A Magazine Devoted to the Promotion of Universal Brotherhood
Vol. 2 - No. 9 March 1, 1923 Price Ninepence
- "Bishop" Leadbeater Reads Past Lives
See Special Article
- "The Akashic Records and How to Read Them "
"Seek the way by retreating within."
"Tell them...: As pure water poured into the scavengers bucket is befouled and unfit for use, so is Divine truth when poured into the consciousness of a Sensualist . . . . Observe, that the first of the steps of gold which mount towards the Temple of Truth is - A CLEAN LIFE. This means a purity of body, and a still greater purity of mind, heart and spirit."- (Letter to H.P.B. From her Master concerning her E.S. students.)
A new literature is growing up out of the present series of crises in the Theosophical Society, and in some of it we detect a note of undue pessimism. It is not that we are not alive to the danger that threatens Theosophy and the Theosophical movement - the very fact that Dawn continues to appear is ample evidence that we are giving of our best to send winged words round the world - nor is it that we have not correctly gauged the new policy of its present-day leaders. We see the grave possibility of Theosophy moldering on the sandbank of sectarianism, lost to all usefulness, and becoming a horror - full of rottenness and unclean things. We see the determined efforts of the leaders to stifle all criticism of persons and of policy by introducing pledges to speak nothing evil of anyone! By constant repetition that all is well, many are convincing themselves that a condition of great righteousness exists. Yet withal we are not convinced, as some are, that these things point to the failure of the movement into which H.P. Blavatsky poured her very life-blood. Much of the new literature is tinged with a pessimism that grows from a belief that with the passing of H.P.B. went all touch with the Masters of Wisdom, and that with the end of the century came also the end of spiritual progress for the time being. With neither of these views do we hold entirely. If it were so, then might we be tempted to cease from our labors and sit at ease enjoying what we could.
Certainly it is true that many voices proclaiming themselves as the mouthpieces of the Great Ones have spoken words without wisdom, and have proved blind leaders of the blind. The administration of the T.S. since 1891 fills with amazement those who become familiar with the story. The ungrasped opportunity, the unspoken word, the brotherhood of lips, but not of hearts, the vanity, the self-righteousness, the lying, and the misuse of Sacred things - these turn the heart sick and clog the willing hands. Crisis after crisis, that a true occultism would have averted; shattered hopes and foully misused prestige and position - all these punctuate the story, and show how hard and bitter is the path for those not utterly divorced from merely personal things. All these - and there is much more - might daunt the will and cloud the heart.
Yet through all this the work has gone on. Many hearts have responded to the glad tidings H.P.B. brought - that new and splendid conception wherein hope and Responsibility were blended - Reincarnation and Karma. Being dead, she yet speaketh - and her words are heard today with ever-increasing reverence as the bankruptcy of old-time religion and statecraft grows more clearly visible. Those souls who, as St. Paul says, through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage, have found their weariness vanish, and a new conception of hope arise! Responsibility and Hope -these are H.P.B.'s own words, and we may fittingly adopt them as a promise and a presage of what is ahead.
True, it is also that the seamless fabric of the movement, woven by the Masters and called the Theosophical Society, bas been rent into many pieces. In every splitting off from the parent movement personal vanity or jealousy can he traced. Otherwise, had the leaders been truly great, these things would have been seen in true proportion and perspective, and all would have been well. Yet something can still be done, and it is the profound hope that Dawn will bring a new viewpoint and a
new vision to all those who are fretful under present conditions or who have broken away.
For we are convinced that while the Masters of Wisdom may not be directly guiding the T.S.. They are ever on the watch to help all those who are, as the result of the teaching given to the world by its instrumentality, fired by the inspiration to live for Humanity. The Ancient Narrow Way is not closed; the razor-edged path still stretches ahead for those who will tread it steadily unto the end. Each one of us may become a centre of this teaching, each one of us a tiny outpost of the Masters, Who war truly against powers and principalities, and spiritual wickedness in high places. Yet in itself the teaching given out concerning these great Beings may become a delusion, leading us astray.
It is the God within, the Supreme Self dwelling in the heart, taught by every Occultist, from the writer of the peerless Upanishads to the writer of The Secret Doctrine, that we must turn. In all our worship, our homage, our respect to things or beings outside ourselves, we go astray. When we turn within God answers to God, and wisdom comes to us, for in this splendid intercourse none can help and none hinder. Even if - as some are saying - we still labor in the trough of the Kali Yuga, the Dark Age, there is still the teaching of the Field, and the knower of the Field - the Kingly Science and the Kingly Secret - the Eternal Self within us, Whose hidden splendor we are slowly learning to unveil. Let us be of good courage, whit high-minded and unshaken resolution to labor on, making for H.P.B. a society that she can use, and use well, when the hour strikes for her return. Out of the present disaster let us hasten to mold a victory that will make her sacrifice not in vain, and hasten the hour when she will return.
The Annual Convention of the T.S. held last December at Adyar, produced some sorry reports. These showed incidentally a reduction in membership from 40,407 in 1921 to 39,793 in 1922. It is many a long year since the T.S. grew backward like this, but it is only of lat that the parasites which have been so carefully nurtured have really got their hold, and this is one of the results. The grandeur of the old T.S. ideals are gone, the Lodges of today everywhere are hotbeds of mutual suspicion and distrust, each with its set of "faithfuls" and "heretics." It's L.C.C. Star, and E.S.T. members - that is, those who swallow the lot - and the 'outside'' member, who probably knows just enough of the real message, which the T.S. was established to give to the world, to look on at the advance of Neo-Theosophy with distrust and horror.
The greatest falling-off in membership is in India, which has suffered a 25 percent slump, dropping from 6,594 members to 4,860. The statement that the T.S. is moribund in India is probably true: nothing could be better calculated to kill it in a land of philosophers than the Star and L.C.C. toys; besides, it is in India that the T.S. has become so widely associated with politics.
Australia is shown as having gained in membership, but there must be something wrong in the returns.
This slump in membership and in influence is regrettable, but nothing can prevent a continuance of it, but an honest and open policy on the part of the President and her advisers. Everybody either knows, or will know soon, of the sort of foundation on which the L.C.C. was built. Of the charges of misconduct against "Bishop" Leadbeater, here in Sydney, and since 1914, not prior to 1906, as Besant still pretends to believe (as per February Theosophist, 1923.)
So long as the President hysterically traduces those who are asking her to provide an impartial enquiry, and abuses and misrepresents them, so long will the hypocrisy of the situation become apparent to increasing numbers of T.S. Members. In spite of the continuous flow of diatribes from the Presidential pen, such as appear in the Theosophist for February last, everybody, whether friendly or not to her policy, knows that Mrs. Besant is avoiding the issue; misrepresenting it; running away from it. Last year she showed her weakness over the Wedgwood scandal; today she is putting the glass to the blind eye over the Leadbeater scandal. Meanwhile on the horizon the ugly grins of other scandals are appearing - the alleged altering of H.P.B.'s books for one. What is wanted today is a little more straightforwardness in high places.
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The "Akashic Records,"
And How to Read Them
By B .Sc.
The November issue of Dawn contained an article in which Mr. Leadbeater's pretensions as a student of chemistry were examined. It was pointed out that his diagrams rest on no original basis, and that his description of physical atoms cannot be reconciled with facts of recent discovery.
Since the February issue of The Occult Review has come to hand, we are in a position to estimate the value of Mr. Leadbeater's alleged clairvoyant methods of research in history. The paper in question, which has a reputation for honesty and impartiality, contained two articles having reference to what the Editor, Mr. Ralph Shirley, calls the Problem of the Akashic Records. The first, A Cameo from Clairvoyant History, by Wm. Loftus Hare, is a critical estimate of Mr. Leadbeater's claims as a historian. With the second, on Dr. Steiner's work, we are not here concerned.
Mr. Shirley, in his summary of these articles, writes of Mr. Leadbeater's work:
"There is the suggestion or suspicion of trickery with earlier historical records and putting them in a new setting, with a view to establishing or defending certain reincarnationist theories with which history, by a violent abuse of chronological facts, is made to square. Alternatively there is some other explanation which is not at least apparent on the surface. If the supposed reincarnations of 'Ulysses' or 'Alcyone' rest upon such evidence as this, we can surely afford to treat them with a smile."
In our opinion, if we accept Mr. Hare's estimate of the position, which we have every reason to believe is sound, Mr. Shirley's remarks err very much on the side of leniency.
Members of the Theosophical Society cannot afford to let this matter pass without comment. Mr. Leadbeater should be called upon for an explanation, and is now invited to show reason why our verdict should not be acclaimed in harsher terms. There can be no greater misdemeanor within our Society than the sin against Truth, and the attempt to mislead others who are defenseless where matters of science or obscure history are in question.
Mr. Hare's case runs briefly as follows: - The "Cameo" he quotes is to be found in "The Theosophist," October, 1917, p. 91. It is headed Rents in the Veil of Time - The Fourth Life of Ulysses (supposed to be a former life of Col. Olcott - Eds.), and opens thus:
"In 1528 B.C. Alcyone was born in ancient Persia as a cousin of the last Zarathustra, and Ulysses appeared at this time as king. Ulysses' father was Lohrasp, who ruled over a country, having its capital not far from Shiraz.... His (Ulysses') name (as king) was Vishtaspa."
Mr. Hare quotes the whole life, but this will suffice for the present purpose. The fifth "life" of Ulysses was printed in The Theosophist, 1917, p. 199. The twenty-eighth "life" of Alcyone was given in the issue of January, 1911 (fourteen pages), and is placed by Mr. Leadbeater isochronous with the fourth "life" of Ulysses, quoted by Mr. Hare, in which Alcyone was born in 1528. Now in this last-named issue (January, 1911), Mr. Wadia, who had then worked two years side by side with Mr. Leadbeater, writes his testimony is follows, evidently after having read the "Shahnameh" of Firdausi (to which we refer later), in the original, and not aware that there was an English translation:
"When I first came across this life it was clear to me that I was fortunate enough to hit upon a clear and decisive proof of Mr. Leadbeater's clairvoyant powers. There were open to me only two ways of explaining to myself, this phenomenon of Mr. Leadbeater bringing out nearly a score of proper names, some of them very obscure. They were (1) Mr. Leadbeater is a truly genuine and scientifically reliable seer; or (2) he is a fraud, who reads cyclopedias, obscure histories, and whatnot, and then pretends that he can hear and see and work on subtler planes."
He (Mr. Wadia) also writes decisively: "Mr. Leadbeater knows next to nothing about Zoroastrianism; he has not studied ancient Persian history, nor even perused the 'Shahnameh.'" (Rather odd on the part of a prominent member of a society professing to study comparative religion!)
Mr. Hare proceeds to analyze Mr. Wadia's "proof." In the first place, he points out that though much is known through regular sources of the life of Zoroaster, there are gaps about which information would be most welcome. Mr. Leadbeater's account is almost exactly identical with Firdausi's writings, of which a translation from the Persian was available after 1832, A.D. (hence Mr. Wadia's wonderment); but in place of the new information which we are entitled to look for from the investigations of so great a psychic authority, Mr. Leadbeater offers us "a string of petty love affairs and psychic adventures too trivial to find their way into secular or religious history."
The accounts were almost exactly identical. Mr. Wadia overlooked the "almost." The discrepancy was noticed by Dr. Hare, who points out that Mr. Leadbeater has altered the date (about 557 B.C.), to be inferred from Firdausi's chronicle of Zoroaster's time, and placed it back a mere thousand years to 1528 B.C.
