THEOSOPHY, Vol. 9, No. 9, July, 1921
(Pages 260-271; Size: 40K)
(Number 19 of a 34-part series)
THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT(1)
H. P. BLAVATSKY died May 8th, 1891, in the sixtieth year of her age. The generation which knew her personally is no more, but the fierce controversies which raged about her living still survive, and not a year passes but her name and nature become the target for renewed discussion. It is not overstating the fact to say that of no character in history is both so much and so little known. We say "known," but the fact is that to-day, as when she moved amongst men, she is as much as ever a confronting mystery.
During sixteen years she lived on three continents amidst the most alien surroundings, in the light of the most watchful as well as the most hostile publicity. For those who called themselves her friends and followers were not less critical and observant of her every mood, her every word and action, than those who saw in her a charlatan, an emissary of immorality and irreligion. She never sheltered herself behind any of those privacies or safeguards with which the great, the near great, and those aspiring to be esteemed great are wont to protect themselves from a too close scrutiny. Not one who sought to gain access to her was ever denied the opportunity to question and cross-examine her. Her doors were open to friends and foes alike. Yet to-day as while she lived she remains an enigma, not because of the mystery with which she cloaked herself, but because she presents to the mind of the race an unsolved problem -- an insoluble problem from any but one approach; that of the Wisdom-Religion which she inculcated and exemplified. She was herself the very testimony and witness of that which she taught, but none thought to solve the riddle of the Sphinx of the nineteenth century by an application to her of the philosophy she brought.
In closing the Introductory to the "Secret Doctrine" Madame Blavatsky writes that she has constantly to bear in mind that "every reader will inevitably judge the statements made from the standpoint of his own knowledge, experience, and consciousness, based on what he has already learnt" of life, its phenomena and significance. None that we know of has ever taken home the universal applications of this truism. Those who approached H.P.B. did so, each with his own preconceptions. Each was willing to admit the shortcomings of his own knowledge, experience, and consciousness; each was desireful of adding to his knowledge; each was "willing to learn" what he could from H.P.B., but when the opportunity and the test came, who studied himself in the light of H.P.B.'s knowledge, experience, and consciousness? Yet if she was, perchance, a Being of another order from mankind, some Buddha in disguise, how else could she be truly availed of by any aspirant for Wisdom, unless by a reversal of our accustomed mode of inquiry? It is one thing to study the great doctrine, say, of Karma and Reincarnation, from the standpoint of our own present personal predilections and antipathies, and quite another thing to study our own present selves and natures in the light of these twin truths. Yet, if Karma and Reincarnation be, perchance, the very key to the riddle of existence with all its included contradictions, what other mode can possibly bring us that enlightenment and illumination which we all seek and which confessedly neither human religion nor human science, any more than our own knowledge, experience, and consciousness, have been able to give us?
And again, in the Preface to the "Secret Doctrine" she says that "the publication of many of the facts herein stated has been rendered necessary by the wild and fanciful speculations in which many Theosophists and students of mysticism have indulged, during the last few years, in their endeavour to, as they imagined, work out a complete system of thought from the few facts previously communicated to them." Although she specifically states that the "Secret Doctrine" is written for the instruction of students of Occultism, how many of those who call themselves "occultists" have ever really studied her life or her writings, let alone derived any applications from them? On the contrary, the multitude of books and other writings emanating from self-styled "initiates," "outer heads" and "teachers" who pose as "successors" and "revealers," do they not one and all merely betray themselves as those very "wild and fanciful speculations" of which H.P.B. wrote warningly? If her own students and professed followers and disciples have made such sorry use, and betray such sorry understanding, of the very genius, principles and practices of the philosophy she taught, how could they or can they but grossly and grievously err in their understanding of H.P.B. herself -- the living embodiment of what she taught?
And, finally, in closing the Preface, she used this ancient maxim of jurisprudence:
"De minimis non curat lex."
