[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Leadbeater, Bailey.

Dec 04, 1993 03:28 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins


     O.K., since we are going to talk about C.W. Leadbeater, we
need to get the history straight. Though there are many who feel
that Theosophical history should not be discussed, I believe it
is better to have the facts available than to allow misinformation
and dis-information to circulate, because I believe wrong
information is more damaging to the Theosophical Movement than
unpleasant truths. In the case you raised, my experience is that
correct information has not been encouraged by many who seek to
defend him.

     First of all, Leadbeater was never denounced and expelled
from the Theosophical Society by Annie Besant. When the charges
were brought against him in 1906 by the American Section, they
wished to expel him, but were unable to do so because he was a
member of the British Section. So Colonel Olcott called a
hearing in London where Leadbeater was to defend himself against
the charges. Leadbeater attended the hearing but also tendered
his resignation to Olcott in advance of the hearing. The
Committee, who reviewed the charges and heard Leadbeater's
confessions, were deeply shocked and realized that Mr.
Leadbeater's actions extended beyond the original accusations of
advising children to practice "self abuse" as an occult practice,
and to keep this advice a secret from their parents. In light of
the fact that Mr. Leadbeater was an international lecturer and
held in high esteem by the membership, the committee was put into
a very difficult position. Though Mr. Leadbeater had already
tendered his resignation, it made no reference to the charges
against him. If the Committee was to issue an official
expulsion, it would specify the charges for which they found him
guilty and become a public document. The Committee felt that
this action would bring scandal unto the Theosophical Society.
Therefore, after extensive deliberation, they finally decided
that the best course to take in order to protect the Theosophical
Society was just to consent to accept his resignation, and not to
make the reasons public.

     Col. Olcott was President at the time, presided over this
Committee and made the final decisions under their advisement.
Annie Besant was not on the Committee, and in fact was never even
issued an official notice of the Committee's decision.

     Besant continued her friendship with Leadbeater, and
continued her faith in his veracity. She made a public statement
in the October 1908 issue of THE THEOSOPHIST of her intention to
continue working with him. Regarding the charges against
Leadbeater, she only acknowledged that he "advised self abuse" to
some boys. She never acknowledged an awareness of the deeper
charges against him. She announced that Leadbeater had promised
to cease giving this advice, so for Besant, the matter was
closed. What went on between Besant and Leadbeater from 1906 to
1908 to bring Besant to the position she took, is one of those
mysteries. An answer to this question might be in the
Correspondence between Besant and Leadbeater, but these letters
are E.S. property and have never been made available. Though
Leadbeater became a major figure in the E.S., I have not seen any
documentation that he was ever reinstated into the T.S.

     Regarding the validity of Leadbeater's books, I think that
is something people have to figure out for themselves. Several
studies have been done comparing Leadbeater's teachings with
Blavatsky's. The most available study is Ray Morgan's book
obtainable from Dan Caldwell. All of these studies show that
Leadbeater and Blavatsky's teachings conflict. One study even
shows Leadbeater conflicting with himself. But what does all of
this mean?  Different people have different answers to this
question. To give you an example: I will never forget the
evening when a prominent T.S. member informed me that he had read
*everything* that Blavatsky and Leadbeater had ever written, and
*never* found a single conflict between them. The scariest part
was that I think he actually believed what he said. But his
ignorance on even the most basic ideas of Blavatsky, made it
obvious that if through some miracle he had read everything, he
wasn't paying attention. I have learned however, that after
grand pronouncements such as that one, the best answer is


     Received the material and will comment directly to you a
little later.


     Thanks for resending your Nov. 12th reply. I never saw it.

     First of all, regarding letter # 54. The issue was
over a manuscript that A.O. Hume was writing on "God," for which
letter # 10 pertains to. K.H. was miffed because Hume was
distorting his teachings regarding "God," and making him an
agnostic. K.H. wanted to make it clear that his teaching that
God does *not* exist is based upon *knowledge*, not belief. Hume
could not accept K.H.'s position and wanted to represent K.H. as
not knowing. Therefore to prevent a distortion of his teachings,
K.H. threatened to have H.P.B. or D.K. who were both chelas,
speak out against Hume's mss if it became published. I don't see
how this passage "establishes the `fact' of DK being involved in
the theosophical/`hierarchical' teaching right from the time of
HPB", any more than, say Sinnett, or anyone else doing
theosophical work in association with K.H. Please enlighten me.

     Returning to your communication of Nov. 12th. You say that
you are having difficulty finding the reference because your
edition of THE SECRET DOCTRINE is not the same as AAB's. As I
recall, from my earlier investigations, I had determined that AAB
had used the three volume Adyar edition of THE SECRET DOCTRINE,
that contains Besant's 10,000 changes I mentioned earlier. I
believe that I have a cross index somewhere between this and the
original edition. When I find it, I will make a copy for you, If
I can get your address. Otherwise, just let me know the
reference in Bailey's edition, because I have a copy of this one

     Other than the above, I don't see anything else to comment
on from your Nov. 12th communication. You seem to have answered
everything completely, and for the time being, I think I pretty
well understand where you are coming from. I think our next step
after finding that lost quote, is to begin a comparison between
Blavatsky and Bailey (and perhaps Leadbeater and Besant too if
they fit into this).

     Regarding my use of the word "scholarship."  I hope that
doesn't scare anyone. Everyone is capable of scholarship, and it
takes no special exclusive training--it is simply a matter of
striving for accuracy.

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application