He recognized apparently, as others have done, that Firdausi's chronology was somewhat unreliable,
Unfortunately the discovery does not seem to leave been made psychically, for Mr. Hare quotes the source of the amended figure as being a book published by John Murray in 1905, in which Mr. S.A. Kapadia, a pious Parsee, affirms that "Zoroaster (Zarathustra), the prophet of the Parsees, preached one of his earliest sermons nearly 3500 years ago," thus placing him in the sixteenth century, where Mr. Leadbeater discovers him. So far no harm done - we simply have "clairvoyant" confirmation of Firdausi's historical facts and Kapadia's date; but why, O why did Darius I. the son of Vishtaspa (see the "Cameo" above), take it into his head to have the history of his family carved in three languages on the rocks of Mt. Behistan for orthodox historians to discover in our age! Darius must be believed when he quotes his father's date, and incidentally that of Zoroaster's period. The latter is now universally accepted on this and other evidence judged authentic by competent students as being 660-583 B.C. to the confusion of the "editor" of the Akashic records. Mr. Hare can afford to smile, for Mr. Leadbeater, in attempting to correct Firdausi's little mistake of 100 years, is proved to have made an error himself of 1,000 years. Moral - never trust pious Parsees or other religious enthusiasts when writing of their own prophets.
Mr. Wadia, we venture to think, has also changed his mind with regard to Mr. Leadbeater's psychic powers; perhaps "psychics," guilty of discrepancies of 900 years in their historical records, may well be classed as "frauds who read cyclopedias, obscure histories and what-not, and then pretend they can hear and see and work on subtler planes."
Mr. Hare points out yet another point in Mr. Wadia's "proof" that savors something of humor, could humor be found in such a tale of apparent chicanery. The names of persons and places in Firdausi's Persian account have suffered much change by transliteration in the English versions. Zarathustra the Prophet we find in the original appeared as Zerdusht, the Gerber (Magian). Vishtaspa in the Persian wrote his name Gushtasp. Is it not wonderful that the scribe of Akashic records circum 1500 B.C. was able to inform Mr. Leadbeater what forms the names would take in the 1832 English version?
For what purpose does Mr. Leadbeater - one-time clergyman of the Church of England - professed Buddhist - and now "bishop" of the Liberal Catholic Church - lay himself open to these charges, which can hardy be refuted? What are his motives? Mr. Hare, after reading Ulysses' fifth life is of the opinion that it is:
"To flatter and intrigue the leaders and leaderettes of the Theosophical movement. Once included in the patchwork veil of time, woven by Mr. Leadbeater's clumsy fingers, they are in his power; they have to accept the honors he showers upon them, and the positions of dignity to which he appoints them in the hoary past and the distant roseate future. Those of us who do not behave ourselves will not find a place in the gallery of immortals. 'We know who won't be there,' says Mr. Leadbeater in his funny little way."
Mr. Hare concludes his review with this salient paragraph:
"Aforetime we used to believe that we should give credence to those who can show that they have knowledge; but now we are offered the topsy-turvy notion that a special value is to be placed on admitted ignorance. And, in conclusion, I wish to state that I have written this article in the interests of True History, True Theosophy, and True Occultism."
The President of the Theosophical Society has no doubt learned by experience that silence is golden. Silence is especially golden when there is nothing which can be said that will not make confusion worse confounded, and Mrs. Besant seems to have gotten herself into a situation which, in a game of chess, is that known as being check-mated.
In October, 1919, Mrs. Besant asked Mr. Martyn, who happened to be visiting London, to take a message to Mr. Jinarajadasa, who was then in Sydney, and tell him that she wished Mr. Wedgwood to resign from both the Theosophical Society and her Esoteric School, he then being a member of both. She explained to her messenger that the gentleman in question was likely to receive attention at the hands of the police; that he was a sex pervert; that Mr. Krishnamurti confirmed her in that view; and that she felt it her duly to protect the good name of the Society of which she was President, and clear the culprit out. Incidentally, Mrs. Besant scouted the idea of Mr. Wedgwood being an Initiate.
The message was duly delivered to Mr. Jinarajadasa in December, 1919; but the astute Vice-President promptly decided that, to protect the good name of the Society involved raising the question as to "Bishop" Leadbeater's seership, so he thus cabled to Mrs. Besant, who had just returned to India:
Sydney, Dec. 17. 1919, to Besant, Adyar.
"Martyn reports you said Wedgwood not initiate. Leadbeater asserts you were present at initiation. Am most anxious members' sake there should be no fundamental divergence between you and him on such important occult matter since at same time . . . and . . . took second . . . and . . . first. Do you mean that since you have no recollection you cannot assert Wedgwood initiate but do not wish to be quoted as saying that he is positively uninitiated."
The reply came back promptly:
Dec. 22, 19, Bombay.
"Brother's statement enough accept fact, cancel message sent."
This reply was no doubt eminently satisfactory to "Bishop" Leadbeater and Mr. Jinarajadasa, but to members of less imagination certain difficulties immediately presented themselves which may be summarized thus:
1. Why did Mrs. Besant so positively affirm in October, 1919, that Mr. Wedgwood was this horror of horrors if he was not?
2. Why did she drag in Mr. Krishnamurti, and say that he confirmed this charge if it were not true?
3. How could Mr. Wedgwood be an Initiate of the Great White Lodge, of which glorious Brotherhood she claims to be the special agent, and she be ignorant of the fact?
4. How could she be present at the Initiation Ceremony of a Great soul and have no recollection of it?
5. If she knew Mr. Wedgwood to be a wanton, and therefore not by any possibility Initiated into the Great White Lodge, and if she had no recollection of the asserted ceremony which "Bishop" Leadbeater claimed that she attended, why did she ignore both these very important factors, and without turning a hair - so to speak - accept Mr. Jinarajadasa's bald statement? Did Mrs. Besant have to do as she was told? If so, why? What hold could other people have over her that compelled her to ignore and deny her own facts
Naturally this incident caused a sensation in T.S. ranks when it leaked out; Mrs. Besant, however, discreetly held her peace in public; and perhaps the affair would have blown over, as other scandals have in the past, by the mere process of forgetfulness. But this was not the destined end of this little epic, for in February, 1922, Mr. Farrer, an L.C.C. priest, made a written confession, which was attested on oath, and this incriminated Mr. Wedgwood and other of the L.C.C. clergy in England. This, of course, was an awful blow to the "hush-it-up" policy, and the disturbance caused by the ugly facts made public is still seething. Meanwhile, a policy of bluff was pursued by those wishing to prevent the scandal reacting on the L.C. Church, which "Bishop" Leadbeater stood god-father to, as he did to his Initiate, Wedgwood.
At the Australian Convention, held in April, 1922, in Sydney, a number of delegates refused to vote confidence in "Bishop" Leadbeater, some giving as their reason that he had associated himself with a sex pervert whom he declared to be an Initiate. "Bishop" Leadbeater's reply to this was, "Wedgwood is an Initiate, and if he has fallen, it is since he became one."
The date of the asserted Initiation was July, 1917, and this answer seemed fairly plausible if it should be true. Now comes the grand finale. A recent mail brought to Sydney a copy of the Sworn Statement of Bishop Gauntlett, of the Liberal Catholic Church, London. Here is a reprint of this document:
SWORN STATEMENT OF BISHOP GAUNTLETT, OF THE LIBERAL CATHOLIC CHURCH, LONDON
I, Rupert Gauntlett, of 9 Talbot Mansions, Museum Street, W.C.1, make the following statement on Oath, and do so for the purpose of contributing to the clearing up of the scandals which are now so seriously wrecking the harmony of our Society. The statement is, therefore, made entirely without malice, and solely for the above mentioned purpose.
When Mrs. Besant was in England during 1915, I had an interview with her at her flat in Robert Street, and the subject of Mr. Farrer's confession of sexual malpractices was brought up. Mrs. Besant asked me what was my position in the Liberal Catholic Church, and what were my intentions in regard to this confession. I stated that though I had no knowledge of the truth or otherwise of the charges which Mr. Farrer had brought against other persons, I was at the same time so reluctant to be associated with persons against whom such charges could be made, that I was seriously considering my resignation from the Church. Mrs. Besant then asked me not to take this action at the time, she said [it] might come when it would be essential for some one to take action for the cleaning of the Church from such scandals and in that case I should be the person to do so. I asked her whether there was any real ground for Mr. Farrer's statement in so far as it incriminated others, and Mrs. Besant then said that she had no doubt as to its truth, and that in any case, within her personal knowledge Mr. Wedgwood's behavior when at Adyar was such that she refused ever to have him there again. On this assurance I consented to remain in the Church, for the specific purpose of taking my present action when the time should be ripe, and before doing so I wrote to Mrs. Besant in March, that I was now acting in accordance with her instructions.
On March 22nd last, I saw Mr. Wedgwood in London, and had a serious conversation with him on this subject. As Senior Bishop of the Church, he told me that he wished to resign, and that he wished his resignation to take effect from after March 23, on which date he had certain duties to perform which could not be postponed.
I asked him most seriously to reconsider his resignation, as coming at such a time it could only be considered as implying his guilt of the charges made against him, and I asked whether it would not be better to bring a libel action against Mr. Farrer and so, for the sake of our various interests, clear his character. He told me he would not to this, and that I was to accept his resignation, and on this I did so, but at the same time stated most clearly that I could only do so on the distinct understanding that guilt was implied by his resolution. He was unshaken in his purpose, and I then accepted his resignation. (Final par. omitted, as it relates only to another person.)
June 23, 1922. (Signed) RUPERT GAUNTLETT
Mr. Gauntlett is a gentleman of independent means, who took Orders in the Old Catholic Church to help what he believed to be a good cause; and who devoted himself to war service during the war
years. His statement shows that he strained the sense of loyalty to everybody concerned to its most tenuous thread before he spoke, but having to speak, he does so simply, bravely, effectively.
The glaring fact that stands out in Mr. Gauntlett's statement is that Mrs. Besant, in 1918 (a year before her message through Mr. Martyn) told him that "within her personal knowledge, Mr. Wedgwood's behavior when at Adyar was such that she refused ever to hare him there again." Mr. Wedgwood was never at Adyar later than in 1915, so that he was making unsavory history BEFORE and AFTER, and as other evidence now shows, all round the date that "Bishop" Leadbeater claims to be that of his Initiation into the Great White Lodge.
It seems probable, in view of all the circumstances, that "Bishop" Leadbeater carefully refrained from informing Mrs. Besant that he had set the imprimatur of Initiation on this unfortunate, because he knew that she knew about Mr. Wedgwood's reputation at Adyar. The good "Bishop" has made so many people "Initiates" of late years that it would be a safe assumption that the President would not miss knowing one more or less. Anyhow, here are a new set of facts that have to be explained, and a new set of questions that have to be faced and answered: -
1. Is Mr. Wedgwood an Initiate of the Great White Brotherhood or is he not? Will Mrs. Besant reply to this?
2. If he is, what are the qualifications for such Initiation, and is it true - as claimed by some apologists - that though H.P. Blavatsky insisted that physical purity was essential, even to discipleship, in the light of some later teachings by Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater, mere physical habits don't matter?
3. If Mr. Wedgwood is not an Initiate, what is "Bishop" Leadbeater? Is he a misguided psychic deceived by the echoes of his own subconscious mind, or is he deceiving those around him for purposes of his own?
4. There is still the question of "Bishop" Leadbeater's own moral stature, but what might here be asked about this can be left over to another time, when it will have to be asked, and, Dawn hopes, have also to be answered.
5. Finally, why did Mrs. Besant, knowing in 1915 what Mr. Wedgwood really was ignore her knowledge when, in 1916, she foisted the Old Catholic Church on to the T.S. as the product of the sex pervert in conjunction with Mr. Leadbeater? Why did she deny H.P.B. who said the Apostolic Succession was a gross and palpable fraud, and not tell the T.S. that in order to establish a Leadbeater Church it was transmitted through a sex pervert?
