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Title: Isis very much unveiled, being the story of the great mahatma hoax
Author: Garrett, Edmund H. (Edmund Henry)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                                                 TOLD
                                                 FROM
                                                 SOURCES
 ISIS                                            MAINLY
 VERY                                            THEOSOPHICAL,
 MUCH                                            BY
 UNVEILED,                                       EDMUND
 BEING                                             GARRETT,
 THE                                             AUTHOR
 STORY                       [Illustration]      OF
 OF                                              “IN
 THE                                             AFRIKANDER
 GREAT                                           LAND,”
 MAHATMA                                         “IBSEN’S
 HOAX.                                           BRAND
                                                 IN
                                                 ENGLISH
                                                 VERSE,”
                                                 &c.


         LONDON:
  “WESTMINSTER GAZETTE”                          _All Rights Reserved._
         OFFICE,
   TUDOR STREET, E.C.



                                 INDEX.


                                                                   PAGE.

              PART I.—THE STORY OF THE GREAT MAHATMA HOAX.

 Chapter     I.— Introduction                                          5
    〃       II.— No Mahatmas, no Members!                              8
    〃      III.— Mystification under Madame Blavatsky                 13
    〃       IV.— The Psychical Research Exposure                      17
    〃        V.— Mystification under Mrs. Besant                      22
    〃       VI.— Enter the Mahatma                                    27
    〃      VII.— Every Man his own Mahatma                            32
    〃     VIII.— The Adventures of a Seal                             36
    〃       IX.— The Climax of Theosophic Brotherhood                 42
    〃        X.— The Mahatma Tries Threats                            48
    〃       XI.— Mrs. Besant’s _coup de main_                         55
    〃      XII.— A Meeting of the (Theosophical)
                   Pickwick Club                                      60
    〃     XIII.— Questions and Challenges                             67


                  PART II—ANSWERS AND THEOSOPHISTRIES.

     I.— From Officials                                               75
    II.— From Prominent Theosophists                                  80
   III.— From Private Members                                         93


                     PART III.—A GENERAL REJOINDER.

 Last Shreds of the Veil of Isis                                      99


                               POSTSCRIPT.

 Mr. Judge’s Mahatma at Bay                                          108
 L’Envoi: “The Society upon the Himalay”                             117
 A Reply from Mr. W. Q. Judge                                        121
 An Appreciation of Mr. Judge’s “Reply”                              133


                      ILLUSTRATIONS AND FACSIMILES.

         Frontispiece, Portrait of Mme. Blavatsky                      1
         Portrait of Mrs. Besant                                   80–81
         Portrait of Colonel Olcott                                32–33
         The “Mahatma’s Seal”                                         28
         The Envelope Trick                                           35
         Facsimiles of Mahatma Missives, of Mr. Judge’s  20, 33, 37, 38,
           Handwriting, &c.                              50, 52, 54, 115
         Portrait Cartoon: “When Augur meets Augur”                  119

[Illustration:

  MADAME BLAVATSKY

  (From a photograph by Messrs. Elliott & Fry, Baker-street, W.)
]



                                PREFACE.


Tourists at Pompeii are shown a temple of Isis. The impartial cinders
have preserved for us there, not only the temple, but the secret passage
which the priests used in the production of what are nowadays called
“phenomena.”

The following pages are designed to show the secret passage in the
temple of the Theosophic Isis, the goddess of Madame Blavatsky’s “Isis
Unveiled.”

Instead of having to wait on the pleasure of Vesuvius, I am enabled to
act as cicerone while the temple is still (for the present) a going
concern.

The important difference between the exposure of Madame Blavatsky’s box
of tricks by the Society for Psychical Research, and the present
exposure of her successors is, that in this case we have the
high-priesthood giving evidence against itself. My own part in the
business is merely the humble one of seeing that they shall all
satisfactorily “get at” one another. In redacting, out of the mass of
various testimony which has fallen into my hands as clear and readable a
story as I could present, my main care has been to tone down the mutual
insinuations. Talk about augur meeting augur with a smile! It is the
snarl which _these_ augurs cannot disguise.

As for myself, I have tried to render a service to truth; but I cannot
see, with some good people, that a sense of truth necessarily excludes a
sense of humour.

Mrs. Besant is a lady whose character I have often defended in the press
though I have not always been able to accept the extremer estimates of
her intellectual power. She is about the only one of my _dramatis
personæ_ in whom the public at large (like myself) feel any personal
interest whatever. She is, therefore, the strongest buttress of a fabric
which she has now for some time known to be rotten at the base. That is
why I have dealt more seriously with her than with these Olcotts and
Judges. The President is too flabby to be worth fighting; the
Vice-President is already thrown over by all the shrewder and honester
members; even Mrs. Besant herself has now cabled her refusal to accept
his latest revelation, and discovered that his Mahatma is indeed a
fraud—when he “deposes” Mrs. Besant.

My pity is saved for those humbler dupes of the rank-and-file who have
trusted these others not wisely but too well. From some of them I have
seen pathetic letters; and if any gall has got upon my pen, it is the
gall of the bitterness of their disillusion. They are more widely
spread, and more worth saving from the quagmire of shams than most
people suspect.

I need hardly remark that I was never a Theosophist myself. But my
Theosophical sources of information, referred to in the course of the
story, have been growing within the Society week by week ever since the
exposure began.

There are no signs at present of any intention on the part of the three
Theosophic chiefs to return from the various continents to which they
departed last July—departed simultaneously with the issue of that
“Report of an Inquiry” (so-called) which is the starting-point of these
chapters. Mrs. Besant has left Australia to join Colonel Olcott in
India; Mr. Judge remains just five days hence at New York. And so,
taking a cue from Mahomet and the Mountain, “Isis Very much Unveiled”
will now, in booklet form, go out to them.

                                                      F. EDMUND GARRETT.



                        ISIS VERY MUCH UNVEILED.



                                PART I.

                  THE STORY OF THE GREAT MAHATMA HOAX.



                               CHAPTER I.
                             INTRODUCTORY.

  “O my Theosophists.... What a pack of fools you are!”—MADAME
  BLAVATSKY.


This will be one of the queerest stories ever unfolded in a newspaper.
Truth, as worshipped by the Theosophists, is indeed stranger than
fiction. But it is not here told merely for entertainment. It has also a
degree of importance and instructiveness measured by the growing wealth
and numbers of the Theosophical Society, and the personal influence of
Mrs. Besant. To-day the Theosophical Society numbers some three or four
thousand members in Europe, India, and America. It supports two or three
publishing businesses and several score of magazines in various
languages. It boasts offices and house property in London, New York, and
Adyar. It attracts donations and bequests. It numbers a title or two and
some money-bags. It consists almost entirely of educated or
semi-educated people, many of whom are intelligent, many sincere; a few
both. And it is likely, amid that debauch of sign-seeking and
marvel-mongering into which a century rationalistic in its youth has
plunged in its dotage, to captivate an increasing number of those who
are bored with the old religions and yet agog for a new.

It is especially to these that I dedicate the singular narrative which
these articles are to unfold. It may save them betimes a painful
disillusionment, such as it will, I fear, inflict on many who are as yet
numbered among the faithful.

What is the situation at present?

Everybody knows that Madame Blavatsky, the original founder of the
society, supported its pretensions to an occult origin by the production
of phenomena which were pronounced by careful investigators to be due to
systematic trickery; but which are still believed by the faithful to
have been produced at Madame’s request, and in support of the Theosophic
movement, by certain Eastern sages possessed of transcendental powers
over mind and matter.

Everybody will remember that Mrs. Besant, on whom the mantle of Madame
Blavatsky has fallen, made a sensational public assertion, some time
after her teacher’s death, to the effect that those “powers” were still
at work (they were indeed!), and that she was herself now the recipient
of similar “communications” from the “Mahatmas.”

A few people are aware that as the result of a sort of split among
prominent members of the society, there was recently a Theosophic
meeting at which Mrs. Besant confessed to her friends that there had
been something wrong with the “communications” which she had been in
such a hurry to announce to the public; made certain Theosophically
obscure charges against a brother official of the society; but persuaded
those assembled to rest content with a general statement and not to
inquire into the facts further—in short, generally to hush the matter
up.

This the Theosophists, being a docile folk, conscientiously did; and as
the accused proceeded with Mrs. Besant’s sanction to deny, still in
general terms, what little assertion of fact Mrs. Besant herself had
appeared to convey, after which there was an affecting reconciliation:
it is not surprising that to the outside public the mystery remains
exactly where it was.

Even of the Theosophists themselves the full facts are only known at
present to a few of the inner ring.

In view of what has gone before, this reticence appears misplaced; and
as circumstances have put me in possession of the facts, I propose to
give them the same publicity as was enjoyed by Mrs. Besant’s original
statement.

I propose to show:—

That Mrs. Besant has been bamboozled for years by bogus “communications”
of the most childish kind, and in so ludicrous a fashion as to deprive
of all value any future evidence of hers on any question calling for the
smallest exercise of observation and common sense.

That she would in all probability be firmly believing in the bogus
documents in question to this day, but for the growing and at last
irresistible protests of some less greedily gullible Theosophists.

That the bamboozling in question has been practised widely and
systematically, ever since Madame Blavatsky’s death, pretty much as it
used to be during her lifetime.

That official acts of the society, as well as those of individual
members, have been guided by these bogus messages from Mahatmas.

That the exposure of them leaves the society absolutely destitute of any
objective communication with the Mahatmas who are alleged to have
founded and to watch over it, and of all other evidence of their
existence.

That Mrs. Besant has taken a leading part in hushing up the facts of
this exposure, and so securing the person whom she believes to have
written the bogus documents in his tenure of the highest office but one
in the society.

And that therefore Mrs. Besant herself and all her colleagues are in so
far in the position of condoning the hoax, and are benefiting in one
sense or another by the popular delusion which they have helped to
propagate.

I shall show, finally, that the only alternative to this set of
conclusions is another which would be even more discreditable to the
_personnel_ of the society, and even more fatal to its continued
existence on its present basis.



                              CHAPTER II.
                        NO MAHATMAS, NO MEMBERS!

  “If there are no Mahatmas the Theosophical Society is an absurdity,
  and there is no use in keeping it up.”—MRS. BESANT, in _Lucifer_,
  December 15, 1890.


Before going any further I wish to emphasise one point. This society, as
such, must stand or fall with its “Mahatmas.” It should be realised how
consistent, in one sense, this miracle-mongering side of the
Theosophical movement has been throughout the society’s history; what an
important part it has played and continues to play in attracting popular
interest; and how closely, along one of the versatile thaumaturgist’s
many lines, Madame Blavatsky has been followed by her present-day
imitator. I say this in justice to the latter, who, I think, may fairly
complain of the unkind criticisms passed on his Mahatma-missives by
colleagues who still cherish those produced under the auspices of Madame
Blavatsky.

It is true that the society does not officially vouch for Mahatmas. It
is careful not to demand belief in them as a condition of membership;
and the shrewder members are put into a panic by anything which tends to
compromise its boasted “neutrality” on this tender subject. But we shall
soon see what this “neutrality” is worth.

Madame Blavatsky taught that “the Masters” are certain sages, several
hundred years old or so, who by steeping themselves in the immemorial
lore of the East have attained powers transcending time, space, and the
other puny limits of Western science. By profound solitary meditation on
Things in General, these old gentlemen have arrived at a sort of Fourth
Dimension, in which a Soul and a Saucer come to very much the same
thing. Their residence was shrouded in a judicious mystery, which Madame
declared herself under a solemn oath to preserve. She at first located
them in the recesses of the Himalayas; but one of her most zealous
disciples lately stated in the _Daily Chronicle_ that “the two principal
Mahatmas now reside in an oasis of the Desert of Gobi.” At any rate,
these “adepts” prefer a sequestered spot, and remain occult in the
strictest sense of the word.

But on some points Madame was unequivocal about them. She declared that
she had sat at the feet of one of them as his _chela_ (pupil); that the
Theosophical Society was founded under his distinct inspiration; and
that he and his brothers continued to intervene in its affairs. The
original draft of the Society’s constitution, in fact, like a more
authentic Veda straight from heaven, had been “precipitated” in New York
by an exertion of the Masters’ psychic force from Tibet. Hesitating
converts and dubious subscribers were determined by the same form of
interposition; and somebody or other has taken steps, at all times of
the society’s history, to ensure that the more faithful of the
“_chelas_” should be comforted and encouraged as need arose, by missives
from their invisible “_guru_.” (A good, imposing word, “guru.” Do you
remember the terrible old man by the road in “David Copperfield,” who
scared David almost out of his wits by running out on him, and shouting
“Guroo, guroo, guroo”?) Mrs. Besant herself has admitted that Theosophy
is to be regarded in the light of a “revelation” from these exalted
beings, as well as in that of a science or philosophy which can be
arrived at by more ordinary means.

In a word, Theosophy without Mahatmas would be “Hamlet” without the
Prince of Denmark. “Isis Unveiled” and “The Secret Doctrine” are works
which few would be found to wade through if their verbose pages were not
lightened by associations of that White Magic which lends a creepy
interest even to such avowed works of fiction as “Zanoni” and “Mr.
Isaacs.” With belief in the Mahatmas must go any believing of “H.P.B.,”
who swore to them; and with “H.P.B.” and her authorities must go those
two volumes of solemn farrago, which remain the society’s only
contribution to philosophical knowledge. For all that is new in them, if
there _is_ anything new except the blunders, is explicitly given on the
authority of “the Masters.”

The published “Objects” of the society run thus:—

  (1) To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity
  without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or colour.

  (2) To promote the study of Aryan and other Eastern literatures,
  religions, and sciences.

  (3) A third object—pursued by a portion only of the members of the
  Society—is to investigate unexplained laws of nature and the
  psychical powers of man.

It will thus be seen that the “phenomenal” side of the society’s
activities has all along had a place, though guardedly, even in its
published Objects. In point of fact, as I have elsewhere insisted, this
third Object is the only one in pursuit of which the society has any
substantial achievement to point to. As to the first Object, my
narrative will presently suggest the same sort of remark on the
brotherliness of the Universal Brothers as has sometimes been made by
scoffers on the sociability of Socialists. As to the second Object, it
is observed that there are people who study Oriental literatures, and
there are people who belong to the Theosophical Society; but they are
not the same people. Professor Max Müller has edited the only series of
English translations of the Sacred Books of the East with which I am
acquainted, and Professor Max Müller lately published some University
lectures under the title of Theosophy. But his preface explained that he
did so in order to rescue that respectable and ancient philosophical
term from the associations of sciolism and miracle-mongering with which
the Theosophical Society have linked it in the public mind. In point of
fact, there is no reason to believe that any member of the society in
Europe could pass an examination in any Oriental language whatever. The
third Object, on the other hand, has led to some real achievements. The
society has not, perhaps, done much in the “investigation” line itself;
but members of it have certainly supplied the most astonishing
“unexplained laws of nature” and “psychical powers” for investigation by
other people. It is this which has given it its success, its growth, its
world-wide notoriety. It is this which first attracted and convinced its
best-known converts, and it is this which has created the successive
“booms” (as they would be called in a more purely commercial connexion)
which have produced the biggest crops of entrance subscriptions from the
wonder-loving public. I lay stress on this because the Theosophists have
shown a good deal of inconstancy in their treatment of the third Object.
They have always worked a given marvel for all it was worth until it got
somehow blown upon; then they turn round and remark that mere material
phenomena are, after all, of no great importance: the thing is the study
of those great spiritual ideas which, &c., &c. In fact, they want to
have it both ways. Mr. Sinnett, however, whose “Occult World” remains
the classic description of Madame Blavatsky as a wonder-worker,
confesses candidly in a memorial sketch of her which appeared in the
_Review of Reviews_ how much stress she herself laid on such things, as
long as she could get anyone to believe in them:—

  One could no more write a memoir on trigonometry and say nothing
  about triangles, than survey the strange career just concluded and
  ignore the marvels coruscating through it. And at this early period
  of her enterprise [he means, before the Psychical Research exposure]
  she seems to have depended more on the startling effect of
  surprising powers she was enabled to exhibit than on the
  philosophical teaching ... which became the burden of her later
  utterances.

Just so. It is easy to hold your miracles cheap—after they have been
found out. Madame Blavatsky fell back on Object Two—when Object Three
was discredited. But the taste for such things, even when it is _de
rigueur_ to describe them as “occult applications of strictly natural
laws,” is apt to grow upon any religious sect which once dabbles in
them. Mrs. Besant, too, in due course fell a victim to the temptation to
make capital out of the marvellous; and my readers will now be prepared
to put their proper value on the deprecating expressions in this
connexion which now, on the inevitable turn of the wheel, once more
begin to be heard, and which will be redoubled, no doubt, when this
narrative is fully before the public.



                              CHAPTER III.
                 MYSTIFICATION UNDER MADAME BLAVATSKY.

  “Now, dear, let us change the programme.... He is willing
  to give 10,000 rupees ... if only he saw a little
  ‘phenomenon’!”—BLAVATSKY-COULOMB LETTERS.


It is no part of my present object to enter at length into the history
and character of the late Madame Blavatsky. But a comparison of the
earlier phase of the Theosophical Society with that of to-day is so
indispensable to the right appreciation of both, that a brief _résumé_
(borrowed mainly from previous sketches of my own elsewhere) may be
welcome at this point, even to readers already familiar with the
subject.

The Theosophical Society was born in America of Russo-Yankee parentage.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky founded it at New York in 1874, with the aid
first of Colonel Olcott, then a kind of journalist, who became, and
still is, the president, and soon afterwards of William Q. Judge, then a
lawyer’s clerk in Olcott’s brother’s office, who became, and still is,
the vice-president.

The previous career of the Foundress had been remarkable enough, if we
accept hostile accounts of it—still more remarkable if we accept her
own; but with this I am not concerned. From 1874 Madame Blavatsky’s
history and that of the Theosophical Society are one.

In 1878 the society moved its headquarters to India, and in the
congenial atmosphere of the mysterious East launched into marvels. Eked
out by performances not unlike a drawing-room Maskelyne and Cook,
Madame’s rehash of Neo-platonist and Kabbalistic mysticism with Buddhist
terminology soon “caught on” with the impressionable natives. It had
especial attraction for the educated and ardent young Babu, that typical
product of British India whom Mr. Rudyard Kipling has so often drawn for
us. But it also carried away, thanks to Madame’s intense
personality—half repulsion, half charm—editors and officials of mark in
the sceptical circles of Anglo-India. It made Mr. A. P. Sinnett (then
editor of the _Pioneer_) turn evangelist in “The Occult World,” and Mr.
A. O. Hume (then Government Secretary) follow suit with “Hints on
Esoteric Philosophy.” And no wonder. Never was a new religion more
industriously supplied with miracles—those _coups de main célestes_, as
a witty Frenchman has defined them. Wherever Madame happened to be with
a select circle of friends, disciples, or laymen worth impressing, but
especially in and about the bungalow at Adyar, near Madras, the
society’s headquarters, the invisible Mahatmas were never tired of
exhibiting their astonishing psychic powers over ponderable matter. The
two who were especially at Madame’s disposal went by the names
(reverently breathed) of Mahatma Morya and Mahatma Koot Hoomi Lal Sing.
In the region of White Magic they could do almost anything—any feat
which an adroitly led-up conversation might happen to suggest. But the
particular lines of business (if I may be allowed the phrase) of which
they made a speciality were making objects appear and disappear: in
Madame’s jargon, integrating and disintegrating them by a psychical
command over astral vortices of atoms. Sitting in their studies 2,000
miles away in Tibet, they could, by a mere effort of will, project an
astral epistle, or an astral body, or an astral cup and saucer, into the
middle of an applauding circle at afternoon tea or picnic in Madras or
Bombay. Showers of roses fluttered down from the ceiling. Invisible
bells tinkled from none knew where. All kinds of tricks were played with
Madame’s interminable cigarettes. Sketches and treatises were
psychically “precipitated” on to blank paper, nay, sometimes the very
stationery was created out of nothing to receive them. Such inferior
sketches, too, and such twaddling, such very twaddling, treatises! One
disciple—Damodar K. Mavalankar, a youth passionately ambitious of
fame—even advanced to the acquirement of some of these extraordinary
powers in his own person. Merely to have seen the astral body of a
Mahatma became in a manner a cheap accomplishment. Damodar boasted that
he had once or twice projected his own—slipping spook-like through a
brick wall.

Most of these marvels, as I have hinted, required the _mise en scène_ of
the Adyar bungalow. Here Madame and the Colonel, and a few favoured
_chelas_, had apartments. “Our domestic imbeciles” and “our familiar
muffs” the latter are termed in one of the letters attributed to Madame.
Here, too, in the “Occult Room” adjoining Madame’s bed-chamber, hung the
famous “Shrine,” a sort of cupboard containing a fancy portrait in oils
of the condescending Koot. This became associated with as many marvels
as the image of a mediæval saint. Suppose you are an intending
Theosophist—a hesitating convert, especially a moneyed one, like Mr.
Jacob Sassoon. You call at headquarters. You are shown round by Damodar,
or by M. or Madame Coulomb, librarian and secretary. With natural
curiosity you ask to gaze upon the Master’s features. You are told of
his indulgent concessions to deserving neophytes seeking for a sign.
When the cupboard has been shut again, you are asked if there is
anything you particularly desire from the Master. You indicate, not
unnaturally, a message. It is about even chances whether the said
message—reading generally not unlike Mr. Martin Tupper in his more
oracular vein—is discovered in the cupboard immediately on reopening the
door, or descends from the ceiling on to the top of your head.

The fame of these things, set out in the driest possible detail in the
pages of “The Occult World,” aroused a furore of curiosity in this
country, where people were just beginning to take a new interest in
questions of psychical research. It was about the time when family
circles played the “willing game,” and sat in the dark trying to see
purple flames coming out of a magnet. Quick to seize the psychological
moment, Madame Blavatsky came to England and “starred” London in the
season of 1884. In her train came Colonel Olcott and Mohini L.
Chatterji. Mohini, a Brahmin graduate of the University of Calcutta,
shone like Damodar with a lustre not all reflected. He, it was
whispered, was a _chela_ of some attainments. He was not to be touched.
He held his hands politely behind him when being introduced. There was a
splendour as of some astral oil about his dusky countenance and thick
black locks; while his big, dark eyes were as piercing as those of
Madame herself. Men gazed on Mohini with awe, and ladies with
enthusiasm. In the background hovered the recording Sinnett.

In spite of the disappointing fact that the London air proved
unfavourable to miracles, the tale of the Indian ones was greedily drunk
in, and Theosophy became the fashionable fad. Society people took to
calling themselves Esoteric Buddhists: some were enrolled as _chelas_ at
short notice. The Theosophists went the round of the London
drawing-rooms, penetrated to provincial towns, were not unheard of at
the Universities. Madame rolled cigarettes and swore and talked black
magic in the rooms of well-known Cambridge dons, till the hair of
undergraduate listeners stood on end. Those were the days when a set of
enthusiastic pass-men lived “the higher life” on a course of Turkish
baths and a date diet; while three unlucky youths at Trinity nearly
poisoned themselves with hasheesh in an attempt to project their astral
bodies, and were only recovered at midnight by a relentless tutor armed
with the college authority and a stomach-pump.



                              CHAPTER IV.
                    THE PSYCHICAL RESEARCH EXPOSURE.

  “Either she is a messenger from the Mahatmas or else she is a fraud.
  In either case the Theosophical Society would have had no existence
  without her.”—MRS. BESANT in _Lucifer_, December 15, 1890.


At the time of the Blavatsky season in London and Cambridge, the
lately-founded Psychical Research Society, which had close connexion
with the University town, was spoiling for something to investigate, and
it decided to investigate Madame Blavatsky. Madame and her friends were
delighted with this testimony to the stir which they had made, and
entered into the thing with every hope of converting the Researchers.
Were they not all ready to asseverate that such-and-such things had
indeed happened——in India?

Whatever Theosophists may now say, the ‘S.P.R.’ was certainly not a
hostile tribunal. Its very existence and objects were a challenge to the
average educated prejudice which assumes that nothing can ever happen in
nature which is not accounted for in current scientific textbooks. The
society had itself vouched for “telepathy,” and coquetted with
“phantasms of the living”; it has since bestowed a statistical
respectability on the common ghost. To the miracles of Adyar some of its
members had lent a more than friendly ear. One of the most prominent had
actually been dubbed a _chela_. Dr. Hodgson (now secretary of the S.P.R.
American Branch), who conducted the Indian part of the inquiry, declared
that whatever prepossessions he may have had “were distinctly in favour
of occultism and Madame Blavatsky.”

When Mr. Hodgson got to India he found people very much excited over
some highly suspicious and suggestive letters which had just appeared in
a Madras paper, communicated by the Madame Coulomb already spoken of,
and alleged by her to have been written by Madame Blavatsky. Mr. Hodgson
had to inquire on the spot: first, into the genuineness of these
letters; secondly, into that of the missives alleged to have been
precipitated by Mahatmas; thirdly, into the credibility of the evidence
about other marvels given before the Psychical Committee by Madame
herself, Colonel Olcott, Mr. Sinnett, and Mohini. He inquired and
investigated for three months; and his report, with copious facsimiles
and plans, is on record in Part IX. of the S.P.R. _Proceedings_
(December, 1885).

