HCT - Sept 1992 - Part 2 of 3
Jun 08, 1997 00:01 AM
by M K Ramadoss
THE HIGH COUNTRY THEOSOPHIST
VOL. 7 NO. 9 BOULDER, COLORADO SEPTEMBER, 1992
------- Part 2 of 3 -------------------------------
There is much to reflect on in this letter of warning from the Master to
We, as custodians of the Theosophical Movement in our time, need to ponder
and ask ourselves how far the Adyar Society has been led astray from the
`Original Programme' of the Masters by Besant-Leadbeater and their successors.
Today, we see the Adyar leadership demanding absolute loyalty and compliance
with its rules and dictates from its member organizations.
As an example of this, we note the following: The Theosophical Society in
Canada placed a half page ad in the Summer 1991 issue of The Quest informing
its Canadian readers that Society Rules require that persons wishing to join
the Theosophical Society must apply to the Society in the country of their
residence, and advising Canadian readers of Quest to write to the T.S. in
The ad appeared in the next 3 issues, the last running in Spring 1992. Stan
Treloar reports that "five days after getting the excommunication letter
from Adyar, I had a phone call from the company that looks after the
advertising for various magazines, including The Quest. He stated as
follows, `I have been requested to advise you by `The Quest' magazine, that
on orders from headquarters in India, the T.S. in America cannot further
permit your ad to appear in `The Quest' magazine." [CT July`92].
The Quest is owned and published by the T.S. in America and is presently
heavily subsidized by a Kern Foundation grant, as it has been since its
The Master's letter warns: "credulity breeds credulity and ends in hypocrisy."
We are assured that each Theosophical Society is "autonomous" in the
management of its own affairs. Are we not adding credulity upon credulity
when we accept such lip-service and are then faced with the hypocrisy of the
statement in The Theosophist i.e.; "Normally the T.S. does not approve of
the existence of separate bodies in the same place, since its aim is to
unite all people in a nucleus of universal brotherhood. !!
What had H.P.B. to say concerning "loyalty to Adyar?" In a rebuke to
Richard Harte, editor of The Theosophist at Adyar in 1889, H.P.B. said
regarding `loyalty to Adyar';
"It is pure nonsense to say that `H.P.B. is loyal to the Theosophical
Society and to Adyar'(!?). H.P.B. is loyal to death to the Theosophical
CAUSE, and those great Teachers whose philosophy can alone bind the whole
Humanity into one Brotherhood. ...
Therefore the degree of her sympathies with the `Theosophical Society and
Adyar' depends upon the degree of loyalty of that Society to the CAUSE. Let
it break away from the original lines and show disloyalty in its policy to
the CAUSE and the original programme of the Society, and H.P.B. calling the
T.S. disloyal, will shake it off like dust from her feet.
And what does `loyalty to Adyar' mean, in the name of all wonders? What is
Adyar, apart from the CAUSE and the two (not one Founder, if you please) who
represent it? Why not loyal to the compound or to the bathroom of Adyar?
.. There is no longer a `Parent Society', it is abolished and replaced by
an aggregate body of Theosophical Societies, all autonomous, as are the
States of America ...' [B.C.W. XI, 380-81]
* * * * * * *
So, it seems, we have arrived at the time where there now exist two distinct
and separate Theosophical lineages in Canada:
The Canadian Federation representing Adyar and the distinctly
neo-theosophical philosophy of Besant, Leadbeater, Jinarajadasa and Hodgson,
and The T.S. in Canada, tracing its lineage to H.P. Blavatsky and the
Masters via A.E.S. Smythe and W.Q. Judge.
For the benefit of HCT readers, relatively new to the Theosophical Movement,
one can (temporarily overlooking significant differences in historical
unfoldment), now classify to a fair degree of approximation:
The Canadian Federation with the Theosophical Society in America
headquartered at Wheaton, Illinois;
and The Theosophical Society in Canada with the various representatives of
the W.Q. Judge lineage in the U.S.; i.e., T.S. (Pasadena), Point Loma and
United Lodge of Theosophists.
