The presiding genius in the Daily News Office runs amuck at LUCIFER in his issue of February 16th. He makes merry over the presumed distress of some theosophists who see in our serial novel, "The Talking Image of Urur" by our colleague, Dr. F. Hartmann an attempt to poke fun at the Theosophical Society. Thereupon, the witty editor quizzes "Madame Blavatsky" for observing that she "does not agree with the view" taken by some pessimists; and ends by expressing fear that "the misgivings that have been awakened will not easily be laid to rest."
Ride, si sapis. It is precisely because it is our desire that the "misgivings" awakened should reach those in whom the sense of personality and conceit has not yet entirely stifled their better feelings, and force them to recognize themselves in the mirror offered to them in the "Talking Image," that we publish the "satirical" novel.
This proceeding of ours rather unusual, to be sure, for editors to publish a satire, which seems to the short-sighted to be aimed at their gods and parties only because they are unable to sense the underlying philosophy and moral in them, has created quite a stir in the dailies.
The various Metropolitan Press Cutting Agencies are pouring every morning on our breakfast-table their load of criticism, advice, and comment upon the rather novel policy. So, for instance, a kindly-disposed correspondent of the Lancashire Evening Post (February 18) writes as follows:
The more so as, according to those members of the T.S. who have read the whole story, it is precisely "Madame Blavatsky" against whom its satire is the most directed. And if "Mme. Blavatsky" presumably "the Talking Image" does not object to finding herself represented as a kind of mediumistic poll parrot, why should other "theosophists" object? A theosophist above all men ought ever to bear in mind the advice of Epictetus: "If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself; if it be a lie, laugh at it." We welcome a witty satire always, and defy ridicule or any efforts in this direction to kill the Theosophical Society, so long as it, as a body, remains true to its original principles.
As to the other dangers so kindly urged by the Post, the "high priestess" acknowledges the benevolent objections by answering and giving her reasons, which are these: The chosen motto of the Theosophical Society has been for years "There is no religion higher than truth"; the object of LUCIFER is in the epigraph on its cover, which is "to bring to light the hidden things of darkness." If the editor of LUCIFER and the Theosophists would not belie these two propositions and be true to their colours, they have to deal with perfect impartiality, sparing no more themselves than outsiders, or even their enemies. As to the "weak-minded theosophists" if any they can take care of themselves in the way they please. If the "false prophets of Theosophy" are to be left untouched, the true prophets will be very soon as they have already been confused with the false. It is nigh time to winnow our corn and cast away the chaff. The T.S. is becoming enormous in its numbers, and if the false prophets, the pretenders (e.g., the "H.B. of L.," exposed in Yorkshire by Theosophists two years ago, and the "G.N.K.R." just exposed in America), or even the weak-minded dupes, are left alone, then the Society threatens to become very soon a fanatical body split into three hundred sects like Protestantism each hating the other, and all bent on destroying the truth by monstrous exaggerations and idiotic schemes and shams. We do not believe in allowing the presence of sham elements in Theosophy, because of the fear, forsooth, that if even "a false element in the faith" is ridiculed, the latter "is apt to shake the confidence" in the whole. At this rate Christianity would be the first to die out centuries ago under the sledge-hammer blows dealt to its various churches by its many reformers. No philosopher, no mystic or student of symbolism, can ever laugh at or disbelieve in the sublime allegory and conception of the "Second Advent" whether in the person of Christ, Krishna, Sosiosh, or Buddha. The Kalki Avatar, or last (not "second") Advent, to wit, the appearance of the "Saviour of Humanity" or the "Faithful" light of Truth, on the White Horse of Death death to falsehood, illusion, and idol, or self-worship is a universal belief. Shall we for all that abstain from denouncing the behaviour of certain "Second Adventists" (as in America)? What true Christians shall see their co-religionists making fools of themselves, or disgracing their faith, and still abstain from rebuking them publicly as privately, for fear lest this false element should throw out of Christianity the rest of the believers? Can any of them praise his co-religionists for climbing periodically, in a state of paradisiacal decolleté, on the top of their houses, trees, and high places, there to await the "advent"? No doubt those who hope by stealing a march on their slower Brethren to find themselves hooked up the first, and carried bodily into Heaven, are as good Christians as any. Should they not be rebuked for their folly all the same? Strange logic!
