TS and its Future (Part 1 of 3)
Jun 01, 1997 01:22 PM
by M K Ramadoss
> From: Theosophy World Editor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: Theosophy World #12, June 1, 1997 (Part 2)
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY AND ITS FUTURE
by Geoffrey A. Farthing
[from the May, 1997 HIGH COUNTRY THEOSOPHIST]
Towards the end of the 19th century, even though their colleagues
in the 'Brotherhood' did not feel that the time was opportune,
i.e. that humanity generally had not progressed spiritually
enough even though a few may have done so, two Masters of the
Wisdom were allowed to make the attempt to make available to
mankind in general some of their occult knowledge concerning the
nature of existence and man's being. Up till then this had been
The Theosophical Society, founded in New York in 1875, was formed
originally as an association of people interested in spiritualism
and psychic phenomena. Its early objects reflected this but they
were soon to become, after a few changes, as they are now, with
an emphasis on brotherhood.
The Headquarters of the Society was removed to Bombay in 1880 and
then to Adyar in 1883. Although the Masters were emphatic that
the Society was not to be a school of Occultism or Magic and that
their sole purpose was to benefit mankind at large, they
nevertheless in various ways let it be known not only that they
were possessed of occult knowledge and power but that they were
able and willing to make some of it available to suitable
This was to be done principally in the writings of H.P.
Blavatsky, but some information was given directly by the two
Masters concerned in their letters to A.P. Sinnett.
Some of this knowledge was distinct from that contained in any
extant literature at the time, with the exception of some older
and/or obscure 'occult' writings. These were mostly
unintelligible without the necessary 'keys'.
It was claimed, however, that the knowledge contained in the new
outpouring was the source and origin of all philosophical and
religious knowledge, in its pure form. The old scriptures and
philosophical writings had been 'contaminated' by human
interpretation, additions and alterations. They had to a large
extent departed from the pure original and had distorted their
The first major attempt at elucidation of this ancient knowledge
was the writing of ISIS UNVEILED by HPB published in 1877, a work
of enormous erudition in which 1,330 other works. some of great
rarity and antiquity were quoted from. It is known that several
Masters had a hand in it, providing HPB with much of the
information it contains.
This Ancient Wisdom was later more fully and specifically
described in THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT, from which he
wrote two books: THE OCCULT WORLD and later ESOTERIC BUDDHISM.
This latter, although by no means complete or wholly accurate, is
important as being the first systematic formulation, in outline,
of what was later to become known as Theosophy. The books were
published in 1884 and 1885. From 1875 onwards HPB's almost
continuous output of articles and letters contained aspects of
the teachings. These writings are now collected together and
edited in fourteen volumes of Collected Writings.
HPB was with the Theosophical Society in India for about two
years during which time her phenomena and contacts with the
Masters were amply demonstrated. A number of people, however,
even at Headquarters did not accept these manifestations as
genuine. Furthermore, the phenomena were completely beyond the
credence of the local church missionaries.
Some letters purporting to come from HPB addressed to members of
the staff at Adyar clearly gave the impression that HPB's
phenomena were based on deception. After a lengthy enquiry by an
investigator from the Society for Psychical Research who relied
much on adverse witnesses and a hand-writing expert he declared
HPB to be a fraud.
This was in a document adopted by the SPR which later became
known as the Hodgson Report. It has~been repudiated since by a
number of investigators, latterly even by the SPR. One tragic
outcome of the report was that HPB, who in any case at the time
was in poor health, was advised to leave Adyar.
After leaving India HPB traveled to England via Germany and
Belgium. During this time she was occupied as and when health
and other circumstances permitted, in writing THE SECRET DOCTRINE
which was published in 1888 in London.
This was her most important theosophical work. It is an
exposition of all of the Ancient Wisdom that the Masters were
then prepared to make public. It is an enormous work in which
1,100 other works are referred to and in which ancient (and
modern) religions and philosophies are explained and form a
background to an immense system of knowledge of the whole
universal scene and man in it.
HPB was miraculously kept alive by her Master on two or three
occasions of dire illness, to complete the work which was
followed two years later by THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY.
