Re: Heroes and heroines
Jun 03, 1996 10:40 AM
by alexis dolgorukii
At 10:03 AM 6/3/96 -0400, you wrote:
>The following letter from Mrs. Besant appeared in "The Theosophic
>Messenger" in April, 1904:
And what an absolutely fascinating letter it is! It could have been written
by Blavatsky herself it's so open and frank. Now, I must begin to wonder: If
it is in fact as sincere as it seems to be, then what in heaven's name
happened to the woman between 1904 and her death in 1933?
When I look at Mrs. Besant in her robes of Office, I can only wonder how it
came to pass that the woman who wrote this wonderfully wise letter could
have permitted herself to be transmogrified into a veritable "Pope of
It is simply stupefying to realize that her predictions as to what would
occur if she was to be "iconized" have come so completely true.
I certainly think a discussion of how the total change came about is worthy
of our time. What do you think Alan?
> Benares City, Feb. 17, 1904.
>"My Dear Friends:
>I am told, on what ought to be good authority, that there is a growing
>tendency in the T.S. in London to consider me as a "sacrosanct
>personality, beyond and above criticism."
>Frankly, I cannot believe that any claim so wild and preposterous
>is set up, or that many know me so little as to imagine that, if it
>were set up, I would meet it with anything but the uttermost
>condemnation. Even a few people, holding and acting on such a theory,
>would be a danger to the Society. if any considerable number held and
>acted on it the Society would perish. Liberty of opinion is the life-
>breath of the Society; the fullest freedom in expressing opinions, and
>the fullest freedom in criticising opinions, are necessary for the
>preservation of the growth and evolution of the Society. A "commanding
>personality" - to use the cant of the day - may in many ways be of
>service to a movement, but in the Theosophical Society the work of such
>a personality would be too dearly purchased if it were bought by the
>surrender of individual freedom of thought, and the Society would be far
>safer if it did not number such a personality among its members.
>Over and over again I have emphasized this fact, and have urged free
>criticism of all opinions, my own among them. Like everybody else,
>I often make mistakes, and it is a poor service to me to confirm me
>in those mistakes by abstaining from criticism. I would sooner never
>write another word than have my words made into a gag for other people's
>thoughts. All my life I have followed the practice of reading the
>harshest criticisms, with a view to utilize them, and I do not mean,
>as I grow old, to help the growth of crystallization by evading the
>most rigorous criticism. Moreover, anything that has been done through
>me, not by me, for Theosophy, would be outbalanced immeasurably by
>making my crude knowledge a measure for the thinking in the movement,
>and by turning me into an obstacle of future progress.
>So, I pray you, if you come across any such absurd ideas as are
>mentioned above. that you will resist them in your own person and
>repudiate them on my behalf. No greater disservice could be done to the
>Society, or to me. than by allowing them to spread.
>It is further alleged that a policy of "ostracism" is enforced against
>those who do not hold this view of me. I cannot insult any member
>of the Society by believing that he would initiate or endorse such
>a policy. It is obvious that this would be an intolerable tyranny,
>to which no self-respecting man would submit. I may say, in passing,
>that in all selections for office in the movement, the sole
>consideration should be the power of the candidate to serve the Society,
>and not his opinion of any person - Col. Olcott, Mr. Sinnett, Mr. Mead
>or myself. We do not want faction fights for party leaders, but a free
>choice of the best man.
>Pardon me for troubling you with a formal repudiation of a view that
>seems too absurd to merit denial. But as it is gravely put to me as
>a fact, I cannot ignore it. For the Society, to me, is the object
>of my deepest love and service, my life is given to it, it embodies
>my ideal of a physical plane movement. And I would rather make myself
>ridiculous by tilting at a windmill, such as I believe this idea to
>be, than run the smallest chance of leaving to grow within the Society
>a form of personal idolatry which would be fatal to its usefulness
>to the world. In the T.S. there is no orthodoxy there are no Popes.
>It is a band of students eager to learn the truth, and growing ever
>in the knowledge thereof, and its well-being rests on the maintenance
>of this ideal.
> Ever your sincere friend,
> ANNIE BESANT."
>Posted by Alan
>Ancient Wisdom for a New Age
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