Farthing Manifesto - Part 1 of 3
Mar 11, 1998 09:25 PM
by M K Ramadoss
The interesting manifesto by Geoffrey A Farthing appeared in THE HIGH
COUNTRY THEOSOPHIST and in THEOSOPHY WORLD. This is a copy cut out of
THEOSOPHY WORLD by Eldon Tucker. Geoffrey Farthing is a very well known
long time Theosophist from England.
It is posted in three parts due to its length. I have numbered the
paragraphs in sequence so that in any follow-up discussion, they could be
I hope it would encourage everyone to discuss many issues that Farthing has
raised. As we approach the next millenium, they seem to be appropriate
topics to discuss.
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY AND ITS FUTURE
by Geoffrey A. Farthing
[from the June 1997 THEOSOPHY WORLD (firstname.lastname@example.org), reprinted from
the May 1997 HIGH COUNTRY THEOSOPHIST (email@example.com).]
[P1.] 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 kept secret. 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.
[P2.] 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 candidates. 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'.
[P3.] 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 meanings. 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.
[P4.] 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.
[P5.] 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.
[P6.] 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.
[P7.] 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.
[P8.] This was in a document adopted by the SPR which later became known as
the Hodgson Report. It hasbeen 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.
[P9.] 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.
[P10.] This was her most important theosophical work. It is®MDUL¯ ®MDNM¯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.
[P11.] 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.
[P12.] 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).
[P13.] 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).
[P14.] 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.
[P15.] These communications, some of them very copious and impressive,
were, however, received psychically or 'channeled': very importantly
they were all uncorroborated.
[P16.] 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 21st century.
[P17.] 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.
[P18.] 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.
[P19.] 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.
[P20.] 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 Masters.
[P21.] 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.
[P22.] HPB expressly stated that 'we do not meddle in politics ...' yet
Annie Besant's prime interest in India was political.
[P23.] 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 theosophical.
[P24.] Politics aims to change systems for the benefit of people; Theosophy
aims to change people themselves for the long-term benefit of humanity itself.
[P25.] 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.
[P26.] 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.
[P27.] 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
[P28.] CWL joined the Society in 1883. He did not, unlike Annie Besant
receive a welcome from HPB, nor was he admitted to her Inner Group.
[P29.] 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
[P30.] 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.
[P31.] 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.
[P32.] 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).
[P33.] 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
[P34.] 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.
[P35.] However, both the Church and the CoMasons 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).
[P36.] 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 questionable.
[P37.] 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.?
End of Part 1 of 3
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