The allegation of the Coulombs was that the whole series of miracles had
been a matter of vulgar trickery, some of which they had been employed
to carry out for Madame. During Madame’s absence in Europe, the people
at Adyar had quarrelled with them and dismissed the pair, partly for
having at various times hinted to outsiders the secrets which they now
proceeded to make a clean breast of. The origin of their close
relationship with Madame Blavatsky is obscure. She and Madame Coulomb
had been associated at Cairo in the seventies in some “page” which the
foundress of Theosophy had expressed a wish to have “torn out of the
book of my life.” By the foundress’s own account, this torn-out page was
such as made it odd that she should pitch on the Coulombs when in want
of fit guardians for the sacred Shrine. Mrs. Besant once expounded to me
a theory that Madame did this, with the full foreknowledge that frauds
would follow and would discredit her and her Masters, partly from a
sublime benevolence towards the wicked Coulombs, partly because it was
necessary that she should herself “have her Calvary.” It was the same
combined motives, no doubt, which led Madame Blavatsky to act more than
once exactly as if Madame Coulomb had some secret hold over her. An
agitated telegram from Paris, however, failed to heal the present
rupture; and the result was the giving to the press of a long series of
letters in Madame’s hand, teeming with veiled instructions to the
Coulombs which fitted in at every point with their accounts of jugglery
at Adyar.

The Coulomb story tallied also with equal accuracy with such outside
circumstantial evidence as happened to touch it. Did Madame Coulomb
allege that a “miracle” was worked by the substitution of one vase for
another exactly similar, the shop she named proved to have record of the
purchase of just such an exact pair just before the date of the miracle.
Did she make a similar statement about a “miraculous” shower of roses,
the like corroboration would be forthcoming. Did her husband describe
the famous “Shrine” cupboard as a trick-cabinet with three sliding
panels in the back, the panels had to be admitted, and explained by
Madame as “for convenience of packing in case of removal.” It had hung
against a hidden recess in the wall—there was the recess, the
coincidence had to be deplored as unfortunate. On the other side of that
recess, in Madame’s bedroom, the sideboard had a false back—that, too,
was to be seen, and the Theosophists must content themselves with
alleging that M. Coulomb had made it so after the miracles, and in the
nick of time for the inquiry. As for the scribbled instructions and
letters in which some of these arrangements were clearly hinted at,
Madame was driven to the peculiar course of admitting some letters and
even parts of letters and denying the rest. This, by the way, was
exactly what she had done about a similar incriminating letter on the
subject of a trick “missive,” which was planted on Mr. C. C. Massey, in
1882; the discovery of which led to the resignation of that gentleman
and others from the Society.

As for the evidence of Madame and her friends about special “phenomena”
it had already so melted away under the application of ordinary
evidential canons as to leave the field clear for the Coulomb theory.
The “tests” with which in some cases the Mahatmas had insisted on
supplementing the credibility of their witnesses were as worthless and
disingenuous as all the rest.

Last, what of the Mahatma missives?—precipitated from the Himalayas,
speaking in the persons and signed with the superscriptions of Mahatma
Morya and Koot Hoomi Lal Sing. These precious documents, which had been
rained among the faithful with a copiousness almost amounting to
garrulity, had been a little discredited already. The prosy and
sometimes illiterate verbiage of the Tibetan sages was a severe trial to
the enthusiasm of the more critical Theosophists even where it was
apparently original. But it was too much of a good thing when a long
doctrinal treatise, which Koot Hoomi had addressed to Mr. Sinnett, was
found to be a gross plagiarism from a lecture by an American gentleman
which had been reported in a Spiritualist paper a few months before. Nor
did it mend matters when, after considerable delay, the illustrious Koot
condescended to the newspaper arena, and wrote—we mean precipitated—an
explanation which for its evasiveness and general “thinness” is probably
unique even in the records of convicted plagiarists.

But now came worse. For the same scrutiny which had identified Madame
Blavatsky as the writer of the unblushing letters to Madame Coulomb now
found exactly the same characteristics of expression, turns of phrase,
and solecisms in spelling in the compositions of Koot Hoomi Lal Sing. As
to handwriting, it was shown that the styles of the two august
correspondents had been evolved gradually by differentiation from
Madame’s ordinary hand. The facsimiles in the report deal only with
“K.H.” documents; but the case against those of “M.” is just as strong.
I showed a mass of “M.” script, which lies before me as I write,
belonging to the earliest period, to a Theosophist well acquainted with
Madame’s writing, and in perfect innocence he at once took it for hers.
At that time almost the only difference between the two Mahatma scripts
was that one affected red pencil or ink, and the other blue.

[Illustration:

  FACSIMILE OF MAHATMA M.’S SIGNATURE. FROM AN EARLY BLAVATSKY MISSIVE.
]

In a word, it was declared that Koot Hoomi Lal Sing and Mahatma Morya
were the same person, and that person Madame Blavatsky. When a missive
from the Himalayas floated down into the neophyte’s lap, it was Madame’s
own hand which had prepared it, though it was the no less useful if
humbler function of M. Coulomb to jerk it from the ceiling at the
critical moment with a string, or deftly pass it through the sliding
panel into the closed Shrine.

Passing by the committee’s report on Madame Blavatsky herself, what of
her leading disciples? Of Colonel Olcott it was declared proven that in
a Theosophical connexion he was either unable to describe anything as he
really saw it, or else to see anything as it really was. Mohini and Mr.
Sinnett were disposed of in much the same way. Damodar—the astral
Damodar—was charged explicitly as a confederate of Madame in
missive-manufacturing. Mohini, the fascinating saint, hurried back to
India with a damaged halo. Mr. Sinnett has since sprung to fame as a
director—not of the regeneration of mankind, but of the Hansard Union.
Damodar announced that he was off to find his _guru_ in the Himalayas,
disappeared, and has not been seen since by his friends.

William Q. Judge, having been left out in the cold when the hegira to
India took place, lived to fight another day, as we shall see. Mrs.
Besant had not yet loomed on the Theosophical horizon. Madame Blavatsky
herself left England and travelled till the storm had blown over. To the
S.P.R. Report no serious answer has ever appeared from that day to this;
and it fairly killed the miraculous phenomena. One class of them has
reappeared under the ægis of Mrs. Besant; but poor indeed, as we shall
see, is the Late Besantine period of mythological architecture beside
its gorgeous predecessor.



                               CHAPTER V.
                    MYSTIFICATION UNDER MRS. BESANT.

  “I look to possible developments of her Theosophic views with the
  very gravest misgiving.”—CHARLES BRADLAUGH, _National Reformer_,
  June, 1889.

  “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”—HAMLET.


I have said that the Psychical Research Report put a stop to most of the
Theosophic miracles. But there were obvious reasons why the Mahatmas
should continue to “precipitate” letters, even when the scoffs of a
hard, cold world drove them to restrain their wonder-working
propensities in other respects. The business was so beautifully safe and
simple. It defied “tests.” The task of proving that a scribble in red
chalk on a scrap of paper found in a disciple’s pocket is not the
authentic handwriting of an inaccessible teacher, whose devotees have
doubtless the best reason for knowing that he can never be produced as a
witness—this is a task from which the boldest sceptic might well recoil.

But what of the actual process of “precipitation”? Alas, it appears to
be surrounded by disappointingly obscure conditions. It is not given to
see the scrap of psychically-manufactured notepaper glimmer into being
and become cream-laid out of nothing before one’s eyes, nor to watch the
mystic characters form themselves in lines along it like the writing on
Belshazzar’s wall. It is always the finished result that is discovered
ready-made, and this precisely resembles what is produced if you or I
write it in the ordinary way. The “precipitation,” in fact, is a deed of
darkness, and can only be done concealed from view, just as mediums are
wont to declare at a séance that the spirits are prevented from
manifesting themselves by the mere presence of a sceptical inquirer with
a box of wax vestas. Perhaps it is another side of the same retiring
instinct which impels the Mahatmas to live only in parts of the earth
not penetrated to by vulgar explorers. Theosophists sometimes speak as
if they had seen the actual precipitation; but cross-examine any
credible witness, and he will reluctantly admit that he has not. This is
a point to note and bear in mind.

The Mahatma missive only becomes a matter of difficulty when it has to
be made to drop from the ceiling into the recipient’s hands, or spirited
into a cupboard found one moment before to be as empty as Mother
Hubbard’s. Those were stirring days for Theosophic neophytes when that
kind of thing was a common incident. But, ichabod! that glory is
departed! Its departure precisely synchronised with that of the
nimble-fingered Coulombs. Their graceless avowal that both special plant
and skilful confederates were required for this kind of miracle may have
been a gross calumny on their employer; but the fact remains that with
the removal of the panel-backed Shrine at Adyar and the dismissal of its
custodians, the Masters abruptly ceased to resort to these more
surprising methods of aërial post.

Occasionally they would make the assurance of the faithful doubly sure
by artlessly “precipitating” the message inside a sealed envelope (a
species of “test” of which more anon); but for the most part they were
content to endorse letters passing through the ordinary post or
discovered by the recipient in his blotting-pad under circumstances
equally consistent with a commonplace human agency.

Such was the state of things till Madame Blavatsky’s death.

But then came the rub. What the Psychical Research Committee held to be
proven was that Madame had written practically the whole body of these
documents with her own hand. What, then, if after her decease in May,
1891, the same missives continued to be received?

Before the controversy which sprang up again over her ashes had well
died down, the public was asked to believe that this was indeed the
case, on the word of a woman whom it believed incapable of making a
statement of the kind without having first proved it to the uttermost
and found it true.

Speaking in the Hall of Science on August 30, 1891, three months after
Madame Blavatsky’s death, Mrs. Besant said:—

“You have known me in this hall for sixteen and a half years. You have
never known me tell a lie. (‘No, never,’ and loud cheers.) I tell you
that since Madame Blavatsky left I have had letters in the same
handwriting as the letters which she received. (Sensation.) Unless you
think dead persons can write, surely that is a remarkable fact. You are
surprised; I do not ask you to believe me; but I tell you it is so. All
the evidence I had of the existence of Madame Blavatsky’s teachers of
the so-called abnormal powers came through her. It is not so now. Unless
even sense can at the same time deceive me, unless a person can at the
same time be sane and insane, I have exactly the same certainty for the
truth of the statements I have made as I know that you are here. I
refuse to be false to the knowledge of my intellect and the perceptions
of my reasoning faculties.”

It is no wonder that the reporter had to interpolate the word
“Sensation.” The audience was one rather of Freethinkers than of
Theosophists; the hall itself was identified with previous rhetorical
successes of Mrs. Besant as the prophetess of Materialism. The thing was
dramatically done, and was well calculated to impress on the outside
public the fact that the personal reputation of Mrs. Besant for
intelligence and honesty was now pledged to the genuineness of
Theosophical wonder-working. In an interview in the _Pall Mall Gazette_
of September 1, 1891, Mrs. Besant carried her statement still further,
and pledged herself definitely to “precipitation”:—

“‘These letters are from a Mahatma whose pupil you are?’

“Mrs. Besant nodded assent.

“‘Did they just come through the post?’ our representative asked.

“But here he had hit the mystery.

“‘No, I did not receive the letters through the post,’ the lady replied.
‘They did come in what some would call a miraculous fashion, though to
us Theosophists it is perfectly natural. The letters I receive from the
Mahatmas are “precipitated.”’

“‘How “precipitated”?’ ...

“Mrs. Besant was quite ready to explain.

“‘Well,’ she said, ‘you can hear voices by means of the telephone, and
receive a telegram which is actually written by the needle, not merely
indicated by its ticks. The Mahatmas go a step further. With their great
knowledge of natural laws they are able to communicate with us without
using any apparatus at all.’

“‘But can you give me any details of the precipitation?’

“‘No; the Mahatmas only communicate with pupils who will not unwisely
divulge anything. You can easily imagine the reason why this knowledge
should be kept so secret. Were it possessed by a criminal it might be
put to dreadful purposes.’ ...

“Mrs. Besant repeated that she had made her startling statement in the
lecture deliberately, adding that there were many persons who knew her
and would accept her statements as true, but who might not believe in
Madame Blavatsky, because, Mrs. Besant was careful to add, they had not
enjoyed the advantage of knowing that lady.”

                  *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Besant did not overrate the extent of her public credit. She _was_
implicitly believed by many who would not have troubled their heads at
all over an assertion of Madame Blavatsky’s. A “boom” was the immediate
result—the second big boom in the society’s history. Mrs. Besant had the
satisfaction of seeing her statement honoured with a salvo of leading
articles. “Can it be,” the _Daily Chronicle_ exclaimed, “that there are
things in heaven and earth which philosophy and science have not yet
dreamed of?”—(_Daily Chronicle_, August 31.) And it opened its columns
to a flood of correspondence on Theosophy and things occult. Day after
day a crop of letters attested the public appetite for the marvellous.

The Theosophical Society has a sort of Press department, the business of
which is to get up sham fights in newspapers in order to advertise the
society; and whenever the excitement seemed to flag some member or other
contributed a screed which revived it. The time was well chosen. It was
the “silly season,” and under cover of Mrs. Besant more cautious papers
than the _Chronicle_ were glad to let the Mahatma divide attention with
the sea-serpent and the giant gooseberry. The Theosophical Society
reaped a fine harvest; though some complaints were heard that the new
inquirers after truth addressed themselves more to the marvels which had
attracted them than to the philosophisings to which Mrs. Besant had
designed the marvels as a bait. However, if their interest was tepid on
this side of Theosophy, their curiosity on the other side achieved small
gratification. In Mrs. Besant’s words, “The Mahatmas only communicate
with pupils who will not unduly divulge anything.”

But, as we have seen, what Mrs. Besant did divulge was enough to convey
to the public certain definite impressions: to wit, that she had
received letters in a certain handwriting, which did not come through
the post, but “in what some would call a miraculous fashion,” and that
these letters were, in fact, “precipitated” by the Mahatmas out of thin
air. Also that she had satisfied herself of the above propositions by
evidential processes as certain as the assurance of her own “sense” and
“reasoning faculty” that her audience were before her as she spoke.

And now let us see what were the facts on the strength of which Mrs.
Besant made these astonishing statements. So far, I have been occupied
necessarily with putting on record matters of history open to any
careful student of the subject. From this point I shall be dealing with
a side of Isis which up to this moment has been kept closely veiled
indeed.



                              CHAPTER VI.
                           ENTER THE MAHATMA.

  “Answer the question I’ve put you so oft.... Give us a colloquy,
  something to quote. Make the world prick up its ear!”—MASTER HUGUES,
  of Saxegotha.

  “Thus has a Master spoken, and ... the word of a guardian of the
  Esoteric Philosophy is authoritative.”—“_Introduction to
  Theosophy_,” by ANNIE BESANT.


Madame Blavatsky died May 8, 1891. Who was to succeed her as hierophant
of the mysteries of Tibet? There was none among her disciples who could
aspire to fill that _rôle_ with anything resembling the hierophantine
proportions of Madame herself. But Mrs. Besant, whose conversion had
been much advertised to the public, was undoubtedly more fitted to pass
muster as a prophetess than any of the others.

The brief and late character of her acquaintance with Madame was rather
in her favour than otherwise, since it had left undisturbed in her
ardent mind a loftier conception of Madame’s ethical character than had
been affected for some time past by some who had known her longer. Mrs.
Besant was even understood to be in some sense designate for the
succession.

Officially, however, she was subordinate to Colonel Olcott, the
president, then in India, and to Mr. William Q. Judge, vice-president,
and head of the faithful in America.

It soon appeared that the latter gentleman, at any rate, did not mean
his claims to Theosophical prominence to be ignored.

In reply to the announcement of “H.P.B.’s” death (Theosophists are wont
to refer to their foundress, as the ancient Hebrews to the Deity, under
the guise of initials) Mr. Judge promptly cabled to

                      “_Do nothing till I come._”

Avenue-road was at first inclined to resent this ukase.

But Mr. Judge soon put a new face on matters when he arrived. That was a
time of sore searchings of heart. With “H.P.B.’s” death the society’s
one link with its unseen guides was broken, and “Masters” had let a
fortnight elapse without giving any sign that they survived the decease
of their high-priestess. William Q. Judge was to change all that.

[Sidenote: =THE “CABINET” MISSIVE.=]

On the evening of May 23 (he lost no time after his arrival), Mr. Judge
suggested to Mrs. Besant that as they were in sore need of some
assurance from Masters, they should repeat an old recipe of Madame
Blavatsky’s for bringing those august beings to a point. He proposed
that they should write a certain question on paper, put it in an
envelope, shut that into a certain cabinet in “H.P.B.’s” room at
Avenue-road, and invite the Masters to “precipitate” replies.

Mrs. Besant agreed. Mr. Judge himself wrote the question and closed the
envelope, and put it into the cabinet.

Mrs. Besant did not stay in the room through the process of incubation.
For “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear,” the Theosophic scripture
reads, “He that hath eyes to see, let him put his Head in a Bag.”

After due delay, Mr. Judge took the letter out again. On his showing it
to Mrs. Besant, judge of that lady’s emotion at the discovery that at
the end of the question stood the word

                                 “YES”

traced apparently in red chalk; also, a little lower down, the words

                              “AND HOPE,”

with the impression, in black carbon, of a peculiar seal, representing a
cryptograph M. (A simple way to produce this appearance is to hold a
seal in candle-smoke and impress with that.)

           [Illustration]                      [Illustration]
        THE “MAHATMA’S SEAL.”          IMPRESSION SHOWING CRYPTOGRAPH.

What need of further witness that the thing was the result of psychic
“precipitation” from Madame Blavatsky’s “Mahatma M,” away in Tibet? If
that gentleman had not, in his communications to Madame, been observed
to use a seal, still he certainly used to scribble them in the same sort
of red chalk, and he certainly used to sign himself similarly M.

Note one point here. It was not Mahatma M, but Mahatma K.H., who used to
be the more prolix correspondent in Madame Blavatsky’s time, and whose
handwriting appeared accordingly in copious specimens and comparisons
with her own, in the published Report of the Psychical Research
Committee.

No specimens were there given of the writing which Madame called Mahatma
M’s: there were but a few scraps of it available.

When, therefore, Mr. William Q. Judge conjured a letter from _him_ (I
use “conjure” in its old-fashioned sense, of course), it was not
possible for Mrs. Besant to compare it with any published specimens of
the same script (with private specimens I fancy she had never been
favoured), even if the extremely scanty and hurried nature of the
message, and the temper of Mrs. Besant’s mind had not in themselves
forbidden any such partial measure of verification.

It is true that a few months later Mrs. Besant felt able to affirm with
the utmost confidence (as we have seen) that the handwriting was “the
same as that which Madame Blavatsky was accused of producing,” and this
at first sight appears to refer to the “K.H.” script, which afforded the
gravamen of Mr. Hodgson’s Report. In that case what Mrs. Besant asserted
was that the writing was the same as that which was not even supposed to
be by the same person.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Next morning, there was a meeting of the “Inner Group,” at which Mr.
William Q. Judge at once took up that position of Senior Chela to which
his services as postman of the Mahatmas so well entitled him. There is
some oath or other of equality with fellow-members and of obedience to
its head which members of this Esoteric Section have to take: Mr. Judge
pointed out that it was quite unnecessary for _him_ to take this oath.

[Sidenote: =THE “NOTE THE SEAL” MISSIVE.=]

To which end he produced not only a letter from Madame Blavatsky, but
one from Mahatma M, which he had personally received in America, he
said. Its contents he did not feel able to communicate to others who
could not yet aspire to be on corresponding terms with the Great Unseen:
what he did show was the signature and seal impression (which exactly
resembled that “precipitated” in the cabinet overnight). He specially
begged those present to take note of the seal; “for,” said Mr. Judge,
“they might have need to recognise it on some future occasion.”

With eager eyes they all obeyed; each aspiring young _chela_ fluttered
with the hope (for Mrs. Besant had noised the cabinet business about,
and it seemed to rain missives) that he too might soon be blest with
one.

Mr. Judge is a man of some foresight. But that was _not_ precisely what
he had in his mind when he bade them note the seal.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Three days after this (May 27) there was a meeting of the Esoteric
Section Council, to decide how the section should in future be governed,
its head being gone.

It had been expected that Mrs. Besant, having assumed the _rôle_ of
Teacher and Expounder in succession to her friend, would succeed her
also as official head of the Esoteric Section Council. But William Q.
Judge had drafted a plan under which the Council was to dissolve, and
its powers be delegated to Mrs. Besant _and himself_ as joint “Outer
Heads”—the Inner Heads being, of course, Mr. Judge’s august
correspondents in the Himalayas.

[Sidenote: =THE “JUDGE’S PLAN IS RIGHT” MISSIVE.=]

Mrs. Besant, it seems, was more than content, in view of Mr. Judge’s
newly-developed occult powers, with a position of “high collateral
glory.” But it was hardly to be expected that the scheme should not be
exposed to some discussion and criticism from other members of the
Council. At any rate, the Mahatma evidently deemed the occasion to be a
_dignus vindice nodus_. For what happened?

As Mrs. Besant, who took the chair and expounded the new scheme, was
turning over her papers on the table, there fluttered out a little slip
of paper, at which she just glanced, and was about to put it by, when
William Q. Judge pointedly asked her what it was?

The slip of paper bore the words in red pencil—

                        “JUDGE’S PLAN IS RIGHT.”

Signature and seal as before.

                                                  Tableau!

Round it went from hand to hand. None questioned that paper and script
alike had just been “precipitated” into their midst by “the Master.”
Thanks to Mr. Judge’s foresight, as we have just seen, all were in a
position to recognise the seal.

Under these circumstances discussion was obviously out of place. William
Q. Judge at once went and took his seat at Mrs. Besant’s side, and
“Judge’s plan” was unanimously adopted!

                  *       *       *       *       *

It will hardly be believed, but it is, nevertheless, a fact, which I
challenge Mrs. Besant to contradict, that when that lady, on a public
platform, pledged the evidence of her senses, her sanity, and her
reasoning faculties, &c., &c., to having received messages from the
Mahatmas—messages which, as she assured the subsequent interviewer, came
“not through the post” but by “precipitation” “in a way which some
people would call miraculous”—these two documents, produced as has been
described, and only these, were all the _pièces justificatives_ that she
had to go upon.

But the vice-president’s Mahatma had only made a beginning. There was
more, much more, to come. It will be my privilege to present the reader,
in succeeding Chapters, with facsimiles of several of his more
interesting compositions.



                              CHAPTER VII
                       EVERY MAN HIS OWN MAHATMA.

  “The T.S. is the agency chosen by the Masters ... but They do not
  directly guide, save where guidance is strenuously sought and
  eagerly obeyed.”—“_Introduction to Theosophy_,” by ANNIE BESANT.


It was not surprising that the Vice-President, finding the Mahatma so
complaisant, should hasten to exploit him to the utmost. The resumption
of the broken communication could not fail to restore the confidence of
doubting disciples both in the society itself and in the favoured
_chela_, who could not only, Glendower-like, “call spirits from the
vasty deep,” but also, to the satisfaction of Theosophic Hotspurs, “make
them come.” Forthwith letters began to be showered about among such
persons as it was considered desirable to keep up to the mark, in which
the sentiments of William Q. Judge were endorsed by the Mahatma. Of
those two it might truly be said that “their unanimity was wonderful.”

[Sidenote: =THE “MASTERS WATCH US” MISSIVE.=]

One of the first recipients was Mr. Bertram Keightley, a gentleman whose
services to Theosophy have been of a material kind, and whose zeal has
been rewarded more than once by gratifying marks of approbation from
Tibet. In fact, his experience, like that of Countess Wachtmeister and
some other liberal friends of the society, suggests the formula: “Put a
donation in the slot and you will receive a revelation.” For the Mahatma
obligingly honours the bills of the society.

[Illustration:

  COLONEL H. S. OLCOTT.

  (From a photograph by Messrs. Elliott & Fry, Baker-street, W.)
]

Under date May 29, 1891, the Vice-President wrote to Mr. Keightley from
Avenue-road a Pauline epistle, in which he says:—

  Fear not, Bert! Masters watch us, and since May 8 have sent word
  here in writing.

Close beside the signature of “William Q. Judge” appeared in solemn
confirmation the M signature and seal impression—“precipitated,”
doubtless, during transit among Her Majesty’s mails. As the recipient
was at Adyar, Madras, and therefore, some thousands of miles nearer the
home of the Mahatmas than Mr. Judge, it will be seen to what roundabout
methods the Master was compelled in order to maintain his determination
to have his messages ushered into the world in some connexion or other
with the one favoured disciple.

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: =THE “JUDGE IS THE FRIEND” MISSIVE.=]

Another recipient was important for other reasons than Mr. Keightley.
Babula, a low-caste Hindu, formerly Madame Blavatsky’s personal servant,
was at this time in a position of trust at the Theosophic quarters at
Adyar. Since then he has got into trouble with his employers, like
others of Madame’s former confidants. But in July, 1891, Babula was
still in authority at Adyar, and the vice-president thought it worth
while to convince him that he, Judge, was his friend. A letter, dated
some weeks later than Mr. Keightley’s, from Avenue-road, terminated with
the signature,

                                                   _Your friend_,
                                                       WILLIAM Q. JUDGE.