* * * * * * *
In the concluding chapter of The Key To Theosophy, H.P.B. talks of the
future of The Theosophical Society:
"Its future will depend almost entirely upon the degree of selflessness,
earnestness, devotion, and last, but not least, on the amount of knowledge
and wisdom possessed by those members, on whom it will fall to carry on the
work, and to direct the Society after the death of the Founders.
Enq.: I quite see the importance of their being selfless and devoted, but I
do not quite grasp how their knowledge can be as vital a factor in the
question as these other qualities. Surely the literature which already
exists, and to which constant additions are still being made, ought to be
H.P.B.: I do not refer to technical knowledge of the esoteric doctrine,
though that is most important; I spoke rather of the great need which our
successors in the guidance of the Society will have of unbiased and clear
Every such attempt as the Theosophical Society has hitherto ended in
failure, because, sooner or later, it has degenerated into a sect, set up
hard-and-fast dogmas of its own, and so lost by imperceptible degrees that
vitality which living truth alone can impart.
You must remember that all our members have been bred and born in some creed
or religion, that all are more or less of their generation both physically
and mentally, and consequently that their judgment is but too likely to be
warped and unconsciously biassed by some or all of these influences.
If, then, they cannot be freed from such inherent bias, or at least taught
to recognise it instantly and so avoid being led away by it, the result can
only be that the Society will drift off on to some sandbank of thought or
another, and there remain a stranded carcass to moulder and die."
* * * * * * *
In ways evidently not foreseen by H.P.B., we have today the growth of
independent `shoots from the roots,' as it were, bearing the heritage of and
growing alongside what remains of the trunk of the original `tree' of the
Theosophical Society which once contained the pure swabhavic essence of the
Ancient Wisdom, tended and raised in the Nursery of Mankind's Master
The task now falls to us, as inheritors of the garden of human wisdom, to
recognize and nurture those shoots which embody the pure and true swabhavic
essence of the seed from which the original tree grew or perhaps encourage
new shoots remaining true to the ideal.
For, we are reminded that Forms (in this case Societal Organizations) are
merely vehicles; what is important is the Monadic essence ensouling the form
-- which is to be used only so long as it true to the original impulse and
is useful to the evolution of its ensouling monad.
CANADIAN TRIP REPORT
We left Boulder at mid afternoon on July 23, bound for Calgary with two
mountain bikes atop the car.
On our way northward to the border, we passed through Great Falls, Montana
and into the beautiful green and rolling ranch country of Judith basin.
Crossing the Canadian border at Sweetgrass, Montana, we continued north and
west to Lethbridge where we picked up Highway 2, by any other name a U.S.
We arrived in Calgary in late afternoon and were made welcome by Ted and
Doris Davy, recently retired as long time co-editors of the CT. Ted is a
past General Secretary of the T.S. in Canada and Doris is currently
Secretary of the Calgary Lodge.
Doris served us a healthful and delicious vegetarian dinner, during which we
described our route from Boulder, mentioning having enjoyed the beauty of
Judith basin in Montana.
Ted mentioned that Victor Endersby had been born there and had come to what
is now southern Alberta in the vicinity of Waterton Lakes with his parents
where he met Kootenai Brown. After dinner he showed me a back issue of the
CT (May 1980) which carried a letter in which Endersby describes his
childhood reminiscences of Kootenai Brown.
I found it so interesting that I include it in the this issue of the HCT.
(HCT readers will remember Jerry Hejka-Ekins' talk on Victor Endersby at the
Theosophical History Conference -- HCT July `92)
We spent Sunday on the Bow river and Nose Creek bike paths scouting our exit
route by bike from Calgary.
Because of forecasted rainstorms and the probability of headwinds, we chose
to leave for Edmonton on Monday morning, a day early and arrived in Edmonton
Thursday afternoon after 3 1/2 days travel, averaging some 50 to 60 miles a day.
