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

TS/ES/Masonic etc.

May 17, 1997 03:21 PM
by M K Ramadoss

    Hello everybody:

Here is an extensive quote from a book by Ernest Wood, "Is this Theosophy?"
which is an extremely rare book and you may not find it in your lodge library.

For anyone who does not know about Wood, he was an Englishman who after
being exposed to Theosophy and its ideal, went to India when he was 25 years
of age. He paid his own way and sustained himself with his own funds. For
the first five years he was the personal secretary of CWL and knew him
better than anyone else. Later, he was one of the tutors of Jiddu
Krishnamurti. After the death of Annie Besant, he ran for the International
President and George Arundale was elected.

The following excerpt is of great interest in that it touches upon the
subject of TS, ES, and Masonic Organization and the observations and
comments comes from someone who has had first hand knowledge. I am posting a
separate msg on some of the things he has discussed here.


    Dependence upon leaders was always a weak point in the
    Society, although the original intention had been to base
    everything on rationality, even in the study of abnormal things.
    Some would say: " See how the mother cat has to carry her
    kittens about while they are small. Why should it not be so in
    occult matters ? "

    Others, thinking this a trifle extreme, would prefer the simile
    of the young monkey, which clings to its mother with its own
    hands. This " monkey policy " was often put forward by
    leaders and would-be leaders who considered that the act of
    choosing a leader to be approached for orders and hints to be
    obeyed implicitly constituted all the positivity of character
    necessary for occult development. Only a few held that if
    members of the Theosophical Society had not yet been weaned
    it was about time to begin; I was one of these, and therefore
    destined for ultimate unpopularity. But I anticipate.

    My membership in the Theosophical Society brought into my
    life a social element which had been lacking before. At first I
    used to walk part of the way home from the Lodge meetings
    with a young business man who was very much taken with a
    literary young lady who used to bore us with her excessive
    enthusiasm for Plato. They tried to supplant our President, and
    put the young lady in office instead, but the scheme was not a
    success. The young man did not remain a member for very

    After that, I generally walked home with a lady who was
    about thirty years my senior, but as lively as a cricket, and I am
    almost tempted to say as small. She had been manageress in
    some sort of factory where many girls were employed, and
    had retired on a tiny pension. We used to talk much about
    systems of yoga and methods of meditation, in which I was
    greatly interested.

    She was a member of the Eastern School of Theosophy, an
    organization composed only of members of the Theosophical
    Society, but not officially connected with it. There were
    frequent references to this school in the writings of Mme
    Blavatsky and Mrs. Besant. When introducing new members
    to the Society Mrs. Besant would often speak of the " further
    step " which they could take after some time by joining the E.S.
    Its proceedings were entirely secret, under pledge, so I could not
    ask what its methods of
    meditation were. But I used to tell my friend that I was
    puzzled by the fact that its members appeared to have no more
    knowledge and no more self-control than other people, and I
    disliked the slight atmosphere of superiority and sacerdotalism
    which seemed to surround it. When it came to matters of
    election to office, or the selection of speakers, membership in
    the " E.S." was certainly an asset. At the time of the election
    of Committee members for the British Section of the Society,
    lists of " suitable people " were sent round privately.

    I joined the School after some time, and did not find its
    systems of meditation as good as those which I already knew
    and had been privately practicing. In saying this I do not break
    any pledge, for I do not say what those meditations were.

    I was always very much against anything which might have
    an hypnotic effect in meditation. Repetition of formulas;
    dwelling in thought on Masters' forms, with vows of fidelity
    and obedience; prayers to the Masters, asking them for
    guidance and blessing. All seemed to be bad psychology and
    bad reverence. If Masters were there, surely they would do
    their utmost without being asked. And the habit of thinking
    every day of them or of their disciples with requests and hopes
    for orders or guidance seemed to me to lead to paralysis of
    initiative, in which alone I thought either intuition or inner
    guidance could find its opportunity.

    I was ready to admit the principle of mystical union with
    higher intelligence than my own. That was a matter of both
    logic and experience. Logic, since in the world visible to the
    senses our physical powers are enchanced by harmonious co-
    operation with the laws and forces of nature. I disliked the
    formula " the conquest of nature " often employed in
    connection with scientific achievement. In the use of wind,
    steam, electricity, we were simply co-operating or associating
    intelligently with the forces of the greater world outside our

    To one convinced of thought-transference such association
    mentally was also a reasonable idea. When a thinker has a
    flash of intuition, as is common among scientists and
    philosophers, I could regard it as a kind of mental contact with
    a deeper intelligence, or a world of ideas, even a universal
    mind or some great world of life in which live the liberated
    souls. That also was in accord with experience. Many people
    had declared that they sometimes felt themselves illuminated
    with an intelligence altogether greater than any which they felt
    that they could call their own. I had myself! had such
    experience a number-of times. Even if the Masters did retain
    actual human form, their aim would be to advise: men to
    become responsive to that world, not to become worshippers of
    themselves and mere followers to carry out orders or hints
    given by them. Such were my thoughts. Certainly above
    everything I wanted to meet a Master, not to worship him
    externally, but to be of his company and his mode and order of

    The new social contacts of the Lodge were most precious to
    me. Here was friendship and brotherhood, without safeguards
    such as those of the drawing-room, where religion and
    economics are tacitly avoided. I resented the E.S. a little, as
    forming a cleavage within our brotherhood. How could we
    discuss important subjects if some among us were pledged to
    mental reservations, or if you assumed that they knew what
    others did not know and were not allowed to know ?