[Illustration]

Under the words “Your friend,” the ever-officious Mahatma has drawn a
line, at the end of which he has solemnly inscribed “YES,” and his
signature and seal. The seal is, as usual, impressed in black carbon;
the writing is in red pencil; and Judge’s signature is in ordinary ink.

Pity that the famous Mr. Codlin had not a Mahatma to back him thus
conveniently in his asseverations that “Codlin’s the friend, not Short.”

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: =THE “MASTER AGREES” MISSIVE.=]

Parallel to this corroborative use of the Mahatma’s seal, though
belonging to a different period of the story, was the case of another
letter of Mr. Judge’s to a brother official, in which, after expressing
certain views, Mr. Judge used these words:—

  I believe the Master agrees with me, in which case I will ask him to
  put his seal here.

Plump on the written word came the seal. Inimitable Mahatma!

                  *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Besant’s previous “communications,” as we have seen, did not come
through the post. But during that July Mr. Judge seems to have left Mrs.
Besant’s side for the express purpose of enabling his Mahatma to give
her an exhibition of his powers in this special line of “precipitation”
during postal transit.

July 21, 1891, was the date of one such performance; which included
signature and seal complete. I pass over this and some equally
commonplace missives, which Mrs. Besant received at various dates, all
equally under Mr. Judge’s auspices, in order to deal more fully with one
particular one in which she was favoured with a “test condition.”

For lo! on cutting the envelope open in the usual way, along the top
edge, Mrs. Besant observed a line or so of pencilling inside written
partly on the upper flap, partly on the under flaps, of the adhesive
part of the envelope.

[Sidenote: =THE “ENVELOPE TRICK” MISSIVE.=]

Here was proof indeed of powers occult! For this must obviously have
been written or “precipitated” _after the envelope was stuck up_: and
there it was _inside_! For a Mahatma, of course, it was as easy to
produce it so as in any other way. He might do it in mere artless
absence of mind.

Ingenuous Mrs. Besant! Unfortunately for the test, the feat is equally
easy for any commonplace mortal—though in his case it would hardly be
done quite artlessly. The trick was first shown me by a student of
“occultism”—a Theosophist, in fact. But it is a very old affair, and can
be found in any book of parlour magic. It might be called “Every Man his
own Mahatma.”

An envelope has four flaps. Three of these are stuck together in
manufacture, but with a much less adhesive sort of gum than that which
is put on the remaining flap to be stuck up by the user.

           [Illustration]                      [Illustration]
       ENVELOPE, INSIDE VIEW.         OUTSIDE VIEW, SHOWING INSERTION.

It is generally quite easy to insert a penknife behind the bottom flap,
as in the accompanying cut, and so make entrance and exit for a slip of
paper. On this slip you write the words backwards, as they would appear
in a looking-glass, using a black pencil of the “copying” kind. You then
pass the slip in, push and shake it into the right position, press till
you feel sure the inside flaps have taken the impression, and then out
with your slip by the door it came in at. Moisten and fix the flap
again, and the “precipitation” is complete. A child can do it.

A Mahatma, of course, produces the result by mere psychic effort. But it
is a curious coincidence that M on this occasion abandoned his usual red
pencil for the black one which you or I would use if we were playing
just the trick described.

No doubt he felt that a more satisfactory test would have been wasted on
Mrs. Besant.

Others, however, were a little more exacting. The story enters here on a
less smooth course.



                             CHAPTER VIII.
                       THE ADVENTURES OF A SEAL.

  “O that Heaven had set a seal upon _men_, that we might know them,
  honest from dishonest!”—EURIPIDES.


From the previous record of Colonel Olcott—described by Madame Blavatsky
herself, in an epigrammatically candid moment, as “a psychologised
baby”—he is almost the last person whom one would have expected to lead
the way in any sceptical examination of “miracles.”

And no doubt he might have been content, like Mrs. Besant, to open his
mouth and shut his eyes and take whatever Mr. Judge should send him, so
long as that gentleman’s thaumaturgy was confined to benefiting the
common cause. But it was another matter when the vice-president’s
Mahatma showed a tendency to favour the vice-president, and that at the
expense of the president himself. Had the oracle said “_Olcott’s_ plan
is right,” and declared that _Olcott_ was the “friend,” “not Lancelot
nor another”; had it made Olcott, and not Judge, Outer Head with Mrs.
Besant—the president’s ears might have been an inch longer, and the
course of Theosophic history have been changed.

But there was, from the first, about Mr. Judge’s Mahatma a certain
crudity, a lack of tact in dissembling favouritism, which was bound,
human nature being what it is, to make enemies.

On the decease of “H.P.B.,” President Olcott, like Vice-President Judge,
had hurried to the headquarters at Avenue-road. He had to come from
India, however, and the American disciple naturally out-ran him. When
the former arrived, the latter’s Mahatma was already in full swing. On
hearing of his performances with the seal, a look of more than usual
intelligence may have crossed the president’s mild and venerable
features; but, like Brer Rabbit, he wasn’t “sayin’ nuffin,” “he just lay
low.”

That busy July, ’91, the period of Mahatma M’s greatest activity, was
also marked by the assembling at Avenue-road of one of the periodical
conventions of Theosophic Europe. Some conversation occurred between the
president and vice-president about the expenses of this convention, and
the former, being “H.P.B.’s” legatee, mentioned a happy thought of his,
of selling some of the jewels that lady had left behind her, and giving
the proceeds as her posthumous contribution to the expenses.

[Sidenote: =THE “WITHOLD” MISSIVE.=]

But here, too, Mr. Judge was prepared to “go one better,” as his
countrymen say, than the president-legatee. He responded airily that
Colonel Olcott need not trouble himself about it, as “Master” had
promised him (Judge) that the cash should be forthcoming, and also that
he would convey a “message” on the subject to Olcott himself.

The Colonel waited for his message. None came.

The Colonel jogged Mr. Judge’s memory. Mr. Judge said he had no more to
tell.

But that very day, on sitting down at his writing-table, and lifting up
a piece of blotting-paper, the Colonel found under it a piece of
peculiar paper, reading as in the following facsimile (reds and blacks
as per former samples):—

[Illustration]

Now, Colonel Olcott thought he recognised that particular quality of
paper, and also, so far as it was legible, that seal-impression. The
facsimile here necessarily makes it much clearer. In the original the
impression was curiously faint and vague, as if the Master did not wish,
in the Colonel’s case, to burst that seal upon him all at once; but
preferred the manner of Tennyson’s Freedom, who “part by part to men
revealed The fulness of her face.”

So Brer Rabbit continued to say nuffin’, and to lie low.

Presently Mr. William Q. Judge left on the same writing-table the
following note (being scribbled on a torn-off scrap of paper, it also
has rather a Mahatmic look. But that is accidental):—

[Illustration]

“Dear Olcott” “looked” accordingly; and sure enough, in the ordinary
envelope of a letter, previously opened and put by on the table, there
was a piece of paper bearing a message with all the proper Mahatma-marks
about it. And _this_ time the Mahatma had taken heart and “precipitated”
a decently clear impression of the seal.

And then the Colonel “smiled a sorter sickly smile.” For now he _did_
recognise that seal. And this is its story.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Back in the palmy days of 1883, or ever the marvels of “H.P.B.” were
besmirched by slanderous tongues, the Colonel was in a certain city of
the Panjab. Passing an Urdu seal-engraver’s shop in the bazaar, he
turned in and ordered the man to make a seal bearing the cryptograph
signature which “H.P.B.” identified as that of the “Master of Wisdom,”
Mahatma Morya.

What did the Colonel want the seal for? Let him explain himself:—

  An idea occurred to me (he writes) of sending through “H.P.B.,” as a
  playful present to my Master M, a seal bearing a facsimile of his
  cryptograph.

An odd idea, this “playful present” of the Colonel’s. Had the seal been
intended for use by an ordinary person—by “H.P.B.” herself, for
instance—there would have been some sense in it. But the Mahatma, of
course, who “precipitated” his letters and his signature psychically,
might just as well “precipitate” the latter in the shape of a seal
impression as otherwise, if he wanted to; and where, then, should the
use of a brass seal come in? However, as the Colonel says, the present
was merely “playful.”

Back went the Colonel to Madras, where Madame was, and presented the
seal to her, with a “jocular remark” (I am again quoting his own
account). Madame’s keen eye dwelt on it a moment, and then she pointed
out that the Colonel, in his jocularly playful mood, had made a slight
mistake. “The Master’s cryptograph was not correctly drawn,” according
to the pattern already familiar to recipients of his precious missives.
There was a twiddle too much, or a twiddle too little, in it. The
Colonel himself saw the blunder when it was pointed out, and he now
declares that he would know it anywhere.

For this sufficient reason the “playful present” was not sent on to the
Himalayas (Heaven knows, by the way, by what astral form of parcels-post
service the Colonel had expected it to be sent); neither did it appear
in any of the communications vouched for by Madame.

It went into Madame’s despatch-box, along with a lot of other mystical
odds and ends, properties of the occult stage; and among these it was
remarked, as late as 1888, by the Mr. Keightley already mentioned, who
was then living with her in Lansdowne-road.

This gentleman asked the prophetess what the little brass seal might be?
Madame Blavatsky’s answer—a characteristically racy “fragment of her
prophet voice”—was:—

               “Oh, it’s only a flap-doodle of Olcott’s.”

In the same year, at a time when William Q. Judge was staying with
Madame, Mr. Judge’s Mahatma evidently determined to overlook the
inaccuracy in the seal, and to make use of it for the first time to save
himself the trouble of a psychic signature.

He did this, of course, in a letter of Mr. William Q. Judge’s own, and
in a sense endorsing Mr. William Q. Judge’s wishes—in fact, the letter
was the one recorded in the last chapter, in which the Master’s seal
came so plump upon the disciple’s prayer for a sign.

I have not mentioned before, however, that the recipient of this ’88
letter was Colonel Olcott. He presumably recognised, then as now, his
own “playful present,” his own “flap-doodle”; but he appears to have let
it pass in silence.

From this date the seal seems to have disappeared from among Madame
Blavatsky’s belongings. It was, of course, intrinsically valueless.

[Sidenote: =THE TELEGRAM MISSIVE.=]

But in 1890 it turned up again—in New York, and in close contiguity with
Mr. Judge. Madame sent a message through Mr. Judge to a disciple, then
in America, who happened to be the Mr. Keightley who had remarked the
“flap-doodle of Olcott’s” at Lansdowne-road. The context, which is
before me as I write, shows that Madame was persuading this disciple to
take some course distasteful to him. Judge added his persuasions to
hers. But what was bound to determine the disciple was the discovery on
receiving the missive from Mr. Judge’s hands, that the Mahatma had added
_his_ vote _in transitu_ by endorsing the word “RIGHT,” in red pencil,
with cryptograph and impression of the Panjab seal.

Mr. Keightley, too, must have recognised the “flap-doodle”; but he, too,
like Olcott, said never a word. He did, indeed, go so far as to ask
Judge if _he_ had affixed the seal? But on receiving a blandly surprised
assurance that Mr. Judge did not so much as know there _was_ a seal
affixed, he let the matter drop.

These are, so far as I know, the only two instances in evidence of the
use of this peculiar seal in Mahatma missives _during the lifetime of
Madame Blavatsky_, and, as was to be expected from her objection to the
seal, neither missive was among those vouched for by her, for the
message from herself to New York was telegraphed, and it was the
telegraph-form at the New York end that the Mahatma endorsed.
Nevertheless, it is clear that no intimate of Madame’s would get hold of
the seal and make use of it for bogus Mahatma missives under her very
nose, unless he were under the impression either that she had it for
that purpose herself, or that she might be relied on at least not to
“peach” on a _chela_ who used it.

But why did neither Colonel Olcott nor Mr. Keightley speak? The only
answer I can suggest is that while Madame Blavatsky was in the flesh the
faithful thought twice before they expressed a doubt about anything or
anybody. They were accustomed to take their marvels as they found them,
and be thankful.

Otherwise, they might at least have pointed out to Mr. Judge, in order
that he might in turn apprise his Mahatma, whose supernal knowledge
seems here to have been somewhat at fault, what a fatal blunder he was
making in palming off upon the faithful a bogus edition of his own
cryptograph, known as such by three of the faithful themselves.

However, there are the facts; and but for the Mahatma’s _trop de zéle_
in pushing his favourite _chela’s_ occult claims immediately on Madame
Blavatsky’s decease, I fear we should never have been vouchsafed this
instructive side-light on an earlier period of the Theosophical Society.

These Adventures of a Seal supply the clue to the great game of bluff
between the two highest Theosophical officials which must be depicted in
the next chapter.



                              CHAPTER IX.
                 THE CLIMAX OF THEOSOPHIC BROTHERHOOD.

  “To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of
  Humanity.”—THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, Object I.

  “Pestling a poisoned poison behind his crimson lights!”—“MAUD.”


[Sidenote: =THE “MASTER WILL PROVIDE” MISSIVE.=]

We left the president of the Theosophical Society staring at the
impression of his own “flap-doodle” seal on that which purported to be a
missive from the Mahatma.

The purport of the missive was precisely what the prescient Judge had
foretold. Colonel Olcott was not to sell the Blavatsky jewels, as the
money would be provided.

Having shown it to a brother member, the Colonel replaced it in the
envelope, and went off to have a few words with Mr. William Q. Judge.

He remarked to Judge that he had missed a certain brass seal from among
Madame Blavatsky’s relics, and described the Panjab seal and the story
of its making; not mentioning, however, the name of the exact city where
it was made. Had Judge seen the seal?

Judge answered in the negative. Upon which the Colonel remarked
meaningly (I quote his own account) that he “hoped no scoundrel would
get possession of it, and use it to give colour to bogus Mahatma
messages,” adding that he would at once recognise an impression from the
seal.

He did not mention that he had looked for and found the missive in the
envelope.

After two days he looked into the envelope for that missive again. _It
was gone!_

Some judicious hand had removed it. “Judicious,” says the Dictionary,
“literally: of or pertaining to a Judge.” Colonel Olcott concluded with
some assurance that the hand which had removed that missive, the hand
which had put it there, and the hand which had written it, were one and
the same hand, and that hand William Q. Judge’s. That is a conclusion
which we must leave the two gentlemen to settle between them.

                  *       *       *       *       *

But note the sequel. The writer of the missive, whoever he was, was as
good as his word.

When the Convention in due course was held, it was announced that a
donation had been contributed towards the expenses in a peculiar way.

There had appeared to one of the brethren one afternoon a dark and
mysterious Oriental figure, who gave no name, but deposited two Bank of
England £10 notes (from Tibet?), which were backed with the familiar red
cryptograph, after which he, like Mr. Lewis Carroll’s Snark, “softly and
silently vanished away.”

It will not surprise the astute reader to learn that the brother
favoured with this substantial spectre was William Q. Judge.

Well, there was the £20, and the vice-president’s reputation as an
occultist stood higher than ever. There was a time, years before, when
the society had made much of a similar vision of its president’s, one
which, the Colonel used to explain, had first assured him of the truth
of Madame Blavatsky’s doctrines. On his asking for a sign, the Colonel’s
figure, which was, of course, like Mr. Judge’s, the “astral body” of a
Mahatma, had materialised its turban, and disappeared into several yards
of substantial textile fabric. “And here,” the Colonel was wont to
conclude the story, “here, you see, is the turban!”—whipping it from his
coat-tail pocket. Ah! that was in the palmy eighties. But now where was
he? What was a _chela_ who conjured up a turban beside one who could
conjure up £20 hard cash—“on the table,” as Hilda Wangel would say?

In a word, Colonel Olcott was altogether thrown into the shade by this
bold stroke, and had not even the face to suggest that perhaps Mr.
Judge’s story was only a donor’s graceful way of conveying assistance
from his own pocket. The Colonel pulled rather a sour face, however,
over the heavy sum with which the society’s chest was debited when Mr.
Judge’s expenses at the Convention came to be paid. For, Judge having
attended in his official capacity, it was the Colonel’s treasury at
Adyar which had to foot the bill. Personally, I consider the miracles
cheap at the price.

This reminds me of the matter of Madame Blavatsky’s Rosicrucian jewel,
in which also the Mahatma stole an amusing march on the Colonel. This
was a pendant set with gems, which had the property of changing colour
with every change in Madame’s health—so she and the faithful Olcott used
to swear. The Colonel had his own ideas about the future of this mystic
gewgaw; but what was his disgust on getting to Avenue-road to learn that
the Master had sent a message for it to be given to Judge, and that Mrs.
Besant had accordingly handed it over! Nor was the Colonel’s chagrin
lightened by the fact that the forgetful Mahatma attempted (through
Judge, of course) to put him off the track of the jewel by a message to
quite another effect—an exceedingly misleading message.

For all I know, the gift was as valueless intrinsically as the brass
seal; but Theosophically it was a distinct score for Mr. Judge and his
Mahatma thus to amalgamate the two mystic apparatuses in one firm’s
hands, so to speak.

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: =THE “INNER GROUP” MISSIVE.=]

After the passages described above, Mr. Judge’s Mahatma was chary of
subjecting any more epistolary efforts to the eye of Colonel Olcott. And
he seems to have become more cautious altogether. In the following
September, however, he succumbed to the temptation of intervening again
in the administration of the society. A letter with the usual trimmings
was enclosed to the Inner Group, bearing upon its constitution and
future changes, in one of Mr. Judge’s on the same subject and in the
same sense (September 14).

Just at this time Colonel Olcott was visiting America, _en route_ for
Japan, where he was to teach the Buddhists their own religion in a
flying visit. He took the opportunity of making some more pointed
representations to Mr. Judge on the vagaries of his Master.

The result was prompt and significant.

During the very next month Mrs. Besant, then preparing for her trip to
India, received a cablegram from the vice-president in America to this
effect:—

  You are desired not to go to India remain where you are grave danger
  Olcott await further particulars by an early mail.

[Sidenote: =THE “GRAVE DANGER OLCOTT” MISSIVE.=]

At Avenue-road this mysterious telegram was at first read in the sense,
“Grave danger _to_ Olcott.” The president was just then due at Tokyo,
and there was a report of an earthquake thereabouts. For a while there
was a great flutter over this convincing case of Mahatmic prescience.
When, however, the “early mail” arrived with Mr. Judge’s explanatory
letter, quite a different complexion was put on the telegram. After
reading this letter, and one from the inevitable Mahatma which Mr. Judge
enclosed, the conclusion of the Inner Group was that the “grave danger”
against which the Master warned Mrs. Besant was “_from_ Olcott.” The
Tibetan founder of the society, in short, warned Mrs. Besant against
imperilling her safety in the neighbourhood of its president!

The Mahatma had declared war on Colonel Olcott.

This was the first shot in the campaign.

But what could this danger from Colonel Olcott be? Mr. Judge and his
Mahatma left that darkly vague. Some of their friends in England dotted
the i’s and crossed the t’s for them. It is hardly credible, but the
suggestion was nothing less preposterous than that Colonel Olcott
intended to _poison_ Mrs. Besant!

I have no great veneration for Colonel Olcott’s character, and none at
all for his intelligence; but I frankly apologise to him for having to
mention this astounding nonsense in connexion with his name. I mention
it simply in order to explain one of the documents which follow, and to
throw a light on the minds of the colleagues who made or believed the
charge; and I suppose I need scarcely add that I attach to it no other
value whatever. Colonel Olcott is about as remote as it is possible to
conceive from the sort of stuff of which murderers are made. I am sure
he never had and never will have any more intention to poison Mrs.
Besant, or anybody else, than the Man in the Moon. Having said so much
to make any misunderstanding impossible, I return to the suspicions or
pretended suspicions of the Colonel’s professed “Brothers.”

Positively, the only material which these ladies and gentlemen had to
work on was an innocent conversation of the Colonel’s with a friend on
the subject of poisons, Indian and other, which took place at a date
when Mrs. Besant was not yet even a member of the society! The
“evidence”—save the mark!—was such as ordinary non-Theosophical folk
would not give even a dog a bad name on. But Mahatmas and their friends
are different, and Mr. Judge’s Mahatma was well served. For this trivial
episode, buzzed about from mouth to mouth in connexion with the sinister
hints of “Mahatma M,” sufficed to make this monstrous charge against
their president currently believed at Avenue-road, for some weeks at
least, by the very inmost and governing circle of his colleagues, with
Mrs. Besant at their head!

A belief once discarded, it is easy to deny that it ever existed. But
this particular belief, or half-belief, showed itself in action. Mrs.
Besant deferred her visit to India, and to impatient Indian disciples
wrote that “Master had forbidden her to come,” and “till that order was
countermanded” she would not budge.

Now just pause a moment, and enjoy the exquisite irony of this unique
situation. The Theosophic Society was to be “the nucleus of a Universal
Brotherhood of Mankind.” At this moment, taking the three chief
exponents of this new Brotherliness, the president believed the
vice-president to be fabricating bogus documents; the vice-president
apparently believed the president to have designs to poison the
high-priestess; and the high-priestess, having these two beliefs to
choose from, coquetted at least, as we have seen, with the more heinous
of the two.

Other Theosophists appear from their course of action to have
accomplished the intellectual feat of believing both.



                               CHAPTER X.
                       THE MAHATMA TRIES THREATS.

  “Be these juggling fiends no more believed, that palter with us in a
  double sense!”—“MACBETH.”

  “_Masters_, it is proved already that you are little better than
  false knaves.”—“MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.”


While the Mahatma was thus stealthily undermining the president, he was
also busy strengthening his own outworks. In December one of the
doubting ones, the Mr. Keightley who had been making up his mind whether
to believe his own eyes ever since June, 1890, received in India a
letter from Mr. Judge fortifying him against the heterodox influences to
which he would be exposed on Colonel Olcott’s return to that country.

[Sidenote: =THE “FOLLOW JUDGE AND STICK” MISSIVE.=]

Mr. Judge warned his “dear Bert” that Olcott would try to shake his
faith in the genuineness of Mr. Judge’s Mahatma-missives; that he might
even have the baseness to suggest that they were fabricated by Mr. Judge
himself. On opening this letter, Mr. Keightley found a small slip of
peculiar paper, which turned out (on a prosaic scrutiny) to be the sort
of tissue which is used to separate the sheets of typewriting transfer
paper. On this slip appeared in Mahatmic script the words:—

               Judge leads right. Follow him _and stick_!

There was, however, no seal impression. The Mahatma had grown chary of
using that seal. From the material of this missive we gather that the
Mahatma is not so remote from typewriters as one would expect in the
Himalayas; from its diction we learn that, whatever the failings of his
English, the august being has a racy command of Yankee.

I may remark here that when Mahatmas “precipitate” their own notepaper,
as well as the writing upon it, it has always been the etiquette that
the former should have an Indian look about it, however European the
latter might be. Even tissue, as in this case, is considered more in
keeping than commonplace stationery, with, perhaps, the watermark of
some English firm upon it. But the “make” preferred, alike now and in
the Blavatsky days, is a peculiar sort of hand-made rice-paper, which
the Psychical Researchers had some difficulty in tracking to the
maker’s. They were not assisted by Colonel Olcott. But now, the same
mystic paper having turned up in the productions of _Mr. Judge’s_
Mahatma (borrowed, perhaps, at the same time as the seal?) the Colonel
resolves the mystery at once. Wishing to suggest that Mr. Judge got it
ready-made from Madame Blavatsky, he mentions that Madame had gone about
with a good supply of it, adding that it was originally bought in
Cashmere. He had bought it himself at Jammos, in fact, as long ago as
1883, just as he had also been the purchaser of the brass seal; and just
as he explains that the seal was got merely as a “playful present,” so
he represents the original purpose of the Cashmere stationery as the
humble one of “packing books—it being both cheap and strong.” From
parcels post to astral notepaper is a distinct rise. But who first
promoted it? Another side-light unintentionally thrown on the old
Blavatsky days!

But to return to Mr. Judge’s Mahatma. His last attempt to bring Colonel
Olcott to a better mind by persuasion was made that autumn. In October
he had resorted to a bold device for overcoming scepticism, which he and
Mahatma Koot Hoomi had patented in the early Blavatsky days—that of
waylaying (astrally, of course) the post-bag of some disconnected and
quite unconscious correspondent of the sceptic, and so introducing a
message through an obviously untainted channel. For instance, Mr. Hume
once “got a note from Koot Hoomi inside a letter received through the
post from a person wholly unconnected with our occult pursuits, who was
writing to him on some municipal business.” (“Occult World,” p. 21.) The
letter happened to have a large and noticeable envelope, and long after,
in the days of disillusion, Mr. Hume discovered that Madame’s servant
Babula had carried off just such a letter from the postman for Madame,
and then returned it to him with an apology for the mistake. (S. P. R.
Report, p. 275.)

