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B P Wadia - A biography Part 2 of 7

Feb 23, 1998 06:44 PM
by M K Ramadoss


Continued from Part 1 of 7

1919  -  Meets Members of the United Lodge of Theosophists

He paid a visit to hear what the ULT offered, and listened to the talk
given.  Earlier, his fame had attracted members of the ULT to attend his
talks under T S auspices.

They appreciated his point of view in regard to HPB, and as a result he
held a number of talks with the supporters of the ULT.  He then learned of
its aims and objectives.

He saw they had been reprinting in Theosophy magazine Mme. Blavatsky's
articles, and, those of Mr. W.Q.Judge--with whose works he was not familiar.

He accepted an appointment to speak from the platform of the ULT on the
subject of Mme. Blavatsky and The Secret Doctrine.

He then read with great attention Mr. Judge's books:  The Ocean of
Theosophy,  The Epitome of Theosophy,  Echoes from the Orient.  This made
him realize what a gap had been created in the minds and knowledge of those
in the T S by having no access to Mr. Judge's writings for nearly 25 years;
 and, in being given a false picture of him as a renegade, who had been
expelled for his misdeeds from the T S, along with the majority of the
members of the T S in the American Section by Col. Olcott, the President
Founder in 1895.

He attended more meetings of the ULT, then held at the Metropolitan
Building, in downtown Los Angeles.  He held long talks with Mr.John
Garrigues, Mr. Westcott and Mrs. Grace Clough, and many of the ULT
associates who had known and worked with Mr. Robert Crosbie, founder and
energizer of the "pure Theosophy" program of the impersonal U.L.T.

Mr. Wadia said he was thrilled to read the Declaration of The United Lodge
of Theosophists, and to realize that a group of students already existed,
who had banded together, without any political or official structure, on
the basis of a practical application of HPB's Theosophy.  He found that the
principles of brotherly work and unity had survived, and those were being
applied practically and impersonally.  All ideas of "successorship," of
"leadership," of "politics" and "personal" authority had been excluded from
this association.

It now remained to see, he said, whether an agreement with the present T.S.
"leaders," Mrs. Besant in particular, could be arranged to implement a
similar program that would bring about an internal adjustment, and would
return the T S to the Original Lines, and Objects, and to the Original
Program of the Masters.

It was November 1919 in Los Angeles.  Mr. Crosbie had died only five months
earlier: June 25th 1919.  His loss, BPW observed, seemed to have left some
feeling of despondency among the workers at the ULT.  Mr. Wadia dissuaded
them from this.

He affirmed his belief in the need for the ULT, and the practical
application of those principles its Declaration stood for.   Mr. Crosbie,
speaking just before his death to his friends who felt this despondency
said:  "they would not have too long to wait" for some help to arrive.
>From that discussed and understood between them and BPW, it seemed that
this "help" was at hand.  Certainly there was a great meeting of minds.

They began to plan what ought to be done, in all fairness to Mrs. Besant,
to the T S in Adyar and elsewhere, and to the defining of Mr. Wadia's
future position and the discharge of his continued responsibilities to all
of those before he would be free to join the ULT.  He promised those at ULT
that if he was not successful in instituting a change and a reform in
Adyar, he would return in a short while.  His duty required that he
continue his tour, complete his work in the T S, and for the Labor Union
Congress, then return to India.

He would in addition work on what he had found and learned; study Judge and
Crosbie;  and, when in Adyar, he would fight for the restoration of true
Theosophy.  He would try to secure from Annie Besant a public reversal of
the unfair attitude maintained against Mr. Judge and his work in America,
for nearly 25 years.

He did try this, as will be seen from Professor A. H. Nethercot's biography
of Annie Besant, [ Vol. II, p. 328,  The Eight Lives of Annie Besant,
Publisher: University of Chicago Press ];  but was unsuccessful in securing
from Mrs. Besant a public reversal from her.  To him, privately, she
admitted that Judge had been wronged, just as earlier, Col. Olcott had
admitted that to Laura Holloway, whom he had met in New York shortly before
his death, but he did not make this public.]