"The Law takes no account of trifles." Her followers and disciples have taken account of little else! The Society engrossed them -- not its Objects. "Comparative religion and philosophy" engrossed them -- not the attempt to detect the vital principles which underlie them all. "Phenomena" engrossed them -- not the effort to investigate the "unexplained laws" of their occurrence. "Progress" engrossed them not -- not Brotherhood. "Doctrines" engrossed them -- not the universal applications of Theosophy. Speculations engrossed them -- not the serious study of what was given them for their guidance and instruction. If this is true as regards the Society she founded and the message she delivered, how could it be other than true in the case of the attitude of the students toward herself? Scarce one but put on record his experiences and opinions in relation to H.P.B. Trifles. Trifles. What she ate and what she wore. How she looked and how she "behaved." How she stood and how she sat. What this one thought and what that one had to say of her. Speculations, fancies, inferences, world without end. All trifles, trifles, illuminant only of the narrow radius of the "knowledge, experience, and consciousness" of the beholders of this greatest phenomenon of the centuries.
Every lawyer knows that the best evidence of anything is the thing itself; the best evidence in regard to anyone the acts and words of that one himself. Too many concern themselves with reputation -- too few with character. Those who are ardent to learn the truth in regard to anyone or anything must soon come to distinguish between reputation and character. The one depends upon hearsay and opinion, upon the thousand forces influencing the testimony and inferences of the witnesses; the other depends upon nothing and no one but the subject himself. And particularly is this watchfulness necessary in the study of anyone who has made or sought to make his mark upon the times. The opportunism of immediate self-interest colors us all far more than any of us realize. History is for the most part a record of reversals of judgment. Who of those that shine with ever-increasing luster through the night of time ever enjoyed in his life-time, or for generations after, that reputation which his character justified?
And the same state of facts applies in its integrity to what one might at first glance conceive to be the impersonal world of ideas. For, with newer weapons and changed alignments the war of ideas is still the same to-day as in all the past. Men still wrestle and war over opposing ideas as to God, as to Nature, as to Man. The problems of Good and Evil, of justice and injustice, of Life and Death, are as far off from solution, as apparently insoluble as ever. If men can not yet come to a stable conclusion in regard to the very fundamentals of existence and action, how fatuous he who looks for uniformity or unanimity in their applications. Neither human science, human religion, nor human philosophy offers, or ever has offered, any but fallible and tentative, but mutable and partial, explanations or applications concerning those things which are the universal experience of mankind. Yet each presumes to-day, as always, to sit in the judgment seat, and pronounce anathema or approval in the light of its own "knowledge, experience, and consciousness" on those very subjects on which each will abstractly admit its own utter incompetency! Could logical absurdity go farther?
H.P.B. showed -- and proved to all in any way competent to weigh testimony -- the unbroken prevalence in time and space of a knowledge that includes all life and action, and demonstrated to a Q.E.D. that such knowledge and its Adept-custodians exist to-day as always; that They are the Source from which has sprung everything that the world has that is permanent in every field of human enquiry. What makes men incompetent to weight that testimony, to proceed to its verification by actual experience of their own? Nothing in the world but human prejudice and conceit, human superstition and materialism, masquerading as religion and science.
Whatever the testimony and opinion of her critics, friendly or hostile, one thing stands out like a flame in the night with regard to the character of H. P. Blavatsky -- she was consistent throughout in all that she said and did. Few there be of her critics who can endure the same test of sincerity and good faith. Her profession of faith, her declaration of principles, may be found in the Preface of "Isis Unveiled" in 1877. All the rest that issued from her life and pen in the prolific years that followed, flowed with as mathematical consistency as the theorems of geometry issue from its fundamental axioms and apotheghms.
There are never anything but two things to consider -- the credibility and the competency of the witness. Search as they did with might and main to find some faintest thread whereon to hitch the imputation of base motives, and thus to destroy her credibility -- not one of all the assassins of her reputation ever was able to produce aught that might savor of self-interest in anything she ever said or did. Incredible follies are ascribed to her -- follies so egregiously stupid as to fall of their own weight when attributed even to a child or a dolt; impossible immoralities are charged against her -- impossible even physically, for her body was that of an androgyne, an hermaphrodite. Slanders and calumnies without number have been perpetrated against her, but every imputation against her motives -- and we have assiduously examined the charges of her detractors by hundreds -- rests upon no other basis than suspicion, accusation, repetition. In no solitary instance is one solitary fact adduced that would stand a moment's impartial examination. To the contrary, not one of the hundreds of original and repeated charges leveled against her but betrays the animus, the interested motives of the accusers --not of their victim.