6. Why did Mrs. Besant allow Mr. Wedgwood to remain in her "Occult" School, the E.S.T. after his conduct at Adyar prior to 1915? Why did she allow him to visit E.S.T. centres in Australia and America after that year, and deceive the members of her School?
7. In view of her certain knowledge, why did Mrs. Besant invite Mr. Wedgwood in 1922 to withdraw his resignation and return to the T.S. and E.S. vide her statement to the Sydney Lodge Executive last May?
Mrs. Besant may claim to be the agent of the Hierarchy, but she has to deal with a number of people who have some intelligence and some sense of logic, and the longer she remains silent on all these questions the worse it will be for her own reputation. At the moment, Mr. Gauntlett's statement is the final and fatal move on the chess-board of circumstance, and those who are playing with Mrs. Besant with truth and straightforwardness as the stake, are saying checkmate, President! Can Mrs. Besant find a get-out, or will she only continue to jibe at those who ask the questions?
Abandoned! The Australian T.S. Convention
As Dawn goes to press it is reported that the Executive Committee of the Australian Council has decided to abandon the Annual Convention. All arrangements had been made to meet in Melbourne at Easter, but during the last few weeks the Leadbeater supporters in Sydney have developed every symptom of panic. That something serious has happened which must be kept from the knowledge of an Australian Convention goes without saying. Nothing but blind unreasoning fear would account for this unprecedented action, as the future work of the Section is thrown out of gear, disorganized and made unconstitutional.
The first sign of trouble appeared a few weeks ago, when the General Secretary, as is mentioned on another page - instigated presumably by orders from certain vested interests - began plotting to prevent the attendance of Sydney Lodge delegates at Convention. Finding, however, that delegates from other lodges could not be muzzled, and that the foolish proposals submitted were not receiving sufficient support from other important Lodges, the tactics were changed, and this desperate expedient of abandonment adopted. The Section Executive consists of half a dozen or so representatives, and nearly all happen to be members of the new Blavatsky Lodge, which was formed at the order of the President, and submits to the guidance in all things spiritual and temporal of "Bishop" Leadbeater. It is therefore quite easy to make use of this body.
Naturally, all the Theosophic world will be asking what is the matter? Candidly, the "matter" is very serious. It is nothing less than the real truth - released at length - about the official police enquiry made last spring, into the relationship of "Bishop" Leadbeater with young boys since he came to Australia in 1914. A short summary of the evidence taken by the police, and the opinions of the officers who held the enquiry, got into the hands of some of "Bishop" Leadbeater's friends. That is the "matter" - nothing more, nothing less. President Besant in The Theosophist, repeats the foolish things she has been saying for the last few months about the supposed failure of this police enquiry to secure any evidence. Actually it obtained a lot of evidence - awful evidence at that - and those who have to take their instructions from her, and from her protege, the "Bishop," are dumbfounded with fear and panic. To add to the troubles of those who live only that they may vow eternal loyalty to their "leaders," there has come to hand by the last English mail The Occult Review for February. This contains an article exposing once and for all the supposed clairvoyance of "Bishop" Leadbeater, and places him definitely in the ranks of the numerous frauds who have, by the use of sacred and holy symbols, deceived thousands of the most high-minded and sincere people of their time.
Primarily, then, the revelations of the police report show "What is the matter"; and secondly, The Occult Review exposure. Of course, the nerves of neo-Theosophites had already been frayed by the exposures contained in Mrs. Alice Cleather's H.P. Blavatsky - A Great Betrayal, But the police enquiry is painfully near home.
The Leadbeater Whitewashing of 1908.
When Mrs. Besant met the Executive Committee of the Sydney Lodge last May, and was asked to provide for an enquiry into the relationship of Mr. Leadbeater with young boys since he came to Australia in 1914, she told the Committee that she did not believe the statements made to her, that if there was immorality, the charges should be taken to the police, and then she produced an old number of the Theosophist, from which she read long extracts. This she was understood to say was a report made by some authoritative body of investigators in 1908, who unanimously absolved Mr. Leadbeater of the charges made against him in 1906, and which then he had admitted.
A few weeks prior to this, viz. at the Easter Convention in Sydney, Mr. Leadbeater had publicly claimed that he had been exonerated by a special committee which included experienced "lawyers and judges."
Some light is now thrown upon the manner in which this whitewashing was intrigued in a publication by Mr. A. Wilkinson, until lately President of the Nottingham Lodge T.S. (England), and of the Midland Federation T.S.
Mr. Wilkinson early in 1908 received a circular letter, signed by Mr. Herbert Whyte, which explained that some of the leading T.S. members were being requested to look over certain papers, and then asked if they were able to sign a declaration, which was enclosed and read thus:
"We, the undersigned responsible members of the Theosophical Society, have considered all the documents submitted in 1906 to the Advisory Board, and also the papers in possession of Mr. Mead and Miss Ward. Further, we have considered certain other evidence obtained since last July, and in face of all this, we give it as our deliberate opinion that there is nothing to show that in what he did Mr. Leadbeater was not actuated by the highest and purest motives, and nothing to warrant the insinuations of personal misconduct which have been so freely made...
"We see no good reason, therefore, why the President should not incite Mr. Leadbeater to resume again his membership."
Signed: S. Maude Sharps; Hodgson Smith; Alan Leo; Annie Larmuth; Esther Bright; E. Maud Green; Ethel M. Mallett; James I. Wedgwood; Herbert Whyte.
One fails to find the names of any experienced "lawyers and judges" in this list, though we see that of an old friend of Dawn, Mr. J.I. Wedgwood, appears. Commenting on this circular and its enclosure, which evidently he did not sign, Mr. Wilkinson says:
"This hardly needs comment. A report is drawn up by nine persons who were partisans already in 1906, submitted to various others, who might be expected to sign - if they didn't sign their names did not appear, so that unanimity was assured (italics ours - Eds.) One must remember, of course, that the persons signing were not posing as 'The Official Committee of Enquiry of 1908.'"
So we see how the whitewashing was done in 1908, and it is an object lesson to us today when similarly the effort is being made - by those who ought to know better, but want to save their occult reputations and positions otherwise important to them - to cover over the facts regarding "Bishop" Wedgwood and the founders of the Liberal Catholic Church.
Our Late Visitors
I was a gentlemanly little elemental that prompted Mrs. Cleather's doctor in India to tell her she needed a sea voyage after the labor of writing and publishing her two books, H.P. Blavatsky - A Great Betrayal, and H.P. Blavatsky - Her Life and Work for Humanity, and though illness, bad weather, and crowded steamer's created many difficulties, many have cause to be grateful to the lesser gods for making one end of the health voyage the port of Sydney.
Probably the most striking characteristic of our recent visitors was their sincerity, and with it a charming lack of affectation, which exactly fitted into Australian ideas.
The visit only lasted a few days, but it was long enough to permit Dr. Crump to give two Sunday night lectures in the King's Hall to audiences which were intensely interested in his talks on the Wisdom of the East. Listening to Mr. Crump, coming fresh from his home high up in the Himalayas, and almost looking over into Tibet - one got a sense of the atmosphere of the hills - those wonderful near-heaven hills; and also of nearness to the Elder Brothers, by whom H.P.B. was taught what she later gave out to the West, and where she was specially trained for her mission.
Mr. Crump’s well-trained mind is stored with what are to him commonplaces about H.P.B.'s residence in Tibet, the "Master" there, who taught and trained her, and other matters which proved of unique interest even to our oldest students in Sydney.
Mrs. Cleather is nearing three-score years and ten, but it is hard to believe it. She has a bright, spontaneous way of expressing herself, is quite at home on the platform, and possesses a clear, carrying voice. The Sydney Lodge members enjoyed several question nights with this pupil of the founder of the T.S. and never in the history of the Lodge have they enjoyed such an opportunity of getting at the heart of "dear old H.P.B." to say nothing of the heart of the Theosophical Movement.
Mrs. Cleather does not talk about the Theosophical "Society," but "Movement," by the way, which reminds us that her angle of view is often startlingly different from that of many of us who have just followed one tradition. Happily, during all this fascinating intercourse, nobody was worried if they did not happen to agree on points of detail with our visitor, or she with them, and the Sydney Lodge has for a few days probably more nearly approached being a "body of students," which at one time was regarded as the ideal of a T.S. Lodge than ever before.
It is to be hoped that every member of the T.S. throughout the world will read Mrs. Cleather's two books.
The Great Betrayal is for the day only; it is a reformer's manual as much as anything, and on fighting lines. H.P.B. - Her Life and Work for Humanity, will take its place as a classic.
Unfortunately, Sydney had not enough copies to go round, the fifty or so ordered being quickly bought up, but a second large consignment, we understand, is now on the way. This book, like Mrs. Cleather's talks, illuminates, and is illuminated by H.P.B. who becomes more than ever a "vision splendid," and the chapter which summarizes the leading conceptions
[[Portrait here: Alice Leighton Cleather - dig. ed.]]
of "The Secret Doctrine" can only be regarded by students as one of the finest things in our Theosophical literature.
Everybody felt immediately at home with our visitors, and the "Auld Lang Syne," which concluded a most successful reception function when they came, was typical off the feeling of friendship which will be a lasting sentiment with many.
Mr. Graham Cleather, who was one of the party, is a fine singer, and delighted the Kim's Hall audi-
ences at Mr. Crump's lectures with oratorio selections.
Where this visit was most useful was perhaps in the fact that it enabled all the old E.S.T. people to link up once more with the H.P.B. Esoteric School, and to secure again for their use the old papers in their original form, which H.P.B. issued to her pupils. Mrs. Cleather has promised to write some introductory hooks on Theosophical subjects, and it is safe to say that these will be of great value in the future. The Sydney Lodge is looking forward to a more prolonged visit "some day."
The Real H. P. Blavatsky
By John M. Prentice.
There are two books before me that are of such importance that, although they have been sent to me for review, I propose to say at length, and under my own signature - thus taking personal responsibility for what I shall write - what I think of them and the new inspiration they have brought me. They are utterly different in style, although both are the work of the one writer; both are written with firsthand knowledge, and are intended in a measure to be complementary to each other. Both concern Madame H.P. Blavatsky, and are the work of one of her closest and most intimate pupils - Mrs. A.L. Cleather, a lady who was associated with H.P.B. in the old Lansdowne Road and Avenue Road days; from her return to London in 1887 until her death in 1891. Both are the outcome of those priceless years. The first - and most important - is called "H.P. Blavatsky: Her Life and Work for Humanity," and is a brief but clearly defined history of the Theosophical movement, with H.P.B. as the central figure, no longer obscured by others who aspired to share as fully as might be in the greatness that was so truly hers.
In a series of thirteen chapters, originally written for an Indian Buddhist magazine - for Mrs. Cleather has followed Mme. Blavatsky's example, and publicly espoused the Buddhist faith - the writer has treated of the life-work of the lion-hearted Messenger of the last century. And it is a splendid figure that emerges. All who are members of the T. S. whatever their particular Theosophical politics at this present juncture may be, will be the better for coming into touch with this book. For the writer is one of the few, the very few, who really knew H.P.B. and are still with us. The book tells of the preliminary work in America, of the real organization of the Theosophical movement in India, of the bitter failure to appreciate the true greatness of Mme. Blavatsky in relation to her work, of the passing of the living centre of the T.S. from India to Europe, of the writing of The Secret Doctrine, and of the death of H.P.B. It is a wonderful record, and I, who have had the priceless privilege of knowing most of those who were in touch with H.P.B. and are still alive, could find few words to express my gratitude for the book. It is written with the blood of the heart; it is aflame with the high inspiration that was aroused by the Teacher in the pupil's heart, and which has never grown less in the years and the disappointments that have followed the Teacher's passing. Every page bears witness to a recognition of the greatness behind the enigmatic personality that the world saw from without and judged so harshly, and Mrs. Cleather makes it very clear that this harsh verdict was, after all, very largely the verdict of those who were close to H.P.B. but not great enough to find a defense for her when she was so unjustly attacked. Had her friends, her pupils, those who owed so much to her, been ready to rally whole-heartedly to her defense, the whole verdict of the age in which she lived would have been very different. It is a melancholy thought that the obloquy that is still associated with her name might have been lifted if her friends had had the courage of conviction. However, it was a repetition of the fate that comes to so many of the world's teachers.
