he afterwards thought that H.P.B. had been put on one side as a channel of any sort so far as the Masters were concerned. This wholesale later desertion would mean that in the meantime Master K.H. had entirely changed in character and had become capable of gross ingratitude, which is absurd. Masters are above all things loyal to those who serve them and who sacrifice health, position and their entire lives to the work which is the Master’s; and H.P.B did all this and more, as the Master wrote. To take the other view and imagine that after years of such service as is described in the above quotation, H.P.B. was left to be figuratively devoured by elementals, would prove Masters to be merely monsters of selfishness, using a tool not made of iron but of a wonderful human heart and soul, and throwing this tool away without protection the moment they had done with it.
And how about the members and more faithful disciples who were left in ignorance of this alleged desertion? Would it have been loyal to them? They had been taught for years to look with respect upon H.P.B. and the teachings she gave out, and to regard her as the Masters’ channel. They received no warning that the plan Mr. Sinnett had for so long carried in his mind could possibly be carried out, but on the contrary often received personally from the Masters endorsements of H.P.B.’s actions and teachings. Those who harbored constant doubts of her veracity were reproved; and yet it would seem for no other apparent reason than a necessary correction by her of Mr. Sinnett’s wrong interpretation of earlier teachings she was abandoned by her old teachers and friends who had spent years in training her for just this work!
So the whole of this far-fetched supposition is alike contrary to brotherhood and to occultism. It violates every law of true ethics and of the Lodge, and to crown its absurdity would make the Secret Doctrine in large measure the work of elementals. Deserted before the explanation of Mr. Sinnett’s mistakes appeared in that book, H.P,B. was obsessed to some advantage, it may be thought! But in fact a great depth of ignorance is shown by those who assert that she was deserted and who add that elementals controlled her, doing the work for her. They do not know the limitations of the elemental: an elemental can only copy what already exists, cannot originate or invent, can only carry out the exact impulse or order given, which if incomplete will cause the result to be similarly incomplete, and will not start work unless pushed on by a human mind and will. In no case is this elemental supposition tenable.
The ignorance shown on this point is an example of the mental standing of most of H.P.B.’s critics. Materialists in their bias, they were unable to understand her teachings, methods or character, and after badly assimilating and materializing the ideas they got original from her, they proceeded to apply the result to an explanation of everything about her that they could not understand, as if they were fitting together the wooden blocks of several different puzzles. But if in spite of all reason this view of desertion were to be accepted, it would certainly lead in the end, as I have said, to the destruction of the Theosophical philosophy. Its indirect effect would be as detrimental as the direct effect of degrading the ideal of Masters. This is clearly shown in the Secret Doctrine.
After pointing out in her “Introductory” to the Secret Doctrine (p. xviii) the preliminary mistake made by the author of Esoteric Buddhism in claiming that “two years ago (i.e., 1883) neither I nor any other European living knew the alphabet of the Science, here for the first time put into scientific shape,” when as a matter of fact not only H.P.B. had known all that and much more years before, but two other Europeans and an American as well;—she proceeds to give the Master’s own explanation of his earlier letters in regard to the Earth Chain of Globes and the relation of Mars and Mercury thereto (vol. i, pp. 160-170, o.e.). Mr Sinnett himself confesses that he had “an untrained mind” in Occultism when he received the letters through H.P.B. on which Esoteric Buddhism was based. He had a better knowledge of modern astronomical speculations than of the occult doctrines, and so it was not to be wondered at, as H.P.B. remarks, that he formed a materialistic view of a metaphysical subject. But these are the Master’s own words in reply to an application from H.P.B. for an explanation of what she well knew was a mistake on Mr. Sinnett’s part—the inclusion of Mars and Mercury as globes of the Earth Chain:
“Both (Mars and Mercury) are septenary chains, as independent of the earth’s sidereal lords and superiors and as you are independent of the ‘principles’ of Daumling.” “Unless less trouble is taken to reconcile the irreconcilable—that is to say, the metaphysical and spiritual sciences with physical or natural philosophy, ‘natural’ being a synonym to them (men of science) of that matter which falls under the perception of their corporal senses—no progress can be really achieved. Our Globe, as taught from the first, is at the bottom of the arc of descent, where the matter of our perceptions exhibits itself in its grossest form . . . Hence it only stands to reason that the globes which overshadow our Earth must be on different and superior planes. In short, as Globes, they are in coadunition but not in consubstantiality with our Earth, and thus pertain to quite another state of consciousness.”
Unless this be accepted as the correct explanation, the entire philosophy becomes materialistic and contradictory, analogy ceases to be of any value, and both the base and superstructure of Theosophy must be swept away as useless rubbish. But there is no fear of this, for the Master’s explanation will continue to be accepted by the large majority of Theosophists.
And as to H.P.B. personally, these words might possibly be remembered with advantage:
“Masters say that Nature’s laws have set apart woe for those who spit back in the face of their teacher, for those who try to belittle her work and make her out to be part good and part fraud; those who have started on the path through her must not try to belittle her work and aim. They do not ask for slavish idolatry of a person, but loyalty is required. They say that the Ego of that body she uses was and is a great and brave servant of the Lodge, sent to the West for a mission with full knowledge of the insult and obloquy to be surely heaped upon that devoted head; and they add; ‘Those who cannot understand her had best not try to explain her; those who do not find themselves strong enough for the task she outlined from the very first had best not attempt it’.”
Theosophy, July, 1896
To the Editor of THEOSOPHY:—
Dear Sir,—In your issue for April I observe an article entitled “H. P. B. was not deserted by the Masters,” in which certain statements are made concerning myself which it seems my plain duty to correct. I am represented as having said that “in the lifetime of H.P.B. and before the writing of the Secret Doctrine she was deserted by the Masters and was the prey of elementals and elemental forces.” Also that I told Mme. Blavatsky “to her face . . . that she was a fraud in other directions.”
I never said anything of the kind, and I never in my life called Mme. Blavatsky a “fraud.” The accusation is doubly absurd because for many years past and since before the period referred to I have had means of my own for knowing that Mme. Blavatsky had not been deserted by the Masters, and I know that she was in their care up to the last day of her life. That condition of things should not, it is true, be held to imply that every word Mme. Blavatsky wrote was inspired and that every statement she made was correct. No impression connected with the Theosophical movement can be more erroneous than the notion that persons who may be in true psychic touch with the Masters are therefore guided by them in every act of their lives. Every one so circumstanced works under the law of individual responsibility and has abundant opportunity for making mistakes. Of this freedom Mme. Blavatsky availed herself largely, for example in connection with her unfortunate misapprehension of the teaching about the planetary chain.
But I have dealt with that subject in other writings and do not seek to argue the quest on in your pages afresh. It is to be regretted when Theosophical students are misled about the teachings of occult science in reference to cosmology, but after all the bearings of those teachings on individual spiritual progress concern us much more immediately. I merely write now to dissipate the delusion on which Mr. Judge’s article is founded, and to express at the same time my great regret that his latest utterances concerning myself should have been colored by stories as to my sayings and mental attitude that were entirely untrue.
A. P. Sinnett
London, May 6, 1896
I insert the above communication, in spite of the fact that Mr. Judge is no longer with us to answer Mr. Sinnett’s objections to statements made in the article “H.P.B. was not Deserted by the Masters.” I well know that if Mr. Judge had been alive he would have been most anxious to accept the statements made by Mr. Sinnett in the above letter, though I am also well aware that Mr. Judge’s authority for his original position was Mme. H. P. Blavatsky herself.—Ed., Theosophy