If we turn to the question of her competency, two things become more convincingly sure the more her career is analyzed: (a) No single fact adduced by her has ever been upset by counter-evidence; (b) no postulation laid down by her has ever been rendered untenable philosophically, logically or evidentially. Her testimony as to facts, her conclusions and theories in regard to the facts, remain as invincible as ever. No one of all her enemies and opponents ever evinced any appetite to assail her philosophy, none ever tried conclusions with her logic and boasted afterwards of his success; none ever showed in his own life the sincerity, the tolerance, the generosity of spirit, the ardor for Truth, lead where it might, that burned with a quenchless light throughout her whole career. One has but to compare the record of H. P. Blavatsky for sincerity and consistency with that of any of her detractors, any of her followers, or with his own as known to himself, to gain some glimmer of recognition that of all the heroes and the heroic of history here in our own times in the personage known as H. P. Blavatsky is one who, in the luminous zone of the eternal great, shines with an undimmed light, needing no borrowed radiance; a Messenger from other Spheres indeed.
To the truly Theosophical student who has gained from her and from her mission some flying spark of grateful perception of the Immortal and the Immortals, nothing can call for deeper reflection or more profound consideration than what may best be called her dying declaration. The accretions of human experience, as concentrated in our jurisprudence, have led all men everywhere to attach a momentous significance to the last words, whether of saint or sinner. The equitable sanction of a dying declaration is everywhere held to equal the sanction of the most solemn oath or other attestation. Let us, Theosophists, who affirm as our holiest maxim, There is no Religion higher than Truth, let us consider, in their application to ourselves and to the course of the Theosophical Movement, the last words of H.P.B. -- of Her from whom we have inherited.
April 15, 1891, three weeks before the cord broke, she signed her last Message to the American Theosophists in Convention assembled. She was looking forward; we who are looking backward over the broken arches of our Appian Way, may now see as history what She then saw as the future:
"Suffering in body as I am continually, the only consolation that remains to me is to hear of the progress of the Holy Cause to which my health and strength have been given; but to which, now that these are going, I can only offer my passionate devotion and never-weakening good wishes for its success and welfare. ... Fellow Theosophists, I am proud of your noble work in the New World; Sisters and Brothers of America, I thank and I bless you for your unremitting labours for the common cause so dear to us all.
"Let me remind you all once more that such work is now more than ever needed. The period which we have now reached ... is, and will continue to be, one of great conflict and continued strain. If the T.S. can hold through it, good; if not, while Theosophy will remain unscathed, the Society will perish -- perchance most ingloriously -- and the World will suffer. I fervently hope that I may not see such a disaster in my present body. The critical nature of the stage on which we have entered is as well known to the forces that fight against us as to those that fight on our side. No opportunity will be lost of sowing dissension, of taking advantage of mistaken and false moves, of instilling doubt, of augmenting difficulties, of breathing suspicions, so that by any and every means the unity of the Society may be broken and the ranks of our Fellows thinned and thrown into disarray. Never has it been more necessary for the members of the T.S. to lay to heart the old parable of the bundle sticks than it is at the present time; divided, they will inevitably be broken, one by one; united, there is no force on earth able to destroy our Brotherhood. Now I have marked with pain a tendency among you, as among the Theosophists in Europe and India, to quarrel over trifles, and to allow your very devotion to the cause of Theosophy to lead you into disunion. Believe me, that apart from such natural tendency, owing to the inherent imperfections of Human Nature, advantage is often taken by our ever-watchful enemies of your noblest qualities to betray and to mislead you. Sceptics will laugh at this statement, and even some of you may put small faith in the actual existence of the terrible forces of these mental, hence subjective and invisible, yet withal living and potent, influences around all of us. But there they are, and I know of more than one among you who have felt them, and have actually been forced to acknowledge these extraneous mental pressures. On those of you who are unselfishly and sincerely devoted to the Cause, they will produce little, if any, impression. On some others, those who place their personal pride higher than their duty to the T.S., higher even than their pledge to their divine SELF [the invocation of the Esoteric Section], the effect is generally disastrous. Self-watchfulness is never more necessary than when a personal wish to lead, and wounded vanity, dress themselves in the peacock's feathers of devotion and altruistic work; but at the present crisis of the Society a lack of self-control and watchfulness may become fatal in every case. But these diabolical attempts of our powerful enemies -- the irreconcilable foes of the truths now being given out and practically asserted -- may be frustrated. If every Fellow in the Society were content to be an impersonal force for good, careless of praise or blame so long as he subserved the purposes of the Brotherhood, the progress made would astonish the World and place the Ark of the T.S. out of danger....