On a number of occasions it was stressed that HPB was the
Masters' sole agent. With her departure from Adyar their
influence there ceased. One consequence of this was that most of
their Chelas 'disappeared' (including Damodar who never returned
to the Society from Tibet).
We also have her positive statement that, should she for any
reason cease to act as the Masters' agent, there would be no more
contact with them (see M.L.136, 2nd and 3rd editions).
All this seems to have been forgotten or ignored later. A number
of people both within the Society and without, e.g. Alice
Bailey, later claimed to have contact with the Masters and to
have received communications from them.
These communications, some of them very copious and impressive,
were, however, received psychically or 'channeled': very
importantly they were all uncorroborated.
Communications through psychic mediums was not the method used by
the Masters. These facts, the nature of the message and the
special position of HPB, are of prime importance in the
consideration of what followed in the early 20th century, of the
present state of the Society and its successful launch into the
In the latter years of HPB's life a significant event was that
Annie Besant was welcomed with open arms into the Theosophical
Society by HPB who saw in her an exceptional and able helper.
She was later admitted to HPB's Inner Group of twelve.
A reference to Annie Besant in THE MAHATMA LETTERS indicates that
she was known to the Masters; however, there is no reference to
her ever becoming a chela, although she did receive in 1900 what
seems to be an authentic letter from the Masters. There is no
other evidence, apart from her own inferences, that she had any
contact with them.
Had Annie Besant been a chela her 'magnetization' by Chakravati,
ostensibly to 'align her principles', described in an eye witness
statement (1895) by Dr Archibald Keightly, would have severed any
relations she may have had with her Master.
After HPB's death Annie Besant let it be inferred, in assuming
the "Outer Headship" of the E.S., that she was in touch with the
She also introduced Co-Masonry into England and associated it
with the Theosophical Society, which, however, had been founded
quite independently of any other organization. All international
Presidents since have, however, held high office as Co-Masons.
HPB expressly stated that 'we do not meddle in politics ...' yet
Annie Besant's prime interest in India was political.
This is not in any way to say that she did not do an immense
amount of good in establishing schools and colleges and altering
social practices, but these activities are not specifically
Politics aims to change systems for the benefit of people;
Theosophy aims to change people themselves for the long-term
benefit of humanity itself.
It is undeniable that in the early years of her membership of the
Society,` Annie Besant was a powerful voice in the cause of
Theosophy and its dissemination. This seems to have been
foreseen by HPB
However, from the time of her 'magnetization' by Chakravati, it
appears that, possibly still under his influence, she to a large
extent espoused Hinduism. This is evident in her later writings
to such a point that a major reference to Theosophy in the
Encyclopedia Britannica is under the heading of Hinduism.
Apart from Chakravati there is not much doubt that Annie Besant
was later also much influenced by C.W. Leadbeater. He obviously
prevailed upon her in the matter of the Liberal Catholic Church
and in the Krishnamurti incident.
CWL joined the Society in 1883. He did not, unlike Annie Besant
receive a welcome from HPB, nor was he admitted to her Inner
He was given some instruction by a regular chela at Adyar for a
period and developed his clairvoyance but there is no reference
that this relationship continued.
He did receive a reply to his early communication with the
Masters but there is no corroborative evidence that he ever had
any more contact with them after these introductory letters.
It also came to light that his veracity is much in question: his
statements, for example, about his age, his family in South
America, and his implying that he had been to Oxford as an
undergraduate were discovered later to be false.
In the light of what the Master K.H. said about God, religion
and the priestly caste in Mahatma Letter X, had Leadbeater been a
chela he could never have allied himself with the Liberal
Catholic Church and certainly he could never have allowed himself
to be made a Bishop and thereafter always dress as such. The
Masters had said "Our chief aim is to deliver humanity of this
nightmare ... etc. " (A personal God of Theology) (M.L.X, 2nd
and 3rd editions).
This is important in the light of CWL's later claims of an
intimate and continued relationship with not only one but a
number of Masters, even up to the highest in the Hierarchy from
whom he claimed periodically to have received instruction in such
matters as the upbringing of Krishnamurti.
In the light of some of these supposed contacts e.g. Comte St
Germain, Jesus, etc. the association of the Liberal Catholic
Church with the Society was justified.