From the facts of H.P.B.'s life, Mrs. Cleather passes to a summary of her teaching. There is an admirable summing up of the Secret Doctrine which shows how clearly it has been understood and how closely studied. And in this summing up there emerges THEOSOPHY. It is amazing to read this clear exposition of the eternal verities that are Theosophy, and to note the travesty that passes for it in these days. All the wretched complication of ritual and pseudo-philosophy that is being foisted on the world, is seen in all its poor sham in the comparison. For Theosophy is not easy - all the "simplification," the extension of the thought of later days, has made the root of the matter more
difficult of attainment. Moreover, it has opened the way for so much that is utterly false and misleading; the later literature of the Theosophical writers, indeed, is seen at its true worth. Yet the book is not controversial; it is a simple statement by one who knows.
So much for the book in itself. There is a brilliantly written addendum that carries on the history of the T.S. through the stormy period of the Judge trouble. Many interesting facts are pro duced - some for the first time, and Mrs. Cleather shows the thorny path that was trodden by the misguided followers of W.Q. Judge, until some of them succeeded in emancipating themselves from Judge's successor. This section will be quite new to many of the later members of the Theosophical Society. And the book has a portrait of Mme. Blavatsky, that also will be new to many; a special portrait taken in 1887, that gives a fresh conception of the powerful eyes, and the stern, fine face. The book is worth buying for this alone. I shall love and prize this volume because it has made me new-hearted in my defense of H.P.B. - a defense that has never ceased since I encountered her name nearly twenty years ago, and took up anew the work. For I confess, with some shame, that I had found myself growing a little weary of the eternal strife that is around the Society she mothered; now I know that the Society must be defended, even as she was not, if some of the fruitage of her work is to be garnered in the years that remain, ere she will return to give again to a perhaps more grateful world something of the truths that make men free.
The second work that Mrs. Cleather has given us is a booklet of 96 pages, which is wholly controversial in method and contents. It is entitled H.P. Blavatsky: A Great Betrayal, and deals almost entirely with the results of Mrs. Besant's leadership. It is a scathing indictment. Indeed, it will be bitter medicine for many of the younger members of the Society who have sought their membership in the last few years; to many still older it will be a sore trial of faith. For it leaves Mrs. Besant stripped of all true right to be called a great leader. I may say that there are some of us who hold that Mrs. Besant has been misled: especially in regard to the work and character of Mr. C.W. Leadbeater, whom so many of us regard as the evil genius of the T.S. Not so Mrs. Cleather, who holds that there are inherent weaknesses of character in Mrs. Besant that have made her leadership what it has been. And it is a surprising series of catastrophes. All the old troubles are reviewed and chapter and verse quoted; the wild and unreasoning defense of Mr. Leadbeater, the rise of the "Order of the Star in the East," with all its disastrous propaganda, in the Central Hindu College and elsewhere, and the keynote of it all is, that there has been a radical departure from the teaching that Mme. Blavatsky promulgated as Theosophy. Mrs. Besant is regarded by Mrs. Cleather as primarily responsible for much of the corruption of teaching that has marked these latter years. Hence she does not agree with some of us that the T.S. can be reformed from within, but rather thinks the whole movement has failed. She does not agree with us that Mrs. Besant has been utterly misled by reason of her dependence on Mr. Leadbeater for information regarding the instructions of the Masters, but believes that Mrs. Besant has been herself a great stumbling-block. On this l am not prepared to argue at this present moment: the booklet should be read with care and discrimination. Each individual reader will probably form his own opinion on this point. Certainly there has been abundant evidence that Mrs. Besant has given to members as her own, messages which have been received through Mr. Leadbeater - and it is on this point that so much harm has been done. Mr. Sinnett received his instructions through King, a medium, Mr. Judge through Mrs. Tingley, and so on - yet each in turn claimed to be transmitting what was received by them personally. This wretched business of messages, instructions, and commands from the Unseen has been a difficulty always: in their eagerness to be favored with such messages many people have forgotten that it is the living of the Theosophic life, with all that is implied therein, that makes for righteousness.
Naturally, Mrs. Cleather supports with her writings the "Back to Blavatsky" Movement, although she is allied to no special body. It is the pressing need for bringing the real H.P.B. once more before the world that has brought Mrs. Cleather from her retirement, and after more than twenty years' silence, she has spoken with such emphasis that none interested in Theosophy can afford to ignore her words. Therefore, I commend all those who are truly interested in the history of the Theosophical Society, its greatness, and its degradation, to read these books, and to justify their Theosophical membership by such actions as will render any repetition of the conditions disclosed an impossibility. There is a trumpet call in the Theosophical world today; a cry for cleanness; a desire to eradicate all obscurantism; and all who will assist in this work will be very welcome. We who, in the face of the utmost vilification and misrepresentation, have been so working, are glad to have working with us such an one as Alice Leighton Cleather, who knew Blavatsky and loved her, who has been true to her teaching through the years, and who now speaks out with all the force at her command to restore to her rightful place in the Theosophical movement the real founder of the Theosophical Society.
The Dawn of a New Era
- Impressions and Reflections
By Alice Leighton Cleather
February 27, 1923
The impression that stands out most clearly from among the many I received while in Sydney last month is the extraordinary kindliness of everyone, "high and low, rich and poor." I felt there a true democratic spirit which I have only found equaled, or even approached, in Italy, and among Buddhist peoples in Asia. It would seem that Australia, having formed part of Lemuria, where Man first became endowed with the element of Mind, may be really less encumbered with the complexities of modern life, often so destructive in their action, and that many of the older and purer influences still remain. The probable recrudescence of Lemuria, as a portico, of the home of the seventh sub-race, which will take place after the sixth now forming in America has flowered and gone to seed, would make it almost inevitable that Australia must form an important part of that future vast continent. Curiously enough, I was informed, during my visit, that an Australian professor had discovered a close connection between the Australian aboriginals (the last remnants of the Lemurians), and a certain race in the Caucasus (H.P.B. once told us that the Russians are the germ of the 7th sub-race).
A glance at the map will show that the new Lemuria will link Australia with Russia on the one hand, and America on the other; but it is important to remember that Australians must, in their future development, be greatly influenced by the ancient philosophy of India, and of Asia generally, by that "Sacred Wisdom" (of the East) which is destined to endure throughout the present cycle of Evolution. Bearing this in mind, there may he some significance in the fact that our brief visit established a direct link with India and the Himalayas, via Ceylon , and that the note of Buddhism - particularly the "Esoteric Buddhism" of Tibet - was so strongly sounded by us during that visit.
As we know that Australia is at present the centre of an organized attempt to steer the Theosophical Society into the Catholic Church, and its chief agent is resident in Sidney, only a determined and energetic reversion to the original lines laid down by H.P. Blavatsky can successfully defeat this insidious plot to ruin her work. All our efforts in helping the Sydney Lodge were, therefore, directed towards the re-establishment of both the inner and outer work on those lines, and towards getting rid of the erroneous and harmful ideas which have been inculcated for the past twenty years, especially since 1907, under the Besant-Leadbeater regime.
The founding of the Loyalty League, and its organ Dawn, constitute, in my opinion. the two pillars - speaking symbolically - of a very important rebirth for the true Theosophical Movement (as distinguished from any Society bearing that name). It has set a bright and shining example to the whole world, one which is now being followed elsewhere, but nowhere does the new Light burn so brightly as here, where the danger is greatest. It has indeed been a privilege that seeming "chance" enabled us to contribute what we could to the organization of the work so well begun; and it seemed to us that the spirit of the Young Australia, conscious of a great and noble future, has instinctively revolted against the subtle and, in certain aspects, alluring poisons of decadence and degeneration.
Another E.S. Bombshell
- The Resignation of M. Chevrier.
The close of the year brought with it the resignation of M. Chevrier from the position of head of Mrs. Besant's E.S.T. in France. M. Chevrier has never visited Australia, and the mention of his name here may not call up any such associations as it would am amongst Theosophists in France; but in Paris M. Chevrier is as well known and as much respected as is Mr. Martyn in Sydney. He also has been for many years a loyal lieutenant of Mrs. Besant's, and has commanded the utmost confidence of outside people, as well as of the T.S. members throughout France.
M. Chevrier was so highly thought of, as a man of the utmost sincerity and honesty, that everybody is asking why this resignation? Has it to do with the attitude of his late chief to the Liberal Catholic Church scandals and the policy of suppression or is the sacrifice of T.S. neutrality to be blamed?
Let us hope that M. Chevrier will speak out and tell the Theosophical world why he has resigned at this particular time - meanwhile the loss is a severe one, and it is to he hoped that we shall all be spared the pain of seeing this honorable champion for our cause become one more target for the President's contumely.
Two Boys and a Man
- "An Open Letter to Mr. Wadia"
It is rather pathetic when inexperienced youth butts against mature age and gives expression in a childish way to opinions which are egotistical and inconsequential.
With such thoughts, many must have perused a pamphlet widely distributed in Australia under the above heading, and over the names of J. Krishnamurti and J. Nityananda. One would have thought that Mrs. Besant herself would have tackled the reply to Mr. Wadia's copious reasons for leaving the T.S. summarized in January Dawn, especially as he was such a loyal henchman of hers for so many years; but - is this yet another of the rewards which that "great leader" showers upon those who cease to be led by her, because they cease to agree with her? If one could associate humor with Mrs. Besant, it might be assumed that the idea of answering Mr. Wadia over the names of a couple of youngsters was not a had little joke. Quite funny indeed. All the same, the reply can hardly be described as weighty. An older hand could have made much more of it. The general feebleness of the "Open Letter" testifies to its being very much what it appears to be, viz. the spontaneous effusion of its signators - with perhaps a little help in composition from some friendly grammatician.
To those who happen to know that a comfortable "settlement" for life has been provided for these boys by friendly Theosophists, this admission really has a humor all its own:
"The tone of your pamphlet convinces us that you have definitely chosen a path wholly different from the one we intend to follow."
And nobody has made any "settlement" on the hard-working Wadia, who generously underwent interment with his impulsive chief. Circumstances alter cases, and to kick over the traces and claim independence really would not be a fair thing for Mr. Wadia's young critics. That must be conceded to them. Their intention to stick to their chosen path - and the settlement - is highly praiseworthy.
Youth is, of course, essentially patronizing, and the instinct may be stronger than ever in oriental temperament, else surely it would not bubble out in such expressions as:
"You see, my dear Wadia, that we are quite frank. We will not leave what we consider to be your false judgment to have unchecked sway." (Italics ours. - Eds.)
As readers of Dawn will hardly be interested in what the young people think of Mr. Wadia's actions, and motives, and reasons, the Editors of Dawn will not inflict on them further quotations.
The letter is hardly calculated to hurt Mr. Wadia and the writing of it has no doubt provided some useful practice for the youngsters.