"Your position as the fore-runners of the sixth sub-race of the fifth root-race has its own special perils as well as its special advantages. Psychism, with all its allurements and all its dangers, is necessarily developing among you, and you must beware lest the Psychic outruns the Manasic and Spiritual development. Psychic capacities held perfectly under control, checked and directed by the Manasic principle, are valuable aids in development. But these capacities running riot, controlling instead of controlled, using instead of being used, lead the Student into the most dangerous delusions and the certainty of moral destruction. Watch therefore carefully this development, inevitable in your race and evolution-period, so that it may finally work for good and not for evil; and receive, in advance, the sincere and potent blessings of Those whose good-will will never fail you, if you do not fail yourselves....
"And now I have said all. I am not sufficiently strong to write a more lengthy message, and there is the less need for me to do so as my friend and trusted messenger, Annie Besant, she who is my right arm here, will be able to explain to you my wishes more fully and better than I can write them. After all, every wish and thought I can utter are summed up in this one sentence, the never-dormant wish of my heart, 'Be Theosophists, work for Theosophy!' Theosophy first, and Theosophy last; for its practical realization alone can save the Western world from that selfish and unbrotherly feeling that now divides race from race; one nation from the other; and from that hatred of class and social considerations that are the curse and disgrace of so-called Christian peoples. Theosophy alone can keep it from sinking into that mere luxurious materialism in which it will decay and putrefy as civilizations have done. In your hands, brothers, is placed in trust the welfare of the coming century; and great as is the trust, so great is also the responsibility. My own span of life may not be long, and if any of you have learned aught from my teachings, or have gained by my help a glimpse of the True Light, I ask you, in return, to strengthen the Cause by the triumph of which that True Light, made still brighter and more glorious through your individual and collective efforts, will lighten the World, and thus to let me see, before I part with this worn-out body, the stability of the Society secured.
"May the blessings of the past and present great Teachers rest upon you. From myself accept collectively the assurance of my true, never-wavering fraternal feelings, and the sincere, heartfelt thanks for the work done by all the workers.
"From their servant to the last,H. P. BLAVATSKY."[Note: This is the link to her last message, the 4th Letter to the American Convention, that was extensively quoted from above. And this is the link to a second message, her 5th Letter, a very short one, which can also be considered part of her last one, as it was read at the same Convention by the same person. --Compiler.]
This moving valedictory to the American Theosophists, read to the Convention by Mrs. Besant, whom H.P.B. had sent to America for the purpose and to meet Mr. Judge, cannot, in the light of all that has transpired, be too seriously weighed and considered by all sincere Theosophical students and inquirers, regardless of organizational or other affiliations. If ever prophet spake truly of that which was for to come, this Message of H.P.B.'s is still freighted with occult meaning for us all -- meaning whose portent and whose import are but given an added gravity by thirty years of intervening history.
Again, but ten days before her departure, H.P.B. affixed her signature and the date, as to a Testament, to the article "My Books," which was published in Lucifer for May 15, 1891, immediately following her death. This article, given publicity to all the world no less than to her students, leaves no room for doubt as to her mission and her message, to all those who attach good faith and sincerity to her dying declaration. It is the last article written by H.P.B. She says:
"Isis was full of misprints and misquotations; it contained useless repetitions, most irritating digressions, and to the casual reader unfamiliar with the various aspects of metaphysical ideas and symbols, as many apparent contradictions; much of the matter in it ought not to be there at all, and also it had some very gross mistakes due to the many alterations in proof-reading in general, and word corrections in particular. Finally, the work, for reasons that will now be explained, has no system in it;...