[Sidenote: =THE “JUDGE IS NOT THE FORGER” MISSIVE.=]

In October, then, Colonel Olcott, who was just returning to India, got a
letter from a Mr. Abbott Clark, of Orange County, California, a
gentleman who was under no sort of suspicion of having anything to do
with Mahatmas. And in _this_, if you please, there had somehow found its
way into the envelope a slip of paper bearing a message in the M script,
with signature, but _with seal too blurred to distinguish_, in facsimile
as follows:—

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

So much is in the usual red pencil; the part represented by shading
above is smudged, as is the red blotch which represents the seal,
apparently by being rubbed with the finger. Across a margin of the paper
is the following postscript, in the black carbon usually devoted to the
seal impression:—

[Illustration]

Rather cryptic, this missive; but the meaning seems to be this. The
Mahatma has to explain to the suspicious Colonel several things: why the
missives habitually come in letters from Mr. Judge; why, nevertheless,
Mr. Judge knows nothing of them; why he, the Master, has used a bogus
seal which bungles his own cryptograph; and, above all, why the
impressions of that seal have been illegible ever since an exposure of
it was threatened. He hints, accordingly, that he “uses” Mr. Judge to
assist in some undefined psychic way in the precipitation process; but
Judge’s part in this is unconscious—it must be “when he does not know.”
Also, the thing precipitated “fades out often”—and plump on the word
comes an illustration.

In saying that “Judge did not write Annie” (_i.e._, Mrs. Besant, for
this spirit is a familiar one), the Master is misinformed, as we have
seen. Mr. Judge _had_ just “written Annie,” enclosing the Master’s own
warning against Colonel Olcott. Lastly, the remark about “facit per
alium” (the Mahatma can use a tag of lawyers’ Latin on occasion) seems
to mean that when Colonel Olcott had the “flap-doodle” seal made he was
unconsciously prompted by the Master himself, who had now adopted it,
overlooking the blunder in engraving. The prescience which foresaw that
the “precipitation” would give out in just this letter is no less
remarkable than that which provided for an unexpressed doubt by the
assurance, “No, it is _not_ pencil.”

But for Colonel Olcott the gem of this letter was none of these. It was
the reference to the Panjab seal as the “_Lahore_ brass.” All that Mr.
Judge knew, as we have seen, was that the seal was made at a “certain
city in the Panjab.” Mr. Judge’s Mahatma assumes that this city was the
capital of the province. It was a likely guess—a good shot, if such a
phrase may be used of the mental processes of a Tibetan sage—and one
calculated to end the Colonel’s doubts—if correct. But that is just what
it was not. The city at which the Colonel got the seal was quite another
city; so the Mahatma, though he hints that he psychically presided over
the purchase, does not even know where that purchase took place!

The result of this unlucky lapse of memory on the part of the Master was
that the missive made bad worse. Despite the distance of California,
where Mr. Clark’s envelope was posted, from New York, and the offices of
Mr. William Q. Judge, the Colonel suspected Mr. Judge’s hand in it. He
wrote to Mr. Clark, and discovered that Judge had spent two days in
Orange County at the very date when the Master availed himself of Mr.
Clark’s envelope. Thereupon the Colonel formed his own ideas as to how
the Master had “used” his favourite _chela_ on _that_ occasion.

[Sidenote: =THE “POISON-THREAT” MISSIVE.=]

Can we wonder that the Master was incensed by this incorrigible
scepticism—a spirit, as the Colonel himself had formerly taught, and as
the event was to prove but too surely—fatal to Theosophy?

Persuasion failing, the Master resorted to threats!

In January, 1892, the Colonel received an amicable letter from Mr.
Judge, reproaching him for not writing. On opening it, he found written
along the margin of the first page the following laconic message in
Mahatma script (signed, but again no seal: much reduced here):—

[Illustration]

“Him” presumably means Judge. The bearing of the threat will be
intelligible to readers of the last Chapter. Certain rumours from
Avenue-road made it intelligible also to Colonel Olcott. The Master of
Wisdom, the unapproachable sage of the Himalayas, He-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed
by Mrs. Besant and the whole Theosophical Society, had thrown off the
mask of benignity. Here he was plainly adopting, as a weapon against his
own unlucky president, that impossible accusation which represents the
lowest point of ethical squalor yet touched, in this story at any rate,
by Theosophic “brotherhood”! This was miching Mallecho, thought the
Colonel; it meant mischief with a vengeance. The voice was the voice of
the Mahatma, but again the Colonel thought it the hand of Judge. So he
wrote with some natural heat to ask that gentleman what he meant by his
“base insinuation.”

Only to receive, however, the blandly innocent reply:—

  I have puzzled my head over your reference to “poison,” as if in one
  of mine; as I never referred to it I cannot catch on, and have given
  it up in despair.

After this the Colonel seems to have given the Mahatma up in despair,
too. But the Mahatma, on his part, was busily pushing up a column to
take the Colonel in the flank, and bring this story to a crisis.

Secure in the support of Mrs. Besant, he was to make the pusillanimous
president resign his office, and to enthrone William Q. Judge in his
place!



                              CHAPTER XI.
                      MRS. BESANT’S COUP DE MAIN.

  “I did my utmost to prevent a public Committee of Enquiry of an
  official character.”—MRS. BESANT at T.S. Convention, July 12, 1894.


How even a “psychologised baby” like Colonel Olcott came to succumb to a
movement for ousting him from office, backed by such methods as we have
examined, is to me a mystery. No doubt he had his own reasons for
avoiding a contest in disclosures with his old colleague Mr. Judge, who
knows so much about Theosophy ever since the days of its foundation. At
any rate, succumb he did. On receiving an emissary from Avenue-road,
early in 1892, he threw up the cards in the unequal game with the
Mahatma, and formally resigned his presidency.

Then was seen a touching sight. Cæsar pushed away the crown. Mr. Judge
was loth to succeed. Who could doubt it? Why, he got a “message”
countermanding the resignation, and forwarded it to the Colonel (March,
1892), just too late to be acted on before the American Convention in
April, which, with decent reluctance, acclaimed Mr. Judge for the vacant
office.

But now came a hitch. Colonel Olcott took the anti-resignation message
_au grand sérieux_. He forgot all his doubts about Mr. Judge’s Mahatma
missives in his simple joy at the tenor of this last one. It was but a
typed copy which Mr. Judge sent him. Never mind, it was a declaration of
peace; and if ever there was a man of peace it is the Colonel, despite
his American brevet. He could not disobey the Master; he did withdraw
his resignation. Such was his answer to Mr. Judge.

Mr. Judge expressed his delight. But in absence of mind—possibly excess
of joy—he quite forgot to mention either the Master’s message or the
Colonel’s consent at Avenue-road when, in the following July, the time
came to make his succession to the Colonel’s office definite.

The result was that Mr. Judge was then and there elected president for
life. Some voices were for a term; but Mrs. Besant arose in her
eloquence and “swept up the floor” (in the phrase of one Theosophic
enthusiast), and the election was “for life.” Alas! Contracts entered
into for that period are notoriously apt to give out at an earlier date.

Perhaps one thing which explains the Colonel’s small show of fight is
the fact that he was to be consoled with an “Olcott Pension Fund.”
Unhappily the treasurer defalcated some eight or nine thousand rupees,
and then committed suicide. Ill-luck seemed to dog the vanquished
president.

But now came the turn of the tide.

On the announcement of Judge’s election, Colonel Olcott indignantly
wrote to Avenue-road to point out that there was no vacancy. And he
printed in the _Theosophist_ the Master’s message which had led him to
withdraw his resignation.

He did more. The _Theosophist_, the official journal of the Indian
section, has come to be Colonel Olcott’s private property, just as
_Lucifer_ is Mrs. Besant’s, and _The Path_ Mr. William Q. Judge’s—an
illustration of the odd mixture of private and official capacities in
this society. And now the Colonel plucked up heart to publish in his
paper the first note publicly heard of criticism—yes, actual
criticism—of Mr. Judge’s Mahatma.

Privately, there had been some troubled bleatings heard already among
some of the less docile of the Theosophic sheep. Mr. Judge had been
obliged to take up the cudgels for the merits of some of his Mahatma
missives as philosophic compositions. I find him claiming (in the true
oracular spirit) that:—

  A very truism, when uttered by a Mahatma, has a deeper meaning for
  which the student must seek, but which he will lose if he stops to
  criticise and weigh the words in mere ordinary scales.

A sentiment printed with approbation in Mrs. Besant’s paper. Again, he
is parrying inquisitive questions about the Master’s seal. He “does not
know” what they mean. An inquirer sends him a sample letter with a good
impression to look at—one which had come from Mr. Judge himself, I
presume—and gets it back with the impression rubbed out (“it fades out
often,” as we have seen above), and the puzzled remark from Mr. Judge,
“Where _is_ your seal? I don’t see one.” Finally, pressed, Mr. Judge
declares that “Whether He” (the Master) “has a seal, or uses one, is
something on which I am ignorant.”

It was on this statement—which involves a total lapse of memory on Mr.
Judge’s part of events narrated in Chapter V.—that he was challenged in
the _Theosophist_ of April, 1893, in an article signed by Messrs. W. R.
Old and S. V. Edge, both T.S. officials (secretaries, Indian section).
The article is hardly what would be called trenchant by non-Theosophical
standards. But it just pointed out that little discrepancy in a polite
foot-note; and that was enough.

If there is one thing more than another which is deemed to be bad form
in circles Theosophical, it is to corner a Theosophist on a definite
matter of fact. Anything undraped in verbiage is considered nude, even
to indecency. The voice of questioning has to be stifled at once.

By virtue of their joint position as Outer Heads of the Esoteric
section, to which they were elected under warrant of the very seal in
question, Mrs. Besant and Mr. Judge promptly “suspended” Messrs. Old and
Edge from their Esoteric membership.

                  *       *       *       *       *

In December, Mrs. Besant went to India. She had, therefore, thrown over
the Mahatma’s warning. But she had not thrown over the Mahatma—not a
bit. She declared that nothing on earth would induce her to give up
believing that the missives were indeed “precipitated” by Mahatma M,
unless Mahatma M in person appeared and repudiated them. If a person who
had been told that the Man in the Moon daily “precipitated” the _Times_
leading articles should decline to be convinced of the contrary till he
heard it from the lips of the Man in the Moon himself he would probably
be “of the same opinion still” for some considerable time.

In India, Mrs. Besant suddenly changed her mind. Had the Master indeed
appeared and fulfilled her conditions? She does not say so. Yet it can
scarcely have been on any mere, dull ground of fact and argument. She
was presented with a set of depositions establishing all of the
substantial facts of this narrative, given under the names of those
personally cognisant of them, with Colonel Olcott at their head, and
summed up in the form of certain definite charges against William Q.
Judge. But many of these facts she already knew herself, as well as
anybody, and made naught of.

What _did_ work the miracle, then?—As far as I can make out, it was
this. Mrs. Besant sat at the feet of G. N. Chakravati. And G. N.
Chakravati just mentioned that he did not believe in Judge.

This is the Hindu gentleman who was sent to represent the Theosophical
Society at the Chicago Parliament of Religions, at an expense of £500.
This is the teacher who has made “Annabai” so far a Hindu that she now
protests against harsh mention even of the child-widow horrors, the
12,000 temple prostitutes of Madras, and the other religious
indecencies of Hinduism. As Mr. Bradlaugh led Mrs. Besant from the
Church to Materialism, as Mr. Herbert Burrows went hand-in-hand with
her from Materialism to Madame Blavatsky, as Judge made her believe in
Judge, so she could only abandon Judge with the aid of G. N.
Chakravati. Whatever the explanation, the fact remains that, blessed
by this worthy pundit, the case formulated against Mr. Judge became
strong—convincing—irresistible. Mrs. Besant’s mind blossomed in a day
into the full-blown view that she had been deluded, that Judge had
himself written the missives to which she had pinned her faith—written
them all with his own hand.

Appalling bathos!—and one which an Enquiry must needs result in
publishing to all the world. Yet an Enquiry there must be. The Indian
section was threatening to secede from the society if Mr. Judge’s
presidency were confirmed with the scandal unsifted. Judge himself,
offered the alternative by cablegram of resigning all his offices
quietly or facing a “full publication of the facts,” replied in a
defiant sense which showed his conviction that there were others to whom
“full publication of the facts” (which it was easy to threaten, but
which it has been left for an outsider to carry out) would be more
ungrateful even than to himself. What was Mrs. Besant to do?

A happy thought struck her. She offered to adopt the charges, turn
prosecutor, and conduct the case against Mr. Judge herself.

The signatories of the evidence were delighted—especially Colonel
Olcott, who got behind Mrs. Besant now with the same alacrity as
previously behind Messrs. Old and Edge.

By this bold, yet simple stroke, the evidence, documents, and whole
control of the case passed into Mrs. Besant’s hands, where they, as she
fondly hopes, or hoped, now remain.

Not altogether!



                              CHAPTER XII.
             A MEETING OF THE (THEOSOPHICAL) PICKWICK CLUB.

  THE CHAIRMAN felt it his imperative duty to demand of the hon.
  gentleman whether he had used the expression “a humbug” in a common
  sense?

  MR. BLOTTON had no hesitation in saying that he had not—he had used
  the word in its Pickwickian sense. (Hear, hear.) He was bound to
  acknowledge that personally he entertained the highest esteem for
  the hon. gentleman; he had merely considered him a humbug in a
  Pickwickian point of view.

  MR. PICKWICK felt much gratified by the candid explanation of his
  hon. friend. He begged it to be at once understood that his own
  observations had been merely intended to bear a Pickwickian
  construction. (Cheers.)—_The Pickwick Papers._


We have now seen how, step by step, as by a resistless nemesis the rival
Theosophical leaders were led on to bring their quarrel to that which
neither of them had much stomach for—an inquiry into evidence. Bluff
meeting bluff, the thing got as far as the summoning from three
continents of a Committee of Investigation representing both parties.
“Investigating” hidden forces in nature, as we saw in Chapter II., is
one of the professed “Objects” of the Theosophical Society. The present
chapter is to show what the Theosophical idea of investigating is like.

There lies before me a pamphlet, reprinted from _Lucifer_ of August
last, which bears the facetious title, “AN INQUIRY Into Certain Charges
against the Vice-President, Held in London, July 1894.” Anybody is at
liberty to get this publication—and make what head or tail of it he can.

[Illustration:

  BADGE OF THE T.S.
]

The plain matter of fact which lay behind the proceedings in question
was this. Mrs. Besant and Colonel Olcott had given away their friends
and compromised with Judge on the terms that he should give Olcott back
his presidency, Judge’s election thereto being declared null and void,
while they on their part should suppress the evidence which the Judicial
Committee had been summoned to report on.

Mr. Judge had protested in a vehement circular, when first called on by
the President to appear before the committee, against one of his
accusers proposing to preside at his trial. There was reason in the
objection at the time. He could not foresee that the proceedings would
take the form of the presiding judge and the counsel for the prosecution
combining to prevent the case from going to the jury.

This being the plain English of the affair, let us now see how it reads
translated into what I may call Theosophistry.

The first part of the pamphlet consists of the Judicial Committee’s
minutes. Of this, six-sevenths is devoted to an “Address of the
President-Founder” proving that they ought to do nothing. The remaining
page is devoted to doing it.

The “charges of misconduct preferred by Mrs. Besant against the
vice-president” are nowhere formally stated at all. They are
incidentally summarised by the president as follows:—

“That he practised deception in sending false messages, orders, and
letters, as if sent and written by ‘Masters.’ ... That he was untruthful
in various other instances enumerated.”

The bulk of the address is occupied in discussing with great solemnity
various reasons alleged by Mr. Judge why these charges should not be
gone into by the committee.

One or two of these, such as the vice-president’s discovery that he had
never been really vice-president at all, and the contention that,
whichever way the decision went, it must “offend the religious feelings”
of some member or another, and that this was against the rules of the
society—these were, after the due amount of pomposity, declared against
by the president.

But there were two other pleas of such irresistible force and weight
that the president found himself convinced by them “that this inquiry
must go no further.” Stripped of prolix circumlocutions, these may be
put as an alternative, thus:—

Either the Mahatma missives are genuine or they are fabricated.

(_a_) If found to be genuine, that implies the affirmation of the
existence of Mahatmas as a Theosophic dogma, and the abandonment of the
society’s precious “neutrality.” Which is unconstitutional.

(_b_) If found to be bogus missives produced by the vice-president, then
it is obvious that he must have done it in his private capacity; the
production of bogus documents being no part of his official duties.
Therefore he cannot be tried for it by an official tribunal.

Could anything be more delicious than this dilemma? It is worthy of a
trial scene in Gilbertian comic opera.

Mrs. Besant, like the president, was “convinced that the point was
rightly taken.” There was nothing more to be said.

The Judicial Committee “resolved” in the same sense, without any
inconvenient discussion, and forthwith committed hara-kiri with the
complaisance of a Chinese nobleman. Not only had they not investigated
the case, but, as far as I can make out, they had not even heard what it
was, except in the most abstract of summaries. Having gravely adjusted
the bandage over each other’s eyes, they separated with a good
conscience. For many of them—worthy investigators!—I believe I am the
first to remove the bandage, and set them blinking at the truth.

From (_a_) it follows, as the president pointed out _en passant_ in the
course of his Address, that every Theosophist is in future free to
circulate Mahatma messages, but no Theosophist to test their
genuineness.

From (_b_) it equally follows that no officer of the society is in
future responsible to it for any misdeed whatever, since such misdeed
cannot well be among his official duties.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps it is not very surprising that the result of the Judicial
Committee, which had been gathered to its task from the ends of the
earth, was received with disgust by the generality of members then met
in London for one of their interminable conventions. A demand was even
heard for a private jury of honour; or, failing that, for publication of
the case for both sides, the course to which one side, as we saw, had
affected to pledge itself. Mr. Judge found himself unable to refuse his
assent to the jury proposal. Again Mrs. Besant dashed in and triumphed
in the sacred cause of obscurantism. At the third session of the
convention she announced that she and Mr. Judge had agreed upon a couple
of statements representing their different points of view, and proposed
that the convention should hear these, accept them, and let the matter
drop. These two statements compose the second part of the pamphlet; and
they are at least as bewildering as the first.

“We come to you, our brothers, to tell you what is in our hearts,” Mrs.
Besant read out. Her endeavour to “tell” fills four pages. The following
are the sentences which gyrate least round the point:—

  I do not charge, and have not charged, Mr. Judge with forgery in the
  ordinary sense of the term, but with giving a misleading form to
  messages received psychically from the Master in various ways....
  Personally I hold that this method is illegitimate.... I believe
  that Mr. Judge wrote with his own hand, consciously or automatically
  I do not know, in the script adopted as that of the Master, messages
  which he received from the Master, or from _chelas_; and I know that
  in my own case I believed that the messages he gave me in the
  well-known script were messages directly precipitated or directly
  written by the Master. When I publicly said that I had received,
  after H. P. Blavatsky’s death, letters in the writing that H. P.
  Blavatsky had been accused of forging, I referred to letters given
  to me by Mr. Judge, and as they were in the well-known script I
  never dreamt of challenging their source. I know now that they were
  not written or precipitated by the Master, and that they were done
  by Mr. Judge; but I also believe that the gist of these messages was
  psychically received, and that Mr. Judge’s error lay in giving them
  to me in a script written by himself and not saying so.... Having
  been myself mistaken, I in turn misled the public.

The rest of Mrs. Besant’s statement is easily summarised. Part is
devoted to minimising the importance of the question whether Mr. Judge
wrote, or the Mahatma precipitated, the letters, by remarking that after
all it did not matter so very much, as Mahatmas sometimes communicate
(like spiritualist “controls”) by allowing ordinary people to write for
them. “It is important,” quoth Mrs. Besant, naïvely, “that the small
part generally played by Masters in these phenomena should be
understood”—a remark with which the present writer quite agrees, and a
main object of the present narrative. But in the sense in which Mrs.
Besant meant it, it was not very relevant to an inquiry entirely dealing
with letters passed off as having been precipitated, and precipitated
without Mr. Judge’s knowledge, by the Mahatma himself.

Beyond this, Mrs. Besant’s statement consists about equally of blame
directed at the untheosophical “vindictiveness” of Mr. Judge’s accusers
in pressing an inquiry “painful” to Mr. Judge, and of laudatory tributes
to the character and Theosophical activity of Mr. Judge himself.

Down Mrs. Besant sat, and up rose Mr. Judge, and read _his_ statement.
It contained the following sentences:—

  I repeat my denial of the said rumoured charges of forging the said
  names and handwritings of the Mahatmas, or of misusing the same....
  I admit that I have received and delivered messages from the
  Mahatmas ... they were obtained through me, but as to how they were
  obtained or produced I cannot state.... My own methods may disagree
  from the views of others.... I willingly say that which I never
  denied, that I am a human being, full of error, liable to mistake,
  not infallible, but just the same as any other human being like to
  myself, or of the class of human beings to which I belong. And I
  freely, fully, and sincerely forgive anyone who may be thought to
  have injured or tried to injure me.

Now, so far as these sentences were an answer at all to such charges as
Mrs. Besant’s statement had allowed itself to convey, they were
certainly a flat contradiction. But that point was naturally overlooked
by eyes moist from the affecting “forgiveness” of Mr. Judge’s
peroration, and his very handsome, if somewhat tautologously expressed,
admission that he was only a “human being.” Without a word more, _nemine
contradicente_, it was

  _Resolved_: that this meeting accepts with pleasure the adjustment
  arrived at by Annie Besant and William Q. Judge as a final
  settlement of matters pending hitherto between them as prosecutor
  and defendant, with a hope that it may be thus buried and forgotten,
  and—

  _Resolved_: that we will join hands with them to further the cause
  of genuine brotherhood in which we all believe.

These resolutions were proposed by the Mr. Keightley (M.A. Cant.) whose
name has occurred so often in our story among the bamboozled ones, and
seconded by Dr. Buck, one of the nominees from Mr. Judge’s section to
the abortive committee.

And there ends the Pamphlet—and the “Enquiry.” It has since appeared
that the “joining of hands” between Mrs. Besant and Mr. Judge was for
footlight purposes only; for no sooner was the curtain rung down than
the two joint Outer Heads found they could no longer work together, and
settled the matter by splitting the Esoteric section into independent
dominions, Mr. Judge taking America, and Mrs. Besant Europe—to which she
has since added India.

The result is one on which Mr. William Q. Judge must be congratulated.
He retains all his offices as head of his lodge, of his section, and of
the American Esoteric section; retains his vice-presidency of the whole
society; retains the status of heir-presumptive, at least, to the
presidency; retains, also, I suppose, either he or his Mahatma, the
brass “flap-doodle,” to say nothing of the Blavatsky relic, with full
freedom to continue using the same as heretofore.

In a word, the Theosophical Society has chosen to stand or fall with its
vice-president.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Theosophy is a religion as well as a philosophy, and the T.S.
masquerades as in some sort a Church. Imagine the situation, then, in
any other religious denomination. Suppose that the Archbishop of
Canterbury were to put forth missives which he alleged to have fluttered
down direct from St. Augustine in heaven; and suppose after Convocation
had governed the Church for years in conformity with directions so
received, the Archbishop of York were to declare at a Church Congress
his belief that his esteemed brother, whose services to the Church were
beyond all praise, had written the missives himself, an expedient “which
I personally hold to be illegitimate,” but into the details of which he
begged the Congress not to pry: suppose, then, that the Archbishop of
Canterbury on his part declared himself, like Mr. Pickwick, “much
gratified with the candid explanation of his hon. friend,” that he
“merely considered him a humbug in a Pickwickian point of
view”—supposing all this, can you imagine the Church Congress rising as
one man to “bury” the dispute, and “join hands” with the embracing
disputants?

Probably not. But then, as Mrs. Besant remarked, the “standards of the
world” are “lower” than those of the Theosophical Society—and of the
“Pickwick Club.”

Nevertheless, I must ask leave to break in on the harmonious scene with
a few troublesome questions.



                             CHAPTER XIII.
                       QUESTIONS AND CHALLENGES.

              “Hath he said anything?”
              “He hath, my lord; but, be you well assured,
              No more than he’ll unswear.”—“OTHELLO.”

  “Next in importance, or perhaps equal in value, to Devotion, is
  Truth.”—Circular on “Occultism and Truth,” signed by H. S. OLCOTT,
  ANNIE BESANT, B. KEIGHTLEY, &c., July, 1894.


In my first chapter I set out certain conclusions. In succeeding
chapters I have given the facts on which my conclusions were based. I
now assert that the evidence for those facts, be it good or bad, is that
of the Theosophical leaders themselves, written and signed as the case
against the Vice-President, and adopted by Mrs. Besant as true. If it be
not true, then Colonel Olcott, Mr. B. Keightley, Mr. W. R. Old, and the
other official witnesses must be guilty of a conspiracy, as I said at
the outset, “even more discreditable to the personnel of the society.”
It is not I who accuse Mr. Judge. It is Mr. Judge and his colleagues who
accuse each other. The rank-and-file of the Theosophists have paid their
money; they may now take their choice.

The fact is, before Mrs. Besant got hold of the evidence, at least one
set of complete and duly witnessed copies had been made, together with
facsimiles of the documents. It is these which lately fell into my
hands, under circumstances which left me free to take, as I do take, the
moral and legal responsibility of that publication which the president
first promised and afterwards shirked.

                  *       *       *       *       *

In regard to Mr. William Q. Judge, vice-president, I do not feel called
on to labour any theory of my own as to that gentleman’s character and
conduct. As the Society for Psychical Research long ago remarked, the
precise line between rogue and dupe in the Theosophical Society has
never been easy to draw. On any view of Mr. Judge I have at least as
much respect for him as for his virtuously vacillating superior, whose
mind seems to have been made up for him from one stage to another by
whatever party happened to be at the moment nearest and most peremptory.
With the facts of the preceding narrative before him, the reader can
form his own opinion about both officials.