- Reprinted from "The Independent"
It has always been a wonder to us why members of the Theosophical Society, several among whom are undoubtedly men of ability and intelligence, should have allowed themselves to he led by the nose by Mrs. Besant in the manner that they seem to have done in the recent past in religious, social, as well its political matters. In view of the fact that this Society has, as one of its basic doctrines, preached the right of every individual to think for himself - so much so, indeed, that at the present day there is probably no religion on earth whose upholders may not be found in the Theosophical Brotherhood - it is surprising that things should have come to such a pass that a prominent member, who had peen intimately connected with that Society for about twenty years should feel compelled openly to revolt, and expose and denounce in no uncertain terms, the "Pseudo-Theosophy which has taken the place of Theosophy.
It was only the outer day that we learnt that Mr. Wadia had severed his connection with the Society, disgusted with the conditions existing there, which "are so deep-rooted and so widespread that the disease is incurable." In a statement addressed to all fellow-Theosophists and members of the Theosophical Society, Mr. Wadia says: "It is no more a society of seekers of the wisdom, but an organization where many believe in the few, and blind following has come to prevail; where shams pass for realities and the credulity of superstition gains encouragement; and where the noble ideals of Theosophical ethics are exploited and dragged in the mire of psychism and immorality." It is a revealing document that Mr. Wadia has circulated broadcast, and we do
hope that it will produce the desired effect - at least with the more intelligent section of the Brotherhood. Mr. Wadia further asserts that the Society "has drifted on a sandbank, and is, spiritually speaking, a dead body," and that "people are encouraged to look for initiates in the kingdom of mortality; and a threshold of divinity is laid down in the world of flesh, and a gateway erected thereon for the true believers to pass through''; H.P. Blavatsky's warning about false prophets and their "monstrous exaggerations and idiotic schemes and shams," has gone unheeded. "A hierarchy of 'initiates' has been set up within the T.S. and blind following and ludicrous worship of personalities has been rampant," in spite of the Founder's clear words to the effect that the "Society was not founded as a nursery for forcing a supply of occultists - or as a factory for the manufacture of adepts."
We are also given a sidelight into the freedom enjoyed by the members: "One cannot belong to `Their School' if politically one works in the non-violent, non-co-operation movement of the great Indian leader, Mr. M.K. Gandhi; no one can attack the L.C.C. no one can join the Loyalty League; all must believe in the near coming of a world teacher, and actively participate in certain movements because they are reported to be blessed by the Bodhisattva or the Christ. Messages, orders, and instructions are issued on the playing of church organs, or how to dress and what to chant. These orders show absence of all sense of proportion, enlightened intelligence, and sound reasonableness. Obey and follow, follow and obey, is the instruction to the people who are inoculated with the virus or the Psychic madness, which passes in the name of Theosophy."
We regret that in this forceful indictment Mr. Wadia should have chosen to confine himself to a mere statement of facts, and should have fought shy of boldly advancing further, and making known to the public the chief cause of this state of things. Although he does not tell us in so many words, he leaves no room for doubt that it is the personality of Mrs. Besant, the present President of the Society, which is mainly responsible for its demoralization. She is by temperament an autocrat, who has for long in her own circle been enjoying the divine right of intellectual domination. Consciously or unconsciously she imagines that she is the dictator whom all around must obey and for all time; and her ruffled life, her changing moods, and her assumption of mastery on every occasion are chiefly to be attributed to these characteristics.
That the Society, whose teaching was originally directed against Theological Christianity, and prided itself on free thought, should, through the lapse of time and the presence of a masterful personality in its midst, itself debase into an ecclesiastical system, and its activities come to be confined within the four walls of "orders, leagues, temples, and churches," and be metamorphosed into a veritable popery, is indeed an irony of human destiny. What a fall!
The Creed of Neo-Theosophy
- As artlessly outlined by the Australian General Secretary.
The General Secretary of the Australian Section T.S. recently distributed a circular headed:
THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE.
"What shall be the action and attitude of the Section in regard to the Sydney Lodge? That is the vital question for the immediate future."
From the redundant verbiage of this document, we quote a central and italicized paragraph:
"It is clear, from the January issue of Dawn, that the Loyalty League are seeking to reinforce the membership of the Sydney Lodge with distant sympathizers with their policy all the world over, so that it may become the official headquarters, as it were, of the 'anti-Besant-Leadbeater-Church-Star' movement.
"Consider what the great majority of the members of this Section and of the T.S. earnestly believe; that the Christ will start his world-mission as a man among men in quite a short time, now, and that our T.S. and the `Star' are the chief instruments to prepare the world for Him. We believe that Mrs. Besant and Bishop Leadbeater are His two chief Heralds and the greatest spiritual Teachers of the world until He comes. We believe that Mr. Krishnamurti, the head of the `Star,' is in some special way associated with that Coming as a Leader to prepare the world for it. We believe that the world stands in its supreme hour, and that these great souls, leading our movement, are the servants of the great Hierarchy, to make the T.S. and other movements, which have budded off from it, mighty instruments of world-healing. Mrs. Besant, above all, we believe, is the official representative of the Masters for the outer world. Yet against her and against our other Leaders and beliefs, the Sydney Lodge, through the above-quoted resolution, and in the other ways outlined, is waging a relentless war. It is meant, apparently, to `agitate until the conscience of the rank and file of the T.S. is aroused,' to quote from Dawn. Our conscience is already well aroused, but in a far other way than they hope for, by the manner, methods, and spirit of their 'agitation,' and being thus aroused by them, we must consider serious and determined action." (Italics ours - Eds.)
Having thus defined some portion of the creed which has now to be adopted by members of the T.S. acceptable to our General Secretary, he continues:
"How can we, under the circumstances, identify ourselves in any way with the Sydney Lodge or treat them
in any way on an equal footing with the rest of the Section? Justice does not demand that: it would be grossly unjust to the T.S. as a whole, or to the best interests of the Section. . . . Let us invite, through our Council of Lodge Presidents, putting the matter first before their Lodges, the Sydney Lodge to withdraw from the Section, preferably, and attach to Adyar, and to do this before Convention, so as to save the unseemliness of that function. If they prefer to remain just nominally in the Section, but not participating in any way, that would be an equivalent thing, so long as there was a definite undertaking to waive all participation. In such a case, of course, the Section would only claim the Adyar due of eightpence per member, not the other fees. If, however, they decline such invitation, and come to Convention, then Convention could pass a motion ratifying the previous invitation of the Section Council and adding a clause to say that, in the event of the Sydney Lodge still declining to retire, it, the Convention representing the Section, definitely declined to co-operate in any way with the Sydney Lodge until they had rescinded the motion of confidence in the 'Crisis' Executive: entirely erased the attacks in Dawn or banned the paper from the Lodge premises; expressed regret to Dr. Besant and Bishop Leadbeater for the Lodge's attitude towards them. We think, personally, that the Section would be logical and wise to accept the same attitude to all members of the Loyalty League."
The foregoing is a delightfully candid admission in its way, and will be useful matter to quote for those who say the Theosophical Society has become just one more little sect, with its belief formula put into words as test of membership. Those who adopt the formula are the chosen, the faithful: those who do not profess it are only fit to be cast into outer darkness, as pariahs, association with whom would sully the white purity of the elect.
A Wedgwood Resurrection
A Correspondent challenges a recent reference in Dawn to the resignation from the Theosophical Society of Mr. J.I. Wedgwood, and claims that no resignation has ever been received. We must refer our correspondent to The Theosophist for August, 1922, and to page 534 of that issue. He will there find the letter of resignation, dated London March 7, 1922, printed in full, over Mr. Wedgwood's signature. The first paragraph reads:
"Dear Mrs. Besant,
"I am writing to tell you that I have decided, after some weeks of careful consideration, to sever my connection with the Theosophical Society, the Co-Masonic Order, and the Liberal Catholic Church, and to retire into private life."
As stated in Dawn last July, Mr. Wedgwood was in London offered the alternative of resigning from the "Liberal Catholic" Church or instituting proceedings for libel against Mr. Farrer when the latter made his written confession, dated February 28, 1922.
The nature of Mr. Wedgwood's private life is, in itself, of little importance, but that of the self-appointed head of the "Theosophical Church" is another matter. Even that might not be regarded as altogether vital, but it so happened that Mr. Wedgwood was clairvoyantly vouched for by Mr. Leadbeater and declared to he an Initiate of the Great White Lodge by that gentleman, who claims to be a sort of master of ceremonies in these astral functions. It follows that if anything is wrong with Mr. Wedgwood, something must necessarily be wrong with Mr. Leadbeater's clairvoyance, and there we have the true inwardness of the trouble. It was precisely this quandary which our good President found herself in at the end of 1919 when she issued an order of expulsion from the T.S. as well as from her Inner School, against Mr. Wedgwood because of some investigations of her own.
At that time she did not know that Mr. Leadbeater's reputation as a clairvoyant was at stake. When this was made known to her by means of a cablegram sent to her by Mr. Jinarajadasa, she promptly changed her policy and withdrew the order of expulsion.
Readers of Dawn will not be surprised to hear that the efforts of or "leaders" to bring Mr. Wedgwood back have to some extent been successful. We can hardy blame Mr. Wedgwood for taking advantage of their open arms, for the Theosophical Society appears to be quite a safe refuge for people with kinks of this sort. One other prominent individual, at any rate, has found not only sanctuary but honor and affluence in it as well, in spite of a world-wide exposure.
The latest reports are to the effect that the prodigal son, Mr. Wedgwood, has returned, and has been invited to revisit Australia, and that he intends doing so. This will enable Mrs. Besant to say to the members of her Inner School: "See here, my friends, how truth, and righteousness, and purity have triumphed over malice, and hatred, and how all the efforts of Jesuits and the Lords of the Dark Face have been foiled and come to naught. Behold the Lord's anointed, clad in the snow-white vesture of innocence and martyrdom. Bow down and worship, for of such is the Kingdom of Neo-Theosophy!"
Meditation - No. 5
By Jocelyn Underhill.
There are many who have spoken to me of the lack of results in regard to meditation. Following one or another of the recognized schools, practically all of which are off-shoots from the kingly system of the Raja-Yoga school, and which eventually lead back to it (for, as I was told years ago, "There is in reality only one school of Yoga"). Many have devoted time, day after day, to meditation, and have watched the months give place to the years without any tangible result. And I have asked in reply, What were the exact results expected?" There have been a variety of answers; some have expected to develop psychically, and are dissatisfied because celestial voices do not breathe symphonies around them, or at least whisper great and inspiring counsels into their ears, while others expected the vision of the higher worlds to show an eternal beauty before their delighted eyes. Others, less imperative in their demands, expected the eradication of faults, a sense of peace, a feeling of well-being. And all, in greater or less degree, have been sorely disappointed.
It is well, therefore, to realize exactly the purpose of meditation. The great aim is to prepare the student for active participation in the spiritual life. This can only be brought about by detachment from purely physical and emotional things. Pause for a moment and think, What is your most secret ultimate aim in life? It is what a man thinks in his innermost heart that he becomes. If there is any hidden purpose, any longing after wealth or fame or success; then meditation will be fruitless as far as spirituality is concerned. It is not that these things are not good and laudable in themselves: indeed, at various stages of evolution they represent the highest point of achievement to be sought; but when once the truly spiritual sense is awakened, when once the celestial city is seen ahead, they become as the lesser gods. For the living of the spiritual life there must be the one-pointed intention; all lesser things must he counted as well lost. To many this means a spiritual bleakness of outlook, a constant sense of renunciation for which there is no recompense. Yet it is not so; there is a spiritual gain that far outweighs all else, when once it can he appreciated.
Detachment and renunciation - these are the keynotes. It is that we may throw ourselves apart from our activities, from the daily round of routine, from the sights and sounds of the outer world, that we deliberately pause and hold ourselves apart.