In going through some of the older magazines published in Bombay and Adyar,
during the period when he was with Col. Olcott and Mrs. Besant (1906-1921)
one will come across a number of statements of support made by BPW for the
policies of those in charge of the T.S.:  Mrs. Besant, Mr. Leadbeater, Mr.
Krishnamurthi, etc...  These appear to be at variance with his later words
and actions after his resignation from the T.S.  As he explained this, they
were sincere statements made by him within the framework of his knowledge
at that time.

BPW knew Mr. Judge, one of the original founders, was no longer well known
among most of the membership of the T.S., or in India since 1895.  He,
along with HPB and Col. Olcott had remained faithful to the Masters' Cause.
 BPW saw that his writing formed a bridge between HPB, who provided the
metaphysical base and Judge offered the practical applications.  He was
distressed that such an important and valuable asset to the T.S. had been
lost and a memory of its existence had been buried and obliterated so far
as the membership was then concerned.

BPW saw in the nature of the work that Mr. Judge did for Theosophy in
America, a fiery devotion which had in a few years, brought an enormous
increase of public interest in, and respect for, Theosophical principles
and doctrines during the ten year period between 1886 and 1896, the last
being the year in which Judge died.  [ The membership grew from about 350
to over 4,000, and the number of Branches from about 20 to over 400.]

It was similar to the flowering of the Theosophical Society in India during
the five year period 1879-1884, when, fired by the devotion and energy of
Col. Olcott, and HPB. Theosophy had burgeoned and spread over the East to
Ceylon, Burma, Japan, Thailand and other Eastern countries.  But there was
a difference between Judge and Olcott.  Col. Olcott was healthy and also
became famous in India as a magnetic healer, until warned by the Master to
stop.  Judge, on the other hand had contracted Chagres fever (back-water
fever which attacks the liver) in Columbia or Mexico where he went between
1876 and 1883, as a young man, for some of his New York clients who had
mining interests there, and he was frail physically ever afterwards.  The
lingering disease was known to carry off the person in the course of some
21 years.  The last three years of his life were noticeably those of a very
sick man.  His energy was spent as an organizer and as a writer.  the
magazine The Path contains most of his extensive writings.

1919 - 1922

BPW attempted during over two years (1920-21) to bring a change in the
attitude of the "leaders" of the T S at Adyar and elsewhere.  He kept
pointing to the true Lines that were indicated in the Theosophy of HPB, and
the S D.  In this effort he worked with Annie Besant, and other leaders of
the Theosophical Society in Adyar, trying to secure their understanding of
the wrong that had been done to Mr. Judge and to the whole of the
Theosophical Society in America, as well as to members everywhere within
the T S, from 1895 onward.  BPW determined to find out if the breach could
be repaired, and if the unity of the Theosophical Movement could be
restored by Mrs. Besant, joining with him, and others, to mend the
misunderstandings that had caused the unbrotherly break of 1895.  After
several heart to heart conversations in 1920-21 with Mrs. Besant, BPW found
that while she admitted to him in private that what had been done against
Mr. Judge and the "Theosophical Society in America," 25 years back, was
wrong, she refused to make a public retraction and restore Judge's fair
name in T S Theosophical circles.


In July 1920 BPW, as a delegate from India, attended the Convention of the
American Section T.S. in  Chicago.  By this time, he had become a member of
the American Section of the T.S.  A question arose about the authority of
the officers, particularly the President in the administration of the
American Section
T S,  Resolutions were framed to permit the President of that American
Section's Administration to expel members who criticized its officers for
"autocratic and underhand methods of administration."  Mr. Wadia opposed
such resolutions as that would muzzle free speech.  The President of the
American Section T S, at that time desired to apply this to suppress and
quell criticism of certain actions he had taken without securing the prior
approval of the Council of the American Section.  [ see O. E. Library
Critic issues 1919-23 for more details about the forcing on the
T S membership in America of mandatory membership in the Liberal [Old]
Catholic Church, the Star of the East, and Co-Masonry.]