However, both the Church and the Co Masons were representative of
past dispensations. They both had their roots in ceremonial
magic, the practice of which HPB did not endorse on account of
the possible dangers involved. In a letter which Damodar wrote
to Sinnett, Masonry and Rosicrucianism were specifically
forbidden (M.L. Old Edition No. 142A, Chronological No. 14A).
During the founding of the Society it had been proposed that the
Society might become Masonic. This was specifically decided
against. Other behavior of the then leaders is also
In view of HPB's sundry comments about Masonry (into which she
was admitted on account of her knowledge of it, but never
formally 'initiated'), having lost its secrets, how came it that
the Leaders of the Society not only espoused Co-Masonry but the
Egyptian Rite which CWL together with a colleague in Australia
had devised and which is still widely practiced by some members
in the E.S.?
Krishnamurti was 'discovered' by CWL in 1909. After many
difficulties, including law suits, he and his brother were
brought up by the Society.
He was hailed as the future mouthpiece of the Lord Maitreya He
was even seen as a second coming of the Lord. He was unusually
gifted but it was CWL's 'insights' that initially established him
in his role. The Lord Maitreya himself is supposed to have
instructed CWL in his upbringing and training. He was brought
up and groomed in the fashion of an English gentleman, a far cry
from a Hindu 'Avatar'.
Those who had his upbringing and education in hand, notably CWL
and Dick Balfour-Clark, were very much second generation
theosophists. Krishnaji therefore probably never knew anything
of the HPB/Masters teachings.
It is also very doubtful whether Krishnaji himself ever had a
first-hand 'Master' experience although he did describe once
having seen three Masters in a vision. Had he had a real
experience, however, he could neither have forgotten it nor
thereafter have doubted their existence and later have repudiated
Furthermore, as Krishnaji's teachings of freedom, self-reliance,
non-dependence on authority and institutions and so on, are all
virtually in proper accord with the 'Master' Theosophy, there
would not have been any reason for him to repudiate it, nor his
connection with the Society.
His loss was that he never became acquainted with the sea of
theosophical knowledge which would to a large extent not only
have justified his views but provided him with relevant data for
use in his teaching, e.g. the difference between the personality
and the individuality, the essential idea of Unity, and had he
been interested, the proper nature of the Self, the total cosmic
structure and processes.
His 'launching' was a reversion again, as in the case of the
Liberal Catholic Church and the Co-Masons, to the traditional old
dispensation of an authoritarian regime.
The second coming of the Christ was at that time (1920's) being
regarded as imminent whereas, according to the Masters and
theosophical teaching, such a 'second coming', i.e. the advent
of an Avatar, was not expected for millennia. In any case the
severance of the Society from the Masters made such a 'coming'
into it extraordinarily unlikely.
The arrogance of those who professed to be able to elect
Krishnaji's twelve disciples was an example of the distorted view
of themselves that those leaders had. Surely an 'Avatar' would
have been quite capable of electing his own disciples.
In any case in the nature of Karma his upbringing and earthly
surroundings would have all been in proper accord without the
interference of CWL. Many things are puzzling about Krishnaji's
upbringing: one was that from reports kitchen staff at Adyar were
changed because they were of the wrong caste. In a Society which
specifically allows no such distinctions this is hard to
The recognition of Krishnaji's spiritual development from a
clairvoyant examination of his aura when he was so young
undoubtedly demonstrated CWL's possession of that faculty but
this does not corroborate his claim to have received messages
from the 'King of the World'.
The 'finding' of Krishnaji, his upbringing and then adoption as a
vehicle for the Lord-Maitreya was virtually the culmination of
the 'split' from Master Theosophy.
Krishnaji's repudiation of this position was a serious blow to
Annie Besant who obviously believed absolutely sincerely in her
announcement of the New Coming. CWL's reaction to this
repudiation seems to have been more limited and far less painful
than Annie Besant's although he suffered a loss of stature that
he would otherwise have had as the finder, sponsor and educator
of this new divine vehicle.
After Krishnaji's withdrawal from the Society, Annie Besant also
suffered a gradual diminution in stature and thereafter her
health failed progressively.
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