It is by so detaching ourselves that we are able to become a centre of eternal peace in the fret and turmoil of the world. Not that we lose at practical work. Rather the reverse; we learn to stand off and view the work we are doing from the standpoint of the eternal, rather than weighing its temporal value or measuring its present effect. As we detach ourselves from our actions, our emotions, our experiences, there grows up round us an ever-increasing sense of the reality of the inner life. So as detachment comes there comes also renunciation. It is the quiet, unostentatious giving up of things that are no longer necessary to our physical or our spiritual well-being. It may be something we have grown attached to in the physical world - some special article of food, of dress, a book or a piece of decoration; it may be emotional - a dream or a desire, a love for ceremonial (which is, after all, only the childish desire to "dress up" translated to a higher, aesthetic plane), or of stately ritual. All these are dropped to one side, and the simplicity of the spiritual life becomes ever more real.
And each of these renunciations takes us higher as we proceed. The inner light and the inner life become the reality. Our outer life may be little changed. Yet people will know that we are less easily moved by pleasure or pain, success or suffering, than hitherto, without being any the less helpful and sympathetic. In a word, we "keep our heads." And little by little people are drawn to us; the peace that pervades wherever we may be attracts those less peaceful. Certainly we are called upon to bear heavier burdens, but the strength to do is never wanting.
Let us, then, set out on our meditation with a clear-cut idea that it is not psychic progress we seek; it is the ultimate realization of "the Self as One" that we are seeking. We strive to become efficient servers, knights of the spirit, who can be detailed for any special service. We are indeed born of the spirit, and co-servers with Those who are the Servants of Humanity - of the Eternal Self.
As it is in the heart that the Self abides, our meditation must be constantly directed to awakening the heart as a great centre. Little by little the reality grows and grows, detachment and renunciation acquire an added meaning.
One way in which we can tell if our meditation is being fruitful is by watching the effect of the outer world upon us and our reactions thereto. If we find ourselves less censorious, less irritable, less fault-finding, with a clearer perception of spiritual things, a finer discrimination, a most equitable judgment, we may be certain that we are approaching the eternal Heart of Things. Above all, the peace of the Self will overshadow us, and the quiet joyousness that abides. "In peace there comes the ending of all sorrows, for the soul of inspiration swiftly enfolds him whose heart is full of peace."
What One Hears
That a prominent member of the Blavatsky Lodge, Sydney, and a preacher of sermons in the LC.C. entirely forgot the tedium of his journey home in an overcrowded car, while he read January Dawn from one hand and held on to the strap with the other. Let us hope he got inspiration for his next sermon.
That Canada is working for reform in the T.S. amid many difficulties, but with the certitude that truth must triumph in the end.
That Dawn is expecting some first-hand information of a reliable nature regarding the Adyar manifestations of 1907, which has not been hitherto published.
That Mr. Leadbeater has now two sets of charges to answer - one moral (or immoral), and the other of being a psychic fraud.
That "Bishop" Leadbeater (according to Mrs. Besant) was told by a friend that if he would prosecute "The Sydney Telegraph" "he would obtain swinging damages." He did not prosecute!
That the Australian General Secretary is so frightened of what delegates from Sydney Lodge will do or say at Convention, that he wants the Section Executive to kill off the lot of them.
That when the police invited witnesses at the recent official enquiry in Sydney, no less than eight full-blown "Initiates" of the Leadbeater label gave evidence. And yet the officials were not convinced!
That those who desire to tread "the path" have first of all to withstand the temptation of a Leadbeaterian - or is it Gilbertian? - initiation. No doubt one of those early tests in discrimination.
That Mr. Wilkinson, the President of the Midland Federation of the T.S. (England), and many members of Nottingham Lodge, have resigned from the T.S. as a protest against the unprincipled actions of those in authority.
That only pseudo-Theosophists of the Star (L.C.C.) Order are wanted in the English Section T.S. just now, and much as voluntary workers, especially lecturers, are in request, the General Secretary has, presumably by a command, to turn down an offer by Mr. Hugh R. Gillespie to lecture gratuitously for country Lodges.
That the article, "A Cameo from Clairvoyant History," in The Occult Review for February, is the greatest blow to the Leadbeater occult claims that has yet been delivered. Even if no more similar exposures follow, "The Lives of Alcyone" must be dropped into the waste-paper basket for all time. Good-bye, too, to the Leadbeater coming Christ.
That Dr. Bean has entered the lists in a tilt with the Sydney Lodge T.S. and there are sure to be fireworks.
That still more initiations are looked for by friends of "Bishop" Leadbeater in the coming spring. The number of aspirants for these astral honors (?) never grows less.
That some of the old hands, who left the Sydney Lodge in the swirl of Mrs. Besant's "order" last May, say they are coming back. After all, there is no place like home.
That the exposure of "Bishop" Leadbeater as a pretended clairvoyant in the February issue of The Occult Review is complete.
That the "Hindu" newspaper, which championed the rebellion in the T.S. in 1912 against the Leadbeater-Besant adventist diversion, is getting good matter today out of Mrs. Besant's friendly critics.
That the American Section T.S. lost members last year again, and finished up with a serious deficit, in spite of the "thrill" caused at Convention by a faked cablegram. Too much L.C.C. it is reported.
That the E.S. in England is in a ferment over Mrs. Besant's latest pledge, which is of a purely personal nature, designed to gag all possible criticism. That E.S. members are handed the ultimatum for signature or expulsion.
That Mrs. Besant declares (Theosophist, February, p. 457): "Mr. Leadbeater has never given the advice since 1908, though he has not changed his own opinion." What about the evidence collected at the Sydney police enquiry?
That the followers of "Bishop" Leadbeater in the E.S. tell one another that the question of his bona-fides and their attitude towards it is a "great occult test." It is a test of their sanity - nothing else.
That the distinguished family of a well-known "ex-Bishop" (L.C.C.) have told him that his allowance will only be paid him while he remains out of England. To make the announcement even more effective, they have stated that he will be handed over to the police if he does return.
That a favorite E.S.T. gossip going the rounds just now is that the T.S. Loyalty League paid a Sydney newspaper L200 to attack the "Bishop." The boot's on the other leg! The newspapers would pay anything in reason to know what many of the Loyalty Leaguers know.
That the Canadian Section T.S. proclaims: "Our policy in Canada is based on the view that we are not to be expected materially to further the interests of other organizations than our own." Hoorah for T.S. neutrality! Canada is one of the few Sections whose membership has increased during 1922.
That Sydney Lodge has had some bumper houses at the King's Hall of late, and expects more with the advent of Mr. Charles Lazenby, B.A. who is due to arrive on March 13th.
That, according to the Canadian Theosophist. Mr. Lazenby's little daughter Petrovna, after her father's farewell lecture in Toronto, "repeated the passages from Luke 2:7-11 and I. Corinthians 13 with a clear, sweet voice and charming simplicity."
That Sydney Lodge is again making history. The attendances at the King's Hall lectures during the last few Sunday nights, ranging from over 400 to nearly 700. The early demise of this virile centre seems more distant than ever.
That H.P. Blavatsky gave a presentation copy of her sublime ethic, "The Voice of the Silence," inscribing it "to W.C. Leadbeater." As the correct initials are "C.W." it would appear that she didn't know the gentleman well. (See Theosophist, February, 1923.)
That Mr. W. Loftus Hare will win the eternal gratitude of thousands of people in and out of the T.S. if he continues his exposures of the Leadbeater "Lives of Alcyone" fraud as he has commenced it in The Occult Review (February, 1923.)
That it would be so nice if the President would pause long enough to understand that what Dawn asks for is an impartial enquiry into the relationship of Mr. Leadbeater with young boys in Sydney since 1914, not n America prior to 1906. Why beat the air with so much make-believe, dear President? (Written after perusal of February Theosophist. Eds.)
That a comparison of those South American civilizations, an account of which appears in Man, Whence, How and Whither, might be reconstructed by a careful digest of Prescott's Conquest of Mexico and Peru. Will some reader take the hint and let us have the results? Where, however, the akashic records must be allowed to stand triumphant and unchallenged by any rude and mere truth-loving critic, is where Mr. Leadbeater (and was the other joint author Mrs. Besant in this seance also, we wonder?) discovered the romantic story of Early Times on the Moon Chain. This is so delightful a discovery, and so charming an introduction to the relationships claimed at the present time, that a wider publicity is merited. We repeat a fragment from page 34 (Man, Whence, How and Whither), and ask readers to remember that they are through the eyes of an Arhat, gazing at the unrolled stretches of the akasha.
"There is a hut in which dwell a Moon-Man, his wife, and children; these we know in later times under the names of Mars and Mercury, the Mahaguru and Surya (four of the Leadbeater Masters. - Eds.) A number of those monkey-creatures live round the hut, and give to their owners the devotion of faithful dogs; among them we notice the future Sirius (Leadbeater), Herakles (Mrs. Besant), Alcyone (Krishnamurti), and Mizar (Nityananda), to whom we may give their future names for the purpose of recognition, though they are still non human."
There can be no doubt the now exposed Arhat, when he wrote this sort of stuff, had grown doubly daring, having led his victims step by step into the nethermost depths of abject credulity.
That Mrs. Besant should demand an explanation from "Bishop" Leadbeater of the reason why he copied a store out of an English translation of a Persian writer and palmed it off as the result of his own clairvoyant seeing into past-lives.
That the circulation of Dawn is increasing amazingly; the last mail brought more orders from new subscribers than has ever reached it in one pile before. Evidently Dawn has a message.
That, with the latest exposure of the Leadbeater seership, for which Mr. Loftus Hare's article n The Occult Review for February is largely responsible, a lot of top cargo will have to go overboard. All those other ludicrous "Lives"; "Lives of Alcyone"; "Rents in the Veil of Time"; much about after death states too; to say nothing of the coming Christ (Leadbeater's); and the Liberal Catholic Church with the Apostolic Succession. Then there will be much mourning and desolation amongst disciples "accepted" and "on probation"; quite a big number of "initiates" and the Arhatship of Mrs. Besant all must go, and go discredited with the spurious "Bishop."
That Mr. Charles Lazenby, who is about to visit Sydney in the interests of the Sydney Lodge, is a Canadian by birth, and a graduate of Toronto University. He has, ever since obtaining his degree, devoted himself to active work for the T. S. Mr. Lazenby studied the New Psychology under Prof. Jung, of Zurich, a great advantage to a close student of the "Secret Doctrine," which he has been for many years.
That the long article of Mr. Loftus Hare in the February Occult Review is as convincing an exposure of the pretended clairvoyance of "Bishop" Leadbeater as the article on Occult Chemistry, which appeared n Dawn last November. Analyzing one of the supposed lives of Col. Olcott, nicknamed Ulysses, Mr. Hare has now discovered that every element in this story is to be found in the work of a well-know Persian poet, Firdausi, the name of whose work is the Shahnameh. Firdausi was born at Tus, in Khorrasan, about A.D. 950. An English translation has existed since 1832, and was reprinted in Sir John Lubbock's "Hundred Books" by Routledge a generation ago. Mr. Leadbeater (he remarks) has added not a single idea to the epic story, which can be found on pages 246-320 of this book. There are omissions and differences in the spelling of the names, which are illustrated thus:
The Shohnomeh C. W. Leadbeater's Version
Lohurasp Lohrasp, the King of Persia
Gushtasp Vishtaspa, his successor
The King of Rum (Rome) Another King in "the West"
Kitabun This King's daughter
Zerdusht, the Guber (Magian) Zarathustra, the prophet
Arjasp, the King of Chin (Tsiu) The King of Tartary
Isfendiyar Isfandehar, Vishtaspa's son
108 years' reign Vishtaspa's 60 years' reign
Bahman Banian, Isfandehar's son, and successor of Vishtaspa
Even the story of an arrow striking the hero in the eye appears in both the Shahnameh and the Leadbeater story; but the trouble is, that Gushtasp and Zarathustra really appear in history around the year 517 B.C. not 1528 B.C.! What has "Bishop" Leadbeater to say?