However it may be, let rather our ranks be made thinner, than the Theosophical Society go on being made a spectacle to the world through the exaggerations of some fanatics, and the attempts of various charlatans to profit by a ready-made programme. These, by disfiguring and adapting Occultism to their own filthy and immoral ends, bring disgrace upon the whole movement. Some writer remarked that if one would know the enemy against whom he has to guard himself the most, the looking-glass will give him the best likeness of his face. This is quite true. If the first object of our Society be not to study one's own self, but to find fault with all except that self, then, indeed, the T.S. is doomed to become and it already has in certain centres a Society for mutual admiration; a fit subject for the satire of so acute an observer as we know the author of "The Talking Image of Urur" to be. This is our view and our policy. "And be it, indeed, that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself."
That such, however, is the policy of no other paper we know a daily, a weekly, a monthly, or a quarterly we are quite aware. But, then, they are the public organs of the masses. Each has to pander to this or that other faction of politics or Society, and is doomed "to howl with the wolves," whether it likes or not. But our organs LUCIFER pre-eminently are, or ought to be, the phonographs, so to speak, of the Theosophical Society, a body which is placed outside and beyond all centres of forced policy. We are painfully conscious that "he who tells the truth is turned out of nine cities"; that truth is unpalatable to most men; and that since men must learn to love the truth before they thoroughly believe it the truths we utter in our magazine are often as bitter as gall to many. This cannot be helped. Were we to adopt any other kind of policy, not only LUCIFER a very humble organ of Theosophy but the Theosophical Society itself, would soon lose all its raison d'être and become an anomaly.
But "who shall sit in the seat of the scorner?" Is it the timid in heart, who tremble at every opinion too boldly expressed in LUCIFER lest it should displease this faction of readers or give offense to that other class of subscribers? Is it the "self-admirers," who resent every remark, however kindly expressed, if it happens to clash with their notions, or fails to show respect to their hobbies?
Surely we learn better and profit more by criticism than by flattery, and we amend our ways more through the abuse of our enemies than the blind pandering of friends. Such satires as the "Fallen Idol," and such chelas as Nebelsen, have done more good to our Society, and certain of its members, than any "theosophical" novel; for they have shown up and touched au vif the foolish exaggerations of more than one enthusiast.
Self abnegation is possible only to those who have learnt to know themselves; to such as will never mistake the echo of their own inner voice that of selfish desire or passion for the voice of divine inspiration or an appeal from their MASTER. Nor is chelaship consonant with mediumistic sensitiveness and its hallucinations; and therefore all the sensitives who have hitherto forced themselves into discipleship have generally made fools of themselves, and? sooner or later, thrown ridicule upon the T.S. But after the publication of the "Fallen Idol" more than one such exhibition was stopped. "The Talking Image of Urur" may then render the same, if not better, service. If some traits in its various dramatis personæ fit in some particulars certain members who still belong to the Society, other characters and the most successful of them resemble rather certain EX-members; fanatics, in the past, bitter enemies now conceited fools at all times. Furthermore "Puffer" is a compound and very vivid photograph. It may be that of several members of the T.S., but it looks also like a deluded victim of other bogus Esoteric and Occult Societies. One of such just sprung up at Boston U.S.A., is now being nipped in the bud and exposed by our own Theosophists.
