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Re: Words of Wisdom? (Part 2 of 2)

Jun 15, 1997 09:39 AM
by M K Ramadoss

Part 2 of 2 - ML28

. . You merely want it as a lure to your native brethren. You know it will
be a sham, but it will look sufficiently like the real thing," etc., etc.
This is a direct and positive accusation. I am shown guilty of the pursuit
of a wicked, mean object through low and contemptible means, i.e., false
pretences. . . .

In penning these accusations did you stop to think, that as the projected
organization had something grander, nobler and far more important in view
than the mere gratification of the desires of one solitary person -- however
worthy -- namely in case of success to promote the security and welfare of a
whole conquered nation -- it is just barely possible that that which to your
individual pride may appear a "low motive" is after all but the anxious
search for means which would be the salvation of a whole country ever
distrusted and suspected, the protection by the conqueror of the conquered!
You pride yourself upon not being a "patriot" -- I do not; for, in learning
to love one's country one but learns to love humanity the more. The lack of
that you term "low motives" in 1857 caused my country-men to be blown by
yours from the mouths of their guns. Why then should I not fancy that a real
philanthropist would regard the aspiration for a better understanding
between the Govt. and people of India as a most commendable instead of an
ignoble one? "A fig" say you "for the knowledge and the philosophy on which
it is based," if -- "it would not be of any good to mankind," would not
"enable me to be more useful to my generation," etc. etc. But when you are
offered the means of doing such good you turn away in scorn and taunt us
with a "lure" and a "sham"! Truly wonderful are the contradictions contained
in your remarkable letter. . . . And then, you laugh so heartily at the idea
of a "reward" or the approval "of your fellow-creatures." The reward to
which I shall look will be," you say -- "in earning my own self-approval."
"Self-approval" which cares so little for the corroborative verdict of the
better part of the world at large, to which the good and noble deeds of one
serve as high ideals and the most powerful stimulants to emulation, is
little else than proud and arrogant egotism. It is HIMSELF against all
criticsm; "apres moi -- le deluge"! -- exclaims the Frenchman with his usual
flippancy. "Before Jehovah was, I AM"! says Man -- the ideal of every modern
intellectual Englishman. Gratified as I feel at the idea of being the means
of affording you so much merriment, namely in asking you to draft a general
plan for the formation of the A.I. Branch, I yet am bound to say again that
your laugh was premature in as much you once more misunderstood entirely my
meaning. Had I asked for your help in the organization of a system for
teaching the occult sciences, or a plan for a "school of magick" the
instance brought by you of an ignorant boy asked to work out "an abstruse
problem regarding the motion of a fluid inside another fluid" might be a
happy one. As it is, your comparison falls short of the mark and the bit of
irony hits no one; for my mentioning the subject related merely to the
general plan and outward administration of the projected Society and not in
the least to its esoteric studies; to the Branch of the Universal
Brotherhood not to the "School of Magick" -- the formation of the former
being the sine qua non for the latter. Most assuredly in such matter as this
one -- the organization of an A.I. Branch, to be composed of Englishmen and
meant to serve as a link between the British and the natives -- (the
condition being that they who want to share in the secret knowledge, the
inheritance of the children of the soil, must be prepared to accord at least
some privileges hitherto refused to these natives) -- you English people are
far more competent than we to draft a general plan. You know the conditions
you would be likely to accept or reject as we might not. I asked for a
skeleton plan, and you imagined I clamoured for co-operation in the
instructions to be given in spiritual sciences! Most unfortunate qui pro quo
-- and yet Mr. Sinnett seems to have understood my wish at a glance.

Again you seem to show an unfamiliarity with the Hindu mind when you say:
"not one in ten thousand native minds is as well prepared to realize and
assimilate transcendental truths as mine." However much you may be right in
thinking that "amongst English men of Science there are not half a dozen
even whose minds are more capable of receiving these rudiments (of occult
knowledge) than mine" (yours) -- you are mistaken as to the natives. The
Hindu mind is pre-eminently open to the quick and clear perception of the
most transcendental, the most abstruse metaphysical truths. Some of the most
unlettered ones will seize at a glance that which would often escape the
best Western metaphysician. You may be, and most assuredly are our superiors
in every branch of physical knowledge; in spiritual sciences we were, are
and always will be your -- MASTERS.

