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

Re: Contributions of AB & CWL to Theosophy and TS

Jun 03, 1996 10:25 AM
by alexis dolgorukii

At 07:11 AM 6/3/96 -0400, you wrote:


With all due respect to you, I would like to offer some observations
regarding your remarks concerning the "contributions of A.B. and C.W.L. to
Theosophy and The theosophical Society".

>There have been some mention about the contributions of Annie Besant and C W
>Leadbeater to Theosophy and Theosophical Society.
>It was during the time of Annie Besant and C W Leadbeater, the membership of
>the Theosophical Society, Adyar grew enormously until the drop after J
>Krishnamurti made his famous "Truth is a Pathless Land" statement.

The Question is:

Was it either moral or ethical to have put Jiddu Krishnamurti in a position
in which he was driven to make such a speech? I don't believe it is possible
to avoid the idea that because of Bishop Leadbeater's obsession with J.K.
the man's childhood was totally blighted. It is also an important aspect of
this to inquire why and how the "membership grew enormously" during the
tenure of Mrs Besant and Charles Leadbeater. It is my belief that it grew
for different reasons in Europe and India. I think that in India it grew
because of Mrs. Besant's work in the Congress Party, and because of Indian
Nationalism being so very strongly furthered by the efforts and financial
contributions of The Theosophical Society. In Europe it grew primarily
because of the efforts of the immediate followers of H.P.B. and because it
was a social fad. It cannot be denied that in Europe, the theosophical
movement was an upper-class phenomenon, and was especially popular among the
creative people who had been originally drawn in by Mme.. Blavatsky (i.e.
Vasily Kandinsky and Paul Klee and Piet Mondrian and Alexander Scriabin and
Eric Satie). I think that by the time of the Krishnamurti speech, most of
these people had been driven away by the sensationalism and "fairy tale"
quality of Leadbeater's work. Mrs. Besant's written works are simply "mirror
images" of Leadbeater's works, and this is true too of Arundale,
Jinarajadasa, and Sri Ram etc. It is my very strong belief that were the
written works of Charles Webster Leadbeater to somehow never have been
written, the works of all these other writers would never have come into
being. It is certainly not exaggerating to say that what Theosophy is today,
is what it was made to be by Charles Leadbeater with the acquiescence of Mrs
>If you look at the current statistics of the various organizations in the
>Theosophical Movement, the membership and the number of countries in which
>branches are active, TS, Adyar is the largest. All the other Theosophy
>organizations have membership which are very small and the countries in
>which they are active are few. (If anyone has statistical information to
>support or dispute this, I would welcome it).

In view of the proportionate ratio of membership to population, in a world
population of some four and one half Billion, the membership in all of the
Theosophical Societies put together is entirely insignificant. If one were
to subtract the number of members in India, it would even be more
significant. I am persuaded that the reasons for membership are not at all
the same in India and the rest of the world. I have had much contact with
Indian Nationals who are not Theosophists and I have always been very
unhappy regarding the level of hostility I have encountered vis a vis the T.S.
>While Olcott established branches far and wide, it is the lectures and books
>of  AB and CWL which introduced Theosophy to most of the members. I am one
>of those who benefitted by reading the books and lectures of AB and CWL.

The very first Theosophical Books I ever read were Leadbeater's "Masters and
the Path" and "The Inner Life", and I am sure that you are completely
correct when you say that many, if not most, people are introduced to
Theosophy by these and other works of Leadbeater and Besant. But for me that
was nearly thirty years ago, I have learned much in the interim. I have
studied much in the interim. I have had much experience in the interim. With
all due respect I must say that I find myself very resentful for all the
many "errors" (to say the least) in those writings.

In the course of the last thirty years I have discovered the Good Bishop to
have been so very wrong about so many things, and when one compares his
words with his actions, so terribly hypocritical, that I am angry at myself
for having been so gullible as to have been duped.
>But for the contributions of AB and CWL, IMHO, TS, Adyar would now have the
>membership and geographical coverage similar to that of the other TS

Doss, there's just no way anyone can make such an estimation. There's also
the great possibility that without the shame of the Krishnamurti incident
and the scandals surrounding the Bishop, the T.S. would be a much larger and
more significant organization. It would also possibly not be fragmented.
because the schism with the American section and W.Q.Judge was, in my
estimation wholly at the instigation, and the result of the ambitions of,
Annie Besant.
>As the facts speak for themselves, and each can draw their own conclusions
>about the contributions of AB and CWL.

The strange thing about "facts" Doss, is that they are not the same to each
person. To arrive at those "facts" I think, one is obliged to go outside of
"Theosophical Sources".

>As one Adept said "Ingratitude is not one of our vices,", let us ponder over
>what AB and CWL have contributed to Theosophy and TS.

Ah, but once again, that is entirely a matter of perspective. You think they
helped Theosophy so you are grateful. I think they harmed Theosophy greatly
and so gratitude is irrelevant.

>        ....Ramadoss
People can disagree, and disagree strongly, and still be Brothers and Friends:

I admire you greatly for all your efforts.

alexis d.

[Back to Top]

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