These are the "Solar adepts" spoken of in our January editorial, the âmes damnées of shameful commercial enterprises. No event could vindicate the policy of our journal better than the timely exposure of these pseudo-adepts, those "Sages of the Ages" who bethought themselves of trading upon the public hunger for the marvellous ad absurdum. We did well to speak of them in the editorial as we have. It was timely and lucky for us to have pointed to the ringleaders of that shameful speculation the sale of bogus occult knowledge. For we have averted thereby a great and new danger to the Society namely that of unscrupulous charlatans being taken for Theosophists. Misled by their lies and their publications filled with terms from Eastern philosophy and with ideas they had bodily stolen from us only to disfigure and misapply them the American press has already referred to them as Theosophists. Whether out of sheer flippancy, or actual malice, some dailies have headed their sensational articles with "Theosophic Knaves," and "Pantognomostic Theosophs," etc., etc. This is pure fiction. The editor of the "Esoteric" had never been at any time a member of our society, or of any of its numerous Branches. "ADHY-APAKA, alias the Hellenic ETHNOMEDON and ENPHORON, alias the Greco-Tibetan, Ens-movens OM mane padmi AUM" (sic) was our enemy from the beginning of his career. As impudently stated by him to a reporter, we theosophists hated him for his "many virtues"! Nor has the Sage "bent under the weight of centuries," the VIDYA NYAIKA, said to be represented by a person called Eli Ohmart, had anything to do with the T.S. The two worthies had, like two venomous wily spiders, spread their webs far and wide, and numerous are the Yankee flies caught in them. But thanks to the energy of some of our Boston Members, the two hideous desecrators of Eastern philosophy are exposed. In the words of the "Boston Globe," this is the
These are the heroes whom certain timid Theosophists those who raised their voices against the publication of the "Talking Image of Urur "advised us to leave alone. Had it not been for that unwillingness to expose even impersonal things and deeds, our editorial would have been more explicit. Far from us be the desire to "attack" or "expose" even our enemies, so long as they harm only ourselves, personally and individually. But here the whole of the Theosophical body already so maligned, opposed, and persecuted was endangered, and its destinies were hanging in the balance, because of that impudent pseudo esoteric speculation. He, therefore, who maintains in the face of the Boston scandal, that we did not act rightly in tearing off the sanctimonious mask of Pecksniffian piety and the "Wisdom of the Ages" which covered the grimacing face of a most bestial immorality, of insatiable greediness for lucre and impudence, fire, water, and police proof is no true Theosophist. How minds, even of an average intelligence, could be caught by such transparent snares as these publicly exhibited by the two worthies, to wit: Adhy-Apaka and Vidya Nyaika traced by the American press to one Hiram E. Butler and Eli Ohmart passes all comprehension! Suffice to read the pamphlet issued by the two confederates, to see at the first glance that it was a mere repetition more enlarged and barefaced, and with a wider, bolder programme, still a repetition of the now defunct "H.B. of L." with its mysterious appeals of four years ago to the "Dissatisfied" with "the Theosophical Mahatmas." The two hundred pages of the wildest balderdash constitute their "Appeal from the Unseen and the Unknown" and the "Interior of the Inmost" (?) to "the Awakened." Pantognomos and Ekphoron offer to teach the unwary "the laws of ENS, MOVENS, and OM," and appeal for money. Vidya Nyaika and Ethnomedon propose to initiate the ignorant into the "a priori Sambudhistic (?) philosophy of Kapila" and beg for hard cash. The story is so sickening that we dislike to stain our pages with its details. But now to the moral of the fable.
CLUTCHED THE SHADOW
For fourteen years our Theosophical Society has been before the public. Born with the three-fold object of infusing a little more mutual brotherly feeling in mankind; of investigating the mysteries of nature from the Spiritual and Psychic aspect; and, of doing a tardy justice to the civilizations and Wisdom of Eastern pre-Christian nations and literature, if it did not do all the good that a richer Society might, it certainly did no harm. It appealed only to those who found no help for their perplexities anywhere else. To those lost in the psychic riddles of Spiritualism, or such, again, as, unable to stand the morbid atmosphere of modern unbelief, and seeking light in vain from the unfathomable mysteries taught by the theology of the thousand and one Christian sects, had given up all hope of solving any of the problems of life. There was no entrance fee during the first two years of the Society's existence; afterwards, when the correspondence and postage alone demanded hundreds of pounds a year, new members had to pay £I for their diploma. Unless one wanted to support the movement, one could remain a Fellow all his life without being asked for a penny, and two-thirds of our members have never put their hand in their pocket, nor were they asked to do so. Those who supported the cause were from the first a few devoted Theosophists who laboured without conditions or any hope for reward. Yet no association was more insulted and laughed at than was the Theosophical Society. No members of any body were spoken of in more contemptuous terms than the Fellows of the T.S. from the first. The Society was born in America, and therefore it was regarded in England with disfavour and suspicion. We were considered as fools