Mr. Wadia's opposition to the high-handed methods of the President of the
American Section T S, galvanized a great measure of opposition to this
objective, and the thwarted President then wrote to Mrs. Besant (as the
International President T.S., at Adyar) complaining of Mr. Wadia's
"interference" in local affairs.  Mrs. Besant replied, upholding Mr.
Wadia's stand on principles, (since he was a member of the American Section
also) while deploring his possible "interference."  She said that her
acquaintance with Mr. Wadia for many years had confirmed her entire trust
and respect for him.  But, she added, they did not always agree.  From
Adyar on Sept. 20th 1920, Mr. Wadia wrote a letter that answered points
made publicly by the president in the American Section, and sent copies of
it to members of the T S Section in America.  He wrote, in summary :

Criticism should never be grounds for expulsion of any member.  Majority
vote should rule all matters of administration.  While in America and
staying at Krotona, Hollywood (now moved to Ojai), he encountered evidence
of wrong principles and wrong methods apparently used by certain
administrators in the American Section.  He was then slandered by those
officials, and a complaint had been lodged in Adyar with Mrs. Besant,
International President T S.  Mr. Wadia proceeded to expose publicly what
was going on.  He stood for the principles of clear speech and an exposure
of such matters, as it concerned all members who were free to vote.

He returned in 1920 to Europe, and traveled to Paris to attend the World
Congress of the T S there.  Thereafter he was asked to visit a number of
countries where T S Branches were active;  he visited Belgium, lecturing in
Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Ostend, Liege, Charleroi, Marianwelz.  19
lectures delivered, two at the Universite Internationale.  He was
enthusiastically received and listened to by those engaged in labor reform
and by their members, the workers themselves.

He received, then, an invitation to attend the First World Congress of
Psychical Research, to meet in Copenhagen; and another from the Third World
Brotherhood Congress, to meet in Prague.  As he was not able to go to
either of them he sent papers, which were received and read with

Following Belgium, he visited Holland, where he worked for 2 weeks, 56
meetings were held.  Copenhagen was next visited where 4 talks were given
to various groups.  Then, on to Sweden, Malmo, Goteborg, Gefle, Stockholm;
then to Oslo, Norway, where the Annual Convention of the Norwegian T S was
held.  Next to Helsinki, Finland.  A tour which began in Marseilles in the
South of France on February 20th ended October 20th 1920 in Finland.  He
then sailed back to India.


Meanwhile, the Government of India in 1921 appointed Mr. Wadia a member of
the Indian Delegation to the Second International Labor Conference under
the League of Nations, which was to meet in Geneva, Switzerland, October
25th, 1921 and this was to be continued for a month.  This necessitated a
second trip to Europe, and In November 1921, after the conference, Mr.
Wadia again sailed for America and thereafter he returned to make his final
efforts in Adyar--and these being unsuccessful, he resigned in July 1922.

July 18th 1922

B.P.Wadia resigned from the Theosophical Society on the 18th of July 1922.
He broadcast his reasons for this resignation widely to members of the TS.
He also advised them of his joining the U L T because of its impersonal
policy, and its one-pointed work focussed on Original Theosophy, as taught
by H.P.Blavatsky.

He stated there that he would be working thenceforth for Theosophy through
the United Lodge of Theosophists, which of all existing Theosophical
bodies, was the one that he had found to be closest in ideal and practice
to the original program of the Theosophical Society  as started by the
Masters, with,  Mme. Blavatsky as Their Agent, Col. H.S.Olcott as President
for Life, and with Mr. W.Q.Judge as Counsel to the Society, and later as
General Secretary of the American Section T.S.

BPW, stated that he did not "look back," nor did he mention or apologize
for what he had written earlier in support of the policies of Mrs. Besant,
and others of the leaders of the Theosophical Society in the period when he
was a member between 1903 and 1922.  That door was closed.  He thereafter
directed the whole thrust of his energy and work into the United Lodge of
Theosophists, which was effectively using methods of work that exemplified
the principles outlined in the original program of the Masters.  These are
embodied in the Declaration of the U L T.

Continued in Part 3 of 7

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