Our early arrival, although unexpected by our Edmonton hosts Ernest and
Rogelle Pelletier, was welcomed as it provided an opportunity for us to meet
Lodge vice-president Stephania who was leaving Friday morning for a holiday.
The Edmonton Lodge is housed in the tastefully finished basement of the
Pelletier residence, a large meeting room perhaps 20 feet square. The walls
are lined with bookcases housing the Lodge library which contains a wide and
comprehensive collection of metaphysical and Theosophical titles.
We were impressed in seeing, first-hand, the dedication and long hours of
painstaking labor that Ernest and Rogelle have spent in their continuing
project of reprinting important and heretofore out-of-print periodicals of
the Theosophical Movement such as The Irish Theosophist, Theosophia, Dawn,
etc. Our own appreciation is the more genuine, owing to our current similar
efforts with G. de Purucker's Questions We All Ask.
The Lodge has in its archives a continuous record of meeting minutes dating
back to its inception in 1911 and it was on the basis of these records that
the courts allowed the lodge to incorporate as a non-profit organization.
On Sunday, August 2nd, we attended a special meeting of the Edmonton Lodge
in order to share with them the archival material on G. de Purucker we had
been granted access to by Emmett Small when we visited Point Loma in the
Spring of 1991.
The essence of this previously unpublished material, entitled The Mystery of
G. de Purucker, appeared with permission in the July 1991 HCT and consists a
certified transcript of 1932 meeting of G. de P's Executive Committee in
which he described his role as a former Tibetan Chela who had, with the help
of his Adept Teachers, taken over the body of the dying Purucker child by
the Occult process of Tulku.
We also shared additional material relating to the details of his initiation
as a messenger from the Lodge of his Teachers, following the death of
Katherine Tingley, in which he voluntarily relinquished certain principles
of his seven-fold nature in order to provide a channel for and facilitate
communication with his Teachers.
This provided a more complete understanding than has been heretofore
available of the mystery surrounding H.P.B. in which she is referred to as a
"psychological cripple" in Theosophical literature. [See Letter of A.O.
Hume to K.H. in Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett, p. 307 and M.L.
Marty and I were gratified and relieved that during the entire meeting the
focus of interest and trend of discussion was reflective and intuitive,
being directed toward the inner significance of passages and drawing forth
precepts and principles useful to all of us in our daily lives rather than a
preoccupation with the phenomenal aspect. We both felt that the quality of
questioning here compared quite favorably with that of G. de P.'s Katherine
Tingley Memorial Group in the Dialogues of G. de Purucker.
After the meeting we all enjoyed a Pizza supper. We regretted missing the
informal discussion following the meeting as we had to repack our panniers
and load them on the bikes so as to be ready for an early start in the morning.
It was hard to leave folks who in 4 short days already felt like family, but
by 8:15, following an early breakfast and hugs all around and quick photos
for all, we were rolling westward on the "White Mud" expressway to the
junction leading to highway 16 which would take us to Jasper, our next
The remainder of the trip over the Icefield parkway to Lake Louise and Banff
was scenic in the way that can only be experienced on a bicycle -- a truly
HCT readers interested in details of the bicycle portions of the trip should
write to editor HCT, requesting "Round Robin `92", Canadian Trip.
John George "Kootenai" Brown was the first Superintendent of Waterton Lakes
National Park of southern Alberta. The following reminiscence of Kootenai
Brown is by Victor Endersby, whose uncle sponsored Brown's application to
join the Theosophical Society in 1898. Endersby is author of The Hall of
Magic Mirrors, a defence of H.P. Blavatsky. He was also editor and
publisher of Theosophical Notes.
[Endersby's letter to CT editor Ted Davy was prompted by mention in the
Sept. '79 CT of Ted and Doris' visit to Waterton Lakes where Brown was its
first superintendent. ed. HCT.]
"Your mention of Kootenai Brown stirred great personal memories of my own,
which as a karmic study might interest your readers.