and knaves, victims and frauds before the benevolent interference of the Psychic Research Society, which tried to build its reputation on the downfall of Theosophy and Spiritualism, but really harmed neither. Nevertheless, when our enemies got the upper hand, and by dint of slander and inventions had most maliciously succeeded in placing before the credulous public, ever hungry for scandals and sensations, mere conjectures as undeniable and proven facts, it was the American press which became the most bitter in its denunciations of Theosophy, and the American public the most willing to drink in and giggle over the undeserved calumnies upon the Founders of the T.S. Yet it is they who were the first told, through our Society, of the actual existence of Eastern Adepts in Occult Sciences. But both the English and the Americans spurned and scoffed at the very idea, while even the Spiritualists and Mystics, who ought to have known better, would, with a few exceptions, have nothing to do with heathen Masters of Wisdom. The latter were, they maintained, "invented by the Theosophists": it was all "moonshine." For these "Masters," whom no member was ever asked to accept, unless he liked to do so himself, on whose behalf no supernatural claim was ever made, unless, perhaps, in the too ardent imagination of enthusiasts; these Masters who gave to, and often helped with money, poor Theosophists, but never asked anything of the rich these MASTERS were too much like real men. They neither claimed to be gods nor spirits, nor did they pander to people's gush and sentimental creeds. And now those Americans have got at last what their hearts yearned for: a bona fide ideal of an adept and magician. A creature several thousand years old. A true-blue "Buddhist-Brahmin" who appeals to Jehovah, or Jahveh, speaks of Christ and the Messianic cycle, and blesses them with an AMEN and an "OM MANE PADMI HUM" in the same breath, relieving them at the same time of 40,000 dollars before they are a month old in their worship of him . . . Wullahy! Allah is great and "Vidya Nyaika" is his only prophet. Indeed we feel little pity for the victims. What is the psychology that some Theosophists are accused of exercising over their victims in comparison with this? And this necessitates a few words of explanation.
All know that there is a tacit, often openly-expressed, belief among a few of the Fellows of the T.S. that a certain prominent Theosophist among the leaders of the Society psychologizes all those who happen to come within the area of that individual's influence. Dozens, nay, hundreds, were, and still are, "psychologized." The hypnotic effect seems so strong as to virtually transform all such "unfortunates" into irresponsible nincompoops, mere cyphers and tools of that theosophical Circe. This idiotic belief was originally started by some "wise men" of the West. Unwilling to admit that the said person had either any knowledge or powers, bent on discrediting their victim, and yet unable to explain certain abnormal occurrences, they hit upon this happy and logical loop-hole to get out of their difficulties. The theory found a grateful and fruitful soil. Henceforth, whenever any Fellows connected theosophically with the said "psychologizer" happen to disagree in their views upon questions, metaphysical or even purely administrative, with some other member "on despotism bent," forthwith the latter comes out with the favourite solution: "Oh, they are psychologized!" The magic WORD springs out on the arena of discussion like a Jack-in-a-box, and forthwith the attitude of the "rebels" is explained and plausibly accounted for.
Of course the alleged "psychology" has really no existence outside the imagination of those who are too vain to allow any opposition to their all-wise and autocratic decrees on any other ground than phenomenal nay, magical interference with their will. A short analysis of the Karmic effects that would be produced by the exercise of such powers may prove interesting to theosophists.
Even on the terrestrial, purely physical plane, moral irresponsibility ensures impunity. Parents are answerable for their children, tutors and guardians for their pupils and wards, and even the Supreme Courts have admitted extenuating circumstances for criminals who are proved to have been led to crime by a will or influences stronger than their own. How much more forcibly this law of simple retributive justice must act on the psychic plane; and what, therefore, may be the responsibility incurred by using such psychological powers, in the face of Karma and its punitive laws, may be easily inferred. Is it not evident that, if even human justice recognizes the impossibility of punishing an irrational idiot, a child, a minor, etc., taking into account even hereditary causes and bad family influences that the divine Law of Retribution, which we call KARMA, must visit with hundredfold severity one who deprives reasonable, thinking men of their free will and powers of ratiocination? from the occult standpoint, the charge is simply one of black magic, of envoûtement. Alone a Dugpa, with "Avitchi" yawning at the further end of his life cycle, could risk such a thing. Have those so prompt to hurl the charge at the head of persons in their way, ever understood the whole terrible meaning implied in the accusation? We doubt it. No occultist, no intelligent student of the mysterious laws of the "night side of Nature," no one who knows anything of Karma, would ever suggest such an explanation. What adept or even a moderately-informed chela would ever risk an endless future by interfering with, and therefore taking upon himself, the Karmic debit of all those whom he would so psychologize as to make of them merely the tools of his own sweet will!