Equally unable am I to state what Mr. Judge’s own version of Mr. Judge’s
acts may be. I have read and re-read his “statement” at the “Enquiry,”
and his circular issued just previously. In these I have groped—faint,
yet pursuing—among the mazes of that Theosophical verbiage which always
seems to be coming to the point; but for me at least it has never quite
got there. Where the denials are most explicit, the thing denied is
vaguest; where admission is most candid, the thing admitted is least
relevant to the issue. Mr. Judge admits, for instance, that he is a
“fallible human being”; he denies that he has “forged.” I, for one,
should never dream of disputing either position. The verb, to forge,
definitely connotes in English the imitation of the signature of a
person who really exists, and who has also an existent banking account.
The worst I should dream of imputing to Mr. Judge in this connexion is
the imitation of someone else’s imitation of the feigned signature of
somebody who never existed.

Mr. Judge must see that between the mere human fallibility to which he
confesses, and the felony of which no one has accused him, it does not
need a sensitive ear to distinguish whole octaves of intervening notes.
Thanks to Mrs. Besant, he has not yet been obliged to locate himself at
any one point of the gamut. But, for all I know, he may now come forward
and twit his associates with deficient humour for not seeing that the
whole thing was just a rollicking hoax. Throwing off the _rôle_ of an
interpreter of Tibet, he may appear as William Q. Judge, the American
Humorist. He might fairly claim that many have performed under a like
title much less divertingly. He might say that the joke was so obvious
that it never struck him his colleagues would take it seriously; that
their evident determination not to spoil sport was an invitation no
joker could have resisted; and that he only kept it up so long for the
fun of seeing, through a graduated scale of absurdity, how much they
really would stand. Of course, to carry through a big practical joke one
may be excused a few taradiddles, to which the moralist might apply a
harsher name. No doubt some might question the taste of making a
friend’s funeral the starting-point of even the most innocent _mauvaise
plaisanterie_. But American humour has never spared the cemetery.

                  *       *       *       *       *

From my own position, then, and Mr. Judge’s position, I now pass to Mrs.
Besant’s. This is interesting from its bearing on the curious
psychological puzzle offered by Mrs. Besant’s own mind, to the study of
which she herself continually invites the public. Let us accept the
invitation for a moment.

I take Mrs. Besant’s statement at the so-called “Enquiry,” that she
believed now that Judge wrote with his own hand the missives which he
had induced her, and she had induced the public, to regard as
precipitations from Tibet of the kind which “some people would call
miraculous.”

Apparently Mrs. Besant considers that this avowal sufficed to clear her
honour towards her colleagues and the public whom she had “misled.” To
me it appears admirably calculated to mislead them again. Remember, even
those whom Mrs. Besant was addressing—much more the outside public—were
ignorant of the facts. Mrs. Besant had taken good care of that.

_They_ did not know, as the reader does, the circumstances which
surrounded these various missives: The “Master Agrees” missive, the
Telegram missive, the Cabinet missive, the “Note the Seal,” the “Judge’s
Plan is Right,” the “Judge is the Friend,” the Envelope Trick, the
“Withold,” the “Master will Provide,” the Bank-note, the Inner Group,
the “Grave Danger Olcott,” the “Judge is not the Forger,” the “Follow
Judge and Stick,” and the Poison Threat missive—as I have severally
named them.

Referring to those circumstances, as the reader now knows them, I ask of
what did and does Mrs. Besant mean to convict Mr. Judge?

If Judge “wrote with his own hand” the answers got from the cabinet
oracle (May 23, 1891), did he also use sleight-of-hand or some similar
artifice to make her accept the answers as precipitated in a sealed
envelope in a closed drawer?

If Judge “wrote,” &c., the slip “Judge’s plan is right,” the sudden
appearance of which among Mrs. Besant’s papers made her and him joint
officials on May 27, 1891—did he also place it among those papers on
purpose to be so discovered?

If Judge “wrote” &c., Mrs. Besant’s message of July 12, 1891, which was
across the inside flaps of a closed envelope—did he also insert the
writing by the trick described in the chapter which I entitled “Every
Man his Own Mahatma”?

If Judge “wrote,” &c., all the various letters, notes, and endorsements
to which the “Mahatma’s” signature and seal were attached, missives
backing Judge’s own views, raising Judge’s own Theosophical status, and
bluffing other “servants” of that “Master,” to whom he and they cannot
allude without capital letters—did he also “with his own hand” take and
affix the seal which he has persistently denied having ever set eyes on?

If Mrs. Besant did _not_ mean all this, and much more which hangs by the
same logic, then her Statement grossly calumniated Mr. Judge to the few
who knew the tenor of the case against him.

If she _did_ mean it, then her Statement completely hoodwinked her
audience and the public.

For will anybody assert that _this_, which has just been outlined, or
anything like it, was the picture naturally called up by Mrs. Besant’s
carefully worded description of “Mr. Judge’s error” as the negative one
of “not mentioning” certain circumstances, her suggestion that personal
opinions might reasonably differ on the “legitimacy” of his methods, her
laudatory allusions to his general character and Theosophic services,
her public sanction of a statement on his part which on this theory must
have been utterly misleading, her eager lead in the attempt to cloak up
for ever the Great Mahatma Hoax, and to shield the hoaxer?

But there is another point. Mrs. Besant professes still to cling to the
belief that the Mahatmas had something to do with the letters. Mr. Judge
wrote them, she says, but what he wrote he had first “received
psychically from the Master.”

              Faith, fanatic faith, once wedded fast
              To some dear falsehood, hugs it to the last.

Nobody can prove that those missives, or, for that matter, these
articles, or Shakespeare’s plays, were not due to the Master’s
“psychical” authorship. Mr. Judge and Mrs. Besant are both quite free to
say so. But again I must point out to Mrs. Besant the logical inferences
from her position. In the attempt to hold on to one spar in the general
wreck, she just says enough to inculpate the Mahatma, and not enough to
exculpate Mr. Judge.

For, to apply theory once more to concrete fact: Does Mrs. Besant
attribute to the Mahatma the preposterous insinuations against Colonel
Olcott? And does she mean that the Mahatma made these insinuations and
various direct false statements in order to co-operate with Mr. Judge in
shielding from discovery a prolonged use of a bogus imitation of the
Mahatma’s own seal and signature?

In this case, we are entitled to challenge Mrs. Besant to say whether
she herself now believes that the insinuations against Colonel Olcott
were justified. If yes, then I can only leave her to settle that matter
with the Colonel. If no, then what becomes of the supernal wisdom and
lofty character of “Those Who to some of us are most sacred”? Must it
not be confessed that They have made uncommon fools of Themselves?—not
to give a stronger name to the extremely shady methods of which Tibetan
diplomacy is thus found guilty.

The public will await satisfactory answers to these questions. It will
not, I hope, for a moment suspect Mrs. Besant of conscious fraud, or of
sordid motives. I most certainly do not. With some of the lesser fry,
who would be bankrupt in every sense if Theosophy failed them, the
consideration of pleasant board and lodging at other people’s expense
may be a governing one. With Mrs. Besant, who brings far more to the
organisation in the shape of gate-money, no doubt, than she ever
condescends to accept from it, the motives are subtler. Had she boldly
cut herself free from the rottenness at the core of the Theosophic
movement as soon as it was shown to her, she might have saved her
reputation for straightforwardness, if not for intelligence. In choosing
instead the equivocal policy of hushing up a scandal at all costs, she
doubtless convinced herself that she was acting only for the ends of
edification and the good of her church. That is the old, old story of
priestcraft, and Mrs. Besant has been playing the high priestess now for
three years. But were there not also some more personal motives at work?
There is one thing which even the most candid hate to confess—and that
is, that they have been thoroughly bamboozled. It does not improve
matters when they have themselves helped in their own bamboozlement. To
confess how recklessly inaccurate were her statements about “the same
handwriting,” the “semi-miraculous precipitation,” the absolute
assurance of her own senses, and so forth; to let the public see for
itself the childish twaddle which she accepted, and helped to force upon
others, as profound and oracular: all this would have been a sad
come-down from the Delphic tripod. I do not wonder the poor lady shrank
from it. I do wonder that Mrs. Besant cared to evade it at the expense
of a sort of confidence-trick. To this has come the woman whom we once
thought, whatever her other faults, at least fearless and open—the woman
whose epitaph, so she tells us, is to be—

                     _She Sought To Follow Truth!_

Lastly, a few words to the rank-and-file of the Theosophical Society, a
large proportion of whom are now gathering open-mouthed at Adyar. In
Madame Blavatsky few of the better-informed of the flock nowadays affect
to believe—except in public. They cling to her gifts, perhaps; they have
thrown over her morals. For fresh evidence has been coming to light,
ever since that strange woman died, as to the tricks to which she
condescended, and encouraged her _chelas_ to condescend; and poor
Colonel Olcott, though he continues to work the old gold-mine in print,
has been driven even there to enunciate the theory that Madame Blavatsky
herself was really killed at the battle of Mentana, and her body
thereafter occupied by seven distinct spirits who, of course, are not
responsible for contradicting each other. Till May, 1891, Madame was the
principal witness to the objective existence and attributes of Mahatmas.
Since that date, the principal witness is William Q. Judge. Soon the
faithful at Adyar will be filing into the Occult Room to gaze through
peep-holes at the two August Portraits, illuminated and set off by all
the artifices associated here with exhibitions by M. Jan van Beers. Will
they dare, any of them, to ask their officials plainly what evidence
they can now offer that either of the subjects of those fancy portraits
ever existed?

And if on this and other questions suggested by these chapters, Mrs.
Besant, President Olcott, and Vice-President Judge do not succeed in
satisfying their followers——what next? No doubt each member of the
trinity will sit secure in his or her autocracy in his or her own
continent, owning there, as I understand, the official organ and the
publishing plant which the society as a whole has built up into
prosperity. Yet something, surely, may be done by those who do not care
to remain unwilling parties to the Great Mahatma Hoax, to recover their
own self-respect, if not to save the Theosophical Society.

It is for them to decide whether the society, on its non-fraudulent
side, is worth saving. It may be a kind of university extension for the
popularising of Eastern philosophies. Or it may be, as some rather
think, a mere smattering of catch-words out of cribs for the use of
Mutual Mystification clubs, tending to a certain indigestion in the
mental processes and a flatulent style of English composition. In either
case there is no reason why the organisation should revolve about a
vortex of tomfoolery and legerdemain into which honest members are apt
to be sucked before they realise its true nature.



                                PART II.



                      “THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE.”
              LETTERS ON VARIOUS SIDES FROM THEOSOPHISTS.


The foregoing chapters appeared in the _Westminster Gazette_, of October
29th, and nine succeeding issues. They attracted wide notice and
comment, and were the subject of allusion in a large part of the London
and provincial press. In accordance with their usual custom, the
official Theosophists in England are said to have cabled to their
leaders abroad to know what line they should take; but, if so, they do
not appear to have got any clear answer.

A mass of correspondence was addressed to the _Westminster Gazette_, and
to the author of the articles, some of it from officials, most of it
from private members; some admitting that “much is, and all may be
true,” others denying everything—in general terms; some throwing over
the Vice-President, others lauding him as a model of Theosophic
rectitude; some rejoicing (“in confidence”) at the “cleaning-out of this
Augean stable of trickery,” others declaring that, proved or disproved,
the charges do not matter a pin.

In regard to the repeated accusations that the assailant of the society
“waited” till its three Theosophic chiefs were at a distance before
challenging them on their “Enquiry,” it was pointed out that they gave
nobody any chance to wait, the official Report of the Enquiry being sent
round almost on the very day that Mrs. Besant sailed for Australia.

The following is a representative selection from the letters:—



                       I.—LETTERS FROM OFFICIALS.


         FROM THE EUROPEAN SECRETARY: “DESERVING OF NO ANSWER.”


  SIR,—I have forwarded the copies of your paper containing the series
  of articles entitled “Isis Very Much Unveiled” to my friends Colonel
  Olcott, Mrs. Besant, and Mr. Judge, who are respectively at their
  posts and carrying out their engagements in India, Australia, and
  the United States of America.

  The mass of insinuations and misrepresentations with which these
  articles abound is deserving of no answer.

  I enclose you a copy of the Enquiry held in July last, to which the
  full statements of Mrs. Besant and Mr. Judge are appended. This was
  months ago issued to every member of the Theosophical Society and
  published in full in our magazines. You can thus allow your readers
  to form their own opinion, instead of relying on the insinuations of
  your contributor, if you choose to do so.

  The writer of the articles has several times made reference to a
  private body of students, and endeavoured to involve it in his
  attack. The informant of your contributor knows that he can with
  impunity make any allegation he likes against that body, and that,
  although it is in a position to give, and has already given to its
  own members, a denial to his allegations with regard to its council,
  it must, nevertheless, remain silent in public because of
  obligations of honour.

  For the rest, of the truth or falsity of the most serious
  allegations I am without any knowledge, and do not propose to enter
  the arena of mere opinion.

  But of this I am confident—that my friends Colonel Olcott, Mrs.
  Besant, and Mr. Judge, together with the best part of the
  Theosophical Society, are not only ready and glad to face any
  obloquy in upholding their individual ideals, but also that they are
  also willing to sacrifice everything for the cause they hold so
  dear, except the privilege of working heart and soul for its final
  triumph.—I am, Sir, faithfully yours,

                                                        G. R. S. MEAD.

  19, Avenue-road, Regent’s Park, N.W.

  [The pamphlet forwarded by Mr. Mead is the so-called “Enquiry into
  Certain Charges,” which was the starting-point of our articles, and
  which was very fully dealt with in the last two of the series.—ED.
  _W. G._]


 FROM THE VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPRESENTATIVES: “WE COULD AN IF WE WOULD.”

  SIR,—You appear to have expected an immediate reply to the series of
  articles entitled “Isis Very Much Unveiled.” This expectation is
  astonishing in view of the fact that, while the three persons mainly
  attacked by you were together in London for some weeks this summer,
  you waited until Mrs. Annie Besant and Colonel Olcott are now
  respectively in Australia and India, and Mr. W. Q. Judge is on a
  lecturing tour in the United States, as your informant knows. His
  time for attack is well chosen, but no just measure of surprise can
  be felt, either that their replies—should they care to make any—are
  delayed, or that we should have intended originally to await the
  close of your series before making our present brief remarks.

  Your informant holds the position held among Freemasons by a brother
  who has broken his Masonic pledge. Those who refuse to enter further
  into this subject follow the traditions of all private societies in
  like circumstance. Englishmen will take at its proper valuation all
  information on whatever subject from such a source. We beg to take
  distinct issue with you on the point of the minor importance of
  sources of information. Our whole legal system is based upon the
  contrary fact. Character of witnesses has primary weight with all
  civilised juries.

  The Theosophical Society has no concern with the beliefs of its
  members, nor with questions of Thaumaturgy. The endeavour to spread
  a contrary belief, to confuse the issue by slanders, or attacks
  against individual members, to belittle and misrepresent the objects
  and work of the society, must alike fail in the face of general
  disproof. The society pursues its way unaffected by all such
  attempts.

  The Committee of Investigation appointed to consider the charges
  made against Mr. Judge threw out the indictment on the ground that
  the constitution of the Theosophical Society rendered illegal all
  charges involving questions of creed or belief. Mr. Judge came from
  the United States in readiness for their investigation, and his
  defence had to be abandoned for the preservation of the freedom of
  our platform. We do not, therefore, propose to bring the case to
  “trial by newspaper.” As representatives respectively of the
  American Section of the T.S. and of the general secretary of that
  Section on the Committee of Investigation, we are aware of the
  rebuttal evidence held in readiness by Mr. Judge. He holds
  affidavits from persons of unblemished reputation disproving a
  number of the charges made then and now by you, of which evidence
  detail is for the present reserved for the reasons above given. We
  need not further emphasise the danger of conclusions formed from
  “plaintiff’s evidence” only.

  In conclusion, we beg to state our long acquaintance with, and our
  confidence in the integrity and standing of, Mr. Judge, a confidence
  shared, to our personal knowledge, to the fullest extent by the
  American Section of the T.S., as the reports of its last Convention
  prove. The American is the largest and the most active of our three
  Sections, one which not only carries on an enormous work, but which
  also assists the other two Sections. It is in it that Mr. Judge’s
  long labour and personal sacrifices have won for him the respect of
  the community.—Yours very truly,

                                                  ARCHIBALD KEIGHTLEY.
                                                  JAMES M. PRYSE.

  30, Linden-gardens, Bayswater, W.,
              November 6.


           EDITORIAL NOTE APPENDED IN _Westminster Gazette_.

In regard to Dr. Keightley’s remarks on “the character of the
witnesses,” from which, in view of the law of libel, we have had to omit
one or two phrases, it is only fair to state that this letter was
received before it had been made clear in the articles that the chief
witnesses were, in fact, not Mr. Old, who has resigned office, but the
President and Dr. Keightley’s brother, who retain it.


  ANOTHER AVENUE-ROAD OFFICIAL: “VOLUMINOUS LITERATURE” v. HARD FACTS.

SIR,—Now that you have had the only answer it is possible for the
present to make in connexion with that part of your articles which
professes to disclose the affairs of a secret body, I am at liberty to
make some remarks on that part of them which deals with the public
affairs of the Theosophical Society, if you will grant me the
opportunity of reply which, as a member of an attacked society, I have
the right to demand.

In spite of all implications and assertions to the contrary, I must
emphatically assert it as my opinion that the majority of members of the
society do _not_ join on account of phenomena; and I regard any attempt
to prove the contrary as a conscious or unconscious misrepresentation of
the actual state of affairs. A large mass of the public know well by
this time that the chief activity of the society consists in making
known and advocating a certain system of philosophy, and that appeals
are made to the judgment and intellectual sense of the people as to
whether they shall accept or reject it. I do not know whether your
intelligent readers will consider themselves flattered when they read
your contributor’s notion of the kind of procedure that is necessary to
captivate them; but I am inclined to think that most of them must have
common-sense enough to prefer judging a philosophy by its own merits to
accepting or rejecting it according to the evidence for and against
phenomena wrought in connexion with it. However, if there be any who,
indifferent to all questions of ethical and philosophical truth, choose
their faith according to its thaumaturgic properties alone, the society
will not be sorry to lose them, for such weak natures are a source of
weakness to every body in which they enrol themselves.

While declaring here my own belief in the integrity and sincerity of the
persons attacked in your articles, and regretting my inability lo
communicate all of that faith to others, I maintain, Sir, that Theosophy
will not stand or fall by any personal scandals, whether true or false,
and that the Theosophical Society will not cease to exist in Europe so
long as there are even a few who believe as I do.

Your contributor has sought to convey the impression that the
Theosophists, or at all events those who reside at the various
headquarters, live in an atmosphere of constant thaumaturgy and
intrigue; ever in expectation of some new wonder, ever ready to alter
their deepest convictions at a moment’s notice in accordance with some
enigmatical message or some trumpery sign. I call upon those who know
the society, are habitués at its meetings, or have lived at
headquarters, to say whether there is a grain of truth in this, or
whether, on the contrary, we are a body of earnest students, living a
prosaic life, and exhausting our energies in the endeavour to place
before others the truths we have found so helpful to ourselves.

Your contributor makes much of his contention that the adepts were
_invented_ by Madame Blavatsky. What does he expect to gain by this? If
he can succeed in discrediting Madame Blavatsky in the eyes of a few
persons, he cannot disprove the existence of adepts for them unless he
is also prepared to discredit every one of the other sources of
information from which the evidence for the existence of such exalted
men is drawn. Madame Blavatsky has _reminded_ the world of the reality
of those beings in which the more enlightened of its denizens have
always believed. Of the few who may have accepted the belief on her
testimony alone I would say, better they had taken the trouble to
substantiate it from other sources. Whether Madame Blavatsky invented
the adepts or not, at all events I here and now advance the theory, and
refer for my evidence to the Theosophical literature on the subject,
which is plentiful.

Let our critics, after reading it, come forward and publicly refute us.
We await their onslaught with pleasure. Many points I am obliged to
leave untouched on account of the length my letter would otherwise
assume; but I must just note the absolute futility of the statement that
“Max Müller has edited the only series of English translations of the
Sacred Books of the East with which I am acquainted,” and the complete
falsity of the statement that “there is no reason to believe that any
member of the society in Europe could pass an examination in any
Oriental language whatever.” Let these serve as samples of the quality
of the rest of the attack.

In conclusion, sir, I would call your readers’ attention to the
fantastically absurd position of an opponent who hopes to discredit, by
his so-called “exposure” of a certain group of manifestations, the whole
sacred science of true magic. I maintain that such a science as magic
(in its true sense) exists, that it teaches the mysteries of nature and
of man, that the voice of the ages endorses it, and that it is worthy of
study to-day. I am prepared to support these contentions publicly if
called upon, and can meanwhile refer your readers to the voluminous
literature of the subject.—Yours truly,

                                                          HENRY T. EDGE.

 19, Avenue-road, Regent’s Park, London, N.W., November 7.



                II.—LETTERS FROM PROMINENT THEOSOPHISTS.


    FROM MR. HERBERT BURROWS: “A REPLY WE MUST HAVE, OR I LEAVE THE
                               SOCIETY.”

“What do you think of THE WESTMINSTER GAZETTE articles? What are the
Theosophical Society and what are its members going to do about them?”
This is the question which is asked me on all hands. I recognise that
not only my own personal friends but the public generally have a right
to ask this question, and to expect an answer, and I have asked the
permission of the Editor to give the answer from my own point of view,
without in the smallest degree pledging anyone else. Without the
smallest tinge of egotism, I may say that, next to Mrs. Besant, I am
perhaps better known to the public generally than any other English
member of the Theosophical Society. I have tried to bring a good many
people into the fold of the faith, I know intimately the currents of
thought inside the society, and while no one is responsible for the
opinions I express, I believe that they represent the feelings of a
large number of members.


                    The Old “Exposure” and the New.

When I read Mr. Garrett’s opening chapters, I said to myself,
“Chestnuts!” We had heard it so often before. All the while Mr. Garrett
was writing about the “S.P.R.” he was probably asking himself, How is it
that this business did not kill the Theosophical Society? The answer is,
Because it was not conclusive. When Mrs. Besant and I joined the
society, apart from each other, I joining a few days before her, Madame
Blavatsky said to both of us, “You had better read what there is against
me,” and referred us to the Psychical Report. We read it separately,
analysed it, and joined. I brought to it my Civil Service training, what
business faculties I had, and a fair knowledge of the laws of evidence.
I am a sceptic by nature, and I was then a materialist, and the honest
conclusion that I came to was that the case for the prosecution was far
too weak to warrant a conviction. That opinion I still hold. If I
thought differently I should be outside the Theosophical Society instead
of in it. I suppose that nine out of ten people who talk glibly about
the report have never seen even the covers of it.

[Illustration:

  MRS. ANNIE BESANT.

  (From a photograph by Messrs. Elliott & Fry, Baker-street, W.)
]

But I am bound to say that as Mr. Garrett went on with this newer case
the situation altered. The details are too precise, and supported by too
much evidence, for me honestly to escape from the conclusion that, if
the facts and documents are correctly set forth, a _primâ facie_ case
has been established against Mr. Judge.


                   “If Mr. Judge declines to answer.”

Some facts in the series of articles and many of the inferences are
wrong, as I shall have occasion to show; but enough is made clear to
imperatively demand an answer. The charge here is, of course, of no
offence known to the law; but were it otherwise, many men have been
found guilty on charges which were supported by less evidence than
these.

I am quite aware that a goodly number of my fellow Theosophists will
blame me exceedingly for saying this, especially some of our younger
members, whose moral sense seems somehow or other to have become
confused over this matter. Let me put myself quite straight with them.
My mind is perfectly open on the subject. I have no opinion yet one way
or the other as to Mr. Judge’s conduct, for I have not heard his
defence. For aught I know he may have a crushing, triumphant reply, and
Mr. Garrett and Mr. Old (and with them Mrs. Besant!) may all have to go
down on their knees to Mr. Judge. _But that reply we must have_, and as
a member of the Theosophical Society, whose motto is, “There is no
religion higher than Truth,” and who has appealed to the public to join
it because I believed that it was founded on truth, and that its chief
officials and leaders were upright, honourable people, I mean to use
every legitimate effort to get it. If Mr. Judge declines to give it, if
he refuses to come out into the open fully and squarely, or if his reply
does not meet the case, then sadly and reluctantly I shall have to leave
the Theosophical Society, for it will be impossible any longer to remain
in an organisation whose vice-president is in such a position.


                 An Appeal to all Honest Theosophists.