But let me ask you, what can I, a half civilized native, -- think of the
charity, modesty and kindness of one belonging to a superior race; one, whom
I know as a noble minded, just, and kind hearted man in most circumstances,
of his life, when, with all ill-disguised scorn he exclaims: "if you want
men to rush on blind-fold, heedless of ulterior results (1) -- stick to your
Olcotts -- if you want men of a HIGHER CLASS, whose brains are to work
effectually in your cause, remember . . ." etc. My dear Sir, we neither want
men to rush on blind-fold, nor are we prepared to abandon tried friends --
who rather pass for fools, than reveal what they may have learnt under a
solemn pledge of never revealing it unless permitted -- even for the chance
of getting men of the very highest class, -- nor are we especially anxious
to have anyone work for us except with entire spontaneity. We want true and
unselfish hearts; fearless and confiding souls, and are quite willing to
leave the men of the "higher class" and far higher intellects to grope their
own way to the light. Such will only look upon us as subordinates.

I believe that these few quotations from your letter and the frank answers
they have called forth, are sufficient to show how far we are from anything
like an entente cordiale. You show a spirit of fierce combativeness and a
desire -- pardon me -- to fight shadows evoked by your own imagination. I
had the honour of receiving three long letters from you even before I had
barely time to answer in general terms your first one. I had never
positively refused to comply with your wishes, never had answered as yet one
single question of yours. How did you know what Future held in store for
you, had you but waited one week? You invite me to a conference only, as it
would seem, that you may show me the defects and weaknesses in our modes of
action, and the causes for our supposed failure to convert humanity from
their evil ways. And in your letter you show plainly that you are the
beginning, the middle and the end of the law to yourself. Then why trouble
yourself to write to me at all? Even that, which you call a "Parthian arrow"
was never meant as such. It is not I, who, unable to get the absolute will
depreciate or undervalue the relative good. Your "little birds" have, no
doubt, since you so believe, done much good in their way and I certainly
never dreamt of giving offence by my remark that the human race and its
welfare, were at least as noble a study, and the latter as desirable an
occupation as ornithology. But, I am not quite sure that your parting remark
as to our not being invulnerable as a body is quite free of that spirit
which animated the retreating Parthians. Be it as it may, we are content to
live as we do -- unknown and undisturbed by a civilization which rests so
exclusively upon intellect. Nor do we feel in any way concerned about the
revival of our ancient arts and high civilization, for these are as sure to
come back in their time, and in a higher form as the Plesiosaurus and the
Megatherium in theirs. We have the weakness to believe in ever recurrent
cycles and hope to quicken the resurrection of what is past and gone. We
could not impede it even if we would. The "new civilization" will be but the
child of the old one, and we have but to leave the eternal law to take its
own course to have our dead ones come out of their graves; yet, we are
certainly anxious to hasten the welcome event. Fear not; although we do
"cling superstitiously to the relics of the Past" our knowledge will not
pass away from the sight of man. It is the "gift of the gods" and the most
precious relic of all. The keepers of the sacred Light did not safely cross
so many ages but to find themselves wrecked on the rocks of modern
scepticism. Our pilots are too experienced sailors to allow us [to] fear any
such disaster. We will always find volunteers to replace the tired sentries,
and the world, bad as it is in its present state of transitory period, can
yet furnish us with a few men now and then. You "do not propose moving
further in the matter" unless we make "some further sign"? My dear sir, we
have done our duty: we have responded to your appeal, and now propose to
take no further step. We, who have studied a little Kant's moral teachings,
analyzed them somewhat carefully, have come to the conclusion that even this
great thinker's views on that form of duty (das Sollen) which defines the
methods of moral action -- notwithstanding his one-sided affirmation to the
contrary -- falls short of a full definition of an unconditional absolute
principle of morality -- as we understand it. And this Kantian note sounds
throughout your letter. You so love mankind, you say, that were not your
generation to benefit by it, you would reject "Knowledge" itself. And yet,
this philanthropic feeling does not even seem to inspire you with charity
towards those you regard as of an inferior intelligence. Why? Simply because
the philanthropy you Western thinkers boast of, having no character of
universality; i.e. never having been established on the firm footing of a