This fact seems so evident and palpably flagrant, that it is absurd to have to recall it to those who boast of knowing all about Karma.
Is it not enough to bear the burden of the knowledge that from birth to death, the least, the most unimportant, unit of the human family exercises an influence over, and receives in his turn, as unconsciously as he breathes, that of every other unit whom he approaches, or who comes in contact with him? Each of us either adds to or diminishes the sum total of human happiness and human misery, "not only of the present, but of every subsequent age of humanity," as shown so ably by Elihu Burritt, who says:
These are the words of a profound thinker. And if the simple fact of our living changes the sum of human weal and woe in a way for which we are, owing to our ignorance, entirely irresponsible what must be the Karmic decree in the matter of influencing hundreds of people by an act perpetrated and carried on for years in premeditation and the full consciousness of what we are doing!
Verily the man or woman in the unconscious possession of such dangerous powers had much better never be born. The Occultist who exercises them consciously will be caught up by the whirlwind of successive rebirths, without even an hour of rest. Woe to him, then, in that ceaseless, dreary series of terrestrial Avitchis; in that interminable a on of torture, suffering, and despair, during which, like the squirrel doomed to turn the wheel at every motion, he will launch from one life of misery into another, only to awake each time with a fresh burden of other people's Karma, which he will have drawn upon himself! Is it not enough, indeed, to be regarded as "frauds, cranks, and infidels," by the outsiders, without being identified with wizards and witches by our own members!
It is true to say that the varieties of infidels are many, and that one "infidel" differs from another infidel as a Danish boar-hound differs from the street mongrel. A man may be the most heterodox infidel with regard to orthodox dogmas. Yet, provided he proclaims himself loudly a Christian, that heterodoxy when even going to the length of saying that "revealed religion is an imposture" will be regarded by some as simply "of that exalted kind which rises above all human forms."3
A "Christian" of such a kind may as the late Laurence Oliphant has give vent to a still more startling theory. He may affirm that he considers that "from time to time the Divine Influence emanates itself, so to speak, in phenomenal persons. Sakyamouni was such; Christ was such; and such I consider Mr. (Lake) Harris to be in fact, he is a new avatar,"4 and still remain a Christian of an "exalted kind" in the sight of the "Upper Ten." But let an "infidel" of the Theosophical Society say just the same (minus the absurdity of including the American Lake Harris in the list of the Avatars), and no contumely heaped upon him by clergy and servile newspapers will ever be found too strong!
But this belongs properly to the paradoxes of the Age; though the Avataric idea has much to do with Karma and rebirth, and that belief in reincarnation has nothing in it that can militate against the teachings of Christ. We affirm, furthermore, that the great Nazarene Adept distinctly taught it. So did Paul and the Synoptics, and nearly all the earliest Church Fathers, with scarcely an exception, accepted it, while some actually taught the doctrine.