Now it depends on the members of the society as to whether Mr. Judge’s
reply shall be forthcoming. They can make such strong representations to
him as will be impossible for him to ignore, and I hold that it is their
duty to do so. Every member of the society has an indefeasible right to
know what manner of man their vice-president is, and it ought to be made
perfectly clear that the morality of the organisation is at least as
high as that of the best commercial morality, and is not based on
Jabez-Balfourism. If there is to be any talk, as there is already among
some members, of “letting by-gones be by-gones—saving the
situation—ignoring the attack for the sake of Theosophy, safeguarding
occultism,” &c., then self-respecting members will have to protest
strongly, and, if necessary, clear out. All such talk comes from mental
ostriches, and in this matter ostrich-tactics won’t work. It is not a
question of Mr. Judge, or of occultism, or the Theosophical Society, but
what is above and beyond all these, _Truth_, on which Theosophy itself
is based, as I firmly believe. If there is no religion higher than
truth, then truth must be had at all hazards. For the truth we shall
have to wait, perhaps, some months. Till we get it, minds should be
perfectly open and unbiassed. Only three people can give the truth—Mr.
Judge, Mrs. Besant, and Colonel Olcott. As far as lies in my power I
mean to see that the truth is forthcoming.


                   The Judicial Committee of Inquiry.

Over this Mr. Garrett has floundered somewhat. I was a member of it, and
know the facts. When Mr. Garrett says in his first article that “a few
people are aware ... that there was recently a Theosophic meeting at
which Mrs. Besant confessed to her friends that there had been something
wrong with the ‘communications,’” and that she persuaded those assembled
generally to hush the matter up, he does not know his case. This is what
really happened. After Mr. Old had been some time in India he came to
the conclusion that certain charges against Mr. Judge, which up to then
had been vaguely floating about, were true, and he said so. In England
we disbelieved them, for we had no real evidence, but when Mrs. Besant
reached India, and examined the evidence, she agreed with Mr. Old. She
formally adopted and formulated the charges, and the fact that she had
done so immediately became known all over the world. There was no
hole-and-corner work about it. An official investigation committee met,
but found itself blocked by the constitutional difficulties with which
your readers are now familiar.


                     Mrs. Besant and the Deadlock.

Then I proposed that we should resolve ourselves into a voluntary jury
of honour. Mr. Judge did not agree to this, and so there was a deadlock.
The evidence had not been heard, although Mrs. Besant was ready with it,
for the inquiry had not been made, neither had we heard Mr. Judge’s
defence. The next stage in the proceedings was the reading, to a very
full meeting of members from all parts of the world—for it was our
annual convention—of the statements by Mrs. Besant and Mr. Judge, to
which Mr. Garrett has so often referred. In her statement Mrs. Besant
said: “The vital charge is that Mr. Judge has issued letters and
messages in the script recognisable as that adopted by a Master with
whom H.P.B. was closely connected, and that these letters and messages
were neither written nor precipitated directly by the Master in whose
writing they appear.” That is pretty definite and precise. These two
statements by the accuser and the accused, together with all the
proceedings of the committee, were published in _Lucifer_ on August 15,
and they were reprinted in a pamphlet which was sent to every member of
the society, and I also know that the day before she sailed for
Australia Mrs. Besant made arrangements for that pamphlet to be sent to
all the principal papers of the United Kingdom. I have said all this at
length in order to dispel the idea that Mrs. Besant wished to bamboozle
the society or hush up charges of fraud. I know that it is asked why she
did not publish the whole of the evidence. If the official Enquiry had
been proceeded with the evidence would have been published with its
other proceedings. But Mrs. Besant felt, rightly or wrongly, that it
would be unfair of her to publish it without the defence, and this there
were no means of getting.


              The Unsatisfactory Position of the Society.

But now see the unsatisfactory position of the society. The most serious
charge possible had been made by its chief member against its second
official, one of its founders, the tried and trusty friend of Madame
Blavatsky. The charges were still hanging over his head, his members in
America thoroughly disbelieved them, the members in India as thoroughly
believed them, and we in Europe did not know what to think. They had
been neither proved nor disproved. Colonel Olcott was going back to
India, Mr. Judge flitted back to America, and Mrs. Besant rushed off to
Australia to fulfil lecturing engagements made a year previously, and so
far as regards the society generally Mahomet’s coffin was not in it for
“floating.” Those of us who really took the thing to heart held our
hands. We fully recognised the gravity of the whole matter, but we
determined to wait till Mrs. Besant’s return before we moved, for
without the evidence we were powerless. But we reckoned without our
WESTMINSTER!

In concluding this article, I say frankly that THE WESTMINSTER has
really, although quite unconsciously, done Mr. Judge a good turn. I do
not for a moment flatter myself that Mr. Garrett wishes any good to
Theosophy! The tone of his articles precludes that idea. But his attack
on Mr. Judge puts the latter in this position, that if he chooses he can
defend himself without any fear whatever of pledging the Theosophical
Society to one jot or tittle of dogma with regard to Mahatmas. He is
attacked as a man, and as a man I sincerely hope that he will manfully
and satisfactorily reply.

                                                        HERBERT BURROWS.


    FROM MR. W. R. OLD, EX-OFFICIAL: “A THOROUGH GRIP OF THE FACTS.”

SIR,—As my name has been publicly mentioned by Mr. Mead, general
secretary of the European T.S., in connexion with the series of articles
“Isis Very Much Unveiled,” I think it advisable to state my own position
and attitude in the matter.

The writer of those articles has named me, quite correctly, as having
taken the first step in forcing an inquiry into the case against Mr.
Judge. For this act of mine, I was suspended from my membership in the
Esoteric Section, under the authority of the joint signatures of William
Q. Judge and Annie Besant, Outer Heads of the E.S.T., and my name was
dishonourably mentioned before the members of the E.S., among whom I
numbered many an old colleague and friend. The mandate somehow found its
way into the public Press. However, there was one advantage. After her
official action in suspending me from membership Mrs. Besant was, of
course, bound to hear my justification. This happened at Adyar in the
winter of 1893. Mrs. Besant’s first remark to me after reading the case
and examining the documents was, “You were perfectly justified by the
facts before you.”


            THE HEAD OFFICIALS PLEDGED TO PUBLISH THE FACTS.

In the presence of the president-founder Colonel Olcott, Mrs. Besant,
Countess Wachtmeister, Mr. E. T. Sturdy, together with Mr. Edge and
myself, it was decided that the task of officially bringing the charges
should devolve upon Mrs. Besant, and that the whole of the evidence
should be published. Consequently, the documents were handed over to
Mrs. Besant for the purpose of drawing up her charges, and the president
sent an official letter—or, as Colonel Olcott now claims, a “private
letter” in official form—dated at Agra, February 12, 1894, to Mr. Judge
as vice-president, in which he said (I re-quote from a circular issued
by Mr. Judge, March 15, 1894):—“I place before you the following
options:—

  1. To retire from all offices held by you in the T.S., and leave me
  to make a merely general public explanation; or,

  2. To have a Judicial Committee convened ... and make public the
  whole of the proceedings in detail.

  In either alternative, you will observe, a public explanation is
  found necessary: in the one case, general; in the other, to be full
  and covering all the details.”

It was the second alternative which was adopted, with the abortive and
disingenuous result already known. But what of the “full publication of
all the details”? What of us Theosophists who had brought these charges
against Mr. Judge? Were we not left in the position of persons who had
brought charges without proving them? The position was one which I felt
to be intolerable. Mrs. Besant had the full evidence in her hands by
which to justify all the charges she had engaged to bring against Mr.
Judge, but for some reason best known to herself involved the whole
society in countenancing a systematic attempt to bolster up a delusion
by concealment of facts. Mrs. Besant was also in honour bound to publish
the facts, to all members of the society at least, since they were of a
nature to vitally affect the beliefs of Theosophists the world over. She
was, in short, bound to give them the same publicity as her former
professions of occult intercourse obtained.


            “MORALLY BOUND TO GIVE PUBLICITY TO THE TRUTH.”

The T.S. is an organised body with a wide system of propaganda, and has
taken the public into its confidence in cases where its special claims
appear to have been supported by facts, and while the public are invited
to join the society it is only right and honest that they should know
what of those claims are true and what of those “facts” have stood the
test of inquiry. This responsibility cannot be avoided, and as I have
personally been instrumental in the inquiry into these claims and facts,
I am morally bound to give what publicity I can to the truth when
arrived at. To rectify what I believed to be a fatal policy on the part
of those concerned with the charges against Mr. Judge, I resigned from
all offices held by me in the T.S., and left myself free to speak openly
of the matter whenever occasion presented itself. I do not believe that
a system of truth can be raised from a fabric of fraud. In the course of
my travels I met with my friend Mr. Garrett, to whom, upon inquiry, I
gave the reasons of my resignation from official connexion with the
society. He asked my permission to publish the facts. My reply was that
although I could not unsay what I had said, I had not intended such
publication as he contemplated, and doubted whether the case could be
put forth with sufficient clearness and fairness by a “Philistine.” I
soon found, however, that he had a thorough grip of the facts; and on
his representation, the truth of which I had to admit, that the society
had closed the inquiry, and would not open its journals to a full
discussion of the evidence, I let him take his own course.

Certain persons, who seem unable to conceive that a man may act on
principle and without interested motives, have suggested that I was
moved by some petty personal grudge, or even by some pecuniary
inducement. I repudiate both these insinuations as lies. My independent
action in this matter has involved certain pecuniary sacrifices; I have
in no way used it, and should scorn to use it, for pecuniary gain.


                       MR. JUDGE AND MRS. BESANT.

It will, therefore, be clear to all members of the T.S. and the public
generally that I am responsible for the facts occurring in Mr. Garrett’s
articles only so far as they apply to the charges against Mr. Judge, and
for these I have documentary evidence produced under a legal hand, and
duly witnessed. With Mr. Garrett’s method of presenting the facts I am
by no means in sympathy. I do not lose sight of the fact that, however
mistaken or misled many of the Theosophical Society may be, as regards
the traditional “Mahatmas” and their supposed “communications,” they are
nevertheless as sincere in their beliefs as many of their more orthodox
fellows, and have as much right to respectful consideration. I regret
particularly that Mrs. Besant should have been placed in this awkward
public position by the present exposure. Her intention I believe to have
been perfectly honest, but I think she made a fatal mistake in avoiding
the publication of the full facts, and in allowing the misconception to
endure concerning her own and Mr. Judge’s connexion with the Mahatmas.


                    MME. BLAVATSKY AND THE MAHATMAS.

Of Madame Blavatsky I speak as I knew her. At the time I made her
acquaintance she had forsworn all “phenomenalism,” so that I never saw
any occult phenomena at any time. I believe that _for her_ the Mahatmas
existed, and I believe she thought them to be embodied personalities.
Colonel Olcott has another theory, and others have their own.
Personally, I believe in the extensibility of human faculty, and in the
existence of an order of intelligences higher than our own, but I do not
require that they are embodied or terrestrial in any sense of the word.
Finally, I have been through the Theosophical Society with my eyes open,
and for more than five years have been, officially and unofficially, as
fully “in the Theosophical Society” as one can well be; and while I am
certain that many are fully convinced of the truth of their own beliefs
in these matters, I am also fully assured that a large number are in the
position of persons self-deceived, who have unfortunately committed
themselves too far to review their position without almost disastrous
consequences to themselves and others. But that of which I have the
fullest conviction and the greatest amount of presentable proof is the
fact that no such thing as evidence of the existence (in an ordinary
sense) of the Mahatmas, or of their connexion with the T.S. as a body or
with its members individually, is obtainable by a person pursuing
ordinary methods of investigation.

For those who are willing to found their beliefs upon the mere statement
of another, without question of possible interestedness on the one hand,
or self-deception on the other, the position is of course otherwise. For
such persons _proofs_ have no value whatever, what they are pleased to
call their “beliefs” and their “knowledge” being determined or
determinable from the moment they sign away their independence of
judgment and freedom of thought.—Yours sincerely,

                                                          WALTER R. OLD.

P.S.—One misstatement of fact appears in your issue of November 3. What
Mr. Garrett refers to as “Madame Blavatsky’s Rosicrucian signet-ring”
was not a ring, but a jewel, used as a pendant. Also, the “dark
gentleman” who delivered the two £10 notes to Mr. Judge made his call
(so we were told) in the early afternoon, not in “the evening” as stated
in Mr. Garrett’s text. I am bound to add that, whatever may be my
annoyance and regret at the tone of the articles and of some of the
inferences, as regards that part of the evidence which is known to
myself, I have noticed so far no other substantial error of _fact_.

                  *       *       *       *       *

 [These slight corrections have been made in this reprint.—_F. E. G._]


        FROM MR. A. P. SINNETT: “OCCULTISTS MAY NOT TELL FIBS.”

SIR,—The circular bearing this title—referred to in your leading columns
yesterday—was issued last July, and directly affects some questions you
have lately been discussing. Under the circumstances, I hope you will
kindly consent to give it fuller publicity. It was addressed to students
of Occultism, and ran as follows:—

  The inevitable mystery which surrounds Occultism and the Occultist
  has given rise in the minds of many to a strange confusion between
  the duty of silence and the error of untruthfulness. There are many
  things that the Occultist may not divulge; but equally binding is
  the law that he may never speak untruth. And this obligation to
  Truth is not confined to speech; he may never think untruth, nor act
  untruth. A spurious Occultism dallies with truth and falsehood, and
  argues that deception on the illusory physical plane is consistent
  with purity on the loftier planes on which the Occultist has his
  true life; it speaks contemptuously of “mere worldly morality”—a
  contempt that might be justified if it raised a higher standard, but
  which is out of place when the phrase is used to condone acts which
  the “mere worldly morality” would disdain to practise. The doctrine
  that the end justifies the means has proved in the past fruitful of
  all evil; no means that are impure can bring about an end that is
  good, else were the Good Law a dream and Karma a mere delusion. From
  these errors flows an influence mischievous to the whole
  Theosophical Society, undermining the stern and rigid morality
  necessary as a foundation for Occultism of the Right Hand Path.

  Finding that this false view of Occultism is spreading in the
  Theosophical Society, we desire to place on record our profound
  aversion to it, and our conviction that morality of the loftiest
  type must be striven after by every one who would tread in safety
  the difficult ways of the Occult World. Only by rigid truthfulness
  in thought, speech, and act on the planes on which works our waking
  consciousness, can the student hope to evolve the intuition which
  unerringly discerns between the true and the false in the
  supersensuous worlds, which recognises truth at sight and so
  preserves him from fatal risks in those at first confusing regions.
  To cloud the delicate sense of truth here is to keep it blind there;
  hence every teacher of Occultism has laid stress on truthfulness as
  the most necessary equipment of the would-be disciple. To quote a
  weighty utterance of a wise Indian disciple:—

  “Next in importance, or perhaps equal in value, to Devotion is
  TRUTH. It is simply impossible to over-estimate the efficacy of
  Truth in all its phases and bearings in helping the onward evolution
  of the human soul. We must love truth, seek truth, and live truth;
  and thus alone can the Divine Light which is Truth Sublime be seen
  by the student of Occultism. When there is the slightest leaning
  towards falsehood in any shape, there is shadow and ignorance, and
  their child, pain. This leaning towards falsehood belongs to the
  lower personality without doubt. It is here that our interests
  clash, it is here the struggle for existence is in full swing, and
  it is therefore here that cowardice and dishonesty and fraud find
  any scope. The ‘signs and symptoms’ of the operations of this lower
  self can never remain concealed from one who sincerely loves truth
  and seeks truth.”

  To understand oneself, and so escape self-deception, Truth must be
  practised; thus only can be avoided the dangers of the “conscious
  and unconscious deception” against which a Master warned his pupils
  in 1885.

  Virtue is the foundation of White Occultism; the Pàramitàs, six and
  ten, the transcendental virtues, must be mastered, and each of the
  Seven Portals on the Path is a virtue, which the Disciple must make
  his own. Out of the soil of pure morality alone can grow the sacred
  flower which blossoms at length into Arhatship, and those who aspire
  to the blooming of the flower must begin by preparing the soil.

  H. S. OLCOTT, A. P. SINNETT, ANNIE BESANT, BERTRAM KEIGHTLEY, W.
  WYNN WESTCOTT, E. T. STURDY, C. W. LEADBEATER.

I do not propose to discuss the merits of the case against Mr. Judge,
but we who signed this paper—without prejudging in their personal aspect
accusations which it had then been found impossible to thresh out
thoroughly—conceived it desirable to remind all fellow-students of
Occultism that no beneficial results along that path could possibly be
attained except by a course of life which, whatever else it might be,
should be strictly in harmony with the dictates of ordinary morality.

The Theosophical Society has grown in a few years to such extraordinary
proportions, and is so loosely jointed, that it cannot be correctly
thought of as a homogeneous association all parts of which are equally
represented by the officers nominally at its head. But it ought at this
crisis to be generally understood that the many persons of culture and
earnest purpose to whom spiritual progress along the original lines of
Theosophic teaching is the main object of existence are guided by
evidence concerning the possibilities of their higher evolution that is
of a kind utterly unlike that which you not unreasonably discredit. A
great block of such evidence is in our possession concerning not merely
the existence but also the attributes of the great initiates, and to
those of us in a position to appreciate this the foundations of
Theosophic knowledge are quite unshaken by such incidents as those on
which you have been commenting.—I am, Sir, yours, &c.,

                                                          A. P. SINNETT.

 November 17.


                     WHOM DID THE CIRCULAR REFER TO

  [In reference to the subject of Mr. Sinnett’s letter, the following
  is an extract from the _Westminster Gazette_ under the
  heading;—“More Theosophistry: A Belated Piece of Bluff.”]

In the current number of the _Review of Reviews_ a letter appears signed
by the Dr. Keightley who lately wrote to THE WESTMINSTER GAZETTE as a
professed representative of Mr. W. Q. Judge, Vice-President of the
Theosophical Society. The letter is worthy of some attention as an
illustration of the tactics of Mr. Judge’s friends, and of the line
which they were taking towards any allusion in the Press to certain
events before the appearance of the recent exposure in this journal.

The letter is dated October 25, and was therefore written at the time
when the Theosophists still hoped to maintain the great “hush up”
inaugurated at the Convention of last July, and before they dreamed that
all London would presently be discussing the facts which had been so
industriously buried.

The occasion of the letter appears to have been a comment of Mr. Stead’s
in the last number of the _Review_ on a circular lately issued under the
title of “Occultism and Truth.” This circular was issued just after the
so-called “Enquiry into Certain Charges against the Vice-President,” and
(to this office, at any rate) it was enclosed under one cover with the
pamphlet report of that “Enquiry.” The substance of it is an assurance
to the Theosophical world, on the part of some prominent Theosophists,
that occultists have no more right than ordinary people to fib. Coming
at the time when it did, and signed as it was by all the principal
official Theosophists, with the one exception of the vice-president, the
Editor of the _Review of Reviews_ very naturally interpreted it as
having some connexion with the charges against the last-named gentleman,
and with what his colleagues evidently felt to be their apparent
condonation of the “occult methods” ascribed to him.

The following is the substantial passage in the letter thereupon
addressed to the _Review of Reviews_ by Mr. Judge’s representatives:—

  Allow us to make a very necessary correction.... Mrs. Besant, who
  originated the circular, was asked directly whether it was connected
  with the charges or whether it was in any way aimed at Mr. Judge.
  She gave an emphatic denial to both questions to many who took the
  same view expressed by you.

  Another fact is not generally known, and leads people—yourself among
  others—into unconsciously committing an injustice. The charges
  against Mr. Judge were never substantiated, and the committee
  appointed to inquire into them declared that they were illegally
  laid.

(The letter then concludes with a high tribute to Mr. Judge’s character
for truthfulness and every other virtue.)

Now, as regards the statement about the intention of the Circular, we
will only say that one co-signatory of it at least has committed himself
to the precise view of it which this letter denies. Nor is it obvious
why the heads of any society should issue a round robin to say it is
naughty to tell taradiddles, unless some current reference were intended
to the affairs of the society.

Besides this, however, there is unmistakably conveyed the impression
that Mr. Judge’s accusers failed to substantiate their case, and that
there was something actually “illegal,” in the ordinary sense of the
word, about some part of their conduct.

As readers of “Isis Very Much Unveiled” are aware, both these things are
absolutely untrue. The simple fact was that, owing to the objections
raised by Mr. Judge, no opportunity was given for the charges to be
either substantiated or the reverse; while the only justification for
the statement that they were “illegally laid” is such as can be squeezed
out of the fact that the Theosophical Pickwickians were persuaded by Mr.
Judge that inquiry was forbidden by the constitution of their society.

It only remains to add, to complete the disingenuousness of this very
Theosophistical letter, that its signatories authenticate its statements
by flaunting the title of “Members of the Committee of Investigation”;
the committee referred to being the one which met only to decide that it
could not investigate, and the members of it as such having no knowledge
whatever of the evidence either on one side or the other!



         III.—LETTERS FROM MINOR OFFICIALS AND PRIVATE MEMBERS.


                   What matters “Truth or Falsehood?”

SIR,—My husband and myself are two of the officials in one of the local
branches of the Theosophical Society. I write in his name and my own to
say that we have read with some interest your voluminous attack on the
personal characters of some of our leading members.

We were also amused by the ingenuous surprise of your reporter, that the
Blavatsky Lodge meeting in London, which he attended, was spent in
philosophic study, not in the discussion of psychic phenomena or of the
personal characters of members.

You say (Chapter II.):—“This society as such must stand or fall with its
Mahatmas.” This is not so. The Theosophical Society is entirely neutral
on the question of the existence or non-existence of such beings, and
the reason why the charges, of which you have published a more or less
correct statement, were not gone into by the authorities of the T.S.
was, that to have done so would have entailed an infringement of that
neutrality.

The question whether Mrs. Besant was misled when she made the statement
at the Secular Hall in 1891 has been answered by her own clear
withdrawal of that statement.

The question as to Mr. Judge is entirely one as to his own truth or
falsehood, and may be well left to him to answer or not. It is not
necessary for the public or for the members of the Theosophic Society to
judge him.—Faithfully yours,

                                                          SARAH CORBETT.

 Manchester, November 6.


                     A Protest against “Condoning.”

SIR,—Having read the revelations your correspondent has been pleased to
give to the public, and _presuming them to be correct_, it seems to me
that there are now three parties at fault in place of two as I had
supposed, viz., Mr. Judge for imposing (whether consciously as a
deceiver or unconsciously) as a medium obsessed by a spirit of ambition
and the communicator of the facts (if a member of the inner circle) for
breaking his solemn pledge not to reveal or betray the affairs of that
circle. The recent correspondence now adds others as condoning the
offence of Mr. Judge—and all this has come from the love of pre-eminence
and the mere dabbling (child’s play) with the occult. Clearly, if the
offence was proved, the officers of the society were bound in truth and
honour to expel the offender, and all would then have been clear and
straight. My advice to the society would be to stick to their programme,
which is a highly laudable one, and let no word from an invisible and
unknown be taken as of any external value, but judged only by its
internal worth.

The society, it seems to me, can no longer pretend to condemn the
communication with Spirits as a dangerous thing, nor cry out against the
occasional frauds of mediums, in conscious or unconscious state, seeing
how heavily they have fallen into the same snare, nor can they point the
finger to frauds or delusions in other bodies whether Catholic or
non-Catholic. A greater strictness and more uniform abstinence from
flesh-eating and tobacco, as well as alcohol (which last they eschew)
should be enjoined on all its members by their authorised officers, and
their own three objects steadily pursued—separating from the third _all
spurious imitations_ of magical wonders; and, above all, the spirit of
truth which accepts nothing on this or that authority without careful
verification should be cultivated. A want of bravery to do the right, to
tell the truth, and face the consequences, is the only thing that can be
laid to the charge of the presiding officers of the Indian and English
sections. Are all societies and Churches free from this? Has not a
natural tenderness from long friendship, and sympathy in noble and
useful work, been often the cause of much to be deplored? And in this
instance, is not such over-tenderness of noble, unsuspicious, and
honourable souls, worthy rather of regret than of too severe
censure.—Yours,

                                                          A THEOSOPHIST.


                     “Abandon the T.S. in Disgust.”

SIR,—I see Mr. Mead is reported as saying that “what the articles [in
THE WESTMINSTER GAZETTE] would do, if they did anything, was to sift the
society of those who had simply joined for the sake of the marvellous.”

This remark shows the same utter oblivion of the appreciation of truth
that has unhappily shown itself in the society’s record before. It is
not a question of phenomena; it is one of good faith; and if this is the
line taken, not the phenomena-hunters merely, but seekers for truth and
respecters of it, who expected to find it in the Theosophical Society,
will abandon that body in disgust.

Mr. Mead continues:—“Theosophists could no more divulge secrets without
violating every sense of honour than a Mason could.”

To compare the Theosophical Society, as at present constituted, with an
honourable body like the Masons, is an insult to the latter,
goose-guzzling and luxuriant as they may have tended to become in these
latter days.

There is a profound difference between hiding secrets, which are
entrusted to one, and which concern certain (perhaps) important facts in
the nature of man, and taking part in proceedings to gull a number of
fellow-students and the outside public. This is practically what has
been done before, and the dissatisfied either disappeared altogether or
were well howled at as traitors to “the cause,” whereas, in verity, they
were doing their best for the disowned cause of truth; or, again, they
were coerced by the solemn warning of “your pledge, take care of your
pledge,” and thereby intimidated from seeing that they were making
themselves parties to a continuous misrepresentation of facts and a
deliberate fraud upon their less-informed fellow-members, not to mention
the public. “What have our troubles to do with the public?” has been the
question. I reply, “Everything,” for it is to the public that constant
appeal is made and amongst its ranks that proselytes are sought.

