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Elder Brother excerpts

Jun 20, 1997 07:33 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

>From The Elder Brother by Gregory Tillett.  London: Routledge
Kegan Paul, 1982.

Background: For many years it had been standard procedure for
CWL to form very close ties to adolescent and preadolescent
boys with whom he spent almost all his time.  Jinarajadasa was
one of the first, Basil Hodgson-Smith another.  A.P. Sinnett
and another Theosophist had both placed their sons in CWL's
care and then abruptly terminated the arrangement without any
explanation given.  But there were no public accusations of
improprieties until in 1906 two boys, Robin Dennis and Douglas
Pettit, children of Theosophists who had placed them in CWL's
care, complained.  Pettit, when asked by his parents why he had
suddenly turned antagonistic to CWL, said "that Mr. L. had
taught him how to practice self-abuse" in the words of Mrs.
Dennis.  Her own son Robin also showed dislike of CWL, and when
pressed to explain said he could not.  Finally, he confessed
the same thing-- having been taught masturbation.  When his
mother asked when it happened, he said "The very first night I
visited him we slept together."(p. 78) The material posted by
Alan comes from this period.

In 1910, Krishnamurti's father began making accusations of
"And his concern was encouraged by one of Mrs. Besant's
servants, Lakshman, who brought him stories of finding Krishna
naked in Leadbeater's presence"...(133) By 1912 K.'s father
sued for the return of custody of his sons, which had been
granted to Besant.  At this point "he also claimed to have
actually witnessed am `unnatural act' between Leadbeater and
Krishna."(p. 149)

A police investigation of CWL was instigated in Sydney after
further accusations emerged.  T. H. Martyn, a leading
Australian Theosophist, had invited CWL to live in his home
after his own son's tutor had gone to war in 1915.  CWL stayed
until 1917.  One day, Mrs. Martyn saw

"I saw Oscar [Kollerstrom, an adolescent] in a state of nudity
in the bed with Mr. Leadbeater and Heyting also naked.  He
walked out of the room naked to his bed which was on the
verandah...and I saw Mr. Leadbeater getting into bed where
Oscar was and the light extinguished."(p. 198) T.H. Martyn
concluded from observation of CWL and boys that "Mr. Leadbeater
as as a motive and apart from any philanthropic purpose the
gratification of a perverted sex impulse...his relations with
some boys (probably not all the boys around him) has been for
his personal sex gratification."(Ibid.)

Hubert Van Hook had been promoted as a new Messiah by CWL
before the "discovery" of Krishnamurti.  At the time of the
1906 scandals, his father Weller had indignantly denied any
immoral motives on Leadbeater's part.  But in 1927 he publicly
stated: "The undersigned, as a physician, a little lated caused
to be published in good faith a statement that he believed the
teachings referred to were given solely with the purpose and
motive of aiding the recipients in their spiritual progress.
The undersigned now states that he has not, for some years,
been able to continue in this belief by things that there were
also other motives involved...He regrets his former statement,
which was erroneously but honestly made."(p. 227)

Van Hook had been Gen. Sec. of the US Section at the time of
the scandals.  His son Hubert later alleged that Leadbeater had
"engaged in sexual relations with him" which probably explains
the father's change of heart.

On p. 280, this appears in the midst of a paragraph summarizing
relevant evidence:

Claims that he had initiated sexual activities were
specifically made by two of his pupils in the USA in relation
to the 1906 `troubles', when it was claimed that he had
indulged in mutual masturbation, alleging that this would
promote physical vigour and have occult results as well.
Hubert Van Hook also alleged, in later years, that Leadbeater
had engaged in sexual relations with him.  But other than these
three boys, and one in Australia, non of his pupils ever
offered any publis suggestion of sexual irregularities.  Mrs.
Besant fad stated that sex was not permissible for an Initiate,
and the pupils all repeated that Leadbeater stressed the
importance of purity.  There were, however, a few things that
might had led the suspicious to wonder.  Why did Leadbeater
invariably sleep with a young boy in his bed?  And why did he
invariably have a boy in the bath with him?  It has been argued
that his weak heart necessitated such companionship for fear he
might have some sort of attack whilst alone; but does
companionship require mutual nakedness in close proximity?  And
why did Leadbeater insist on communal bathing for his pupils at
the Manor, with all of them in the bathroom, naked, at the same
time?  He was given an enema every morning by one or other of
his pupils, in the presence of the others while they bathed.
This, said the close associated of Leadbeater's who told of the
morning ritual, may have given rise to misinterpretations.  One
could understand why."(280)

Tillett concludes with an explanation of ritual masturbation
which has already been alluded to and can be found in the
closing pages of the book.

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