From the sublime to the ridiculous there is but one step, and Karma acts along every line, on nations as on men. The Japanese Mikado is tottering towards his end for having played too long at hide and seek with his worshippers. Hundreds of shrewd Americans have been taken in through disbelieving in truths and lending a too credulous ear to bold lies. A French abbé has fallen under Karmic penalty for coquetting too openly with Theosophy, and attempted to mirror himself, like a modern clerical Narcissus, in the too deep waters of Eastern Occultism. The Abbé Roca, an honourary chanoine (canon) in the diocese of Perpignan, our old friend and irrepressible adversary in the French Lotus a year ago has come to grief. Yet his ambition was quite an innocent one, if rather difficult of realization. It was founded on a dream of his; a reconciliation between Pantheistic Theosophy and a Socialistic Latin Church, with a fancy Pope at the head of it. He longed to see the Masters of Wisdom of old India and Eastern Occultism under the sway of Rome regenerated, and amused himself with predicting the same. Hence a frantic race between his meridional phantasy and the clerical bent of his thought. Poor, eloquent abbe! Did he not already perceive the Kingdom of Heaven in the new Rome-Jerusalem? A new Pontiff seated on a throne made out of the cranium of Macroprosopus, with the Zohar in his right pocket, Chochmah, the male Sephiroth (transformed by the good abbe into the Mother of God), in his left, and a "Lamb" stuffed with dynamite, in the paternal Popish embrace. The "Wise Men" of the East were even now, he said, crossing the Himalayas, and, "led by the Star" of Theosophy, would soon be worshipping at the shrine of the reformed Pope and Lamb. It was a glorious dream alas, still but a dream. But he persisted in calling us the "greatest of Christian-Buddhists." (Lotus, February, 1888.) Unfortunately for himself he also called the Pope of the "Cæsaro-papal Rome" "the Satan of the seven hills," in the same number. Result: Pope Leo XIII asserts once more the proverbial ingratitude of theological Rome. He has just deprived our poetical and eloquent friend and adversary, the Abbé Roca, of the
exercise of all his functions in Holy Orders, as also of his living, for refusing to submit to a decree by which his works were placed on the Index Expurgatorius. These works bore the titles of "Christ, the Pope, and the Democracy"; "The Fatal Crisis and the Salvation of Europe"; and "The End of the World." Even in the face of the present papal decision, he is advertising the appearance of a fourth work, entitled "Glorieux Centenaire,' 1889. "Monde Nouveau." "Nouveaux Cieux, nouvelle Terre."
According to Galignani (and his own articles and letters in theosophical organs, we may add) the fearless
This is only what had to be expected. The Abbé would not accept our joint warnings and took no heed of them. The sad epilogue of our polemics is given (not altogether correctly as regards the present writer) in the same Globe, wherein the news is wound up in the following words:
This is not so. What "Mdme. Blavatsky" replied in the Lotus December 1887) to the Abbé's assertions that the said fusion between his Church and Theosophy would surely come, was this:
. . . "We are not as optimistic as he (the Abbé Roca) is. His church sees in vain her greatest 'mysteries' unmasked and the fact proclaimed in every country by scholars versed in Orientalism and Symbology as by Theosophists; and we refuse to believe that she will ever accept our truths or confess her errors. And as, on the other hand, no true theosophist will accept any more a carnalised Christ according to the Latin dogma than an anthropomorphic God, and still less a 'Pastor' in the person of a Pope, it is not the adepts who will ever go toward 'the Mount of Salvation,' (as invited by the Abbe). They will rather wait that the Mahomet of Rome should go to the trouble of taking the path which leads to Mount Meru." . . .
This is not rejecting "the authority of Christ" if the latter be regarded as we and Laurence Oliphant regarded Him, i.e. as an Avatar like Gautama Buddha and other great adepts who became the vehicles or Reincarnations of the "one" Divine influence. What most of us will never accept is the anthropomorphized "charmant docteur" of Renan, or the Christ of Torquemada and Calvin rolled into one. Jesus, the Adept we believe in, taught our Eastern doctrines, KARMA and REINCARNATION foremost of all. When the so-called Christians will have learnt to read the New Testament between the lines, their eyes will be opened and they will see.
We propose to deal with the subject of Karma and Reincarnation in our next issue. Meanwhile, we are happy to see that a fair wind is blowing over Christendom and propels European thought more and more Eastward.
Lucifer, March, 1889
H. P. Blavatsky
1 The "obvious reasons" so delicately worded are these: "the high priestess of the cult" is almost universally supposed, outside of the T.S., to have exercised her own satirical powers and "sense of humour" on her alleged and numerous victims by bamboozling them into a belief of her own invention. So be it. The tree is known by its fruits, and it is posterity which will have to decide on the nature of the fruit. ED.]
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