Nothing has, so far, been exposed in these articles that any
right-thinking truth-seeker would wish to have cloaked. The public are
not being made acquainted with any arcane wisdom; but if one-third of
the statements made in THE WESTMINSTER GAZETTE are supported by
documentary and other evidence, then the world certainly ought to be
warned against a society that takes as its motto, “There is no religion
higher than TRUTH” and forthwith allows its leading members to play such
antics and engage in such grotesque jugglery without bringing them
sternly to book. As for continuing to work with these people in the
establishment of a “universal brotherhood,” rather will it become a
universal imposture to expose which were a service to the glorious old
Wisdom of the Venerable East, which it dishonoured by its sham Mahatmas.

Those who are publishing the facts, if facts they be, are doing a
service to the cause of truth, and should have the thanks and gratitude
of all of us in the Theosophical Society whose motive in being there is
to seek TRUTH, and to combat error and fraud in religion, mysticism, or
anything else.—I am, &c.,

                                A FELLOW OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY AND
                                            MEMBER OF THE E.S.T.


             “It all comes of not Sticking to Vegetables.”

SIR,—With every word of Brother Old’s letter of to-day’s issue I beg to
express my fullest sympathy. I deprecate the tone of the “revelations,”
but of the necessity of making the public fully acquainted with the
facts I have not the least doubt. As to the existence of “Mahatmas,” I
can only say I _do_ believe in the existence on this earth of a higher
order of beings who, by total abstinence from and abhorrence of
flesh-eating, alcohol, and tobacco, and other evil and impure customs,
and by adherence to a fixed rule of life, retiring early and early
rising, with daily ablutions, and by certain studies and training of
body and mind, have acquired certain attributes and powers so far in
advance of ordinary human beings as to be regarded by them as
miraculous. Of this I have had evidence, not from Theosophists, but from
personal friends resident in India before ever they heard of the name of
Theosophy. Whether any of these have anything to do in the direction of
the Theosophical Society is quite another matter. There is Theosophy and
Theosophy, and one of these I would rather term “Theophilosophy,”
_i.e._, “the love and wisdom of God,” or “love and wisdom religion”—and
not wisdom only as is implied in the term “Theosophy.” Readers of “The
Perfect Way” and its companion volume, “Clothed with the Sun,” by that
noble woman Anna Kingsford and her colleague, will know what I mean.
Now, what about the future of the Theosophical Society? I believe its
officers may fall, but its work must endure. No doubt of that. The
founders have had their weaknesses and foibles like other mortals, but I
hope none will ever forget the gratitude they owe to Madame Blavatsky,
especially to the blessings she has conferred in founding the
Theosophical Society and giving through its means to all hungry and
thirsty souls such priceless stores of knowledge and suggestive thought
(from the Oriental religions and philosophies which have made such deep
impress on the millions of the East) as are contained in the grand
volumes of “The Secret Doctrine,” with its index and glossary, and her
other publications. None can read these volumes, but must ask
themselves, What manner of woman must she have been who devoted so many
long years of labour, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, in their production,
and that amidst incredible difficulties and opposition and worry? Nor
must we forget the debt that we owe to Colonel Olcott and Madame Besant
for having made this knowledge accessible to all minds and conditions by
their lectures and booklets.

What can be more noble than the promotion of universal brotherhood
irrespective of sex, colour, caste, or creed, united in the study of the
ancient religions of East and West, and of all that pertains to the
hidden powers in man, and their development for the good of the race?
But these last, I say again, will not be attained in purity but by
prayer, and abstinence from flesh meal, alcohol, and tobacco, and other
evil customs of society, and the disuse of all things gotten by cruelty
to, or oppression of, our fellow-creatures the lower animals, and by
pure surroundings.—Yours,

                                        I. G. OUSELEY, O.G.A. and F.T.S.

 Evelyn-terrace, Brighton,
     November 9.


             “Folly and Fraud: but of such is the Kingdom.”

SIR,—No one should blame you, or resent the publication of the facts.
_Truth_ is the first consideration, and though we who have interested
ourselves in the philosophy promulgated by the society may bitterly
regret that folly and fraud are to be found within its fold—as
elsewhere—yet we can rest assured that whatever there is in this
philosophy which appeals to the enlightened intelligence of mankind will
remain when the superstructure raised by designing intriguers or unwise
enthusiasts shall have crumbled away. It is in consequence of this
belief that the writer, with others in the society, can read with
calmness, and not without some sense of amusement, this unpleasant
disclosure; not doubting but that a great deal of it is true, and that
all may be so; and while feeling unmixed contempt for the “informer,”
can acknowledge that any editor is well within his rights, and a public
benefactor, when exposing fraud wherever it is found.

Would that this feature were more pronounced in journalism generally,
and not indulged in only when such exposures fall in with public
prejudice!

For several years the writer of this letter has been absent from the
Avenue-road centre: among other reasons, from a feeling of disapproval
of certain follies which may be called incipient relic worship, and
which no sensible person could tolerate for long. So it will be seen
that all Theosophists have not fallen under the spell of Mrs. Besant’s
rash enthusiasm, which has done, and is doing, so much to discredit her,
now as heretofore, in the eyes of the world. Yet, in spite of her
indiscrimination and lack of sound judgment, which has alienated many,
the writer would rather stand in the pillory of public opprobrium with
her than sit at a banquet with the “informer” and those who can rejoice
over the failings of a beautiful soul. For it may be said of her, and a
few others, “Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” That there is to be
found even one of these among Theosophists may lead a few to suspect
that there is something more in Theosophy than can be discovered in your
articles, and that, though fraud should be proved, there may
nevertheless be real occultists and true phenomena. Thus, what at first
sight appears a serious blow to our cause will perhaps induce further
inquiry among your readers, while doing useful work in destroying errors
and growing superstition.

                                                                F. T. S.



                               PART III.



                    LAST SHREDS OF THE VEIL OF ISIS.


                   A REVIEW OF SOME THEOSOPHISTRIES.

As yet, “Isis Very Much Unveiled” remains very much unanswered. The
oracles are dumb. “No Dolphin rose, no Nereid stirred”; no Mahatma
“precipitated” a reply (as one of them did with such edifying results in
the case of the Kiddle plagiarism), nor disintegrated by psychic force
the damaging documents in my possession; Mrs. Besant, whose “astral
body” has flitted across oceans to visit Mr. Herbert Burrows “on
pre-arranged evenings,” gave no sign from Australia; Colonel Olcott,
president, in India, disdained the more commonplace agency of the cable;
and Mr. William Q. Judge, vice-president, whose official adytum is but
five days away at New York, neglected to avail himself of the ordinary
post, whatever he may have done about the astral one.

Moreover, accustomed as are all these three officials to scouring the
earth, with all expenses paid, no intimation has been made public as to
the date when we may expect to receive anyone of them back from the
various regions to which they sped immediately after launching the
report of their peculiar “Enquiry.” Their colleagues in England continue
to speak as if a trip to New York carried one to the bourn from which no
traveller returns.

But what of these colleagues themselves? Where is the “Voice of the
Silence” of Avenue-road, St. John’s Wood? At point after point, the
Story of the Great Mahatma Hoax touched matters to which one or other or
all of them must have been privy. It told of missives which they had
accepted as genuine, orders which they had acted upon, decisions in
which they had agreed, fact after fact of which they had full
cognisance. When Mr. Mead, the European secretary, gave out that he did
not reply because he was not attacked, I did my best to oblige him; I
began at the beginning, and challenged him at once as having been
present and taken part in the “Judge’s-plan-is-right” decision; and I
added that when he had denied my version of that I would supply him with
further matter for denial. Whereupon the discreet European secretary
subsided altogether.


                       The “Sacred Oath” Humbug.

Of course, some excuse had to be offered, and we have been told that
what happens at meetings of the Esoteric Section is sacredly secret.
Now, first, that only covers a small part of my story, some of which
dealt with circumstances surrounding official acts of the society or its
three sections. Secondly, the excuse is eminently one that accuses, by
implying that what I say happened at those meetings _did_ happen; for
presumably members take no oath to keep secret what does _not_ occur?
But, thirdly, this alleged secrecy is a mere pretext; else how could
Mrs. Besant publicly refer on platforms to “supernatural” experiences at
those meetings; and Messrs. Old and Edge (the latter to this day holding
office) raise questions about one such matter in print in Colonel
Olcott’s journal; and Mrs. Besant, the Colonel, and a full council of
officials notify Mr. Judge that in a certain eventuality (which did
afterwards occur) they would make a “_full publication covering all the
details_” of that matter, and others concerning the sacred Mahatma
messages?

Whatever may be the “quasi-Masonic oath” of which we now hear, _they_
evidently held that it did not bind them to conceal, with their eyes
open, a fraud upon their fellow-members; and those who do so interpret
it only throw a very suggestive light on their own action in willingly
taking such an oath. Was Mrs. Besant quite right when she gave the
public what she confesses was a “misleading account” of these secrets,
and only in the wrong when, along with Colonel Olcott and the rest, she
proposed to give what she now knew to be the correct one? Is the
position that a Theosophist may “tell”—anything he likes, except the
truth?


                   A Survey of the Present Situation.

The absence of Colonel Olcott and Mrs. Besant does not alter the fact
that he with others made, and she publicly adopted, certain charges
against Mr. Judge, vice-president. And the silence of their colleagues
in England does not disguise the fact that my account of the details has
not been challenged as to one single event, letter, or facsimile. The
published “Report of an Enquiry” cries aloud for some explanation: the
explanation of “Isis Very Much Unveiled” holds the field untouched. It
leaves the vice-president only able to exculpate himself, if at all, by
further inculpating them. The “full rebuttal evidence held in reserve,”
therefore, at which his professed representative in England hints, can
be formidable only to the Theosophical Society, not to its critics. I am
bound to say, however, that if the would-be impressive fragments of it
which have been privately adumbrated to me are fair samples of the rest,
it is not calculated to be formidable to anybody. When the “affidavits”
hinted at have been published, or otherwise submitted to examination, I
can promise them all the attention they deserve. To say that any
affidavit, until cross-examined upon, is worth exactly as much as the
paper it is written on would be an uncalled-for slight upon the
paper-maker.


                 The Excommunication of “Brother Old.”

A word or two about the attempt to create a diversion by attacking the
character of the one Theosophical official who has had the honesty to
resign office rather than shut his eyes to a fraud on the public. The
attack on Mr. Old cannot in any case discredit the story I have
narrated. First, because the largest and most important part of that
story is from the undenied written evidence of persons still holding
office in the society, and especially of its “President-Founder.”
Secondly, because, even as regards Mr. Old’s part, the character of a
witness is only a relevant consideration where the truth of his
testimony is disputed. What I am now about to say is said, therefore,
merely in justice to Mr. Old himself. The attack on him has two lines.
It is said that he had to perjure himself to give any information
whatever. It is hinted that what information he did give was given for
money. The former charge turns entirely on the “sacred oath” humbug,
which I have discussed already. As to the latter, it is true to my
knowledge that for the part he has taken in fulfilling what he regards
as a public duty to truth, Mr. Old neither asked nor received any
consideration whatever. My own acquaintance with Mr. Old began in an odd
way, not without bearing on the question of his sincerity. At the time
of the Salvation Army riots at Eastbourne, a gallant old Englishman, who
could not bear that women, under any provocation, should be publicly
assaulted in English streets, went down there to stand up for the
“Hallelujah lasses.” He asked, through the _Pall Mall Gazette_, for five
hundred Englishmen to help. He got five. This Quixotic gentleman, this
modern Sieur de Marsac, was my friend Mr. Charles Money, of Petersfield.
I went myself to see that he did not get his head broken more than was
necessary. His company, as seedy a lot of knights-errant as ever I saw,
consisted mainly of Cockney journalists who did not believe in God. But
one—a spruce, slight youth—declared himself a Theosophist. The
adventurers spouted to a yelling mob, got off with whole skins, and by
testimony of the local police actually achieved their end. But Mr. Money
and one other were knocked about a bit in the crowd. That other—he
quitted himself like a man—was Mr. W. R. Old, Theosophist. I may be
wrong: it was but a street row; but I regard that as a more practical
service on Mr. Old’s part to the “Universal Brotherhood of Humanity”
than all the hundredweights of vapid moralising on the subject ever
vomited from “The H.P.B. Press.”


                      Stewing in the Judge Juice.

Except Mr. Old, one prominent Theosophist, and one alone, has so far
publicly faced the facts. Mr. Herbert Burrows has had the honesty and
the courage to say out that this thing must be answered by Mr. Judge,
and fully, or he for one will quit the society. Mr. Burrows forgets that
others besides Mr. Judge have made themselves answerable. Other
correspondents, again, represented other factions, and showed how the
society is seething with distrust and shame. But the mass of the letters
only serve to prove that, whatever else the “occult powers” of the
Theosophists may be, they do not include a command either of plain
English or of straight argument. If “Isis” does not yet stand before us
absolutely like Hans Breitmann’s “maiden mit nodings on,” it is a
painfully thin fabric of Theosophistries which alone shelters her from
the cold wind of public contempt. Let us examine it.


              The Theosophistry about Proving a Negative.

“_After all, you have not proved that Mahatmas do not exist, nor that
occult phenomena cannot occur._”

Certainly I have not, nor did I ever propose to try. I am quite prepared
to believe in both when evidence for them has been produced, and has
stood the test of such ordinary evidential canons as have been applied
to kindred subjects—for instance, by the Psychical Research Society. All
that I have said is that certain evidence on which the Theosophical
Society has been building proves nothing whatever, except the existence
of a hotbed of humbug within the society itself. As for the Mahatmas,
there is no difficulty about conceiving that illiterate, twaddling, and
mendacious beings of a second-rate order of intelligence, such as those
reflected in the “missives” which I have reproduced, may exist in Tibet
as they unhappily do elsewhere. But when we are told that these beings
have acquired powers which rise superior to time and space, and that
they use these for communicating “in a quasi-miraculous manner” with the
Theosophical Society, we ask for facts; and we get—such facts as were
investigated by Dr. Hodgson and his colleagues, and such facts as have
been exposed in “Isis Very Much Unveiled.” What else is there? One
Theosophist directs me to “our literature on the subject, which is
copious.” I don’t doubt it; but it is not “literature” that I am in
search of. Another declares “it does not all depend on Madame Blavatsky
and Mr. Judge; others have seen Mahatmas.” It seems that Mrs. Besant has
been telling her Australian audiences that she herself has been so
favoured (just as she told the Hall of Science audience that she had
been favoured with supernatural missives). Well, how did Mrs. Besant
know her Mahatma? By his “portrait,” I suppose, as others have done. And
how was that portrait produced? When Madame Blavatsky began to spell
spiritualism “Theosophy,” and turned her “spirit-control” “John King,”
of whom Colonel Olcott tells, into Master Koot Hoomi—whom she again
subordinated, after the Kiddle exposure, to Mahatma Morya, whom she, in
turn, after the S.P.R. Report, left over for exploitation by Mr.
Judge—when Madame started the Mahatma on this chequered career, it was
one of her earliest steps to secure a counterfeit presentment of her
creation. Various artists and amateurs were set to paint portraits under
occult inspiration. The results may all have resembled the Protean
Mahatma; some of them were strikingly unlike each other. The two best
were done by Mr. Schmiechen, now a society portrait-painter, partly out
of his head, partly from directions given by Madame, and partly from a
photograph of a typical Hindu which she gave him for the purpose. Madame
identified one as Koot and the other as Morya, and declared they were
speaking likenesses—an opinion which nobody else was in a position to
contradict. They hang to-day in the “Occult Room” at Adyar, and are
declared to have been painted from the respective “astral bodies” of
their subjects. Colonel Olcott, president, who knows their origin
perfectly well, exhibits them reverently to barefoot disciples doing
“puja.” Photographs from the fancy portrait of “M,” in locked cases,
have been distributed to the Esoteric few; Mrs. Besant always works with
one facing her; Madame Blavatsky made it part of a _chela’s_ course to
spend some time daily staring at the image, and deliberately trying to
“visualise” it in corners of the room. What wonder if some of them have
succeeded? It would have been contrary to all experience of the
phenomena of self-hypnotic hallucination if they had not. The thing only
begins to call for examination when the figure thus “visualised” leaves
something not entirely psychic behind him. The Master who left a shower
of roses once at Adyar turned out to have been M. Coulomb, eked out with
a mask, a bladder, and some white muslin; and the roses were traced
elsewhere than to Tibet. And the Master who precipitated the Judge
missives?——But perhaps the Theosophists would prefer not to put him
forward. When they have something better, I shall be glad to hear of it.


            The Theosophistry of Throwing Over the Mahatmas.

“_What matter even if the Mahatmas do not exist, and the phenomena are
frauds? There still remain those sublime ideas which_,” &c., &c.

I was quite prepared for this particular Theosophistry. That was why I
started, at the very beginning of my story (Chapter II.), by showing
what an enormous practical part the Mahatmas and their miracles have
played in the movement. It is easy for this Theosophist or that to
protest that they never attracted _him_. The fact remains that the big
accessions to the society’s numbers have always followed on the miracle
“booms,” alike under Madame Blavatsky and under Mrs. Besant. Moreover,
it is not possible, even argumentatively, to dissociate “those sublime
ideas,” &c., from the Mahatmas on whose authority Madame Blavatsky gave
them out. If she spoke truth, they were the real authors of “Isis Very
Much Unveiled” and of “The Secret Doctrine.” If she lied, and the
authority for those teachings is her own, what is that lying authority
worth? I need not labour the point, as it was conclusively proved long
ago by Mrs. Besant herself. In an article in _Lucifer_ of December,
1890, addressed apparently to certain Theosophical schismatics who
showed a tendency to throw over alike their foundress and her “Masters,”
Mrs. Besant accomplished the easy task of showing that the society was
tied hand and foot to both. It was founded by _Her_ at the bidding of
“_Them_”; They have been the _deus ex machinâ_ whenever She was in a
fix, and the society has so accepted Them. It can be “neutral” about
Them, and Their miracles, and Their prophetess, only when an heir is
neutral about his own title-deeds. As Mrs. Besant puts it in a nutshell:
“If there are no Masters, then the Theosophical Society is an
absurdity.”


         The Theosophistry of Throwing Over the “Inner Group.”

“_The Esoteric Section is a private body, not officially connected with
the Theosophical Society; so the Society is not responsible for
miracle-mongering in the Section._”

The so-called Esoteric Section or E.S.T. (“Eastern School of
Theosophy”), of which the High-priesters and the Vice-President are now
quarrelling for the headship, and, in the words of the latter official,
“the core of the Theosophical Society.” The Inner Group, again, is the
core of the E.S.T. Both were the special creation of the Society’s
foundress. The Group was to contain her top pupils. The members of the
group are almost to a man officials of the Society, living at the
Society’s expense. With the one exception of Colonel Olcott, practically
all the high panjandrums are included in it. Lastly, if it has been the
centre of the Mahatma communications, it is a centre that has radiated
them in all directions to the society’s circumference. The plop of a
missive sends a ripple from the Inner Group to the Esoteric Section,
from the Esoteric Section to the society at large, and from the society
to the public.

Well, the yolk of an egg is not officially connected with the outer
portion; but when the yolk is bad, we call it a rotten egg without
further parley.


      The Theosophistry of Throwing Over the Society’s Personnel.

But that brings me to the most barefaced Theosophistry of all: “_Even if
all our officials be proved to have lied and cheated, there still
remains untouched their grand ethical teaching!_”

I simply state this, and leave it. Like the coster when his barrow broke
down, “Friends, I ain’t ekal to it.” I cannot do justice to such
colossal impudence. “Truth survives all attacks”; she does; she will
even survive Theosophical defences. “The noble religions and
philosophies of the East exist”; they do, as they did long centuries
before the Theosophical Society was heard of, and will do long centuries
after it has been forgotten. But when Mahatmas, and miracles, and the
founders, and the officials, and the official acts of the Theosophical
Society are all thrown over—What remains of the society? “We have
absolutely no creed,” the European secretary told an interviewer the
other day—(all unfettered by the fact that he distributes broadcast Mrs.
Besant’s “Introduction to Theosophy” with a complete pseudo-Buddhistic
cosmology about the Seven Planes, &c., authenticated by direct reference
to the Masters, and particularising, for instance, that “Devachan” lasts
“for average persons some fifteen centuries”!)—“Absolutely no creed.”
“You would simply call yours a moral or religious society, then?” asked
the puzzled interviewer. To which Mr. Mead naïvely replies, “_I don’t
exactly know what you would call it_.”—(_Sunday Times_, Nov. 11.)

Since scholarship has opened the stores of the East to Western culture,
there has been a natural awakening of popular interest in Eastern
directions. While that lasts, people discussing each other’s souls will
continue to sprinkle their remarks, harmlessly enough, with those
mingled jargons which make a true Orientalist smile. If “Theosophy”
means that, “Theosophy” has certainly some life before it; but as for
the Theosophical _Society_—“why cumbereth it the ground?” It is an
organised machine for taking in the Honest Enthusiast at one end,
passing him through the stages of the Willing Dupe and the Conscientious
Humbug, and turning him out at the other end at worst a conscious fraud,
at best a dreary and disillusioned cynic.

Enough of the logical and ethical fog that Theosophy diffuses!—the
Mahatmosphere, as one might call it. It is a relief to escape from it
into the fresh air of common honesty and common sense.



                              POSTSCRIPT.



                           A MAHATMA AT BAY:


                    THE VICE-PRESIDENT’S TRUMP CARD.

The following appeared in the _Westminster Gazette_, under the headings:
“OPEN SPLIT BETWEEN THEOSOPHICAL OFFICIALS”; “RIVAL REVELATIONS FROM THE
SAME MASTER”; “MR. JUDGE GETS A MISSIVE DEPOSING MRS. BESANT”:—

Just as the Story of the Great Mahatma Hoax is going to press in its
collected form, just in the nick of time to be included, comes the
material for a new chapter of more extravagant humour than all the rest.
Readers of the “Isis” chapters will recall that the Theosophic embroglio
has gone through the following stages:—(1) The vice-president’s
“Mahatma” makes reflections on the president. (2) The president and
other officials make charges of “forging” Mahatma missives against the
V.P. (3) Mrs. Besant, after some vacillation, adopts these charges, and
joins with the others in offering the V.P. the choice of retiring
quietly or an exposure. (4) The V.P. bluffs them all into silence, and
they all join in inducing the “Convention” of last July to separate
without looking further into the matter. (5) Mrs. Besant and the V.P.
“join hands,” in public, on her statement that though he wrote the
alleged missives “with his own hand,” yet he had “psychically received”
their contents from the Mahatma. (6) In private, Mrs. Besant separates
herself from the V.P. by dissolving their joint headship of the Esoteric
Section (“the core of the Theosophical Society,” as Mr. Judge justly
calls it below): Mr. Judge, V.P., to retain the American section of the
section, and she herself the European, to which she has since added the
Indian.

Now we learn Phase 7. Seven is a highly Theosophical numeral, and this
phase is certainly a rich one. Mr. Judge sends round to the Esoteric
Section a pamphlet in which he announces that Mrs. Besant is, in effect,
possessed of a devil, and that the Mahatma (under whose direction she
also professes to be acting) has ordered him to depose her altogether,
and take over the whole thing himself!! Which, in a formal “Order,” he
accordingly proceeds to do.

The pamphlet, which among other things professes to give the Judge
version of the true inwardness of the abortive “Enquiry” in July, has
just been sent round to the Esoteric Theosophists. Copies were not sent
to some who were considered dangerous; but the recent unveiling has made
a good many so who were safe enough, from the Judge point of view,
before, and thanks to one of these who does not acknowledge any headship
of Mr. Judge over the European Esotericists since Mrs. Besant’s
dissolution thereof, it is possible to give to mankind what was meant by
Mr. Judge for a party. The following are the salient passages, followed
by the Order deposing Mrs. Besant (the titles in capitals are Mr.
Judge’s; the paragraph headings are not):—


                         BY MASTER’S DIRECTION.

  I now send you this, all of it being either direct quotations from
  the messages to me, or else in substance what I am directed to say
  to you, the different details and elaborations being my own....

  We have now to deal with the E.S.T. and with our duty to it and to
  each other; and among those others, to Mrs. Besant....


                     The Greatness of Wm. Q. Judge.

  I am not a pledged member of the E.S.T., and never made a pledge in
  it, as my pledges were long before to the Master direct. I was one
  of its founders, with H.P.B., and she, at the beginning, made me
  manager and teacher in it from the first, under her, for the
  American part especially. You can remember all she said of that. I
  wrote the rules of the E.S.T. myself in London in 1888 at H.P.B.’s
  request, and under the direction of the Master. Those were not
  altered by her, but after reading them and further consulting the
  Master she added some general paragraphs. I am the only one standing
  in that position. Mrs. Besant and all other members are pledged and
  certified in the ordinary way....

  An Inner Group was later on formed by H.P.B. at London, so that she
  might give out teachings to be recorded by the members, and, if
  possible, teach them practical Occultism. Of this Mrs. Besant, with
  George Mead to help her, was made the Secretary, because she had
  great ability in a literary way, was wholly devoted, and perfectly
  fit for the task. But this did not make her a teacher....