"The full consciousness of this sad truth dawned upon me when, for the first time after its publication in 1877, I read the work through from the first to the last page, in India in 1881. And from that date to the present, I have never ceased to say what I thought of it, and to give my honest opinion of Isis whenever I had an opportunity for so doing. This was done to the great disgust of some, who warned me that I was spoiling its sale; but as my chief object in writing it was neither personal fame nor gain, but something far higher, I cared little for such warnings. For more than ten years this unfortunate 'master-piece,' this 'monumental work,' as some reviews have called it, with its hideous metamorphoses of one word into another, thereby entirely transforming the meaning, with its misprints and wrong quotation-marks, has given me more anxiety and trouble during a long life-time which has ever been more full of thorns than of roses.
"But in spite of these perhaps too great admissions, I maintain that Isis Unveiled contains a mass of original and never hitherto divulged information on occult subjects. ... Prepared to take upon myself -- vicariously as I will show -- the sins of all the external, purely literary defects of the work, I defend the ideas and teachings in it, with no fear of being charged with conceit, since neither ideas nor teachings are mine, as I have always declared; and I maintain that both are of the greatest value to mystics and students of Theosophy....
"The first enemies that my work brought to the front were Spiritualists, whose fundamental theories as to the spirits of the dead communicating in propria persona I upset. For the last fifteen years -- ever since this first publication -- an incessant shower of ugly accusations has been poured upon me. Every libellous charge, from immorality and the 'Russian spy' theory down to my acting on false pretences, of being a chronic fraud and a living lie, an habitual drunkard, an emissary of the Pope, paid to break down Spiritualism, and Satan incarnate. Every slander that can be thought of has been brought to bear upon my private and public life. The fact that not a single one of these charges has ever been substantiated; that from the first day of January to the last of December, year after year, I have lived surrounded by friends and foes as in a glass-house, -- nothing could stop these wicked, venomous, and thoroughly unscrupulous tongues. It has been said at various times by my ever active opponents that (1) Isis Unveiled was simply a rehash of Éliphas Lévi and a few old alchemists; (2) that it was written by me under the dictation of Evil Powers and the departed spirits of Jesuits (sic); and finally (3) that my two volumes had been compiled from MSS. (never before heard of), which Baron de Palm -- he of the cremation and double-burial fame -- had left behind him, and which I had found in his trunk! On the other hand, friends, as unwise as they were kind, spread abroad that which was really the truth, a little too enthusiastically, about the connection of my Eastern Teacher and other Occultists with the work, and this was seized upon by the enemy and exaggerated out of all limits of truth. It was said that the whole of Isis had been dictated to me from cover to cover and verbatim by these invisible Adepts. And, as the imperfections of my work were only too glaring, the consequence of all this idle and malicious talk was, that my enemies and critics inferred -- as well they might -- that either these invisible inspirers had no existence, and were part of my 'fraud,' or that they lacked the cleverness of even an average good writer.
"Now, no one has any right to hold me responsible for what any one may say, but only for that which I myself state orally, or in public print over my signature. And what I say and maintain is this: Save the direct quotations and the many afore specified and mentioned misprints, errors and misquotations, and the general make-up of Isis Unveiled, for which I am in no way responsible, (a) every word of information found in this work or in my later writings, comes from the teachings of our Eastern Masters; and (b) that many a passage in these works has been written by me under their dictation. In saying this no supernatural claim is urged, for no miracle is performed by such a dictation. Any moderately intelligent person, convinced by this time of the many possibilities of hypnotism ... and of the phenomena of thought-transference, will easily concede that if even a hypnotized subject, a mere irresponsible medium, hears the unexpressed thought of his hypnotizer, who can thus transfer his thought to him -- even to repeating the words read by the hypnotizer mentally from a book -- then my claim has nothing impossible in it. Space and distance do not exist for thought; and if two persons are in perfect mutual psycho-magnetic rapport, and of these two, one is a great Adept in Occult Sciences, then thought-transference and dictation of whole pages, becomes as easy and as comprehensible at the distance of ten thousand miles as the transference of two words across a room.