Kootenai was probably in some ways the best friend I ever had, though at the
time he was in his seventies and I was a small boy.
I was born in Montana in 1891, and my family emigrated to Alberta when I was
four, to escape an upcoming sheep and cattle war. We took up land on the
Waterton River, locally known to all as the Kootenai River, about a mile
north of the present Park boundary. Kootenai Brown, actually the first to
advocate making it a National Park, lived a few miles away across the river.
My major childhood passion was a craving for learning, which there was
little opportunity to satisfy at that time and in that place. My brother
and I occasionally got a term of school in either Mountain View or Pincher
Creek, the former a Mormon Colony and the latter predominately Catholic.
Neither was friendly to Protestant American immigrants, and we did not enjoy
those sessions, but we did learn to read and write there. (I made a trip
back there in 1958, and found the old hostilities still not quite dead.)
`Kootenai' was really a mysterious character, surrounded by varying legends
of the past, which he didn't bother to settle one way or the other, though
it was evident enough that he was a graduate of either Oxford or Cambridge.
In fact, it is not certain that his name was John Brown as he gave it, and
clearly he had no respect for the English "establishment" in which he had
obviously been born. As a man, he was the most extraordinary bundle of
contradictions that I ever met.
He had been an Indian fighter, had killed a number of them, and had an
unappeasable hatred for the race, yet he had an Indian wife and several
grown children by her. (My brother and I were very fond of the plump old
lady, and it seemed to be mutual; the only thing we had against her was that
she never learned that you were supposed to put sugar in doughnuts!)
In one way or another I began to piece together a course in world thought
from various books left at the ranch by travelers and tourists. These
included such works as The Book of Mormon and The Arabian Nights
(unexpurgated, which would hardly be considered suitable for child
education) and others.
I could read quite well and rapidly by the age of six, when I could get
anything to read. Kootenai discovered this propensity and made me free of
an enormous library he had in his log cabin, and my real education began
there -- running backwards to the usual system. Every week or two I rode up
to his place with a sack full of books which I exchanged for another sackful.
Kootenai's library, of course, contained all the classics of the day, and I
filled up on people like Dickens, de Maupassant, Dumas and all the rest. I
also got my father to subscribe to the chief English magazines, such as
Strand, Windsor, Pall Mall and Wide World.
I came to California in 1906, unable to qualify for any grade of a
California grammar school but well versed in general world thought and
history. After a few tries at fitting me in somewhere, my parents saw the
High School Principal, who said that entrance by examination was possible,
and after talking to me said he thought he could write one that I could pass.
That turned out all right. I was admitted and later graduated with all ones
(A's) in my subjects, went on to Stanford and graduated in the upper ten per
cent of my class. But I was way ahead of the average graduate. I was ahead
of him in general knowledge and knew about a lot of things he might never
even learn -- thanks to old Kootenai Brown.
Sometimes I wonder whether our present educational system, which is in deep
trouble, might also benefit from such education in reverse. The great
trouble in it is that it is full of things the pupil is not interested in,
and sees no use for. As I got it, I learned the "whys" and the relevancies
first, and the nuts and bolts later.
Strangely, the one thing I did not get from Kootenai's library was
Theosophy. He thought it was too deep for children and might just mix their
young minds up. But he did occasionally talk about it at random to adults,
and from the impressions they got, old Kootenai must have been a real
mixmaster himself. (No worse, however, than some Theosophical notables I
need not name here.)
Indeed, by echoes from these efforts, I actually conceived a distrust of the
name itself. It was not until 1912, years later, that I reached the basic
Theosophical principles by intensive research, then, in a curious way
encountered Judge's Ocean of Theosophy and discovered how much company I
had. At that point I had actually thought I had discovered the idea of
Curious story isn't it!? At the age of 88, I cherish the hope that in my
post-mortem vision I will learn just what was the karmic history of the
relationship between Kootenai and myself."
-------------------------------end Part 2 of 3 ---------------------
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application