That Dr. Steiner's beautiful headquarters in Switzerland, erected at a cost, it is said, of L250,000, were burnt down on New Year's Eve. Incendiarism is suspected. The buildings are only partially covered by insurance. Dawn hears that all activities are being conducted as usual.
That a Californian subscriber sends an order for "the unique periodical Dawn," and says, with much truth: "Such work as you are doing is badly needed at times, and today is such a time, and while the task can hardly be pleasant, it is bound to produce a salutary effect."
That Mr. J.M. Prentice was recently elected President of the Hobart Lodge by an overwhelming vote. He is a tireless worker, taking a succession of T.S. classes and lectures, and not forgetting the interests of the Diggers, whose Executive Committee (Returned Soldiers' League) claims him as a prominent member.
That the statement that the Theosophical Society in India has become a byword seems to be supported by last year's Report. Membership has fallen from 7,344 in 1917, to 5,016 last December, that is, five years of professed progress, if one could believe the published accounts, is represented by a net loss of 2,328 members. Why not try some H.P.B. Theosophy?
That Sydney Lodge Headquarters have had a badly-needed spring cleaning. The painters have cleansed the building in and out. Already members notice a much improved atmosphere. But perhaps that is more the result of the fine spirit that now animates the Lodge, and the genuine feeling of co-operation and brotherliness that finds expression there, than of the whitewash.
That Mrs. Besant is as versatile as ever will be seem by reference to The Theosophist (February, 1923). She quotes at length a ridiculous caricature of H.P.B. by a Baptist minister, preaching somewhere in Australia, to show, as she says, "the kind of weapons used in the attack on my colleague and myself." This quotation is cleverly made to appear a part of the T.S. Loyalty League "attack," as Mrs. Besant calls it.
That the Australian General Secretary solemnly complains that the T.S. Loyalty League has usurped the functions of the T.S. officials in adopting its third clause: "Loyalty to the good name of the Society, and the investigation of the bona-fides of individuals or institutions claiming recognition from it.'' But what are the said T.S. officials doing about it? What are Mrs. Besant, as President; Mr. Jinarajadasa, as Vice-President; Dr. Bean, as General Secretary, doing? What have they all been doing about the Wedgwood scandal; the L.C.C. scandal; the Leadbeater, 1914, and later scandal?
That Hobart is living up to its best traditions, and they go back to the pioneer work of one of the finest students of Judaist literature in Australia - the late Mr. Susman. This generation knows only the son, for the most part, and he is always a quiet, strong influence, with a useful leaning to the intellectual. The most important activity, as well as the best attended, in connection with the Hobart Lodge, is the New Psychology class which Mr. Prentice conducts. This is probably because the class is not directly recognized as "Theosophical," and our friend is able to speak his mind "freely and at length."
Mrs. Besant says (February Theosophist) that "Mr. Martyn... lectured on the Masters, in whom he professed belief, but described them in terms which caused laughter in the Sydney Lodge." Another spiteful little fib of the President's, as everybody in the Sydney Lodge knows.
That a meeting of the Synod of the L.C.C. was recently held in London, and to help to solve the problems to be discussed, a woman clairvoyant was consulted, and the records of the three prime characters in a recent confession drama locked up on the astral plane. Women may mot be eligible for the Apostolic Succession, but they have their uses!
That when the earlier "clairvoyant" books were published they were invariably introduced with a declaration that all investigations had been carefully checked. One never hears anything of checks now; and such an assurance has never been hinted at in regard to "the lives of Alcyone" and all that sort of stuff.
That Mrs. Besant declares in February Theosophist: "I have been asked to use the powers I hold under the rules of the association to expel the assailants" (the people who ask her, in the interests of truth and morality, to hold an enquiry. -Eds. Dawn.) "I absolutely decline to do anything of the sort. I will never use powers vested in me under any constitution to expel those who attack myself or my personal character." Is this why Dr. Bean has failed in his excited effort to get the Charter of the Sydney Lodge, which he so cordially hates, cancelled?
That Mr. Jinarajadasa asks T.S. members for more money for what he calls "The T.S. Purposes Fund." He says contributions will be disbursed by the President to help the Theosophical Schools and Colleges; to assist the Order of the Brothers of Service; and to subsidize New India (Mrs. Besant's political paper), the circulation of which has fallen so low that there is a heavy monthly deficit. Dawn suggests that a better use for members' money is to devote it to T.S. reform. This suggestion will especially appeal to certain old members who have lavished their wealth on Mrs. Besant's various undertakings, and lived long enough to find her pouring the vial of her wrath upon them in her magazines.
The outstanding event of the last month, so far as Theosophy in Sydney is concerned, has undoubtedly been the visit of Mrs. A.L. Cleather, a personal pupil of H.P.B. and the authoress of several books, including the best biography of H.P.B. we have yet seen ("H.P.. Blavatsky - Her Life and Work fur Humanity").
Owing to the very limited time at her disposal, Mrs. Cleather and her panty were only able to remain in Sydney a fortnight or so, but the value of her visit is incalculable.
Great as the value of her meetings was to the average member, even more so was it to the students. Mrs. Cleather's intimate knowledge of H.P.B. and her teachings, and of the intrigue which occurred before and following the events of 1894-5 (or the "Judge Split," as it has come to be called), and the events of 1907, when Mrs. Besant "succeeded" Colonel Olcott, has supplied many hitherto missing pieces to the puzzle of Theosophical politics, and has indicated lines of future work, definite and single-pointed.
Mrs. Cleather was at her best at the meetings confined to former E.S. students, and although that aspect of her work cannot be commented on here, it may be said that the plans for the revival of the real H.P.B. Esoteric School have been completed, and that, in accordance with H.P.B.'s definite instructions, an opportunity will shortly be given to earnest students throughout the world, such as they have not had of late years. In this connection, I have received enquiries from people at a distance from time to time, and may say here that their letters have been filed, and the writers will be communicated with in due course.
It will be well, however, for those who seek to scale the heights to remember that this will be a real Esoteric School, and that the path which leads upwards is marked by strenuous effort, punctuated by steady and continued work for others. The externals of devotion, or devotion to personalities (the life-breath of the Besant-Leadbeater School), will have to be superseded. Birthday honors in return for services rendered and the promise of lightning-like initiations will remain the property and furniture of the Leadbeater-Besant E.S.T. The H.P.B. School will bear about as much likeness to the E.S. as the University does to the kindergarten, apparently.
The Sydney Lodge will no sooner lose Mrs. Cleather than it will welcome Mr. Lazenby, whose mission will be more of an esoteric nature than Mrs. Cleather's. A brilliant lecturer, a graduate in Arts, and an advanced student, both of Theosophy and the New Psychology, his presence here will materially help the constructive policy of the Lodge.
The Sydney Lodge is now enrolling members as rapidly as it ever did, and bids to regain its old pre-eminence in the matter of numerical strength, and its Executive Committee is very satisfied at the whole-hearted manner in which public support is accorded to the Lodge.
I am told that the most childish tales are being whispered about in England and elsewhere regarding the manner in which the Sydney Lodge is said to have treated the Leadbeater adherents when they packed up and left it at Mrs. Besant's command. The story, as it reaches me, is that resigning members were not allowed to remove their belongings, and the profits of Mrs. Besant's visit were diverted into the Lodge treasury.
The allegations are, of course, untrue; but much worse things than this are seriously told to believers in Australia. No articles of private furniture were retained, and the profits resulting from Mrs. Besant's public lectures were not retained by the Lodge, but were given to Morven Garden School. They were not given to the general fund of the Section, as our candid General Secretary had stated that his time and money were to be devoted to the downfall of Sydney Lodge; but as Morven School is a Sectional activity, the ear-marking of the money for that particular purpose meant that the Section would get it, but would have to use it properly, and would not be able to misuse it. There are some wise heads left on the Sydney Executive yet.
Which point brings us to the important matter of Sydney lodge and the Australian Section of the T.S. Ever since the split, members have been wondering why the Sydney Lodge should annually pay a large sum of money to the Section, which money might be used against their interests.
To the credit of Dr. Bean, it must be stated that the fundamental dishonesty of the position has at last penetrated his mind, and in a recent letter to the Lodge he has suggested that it should withdraw from the Australian Section, and be attached directly to Adyar.
This proposition has much to commend it, and members of the Sydney Lodge will be well advised if they accept it. (Note. - This proposal has since been withdrawn by Dr. Bean, who is said to be in a more militant mood just now. - Eds.)
However, per media of Dawn, I rejoice to be able to tell the world of Sydney's doings, because our Sectional magazine will not even insert the monthly reports of its activities. Rather hard, considering that this Lodge foots so much of the cost of maintaining a General Secretary and publishing a magazine.
Advices from abroad show that the same old squabbles are still raging in various Sections. The E.S. members in England have been asked to take yet another pledge, a still more personal one, and have the pistol of expulsion pointed at their heads if they demur. And this is a fair reflection of the rest of the Society. Everywhere letters show that Mrs. Besant and her supporters have given way to a frenzy of "do as you're told," and members feel they haven't a soul to call their own.
The motive behind all this pressure is, of course, fear of the ever-increasing desire for spiritual and mental freedom, which is steadily growing in the T.S. The Besant-Leadbeater role has always been along personal "devotion" lines - the ideal of "service" is held before members' eyes, but not the ideal of self-help. "Only believe in us, and all things shall be added unto you," or, as "Humoresque" put it: "Why evolve? Let Zincwhacker do it for you!"
And what is it we are (or were) asked to believe! In the near coming (1928 or thereabouts) of the World Teacher! Is the T.S. then, a Society for the creation of the nucleus of Universal Brotherhood, or is it an Adventist sect? Our Theosophy is based on H.P.B.; what had she to say about the near coming of the World Teacher? Absolutely nothing. And yet, is it to be imagined that she, the real Messenger of the Masters to the West, didn't know about it? Such an idea is ridiculous. Would H.P.B. have gone to all the trouble to make frequent references to the next great Torch Bearer, who was to come in 1975, if the Christ Himself was coming in 1928?
And yet, from a humble and legitimate band of a few workers, who tried to prepare themselves to recognize the Christ if he ever did come, the Order of the Star has been adopted by the T.S.; and if you don't believe that the Christ is coming, you must get out of the E.S. and you have no right to be in the T.S. at all, as one ignorant fanatic once told me!
Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater have over-stepped the mark. What are they going to do in 1928 if the Christ does not come? Are they going to foist a substitute on the credulous E.S. members, and so forge the last link in their chain of blasphemy? Or are they going to back down, and say they were "mistaken"? And, if a substitute, who? Will Mrs. Besant announce that Mr. Leadbeater has been "over-shadowed" or vice versa? Whatever is done, there is trouble ahead for them, as for all people who start something they can't finish.
Mrs. Cleather said at one of her meetings that A.B.'s best period of work was while she was under H.P.B.'s personal influence, and that H.P.B. then guided her erratic genius to good effect. This is not new; it was said by Bhagavan Das in 1913, and he went further by pointing out how the cause of A.B.'s downfall (personal ambition) had occurred. He said, and said truly, that from a desire to save mankind, Mrs. Besant had become obsessed with the desire to be regarded as a savior of mankind. A distinction with a fatal difference.
This is an ambition worthy of a spiritual Napoleon, but it is disastrous in the case of a leader who cannot stand alone, and, as we have often pointed out, Mrs. Besant has never been able to stand alone in the spiritual regions. Not psychic herself, she has always been dependent on others to interpret for her the will of the Masters.
When her true Teacher (H.P.B.) died, she was helpless; and has had to rely ever since on others - Chakravarti and Leadbeater in succession. And the T.S. has suffered, because it has had to bear with the vagaries of Mrs. Besant's "spiritual advisers,'' as well as being subjected to the explosions of her own fitful spark.