"Hitherto, I have abstained -- except on very rare occasions -- from answering any criticism on my works, and have even left direct lies and slanders unrefuted, because in the case of Isis I found almost every kind of criticism justifiable, and in that of 'slanders and lies,' my contempt for the slanderers was too great to permit me to notice them. ... But, as Isis is now attacked for at least the tenth time, the day has come when my perplexed friends and that portion of the public which may be in sympathy with Theosophy, are entitled to the whole truth -- and nothing but the truth. Not that I seek to excuse myself in anything even before them or to 'explain things.' It is nothing of the kind. What I am determined to do is to give facts, undeniable and not to be gainsaid, simply by stating the peculiar, well known to many but now almost forgotten, circumstances under which I wrote my first English work. I give them seriatim.
"(1). When I came to America in 1873, I had not spoken English -- which I had learned in my childhood colloquially -- for over thirty years. I could understand when I read it, but could hardly speak the language.
"(2). I had never been at any college, and what I knew I had taught myself; I have never pretended to any scholarship in the sense of modern research; I had then hardly read any scientific European works, knew little of Western philosophy and sciences. The little which I had studied and learned of these, disgusted me with its materialism, its limitations, narrow cut-and-dried spirit of dogmatism, and its air of superiority over the philosophies and sciences of antiquity.
"(3). Until 1874 I had never written one word in English, nor had I published any work in any language. Therefore--
"(4). I had not the least idea of literary rules. The art of writing books, of preparing them for print and publication, reading and correcting proofs, were so many close[d] secrets to me.
"(5). When I started to write that which developed later into Isis Unveiled, I had no more idea than the man in the moon what would come of it. I had no plan; did not know whether it would be an essay, a pamphlet, a book, or an article. I knew that I had to write it, that was all. I began the work before I knew Colonel Olcott well, and some months before the formation of the Theosophical Society.
"Thus, the conditions for becoming the author of an English theosophical and scientific work were hopeful, as everyone will see. Nevertheless, I had written enough to fill four such volumes as Isis, before I submitted my work to Colonel Olcott. Of course he said that everything save the pages dictated -- had to be rewritten. Then we started on our literary labours and worked together every evening. Some pages of the English of which he had corrected, I copied: others which would yield to no mortal correction, he used to read aloud from my pages, Englishing them verbally as he went on, dictating to me from my almost undecipherable MSS. It is to him that I am indebted for the English in Isis. It is he again who suggested that the work should be divided into chapters, and the first volume devoted to SCIENCE and the second to THEOLOGY. To do this, the matter had to be re-shifted, and many of the chapters also; repetitions had to be erased, and the literary connection of subjects attended to. When the work was ready, we submitted it to Professor Alexander Wilder, the well-known scholar and Platonist of New York, who after reading the matter, recommended it to Mr. Bouton for publication. Next to Colonel Olcott, it is Professor Wilder who did the most for me. It is he who made the excellent Index, who corrected the Greek, Latin and Hebrew words, suggested quotations and wrote the greater part of the Introduction 'Before the Veil.' If this was not acknowledged in the work, the fault is not mine, but because it was Dr. Wilder's express wish that his name should not appear except in footnotes. I have never made a secret of it, and every one of my numerous acquaintances in New York knew it. When ready the work went to press.
"From that moment the real difficulty began. I had no idea of correcting galley-proofs; Colonel Olcott had little leisure to do so; and the result was that I made a mess of it from the beginning. Before we were through with the first three chapters, there was a bill for six hundred dollars for corrections and alterations, and I had to give up the proof-reading. Pressed by the publisher, Colonel Olcott doing all that he possibly could do, but having no time except in the evenings, and Dr. Wilder far away at Jersey City, the result was that the proofs and pages of Isis passed through a number of willing but not very careful hands, and were finally left to the tender mercies of the publisher's proof-reader. Can one wonder after this if 'Vaivaswata' (Manu) became transformed in the published volumes into 'Viswamitra,' that thirty-six pages of the Index were irretrievably lost, and quotation-marks placed where none were needed (as in some of my own sentences!), and left out entirely in many a passage cited from various authors? If asked why these fatal mistakes have not been corrected in a subsequent edition, my answer is simple: the plates were stereotyped; and notwithstanding all my desire to do so, I could not put it into practice, as the plates were the property of the publisher; I had no money to pay for the expenses, and finally the firm was quite satisfied to let things be as they are, since, notwithstanding all its glaring defects, the work -- which has now reached its seventh or eighth edition, is still in demand.