moral, universal principle; never having risen higher than theoretical talk;
and that chiefly among the ubiquitous Protestant preachers, it is but a mere
accidental manifestation but no recognised LAW. The most superficial
analysis will show, that, no more than any other empirical phenomenon in
human nature, can it be taken as an absolute standard of moral activity;
i.e. one productive of efficient action. Since, in its empirical nature this
kind of philanthropy is like love, but something accidental, exceptional,
and like that has its selfish preferences and affinities; it necessarily is
unable to warm all mankind with its beneficent rays. This, I think is, the
secret of the spiritual failure and unconscious egotism of this age. And
you, otherwise a good and a wise man, being unconsciously to yourself the
type of its spirit, are unable to understand our ideas upon the Society as a
Universal Brotherhood, and hence -- turn away your face from it. Your
conscience revolts you say to be made "a stalking horse; the puppet of a
score or more of hidden wire-pullers." What do you know of us since you
cannot see us; what do you know of our aims and objects; of us, of whom you
cannot judge? . . . you ask. Strange arguments. And do you really suppose
you would "know" us, or penetrate any better our "aims and objects" were you
to see me personally? I am afraid, that with no past experience of this
kind, even your natural powers of observation -- however acute -- would have
to be confessed more than useless. Why, my dear Sir, even our Baharoopias
can prove a match any day for the acutest political Resident; and never yet
one was detected or even recognised; and their mesmeric powers are not of
the highest order. However suspicious you might ever feel about the details
of the "brooch" there is one prime feature in the case which your astuteness
has already told you can only be accounted for on the theory of a stronger
will influencing Mrs. Hume to think after that particular object and no
other. And if Mad. B., a sickly woman, must be credited with such powers,
are you quite sure that you yourself would not also be made to succumb to a
trained will, ten times stronger than hers? I could come to you to-morrow,
and installing myself in your house -- as invited -- get an entire
domination over your whole mind and body in 24 hours, and you never aware of
it for one moment. I may be a good man, but so I may, for all you know, as
easily be a wicked, plotting schemer, hating profoundly your white race
which subjugated and daily humiliates mine, and -- take revenge on you --
one of the best representatives of that race. If the power of exoteric
mesmerism alone were employed -- a power acquired with equal ease by the bad
as by the good man -- even then you could hardly escape the snares laid out
for you, were the man you invited but a good mesmeriser, for -- you are a
remarkably easy subject -- from the physical stand-point. "But my conscience
my intuition!" you may argue. Poor help in such a case as mine. Your
intuition would make you feel but that which really was -- for the time
being; and as to your conscience -- you then accept Kant's definition of it?
You, perhaps, believe with him that under all circumstances, and even with
the full absence of definite religious notions, and occasionally even with
no firm notions about right and wrong at all, MAN has ever a sure guide in
his own inner moral perceptions or -- conscience? The greatest of mistakes!
With all the formidable importance of this moral factor, it has one radical
defect. Conscience as it was already remarked may be well compared to that
demon, whose dictates were so zealously listened to and so promptly obeyed
by Socrates. Like that demon, conscience, may perchance, tell us what we
must not do; yet, it never guides us as to what we ought to perform, nor
gives any definite object to our activity. And -- nothing can be more easily
lulled to sleep and even completely paralyzed, as this same conscience by a
trained will stronger than that of its possessor. Your conscience will NEVER
show you whether the mesmeriser is a true adept or a very clever juggler, if
he once has passed your threshold and got control of the aura surrounding
your person. You speak of abstaining from any but an innocent work like
bird-collecting, lest there be danger of creating another Frankenstein's
monster. . . . Imagination as well as will -- creates. Suspicion is the most
powerful provocative agent of imagination. . . . Beware! You have already
begotten in you the germ of a future hideous monster, and instead of the
realization of your purest and highest ideals you may one day evoke a
phantom, which, barring every passage of light will leave you in worse
darkness than before, and, will harass you to the end of your days.

Again expressing the hope that my candour may not give offence, I am, dear
Sir, as ever,

                                Your most obedient Servant,

                                Koot' Hoomi Lal Sing

A. O. Hume, Esq.

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