Under these circumstances it is no wonder that the work has suffered.
The T.S. is in desperate need of the work of the T.S. Loyalty League, which is trying to wean it away from the attitude of open-mouthed credulity, into which it has descended under the Besant-Leadbeater regime, back to the virile independence of H.P.B.'s teaching; and Mrs. Cleather merits the hearty thanks off the whole Society for the invaluable help she has given us towards this end.
In spite of taking up more space than usual this month, I must quote the following advertisements, which appeared in a Wellington (N.Z.) paper recently, one under the other: -
"Theosophical Society, 19 Marion Street, Meeting, Sunday, 7 p.m. Speaker, Mr. J.R. Thomson, General Secretary."
"Liberal Catholic Church, 19 Marion Street, Holy Eucharist, Sunday 11 a.m. Celebrant, Rev. J. Ross Thomson."
This is the way in which New Zealand proves to the world that in its fair demesne there is no official connection - no, none whatever - between the T.S. and the L.C.C. Yet everybody tells us that in the Dominion the twain have become one, and that the L.C.C. has swallowed up the T.S. which is rapidly dying out there.
The T.S. in Western Australia seems determined to follow the bad example set by New Zealand. I have just received a list of the Officers of the Perth Lodge for 1923, and out of a total of 14 officers, 10 (including the President, Vice-Presidents, Secretary, and Treasurer) are active members of the L.C.C. while two more are known to be entirely in sympathy with that body. This, of course, should make for harmony (that blessed word).
New applicants for T.S. applicants at Perth must be prepared to be in sympathy with the L.C. proclivities of the Lodge or stop out.
The Letter Box
The Editor, Dawn
Sir, - Some time ago you generously found space for a letter in which the T.S. was likened to a tree, while the subsidiary movements connected with it were compared to Rata vines, living parasitically upon their host.
A glance at the New Zealand Convention report now to hand will serve to show that the Ratas are attaining sufficient size to powerfully affect their host.
I quote from Theosophy in New Zealand:
"Sixty-five members had joined the Society; the losses by death, resignation. and transfer were 53, and 110 had lapsed, leaving a present membership of 1,283." (Membership last year 1,385.)
Educational Trust report:
''The income and expenditure account showed a loss on the year of L271. In addition to this, the steamer fares from England of the Principal and his family, amounting to L172, were written off. . . . The contract with Mr. and Mrs. Fernyhough had terminated, and the Board proposed during 1923 to let the large house in flats, and to carry on a Junior day school only, taking children from five years of age up to and including pupils in Standard Ill.'' The Section Treasurer, Miss G.M. Hemus, then presented her statement of accounts, commenting on the steady decline, during recent years of the Voluntary Fund."
Comment on the above items is needless, but it is interesting to note that while the year 1921 was one of stagnation so far as the T.S. in new Zealand is concerned, the year 1922 has witnessed the retrogression of the Society, both as regards membership and finance.
The Plot Against Sydney Lodge
The T.S. Loyalty League
Sir, - An attempt is being made by the General Secretary of the Theosophical Society in Australia, Dr. Bean, to obtain authority to cancel the diplomas of such T.S. members "as are known to be members of the T.S. Loyalty League.'' and also to withdraw the Charter of the Sydney Lodge T.S. because of its asserted sympathy with your League. The means employed by Dr. Bean to accomplish his purpose appear to me to be open to grave objection, because of their underhand and secret nature. He does not propose to openly charge those he complains of with any offence, but asks authority of a few of his friends, whom he calls his "Executive," for authority to carry out his designs. The T.S. Loyalty League and its members should know of this intention directly from Dr. Bean, but as that straightforward procedure does not seem to be contemplated by him, I am taking it upon myself, as President of the Sydney Lodge T.S. to hand you herewith a letter which my Lodge has recently received from Dr. Bean (dated February 27th), and of my reply to it.
Yours, etc. etc.
President Sydney Lodge T.S.
We regret that we are unable to find space for the letter referred to, or for Mr. Martyn's reply. We, however, refer readers, who wish to peruse the correspondence, to the Secretary of the Sydney Lodge, who, no doubt has the copies on his file. - Eds.)
Answers to Correspondents
"Subscriber" (Auckland): You send money-order for renewal, issued from "Upper Symonds Street P.O." Please let us have your name. -- Mrs. H. (Surrey, England): Thanks for subs. and good wishes. -- Miss J. (Stoke Fleming): Thanks, sub. received. Extra copy posted. -- M.K. (Echuca): Regret heavy pressure on our space prevents publication. Hope to insert in in early issue. -- J.L. (Hull): Yes, the response from England is very gratifying. Thanks for subs. -- J.S. (Melbourne): First consignment of "H.P.B. Life.-" exhausted in few days. Booking your order. -- B.T.M. (Kimberly, S.A.): Forwarding "Spiritual Leadership." You write a splendid letter. -- Mrs. M. (Winnipeg, Can.): The "Key to Theosophy," as originally printed, can be obtained front the United Lodge of Theosophists, Los Angeles. -- A.R. (Townsville): Renewal to hand. Thanks. -- D.H. (Auckland): Extra copies posted. Trust there will be no further trouble. -- Miss A.B.R. (Scranton, Penn.): Our capacity to circulate Dawn is infinite. Thanks for donation. -- Y.A.R. ( Perth, W.A..): Yes, we hope to have Mr. Wadia in the near future. He is at present doing splendid work in New York for the United Lodge. -- Ellipius (Hobart): What is the next move? Astral excursions don't impress us. Try a physical one. -- E.E.G. (Adelaide): We are not particularly interested. The gentleman was last reported to be "taking the waters" at Vichy, France.
H. P. BLAVATSKY: A GREAT BETRAYAL
By ALICE LEIGHTON CLEATHER
(One of Her Pupils)
A NOTABLE BOOK
This remarkable book strikingly establishes the fact that H. P. Blavatsky is, and must always be, the Messenger and Mouthpiece of the Masters of Wisdom until towards the close of this century. Specially prepared and trained by these Great Teachers in Thibet for seven years, this author claims that H. P. Blavatsky came fitted for her mission; able, too, to think, act, and speak for the world's Elder Brothers.
How baseless are the claims made by those who have introduced Neo-Theosophy and themselves to the worship of the Theosophical Society, to the detriment of the universality insisted on by H.P. Blavatsky, is shown in these pages.
It is hoped that this little book will inspire many of those who have been driven out of the ranks of the Society in late years, to return to it, and to unite with the T.S. Loyalty League in different parts of the world in a grand effort to reinstate H.P. Blavatsky, her Theosophy, and her plan for the future of the Society as the resumed policy of our intended world movement.
- Foreword. Introductory.
- Mr. William Kingsland on the Crisis of 1906.
- M. M. Schure and Levy on the Crisis of 1913.
- Mrs. Besant's "Return of the Christ."
- Fundamental Causes: Some Occult Methods.
- H. P. Blavatsky on True Occultism.
- Mrs. Besant's Responsibility and the Madras Law-Suits.
- The Central Hindu College: An Indian Criticism.
- Mrs. Besant's Latest Assertions and Claims Examined.
- Tampering with H.P. Blavatsky's Writings.
- The Truth about the E.S. Council and the Inner Group.
- The Australian Crisis, etc.
Price, 1/6, Post Free Address Orders to:
Editor, Dawn, Box 1459, G.P.O. Sydney, N.S.W. Australia
[[Below is the inside front cover in all the first two volumes:]]
The T. S. Loyalty League
What It Is and What It Stands For
Foreword - The T.S. Loyalty League had its birth in Sydney, Australia, August, 1921, and between one hundred and two hundred members of the Sydney Lodge attached themselves to it within a few days of the adoption of its platform.
The Theosophical Society appeals to those who join it because of its international ideals; because it aims at making Universal Brotherhood possible; because it seeks to plant itself in every corner of the world and form amongst all sorts and conditions of people centers which represent its objects; because no other existing organization offers any real promise of universality; because supreme and confident faith in the inherent Divinity of man and the Fatherhood of God inspires service to such a cause.
The Founders of the Society realized that to enable it to succeed a new habit of studied neutrality towards all other organizations must be formed in its ranks. They realized clearly that the one rock on which the Society as a Universal movement was most likely to be wrecked was the tendency towards sectarianism inherent in those who joined. Madam Blavatsky left on record her fears on this head in "The Key to Theosophy," and the last chapter in that book on "The Future of the Theosophical Society" is a very telling introduction to the T.S. Loyalty League.
Though intended in the first instance to help the work of the Sydney Lodge, many enquiries have come in from places at a distance, and the League may well become a rallying ground for members of the Theosophical Society in other parts of the world, who still regard its first object as of paramount importance.
If, indeed, wide co-operation at the present time makes possible greater interchange of fraternal interest; if it should provide a bond of sympathy and mutual regard all through the world, it may help the Society to achieve where hitherto it has failed; for we sadly lack a mutual knowledge of one another, and our various sections lose something of the wider spirit by comparative isolation. With a view to meeting this need, the T.S. Loyalty League provides an Hon. Organizer, hoping with his cooperation to keep in touch with sympathizers in other parts of the world.
The League is not a separatist movement, but an expression of the desire of all true Theosophists to preserve individual liberty and to prevent any member from enforcing the acceptance of his or her personal opinions on the Society as a whole.
The League adopts the broadest principles of democracy, believing these to be necessary to Universalism. It has no President, and its policy is guided by a Council elected by its members annually.
There are no fees of any kind, but voluntary donations will, at all times, be gratefully received.
The Headquarters of the League are in Sydney, and members of the T.S. resident elsewhere who desire to form branches are invited to communicate - with the Honorary Organizer or Honorary Secretary.
OBJECTS OF THE LEAGUE :
1. Loyalty to the established Objects of the Theosophical Society.
2. Loyalty to the maintenance of an absolutely non-sectarian platform, and resistance to any action or movement likely to endanger the neutrality of the Society even in appearance.
3. Loyalty to the good name of the Society, and the investigation of the bonafides of individuals or institutions claiming recognition from it.
The League proposes to encourage greater attention to methods for establishing and maintaining a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity; to the study of the early literature of the Society, and of modern science.
It is believed that it is important to encourage in our members faith in their own inherent Divinity so emphasized in the writings of the Founders: and to seek in that the Laws of right thinking, right feeling, and right conduct.
It is believed that the present condition of the Society calls for organization on the part of those of its members who have been attracted to it by its splendid universality, its avoidance of sectarian restrictions, and its encouragement of all shades of thought and opinion.
It is believed that all these great principles have, during late years, become endangered.
Membership of the League is restricted to those F.T.S. who are prepared to subscribe IN WRITING to its Objects, and whose applications are accepted by the council of the League.
Hon. Secretary: Mr. J. E. Greig.
Hon. Organizer: Mr. L. Ingamells
Hon. Treasurer: Mr. E. Eberle
Postal Address: Box 1489, G.P.O. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
[[Back cover - member and subscription forms]]
The T.S. Loyalty League
- APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP.
I have read the Objects of the T.S. Loyalty League, as printed on page 2, and, being in full accord with them, I hereby apply to become a member: -
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(Tear Off Here)
The Editor, "DAWN,"
Box 1439, G.P.O. Sydney, N.S.W.
or The Hon. Secretary, T.S. Loyalty League
Please enroll me as a subscriber to "DAWN." I enclose ----------- being subscription for one year of six issues, post free, and ---------- as a donation to the League.
Name (in full) ---------------- (State whether Mr. Mrs. or Miss)
"DAWN" is published on alternate months.
Annual subscription, postage paid, Australia, 3/9; outside Australia, 4/3; single copy 9d.