"And now -- and perhaps in consequence of all this -- comes a new accusation: I am charged with wholesale plagiarism in the Introductory Chapter 'Before the Veil.'
"Well, had I committed plagiarism, I should not feel the slightest hesitation in admitting the 'borrowing.' But all 'parallel passages' to the contrary, as I have not done so, I do not see why I should confess it....
"(Isis) ... is an inexhaustible mine of misquotations, errors and blunders, to which it is impossible for me to plead 'guilty' in the ordinary sense. ... I have no author's vanity; and years of unjust persecution and abuse have made me entirely callous to what the public may think of me -- personally.
"But in view of the facts as given above; and considering that--
"(a) The language in Isis is not mine; but (with the exception of that portion of the work which, as I claim, was dictated), may be called only a sort of translation of my facts and ideas into English;
"(b) It was not written for the public, -- the latter having always been only a secondary consideration with me -- but for the use of Theosophists and members of the Theosophical Society to which Isis is dedicated;
"(c) Though I have since learned sufficient English to have been enabled to edit two magazines ... yet, to the present hour I never write an article, an editorial or even a simple paragraph, without submitting its English to close scrutiny and correction.
"Considering all this and much more, I ask now every impartial and honest man or woman whether it is just or even fair to criticize my works -- Isis above all others -- as one would the writings of a born American or English author. What I claim in them as my own is only the fruit of my learning and studies in a department, hitherto left uninvestigated by Science, and almost unknown to the European world. I am perfectly willing to leave the honour of the English grammar in them, the glory of the quotations from scientific works brought occasionally to me to be used as passages for comparison with, or refutation by, the old Science, and finally the general make-up of the volumes, to every one of those who have helped me. Even for the Secret Doctrine there are about half-a-dozen Theosophists who have been busy in editing it, who have helped me to arrange the matter, correct the imperfect English, and prepare it for print. But that which none of them will ever claim from first to last, is the fundamental doctrine, the philosophical conclusions and teachings. Nothing of that have I invented, but simply given it out as I have been taught; or as quoted by me in the Secret Doctrine (Vol. I, p. 46) from Montaigne: 'I have here made only a nosegay of culled (Eastern) flowers, and have brought nothing of my own but the string that ties them.'
"Is any one of my helpers prepared to say that I have not paid the full price for the string?April 27, 1891."
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
[Note: Here's the link to HPB's article, entitled "My Books", which was extensively quoted from above. --Compiler.]
The public mind, ever the victim of sophistry and special pleading, of intelligent casuistry and speciousness, of hearsay and insinuation, posing as guides, leaders and benefactors of mankind, has ever mistaken the conqueror for the deliverer, the politician for the patriot, the hired attorney of special interest for the disinterested jurisconsult, the sectarian for the disciple, the empiricist for the true Scientist, equivocation for logic -- Black Magic for White. Is Brahminism the teaching of the Rishis? Is Christianity the teaching of Christ?
The greatest obstacle confronting the Saviours and Philanthropists of all time in their ceaseless struggle to promote the amelioration of the conditions of mankind is the same to-day as always, and it always presents a hydra-head: the army of the forces of reaction which has stolen the livery of heaven left by some former Messenger -- the "established order" and "vested interests" whose doom is sealed if the public can be led to investigate at first hand their claims and pretensions; the fresh crop of pretenders to the mantle of the prophet who follow in the wake of every new Messenger, ready to say anything, promise anything, do anything, "in the name of the Master" in their thirst to set up a new Hierarchy of which they shall be the ministrants and beneficiaries.
During the life-time of H.P.B. every force that could be brought to bear was availed of by the one class. Every one of the abundant attacks on H.P.B. posed as an "investigation" made and conducted in the public behalf; not one but shows the vulture's beak, the jackal's snarl, the wolf in sheep's clothing; not one but is an inquisition conducted by some jesuitical interest.
Since the death of H.P.B. the second class of the enemies of mankind becomes every day more numerous. Is it not time for "all True Theosophists of every Country and of every Clime" to arise as one man in defense of pure Theosophy and its Messenger and Avatara?
(To be Continued)
THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT
(Part 20 of a 34-part series)
"THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT"
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