    Another movement which seemed to me to harm our
    brotherhood was the Co-Masonry, which was taken up eagerly
    by some of our members some time after I had joined the
    Lodge. I was perhaps a little jealous of this, as the members
    who would not help the Lodge in its financial difficulties could
    find much money for the new Masonic movement. We had had
    various proposals to reduce expenditure. We had even
    removed the Lodge to smaller premises, comparatively obscure
    and inconvenient. Scarcely had the removal taken place when
    up came this question of starting a Co-Masonic Lodge. All the
    leading members were canvassed on the subject; it was
    whispered round that the Masters were keenly anxious to have
    the new movement promoted, and would give of their power
    and force to or through those who joined it. In a trice the
    members hustled to ransack their monetary resources, and
    very soon hundreds of pounds were forthcoming. Most of
    those who could afford it could not resist the concreteness and
    the its organized access to the Masters' power and blessing.

    Again and again prominent members pressed me to join the
    Masonic movement. Did I not believe that there was a
    European Master behind it ? He would probably manifest
    himself visibly to the members; it might be at the meetings to be
    held during the forthcoming Theosophical Convention i in
    Budapest. One leading member told me about a doctor who
    helped a certain poor man as soon as he learned that he was a
    Mason. This was real brotherhood, was it not ? No,
    communalism. But that was a step towards universal
    brotherhood ? It did not seem so to me; it was a step
    Downwards from it. Later, I joined the movement in India, on
    the proposal of Mrs. Besant. After the first meeting I was
    chatting with Mr. Leadbeater.

    " How did you get on ? " he asked.
    "I have told more lies to-night than in all the rest of my life,"
    I sadly replied. This was, of course, no criticism of Masonry. It
    is no secret that there are rituals and formulas. It was simply
    that I had said what I had been told to say, but again and again
    it did not agree with my own thought and belief.

    After I had been Vice-President of the Lodge for two or
    three years, our President fell ill and it became my duty to
    carry on his work. At last he died, and I was elected President
    in his place. During these years a deep friendship had grown up
    between us. I had been a frequent visitor at his house and had
    even been on holidays with him and his wife and little girl. We
    went to the country and to the Isle of Wight. It was something
    new to me to pick flowers in the woods with a little child.
    When the father died, I was there to help, to console, to fill the
    gap to some extent, or rather to be a distraction from the
    emptiness. Often after that I took the little girl, now thirteen
    years old, for bicycle rides. Something new, clean and simple
    came into my life, which till then had consciously known
    nothing but struggle and conflict.

    I had no intention of going to India. That was brought about
    by psychic experiences. I cannot say whether these in turn
    were brought about by some activity of my subc Conscious
    mind or were actual occurrences. I can only report what
    happened, or seemed to happen.

    One evening, when I was sitting in meditation with the
    group of friends I have already mentioned, I suddenly became
    aware of a Master standing opposite me across the table, and
    speaking to me. He put me through a kind of catechism. Did I
    understand what honesty meant ? Did I know the importance
    of it ? Did I consider myself honest ? Somehow I was made to
    see the tremendous value of perfect honesty not simply
    honesty in speech and in dealing with others, but also honesty in
    knowing oneself. Yes, I was very honest according to the
    world's standards, but I could not say that I was always
    fundamentally honest to myself. After some time there was a
    pause and suddenly I became aware of a hand lightly resting on
    my left shoulder. Looking that way although I do not think that
    I opened my eyes or made any movement saw, or thought I
    saw, Mme Blavatsky (who had then been dead for about
    seventeen years) standing beside me. She was laughing, and
    looking not at me, but across in front of me towards my right.
    Following her gaze I saw Colonel Olcott standing there (he had
    been dead about a year). Mme Blavatsky spoke to him, merely
    the words: " He's ripe, Olcott; we'll send him to India."

    Then the vision faded. I opened my eyes and became aware
    again of my friends sitting round the table. At the time the
    vision gave me no surprise. It seemed perfectly natural that the
    Master should be there he was as familiar to me as my own
    father. It seemed quite natural also that Mme Blavatsky and
    Colonel Olcott should be there, like familiar friends.

    It was not this vision that decided me to go to India,
    however. I was not prepared to give so much credit to visions.
    Besides, had I not seen in our experimental group that even
    reliable clairvoyants unconsciously embellished what they saw
    with elements drawn from their own personalities ? I went on
    with my life as usual, merely wondering whether I would ever
    go to India or not. Something more happened, however. One
    night, as I was going home alone on top of a tramcar, I seemed
    to see Mrs. Besant in front of me, asking me to come to her.
    Still, I took no notice. In my opinion there was nothing decisive
    enough to call for any action. Then another vision came. I was
    going down some steps from a railway station at night. The
    steps were roofed in, and only dimly lighted. Suddenly the
    whole cavern-like place was brightly illuminated, and
    I saw Mrs. Besant standing before me in a golden radiance.
    She spoke: " I want you to come and help me."

    That night, when I reached home I told my father that I had
    a fancy to take a trip to India for three months. Would he help
    my brother to look after the business in my absence ? Yes, of
    course. I did not tell him nor my friends at the Lodge of my
    reason for going, though I had told my friends in the meditation
    group of my vision there. I took a Japanese steamer to
    Colombo from London, in November, 1908, and my father came
    with me to London to see me off. I meant to go for a three
    months' trip to see what would happen. I had no idea that India
    would become my home and that I should not see England
    again for over thirteen years.

==================== end ====================

[Back to Top]

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