                     The Littleness of Mrs. Besant.

  The death of H.P.B. destroyed, of course, any further value in the
  office of “Recorder.”

  The conversations of H.P.B. with the Inner Group were taken down in
  a more or less fragmentary form by the different members, in notes,
  and later Mrs. Besant and George Mead wrote them out, as
  Secretaries. I have a complete copy of these, and so has each member
  of the Inner Group, and those copies comprise all the “Instructions”
  left in the possession of Mrs. Besant or the Inner Group. In my
  possession, and within my control, is a large body of instructions
  given to me all the time from 1875, which I shall give out and have
  given out, as far as I am directed....

  Mrs. Annie Besant has been but five years in this work, and not all
  of that time engaged in occult study and practice....

  Since 1889 she has done great service to the T.S. and devoted
  herself to it. But all this does not prevent a sincere person from
  making errors in Occultism, especially when he, as Mrs. Besant did,
  tries to force himself along the path of practical work in that
  field. Sincerity does not confer of itself knowledge, much less
  wisdom....


              Singular Disinterestedness of Wm. Q. Judge.

  I wish it to be clearly understood that Mrs. Besant has had herself
  no conscious evil intention: she has simply gone for awhile outside
  the line of her Guru (H.P.B.), begun work with others, and fallen
  under their influence. We should not push her farther down, but
  neither will the true sympathy we have blind our eyes, so as to let
  her go on, to the detriment of the movement. I could easily retire
  from the whole T.S., but my conceptions of duty are different,
  although the personal cost to myself in this work is heavy, and as I
  am ordered to stay I will stay and try my best to aid her and
  everyone else as much as possible. And the same authority tells me
  that “could she open her eyes and see her real line of work, and
  correct the present condition in herself as well as the one she has
  helped to make in the T.S. and E.S.T., she would find herself in
  mental, spiritual, and physical conditions of a kind much better
  than ever before, for her present state is due to the attacks of the
  dark powers, unconsciously to her.”


              Black Magic and the Plot Behind the Scenes.

  And now it becomes necessary under instructions received to give the
  members of the School some account of the things behind the scenes
  in connexion with the recent investigation attempted at London upon
  the charges against me....

  I was made the object of an attack in the guise of an attempt to
  purify the Society, and Mrs. Besant was thrown forward as the
  official accuser of myself—a friend who was certified to her by
  H.P.B., her teacher, well known as working for the T.S. for many
  years. All this needs light, and the best interests of Mrs. Besant
  and of the E.S.T. demand that some of the secret history shall be
  given out, however disagreeable it may be, in order that the very
  purgation which was improperly directed to the wrong quarter shall
  take place now. The difficulty arose when in January or February
  Annie Besant finally lent herself unconsciously to the plot which I
  detail herein....

  The plot exists among the Black Magicians, who ever war against the
  White, and against those Black ones we were constantly warned by
  H.P.B. This is no fiction, but a very substantial fact. I have seen
  and also been shown the chief entity among those who thus work
  against us....


        How Mr. Judge’s Master Caught Out Mrs. Besant’s Friend.

  The name of the person who was worked upon so as to, if possible,
  use him as a minor agent of the Black Magicians, and for the
  influencing of Mrs. Besant, is Gyanendra N. Chakravarti, a Brahman,
  of Allahabad, India, who came to America on our invitation to the
  Religious Parliament in 1893. He permitted ambition to take subtle
  root in his heart; he is no longer in our lines. He was then a Chela
  of a minor Indian Guru, and was directed to come to America by that
  Guru, who had been impressed to so direct him by our Master....
  While in that relation he was telepathically impressed in Chicago
  with some of the contents of a message received by me from the
  Master. It corroborated outwardly what I had myself received. It
  was, however, but a part, and was, moreover, deficient in matter,
  Chakravarti himself being only aware of it as a mental impression,
  and I am informed that at the time he was not fully aware of what he
  was doing. His ability to be used as an unconscious vehicle was made
  known to me when he was made to receive the message. Although he was
  not fully aware of it, not only was the whole of his tour here well
  guarded and arranged, but he was personally watched by the agents of
  the Master’s scattered through the country unknown to him, who
  reported to me. On several occasions he has taken people into his
  confidence, believing that he was instructing them, when in fact
  they were observing him closely from the Lodge, helping him where
  right, and noting him fully, though they did not tell him so. This
  was also so in those parts of his tour when he believed himself
  alone or only with Mrs. Besant....


            “If I am a Fraud so are H.P.B. and the Masters.”

  If I was guilty of what I was accused, then Master would be shown as
  conniving at forgery and lying—a most impossible thing. The only
  other possibility is that Mr. Chakravarti and I “got up” the
  message. But he and Mrs. Besant have admitted its genuineness,
  although she is perfectly unable herself to decide on its
  genuineness or falsity; but further, Mrs. Besant admitted to several
  that she had seen the Master himself come and speak through my body
  while I was perfectly conscious. And still further, H.P.B. gave me
  in 1889 the Master’s picture, on which he put this message, “To my
  dear and loyal colleague, W. Q. Judge.”

  Now, then, either I am bringing you a true message from the Master,
  or the whole T.S. and E.S.T. is a lie, in the ruins of which must be
  buried the names of H.P.B. and the Masters. All these stand together
  as they fall together....


            How Mrs. Besant Privately Thinks H.P.B. a Fraud.

  As final proof of the delusions worked through this man and his
  friends, I will mention this:—Many years ago—in 1881—the Masters
  sent to the Allahabad Brahmans (the Prayag T.S.) a letter which was
  delivered by H.P.B. to Mr. A. P. Sinnett, who handed a copy over to
  them, keeping the original; it dealt very plainly with the Brahmans.
  This letter the Brahmans do not like, and Mr. Chakravarti tried to
  make me think it was a pious fraud by H.P.B. He succeeded with Mrs.
  Besant in this, so that since she met him she has on several
  occasions said she thought it was a fraud by H.P.B., made up
  entirely, and not from the Master. I say now on Master’s authority
  that it was from the Master, and is a right letter. Only delusion
  would make Mrs. Besant take this position: deliberate intention
  makes the others do it. It is an issue which may not be evaded, for
  if that letter be a fraud, then all the rest sent through our old
  teacher, and on which Esoteric Buddhism was made, are the same. I
  shall rest on that issue: we all rest on it.


                    Mrs. Besant’s Rival Revelations.

  Mrs. Besant was then made to agree with these people under the
  delusion that it was approved by the Masters. She regarded herself
  as their servant. It was against the E.S.T. rules. When the rule is
  broken it is one’s duty to leave the E.S.T., and when I got the
  charges from her I asked her to leave it if it did not suit her. The
  depth of the plot was not shown to Mrs. Besant at all, for if it had
  been she would have refused. Nor was Colonel Olcott aware of it.
  Mrs. Besant was put in such a frightful position that while she was
  writing me most kindly and working with me she was all the time
  thinking that I was a forger and that I had blasphemed the Master.
  She was made to conceal from me, when here, her thoughts about the
  intended charges, but was made to tell Mr. B. Keightley, in London,
  and possibly few others. Nor until the time was ripe did she tell
  me, in her letter, in January, from India, asking me to resign from
  the E.S.T. and the T.S. offices, saying that if I did and would
  confess guilt, all would be forgiven, and everyone would work with
  me as usual. But I was directed differently, and fully informed. She
  was induced to believe that the Master was endorsing the
  prosecution, that he was ordering her to do what she did. At the
  same time, I knew and told her that it was the plan there to have
  Colonel Olcott resign when I had been cut off, the presidency to be
  then offered to her. It was offered to her, and she was made to
  believe it was the Master’s wish for her “not to oppose.” She then
  waited. I did not resign, and the plot so far was spoilt for the
  time....

  She felt and expressed to me the greatest pain to have to do such
  things to me. I knew she so felt, and wrote her that it was the
  Black Magicians. She replied, being still under the delusion, that I
  was failing to do Master’s will.


                   How Mrs. Besant Tried Witchcraft.

  Her influencers also made her try psychic experiments on me and on
  two others in Europe. They failed. On me they had but a passing
  effect, as I was cognisant of them; on one of the others they
  reflected on health, although she did not desire any harm at all;
  she was made to think it best and for my good. She then sent word to
  these people that she had not succeeded. This is all the effect of
  pure delusion; the variance between such things and her usual
  character is shown in her all the time writing me the most kind
  letters. In all this Mr. Chakravarti was her guide, with others. She
  was writing him all the time about it. He went so far as to write me
  on a matter he was supposed to know nothing of: “No matter what
  Annie may do to you as co-head of the E.S. she means you no harm.”


                      “Every Man His Own Mahatma.”

  Informed as I was of these inside facts, I drew up under Master’s
  direction my circular on the charges in March, 1894, and there
  outlined what would be done. It was all done as I said, and as the
  Master in March told me would be the case. The London investigation
  ended as Master predicted through me in my circular, and for the
  benefit of the T.S. But all that time the conspirators used all
  means against me. They had all sorts of letters sent me from India
  with pretended messages from the Masters asking me to resign and
  confess. But Master kept me informed and told me what steps to take.
  He even told me that, much as it might seem the contrary from the
  official papers, Colonel Olcott would be the central figure and the
  one through whom the adjustment would come. This also turned out
  true.


                   Migration of Mahatmas to—New York?

  The Master says that the T.S. movement was begun by Them in the West
  by western people; that cyclic law requires the work in the West for
  the benefit of the world; that They do not live in India.

  They also say that Nature’s laws have set apart woe for those who
  spit back in the face of their teacher, for those who try to
  belittle her work, and make her out to be part good and part
  fraud....

  A distinct object H.P.B. had in view I will now, on the authority of
  the Master, tell you, unrevealed before by H.P.B. to anyone else
  that I know of: it is, the establishment in the West of a great seat
  of learning, where shall be taught and explained and demonstrated
  the great theories of man and nature which she has brought forward
  to us, where Western occultism, as the essence combined out of all
  others, shall be taught.

  I also state on the same authority that H.P.B. has not
  reincarnated....

  We are all, therefore, face to face with the question whether we
  will abide by Masters and their Messenger on the one hand, or by the
  disrupting forces that stand on the other, willing to destroy our
  great mission if we will but give them the opportunity.


             “I Declare Mrs. Besant’s Headship at an End!”

The pamphlet closes with the following “E.S.T. ORDER,” dated November 3,
and signed in manuscript:—

  I now proceed a step further than the E.S.T. decisions of 1894, and
  solely for the good of the E.S.T. I resume in the E.S.T., in full,
  all the functions and powers given to me by H.P.B. and that came to
  me by orderly succession after her passing from this life, and
  declare myself the sole head of the E.S.T. This has been done
  already in America. So far as concerns the rest of the E.S.T. I may
  have to await the action of the members, but I stand ready to
  exercise those functions in every part of it. Hence, under the
  authority given me by the Master and H.P.B., and under Master’s
  direction, I declare Mrs. Annie Besant’s headship in the E.S.T. at
  an end.

[Illustration]

This, then, is Mr. Judge’s response to the case against him, and, as was
expected, it takes the form of attacking his colleagues, but keeps
strictly to generalities as regards the evidence against himself. The
date affixed is one when Mr. Judge had probably heard of the articles in
THE WESTMINSTER by cable, but had no idea of the detailed nature of the
attack. The parts quoted throw many interesting side-lights, but perhaps
the most delightful thing is the picture presented of all the
Theosophists playing off the Mahatma on one another: Mr. Judge, Mrs.
Besant, Mr. Chakravarti, and others, giving the most contradictory
messages from the same Tibetan source; and Mr. Judge now finally “going
one better” than all the rest, for has he not, in a very real sense, the
Mahatma in his pocket?

At any rate, the battle has now well begun. The prophets of Baal are
cutting, not themselves as of old, but one another. More power to all
their elbows!

Mrs. Besant was willing enough to accept Mr. Judge’s anti-Olcott
missives as “psychically” from the Mahatma; we shall now see how it
strikes her when the same weapon is turned against herself.[1]

Footnote 1:

  We _have_ seen. _Vide_ Preface.

  [In the same issue was published a “vote of censure passed on the
  President by one of the local ‘Lodges’ of the T.S. (Bournemouth),
  declaring that the articles recently published in the _Westminster
  Gazette_ disclose a _primâ facie_ case against the Vice-President,”
  “of fraud upon his fellow Theosophists.” “The Vice-President should
  not continue to lie,” the Bournemouth Lodge remarks, “under such a
  charge.” Other Lodges have also taken one side or the other.]



                     THE SOCIETY UPON THE HIMALAY.

               (THEOSOPHICALLY ADAPTED FROM BRET HARTE.)


    I reside at Table Mountain, and my name is Truthful James;
    I am not fond of pious frauds or Oriental games;
    And I’ll tell in simple language, as well as I can say,
    What broke up our Society upon the Himalay.

    But first I would remark that there must needs be painful scenes
    When Theosophic gents begin to give each other Beans;
    And though Mahatma missives do pan out a little queer,
    We should avoid disturbances in the Mahatmosphere.[2]

    Now nothing could be nicer or more full of harmony
    Than the first few months that followed the decease of “H.P.B.”;
    Till Judge of Calaveras produced a curious set
    Of missives in red pencil what he said were from Tibet.[3]

    From these he reconstructed a Mahatma (very rare),
    A Nest of that peculiar kind pertaining to a Mare;
    But Mrs. Besant found a rival missive on the shelf,[4]
    And said she fancied Mr. Judge had written his himself.[5]

    Then Judge’s smile took on a most unpleasant sort of curve;
    He said he would not trespass so on Mrs. B.’s preserve.
    He was a most resourceful man, that quiet Mr. Judge;
    He got another missive saying Mrs. B.’s was fudge.[6]

    Now, it is not edifying for a Theosophic priest
    To call another one a fraud—to all intents, at least;
    Nor should the individual who happens to be meant
    Reply by throwing things about to any great extent.

    Then Olcott, H., of Adyar, raised a point of order, when
    A chunk of old red pencil took him in the abdomen;[7]
    And he smiled a kind of sickly smile and curled up on the floor,
    And the subsequent proceedings interested him no more.[8]

    For, in less time than I write it, all the meeting got upset
    With “precipitating” missiles which did _not_ come from Tibet;
    And the things they called each other in their anger were a sin—
    Till the public got disgusted, and the temple roof caved in.

    And this is all I have to say of these improper games,
    For I live at Table Mountain and my name is Truthful James;
    And I’ve told in simple language all I know about the fray
    That broke up our Society upon the Himalay.

                  *       *       *       *       *
Footnote 2:

  “Any action in these controversial matters tends to set up a perfect
  whirlwind on other planes.”—Mrs. Besant in _Lucifer_.

Footnote 3:

  “Mahatma Morya affects red pencil, Koot Hoomi blue.”—“Isis Very Much
  Unveiled.”

Footnote 4:

  “She wrote ... it was Master’s wish ... that Master ordered her to do
  as she did.”—Mr. Judge’s circular to the E.S.T.

Footnote 5:

  “I now know that they were written by Mr. Judge.”—Mrs. Besant, “Report
  of an Enquiry,” &c.

Footnote 6:

  “Under Master’s direction, I declare Mrs. Besant’s headship at an
  end.”—Mr. Judge’s circular to the E.S.T.

Footnote 7:

  “Isis,” Chapters IX., X.

Footnote 8:

  “I declare, as my opinion, that this Enquiry must go no
  farther.”—Colonel Olcott, “Report of an Enquiry,” &c.

                                                                F. E. G.

[Illustration:

  “WHEN AUGUR MEETS AUGUR”—

  “It is rather a squalid fight between the augurs that the curtain has
    been raised upon; but it has got to be fought out now before the
    public, and it is in vain to try to ring the curtain down again.”
]



                       “ISIS VERY MUCH UNVEILED.”


                   A REPLY FROM MR. WILLIAM Q. JUDGE.

 _To the_ EDITOR _of_ THE WESTMINSTER GAZETTE.

SIR,—You have published slanderous articles against the Theosophical
Society, using me as the person; you have asked for a reply; I send it
to you and ask that it be given place in your paper.—Yours truly,

                                                       WILLIAM Q. JUDGE.

 _Theosophical Society, American Section,
   General Secretary’s Office, New York, Nov. 26._


 _To the_ EDITOR _of_ THE WESTMINSTER GAZETTE.

SIR,—At the time your articles directed against the Theosophical Society
under the above title were appearing, I was lecturing in the country,
and only within a few days have I seen your last numbers. Time is
required for writing on such a subject, and at this distance from London
I cannot be accused of much delay. With the greatest interest and
amusement I have read your long series of articles. The writer is an
able man, and you and he together constitute one of the advertising
agencies of the Theosophical Society. The immense range of your notices
cannot be well calculated, and very truly we could never pay for such an
advertisement. Do you mind keeping this part of my letter as all the
remuneration we can give you for the work done by you in thus
advertising the movement and bringing prominently to the notice of your
public the long-forgotten but true doctrine of the possible existence of
such beings as Professor Huxley says it would be impertinent to say
could not exist in the natural order of evolution?

And while I look at it all as an advertisement, I cannot admire the
treason developed therein, nor the spiteful unworthy tone of it, nor the
divergence from fact in many cases when it suited the purpose, nor the
officious meddling in the private affairs of other people, nor the
ignoring and falsification in respect to possible motive, made out by
you to be gain by some of us, when the fact is that we are all losers of
money by our work. That fact a candid person would have stated, and
marvelled at it that we should be willing to slave for the Theosophical
Society, and always spend our money. Such a person would have given “the
devil his due.” You have suppressed it and lied about it, and hence it
is not admirable in you, but is quite mean and low. You advertise us and
then try to befoul us. Well, we gain by the advertisement, and the
course of time will wipe off the small stain you try to paint upon us.
When you and your ready writer are both dead and forgotten, and some of
you probably execrated for offences not as yet exposed, we will still
live as a body and be affecting the course of modern thought, as we have
been doing for nearly twenty years.

I am the principal object of your attack, though you also cruelly abuse
a woman who has long enough fought the world of your conventional
nation, and perhaps you expect me to either rise and explain, or keep
silent. Well, I will do neither. I will speak, but cannot fully explain.
Your paper is a worldly forum, a sort of court. In it there is neither
place nor credence for explanations which must include psychic things,
facts, and laws, as well as facts and circumstances of the ordinary
sort. Were I to explain in full, no one would believe me save those
students of the occult and the psychical who know psychic law and fact.
Those who doubt and wish all to be reduced to the level of compass and
square, of eye and word of mouth, would still be doubters. Nothing would
be gained at all. That difficulty no intelligent person who has had
psychic experience can overlook. That is why you are quite safe from a
suit for libel. I assure you that had you published something not so
inextricably tangled up with psychic phenomena I should be glad to have
you in court, not to soothe wounded feelings I have not, but to show
that our faulty law and so-called justice do sometimes right some
wrongs.

Let me first emphatically deny the inference and assertion made by you,
that I and my friends make money out of the T.S., or that the
organisation has built up something by which we profit. This is untrue,
and its untruth is known to all persons who know anything at all about
the society. No salaries are paid to our officers. We support ourselves
or privately support each other. I have never had a penny from the
society, and do not want any. The little magazine, the _Path_, which I
publish here in the interest of the society, is not supported by
subscriptions from members, but largely by others, and it is kept up at
a loss to me which will never be repaid. I publish it because I wish to,
and not for gain. Thousands of dollars are expended in the T.S. work
here each year over and above what is paid in for fees and dues. The
dues are but four shillings a year, and three times as much as that is
expended in the work. Where does it come from? Out of our private
pockets, and if I had a million I would spend it that way. My friends
and myself give our money and our time to the society without hope or
desire for any return. We may be fanatics—probably are—but it is false
and malicious to accuse us of using the society for gain. The only
payment we get is the seeing every day the wider and wider spread of
Theosophical theories of life, man, and nature. I am ready to submit all
our books and vouchers to any auditor to support these statements. And
you were in a position to find out the facts as I have given them.

It is also absolutely untrue, as you attempt to show or infer, that the
society grows by talking of the Mahatmas or Masters, or by having
messages sent round from them. The movement here and elsewhere is pushed
along the line of philosophy, and each one is left to decide for himself
on the question of the Mahatmas. “Messages from the Masters” do not go
flying round, and the society does not flourish by any belief in those
being promulgated. Nor am I, as you hint, in the habit of sending such
messages about the society, nor of influencing the course of affairs by
using any such thing. Send out and ask all the members and you will find
I am correct. It is true that those Masters tell me personally what I am
to do, and what is the best course to take, as they have in respect to
this very letter, but that is solely my own affair. Could I be such a
fool as to tell all others to go by what I get for my own guidance,
knowing how weak, suspicious, and malicious is the human nature of
to-day? You are on the wrong tack, my friend.

But you were right when you say that Mrs. Besant made a remarkable
change in respect to me. That is true, and Mr. Chakravarti whom you name
is, as you correctly say, the person who is responsible for it. Before
she met Chakravarti she would not have dreamed of prosecuting me. This
is a matter of regret, but while so, I fail to see how you aid your case
against me by dragging the thing in thus publicly, unless, indeed, you
intend to accuse him and her of going into a conspiracy against me.

There are two classes of “messages from the Masters” charged to me by
you and by that small section of the T.S. members who thought of trying
me. One class consists of notes on letters of mine to various persons;
the other of messages handed to Mrs. Besant and Colonel Olcott and
enclosure found in a letter to Colonel Olcott from a man in California.

I have never denied that I gave Mrs. Besant messages from the Masters. I
did so. They were from the Masters. She admits that, but simply takes on
herself to say that the Master did not personally write or precipitate
them. According to herself, then, she got from me genuine messages from
the Masters; but she says she did not like them to be done or made in
some form that she at first thought they were not in. I have not
admitted her contention; I have simply said they were from the Master,
and that is all I now say, for I will not tell how or by what means they
were produced. The objective form in which such a message is of no
consequence. Let it be written by your Mr. Garrett, or drop out of the
misty air, or come with a clap of thunder. All that makes no difference
save to the vulgar and the ignorant. The reality of the message is to be
tested by other means. If you have not those means you are quite at sea
as to the whole thing. And all this I thought was common knowledge in
the Theosophical world. It has long been published and explained.

One of those messages to Mrs. Besant told her not to go to India that
year. I got it in California, and then telegraphed it to her in
substance later, sending the paper. I had no interest in not having her
go to India, but knew she would go later. The other messages were of a
personal nature. They were all true and good. At the time I gave them to
her I did not say anything. That I never denied. It was not thought by
me necessary to insult a woman of her intellectual ability, who had read
all about these things, by explaining all she was supposed to know.
Those who think those messages were not from the Master are welcome to
doubt it so far as I am concerned, for I know the naturalness of that
doubt.

When Colonel Olcott resigned I was first willing to let him stay
resigned. But I was soon directed by another “message” to prevent it if
I could, and at once cabled that to him, and went to work to have the
American Section vote asking him to stay in office. As I was the person
mentioned to succeed him, we also, to provide for contingencies,
resolved that the choice of America was myself as successor. But when he
revoked, then my successorship was null and void until voted on at
another period not yet reached. But it is absolutely false that I sent
an emissary to him when I found he was minded to stay in office. Ask him
on this and see what he says. I leave that to him. Truly enough I made
an error of judgment in not telling the influential London members of my
message when I told Olcott. But what of that? I did not tell the
Americans, but left their action to the dictates of their sense and the
trend of friendship and loyalty to our standard-bearer. The English
voted against Olcott by doing nothing, but I asked them in the same way
as I asked the Americans to request him to revoke. They had their
chance. As India had done the same as America I saw the vote was final
as my message directed, and so I dropped it from my mind—one of my
peculiarities. I certainly did not use any pressure by way of “messages
from the Masters” on anyone as to that, save on Olcott. And he reported
a message to the same effect to himself. Did I invent that also? My
message to him was copied by me on my type-writer and sent to him. I did
it thus because I knew of spies about Olcott, of whom I had warned him
to little effect. One of those confessed and committed suicide, and the
other was found out.

A message was found in a letter from Abbot Clark, a Californian, to
Colonel Olcott. This, you say, I made and put in the letter. I have the
affirmation of Mr. Clark on the matter, which I send you herewith to be
inserted at this place if you wish. It does not bear out your
contention, but shows the contrary. It also shows that his letter to
Colonel Olcott was opened in India by some other person before being
sent on to Colonel Olcott. You can make what inference you like from
this.

Your statement about putting a question in a cabinet for an answer when
I stayed in the room and Mrs. Besant went out is false. No such thing
took place. I deny that there was any such thing as a reception of
“answers in a sealed envelope in a closed drawer.” That is supreme bosh
from beginning to end, and cannot be proved by anybody’s testimony,
unless you will accept perjury.

At the same time I can now say, as the sole authority on the point, that
several of the contested messages are genuine ones, no matter what all
and every person, Theosophist or not, may say to the contrary.

You have much talk about what you say is called the Master’s seal. You
have proved by the aid of Colonel Olcott that the latter made an
imitation in brass of the signature of the Master and gave it to H.P.B.
as a joke. You trace it to her and there you leave it, and then you
think I am obliged to prove I did not get it, to prove negatives again,
when it has never been proved that I had it. I have long ago denied all
knowledge of Master’s seal either genuine or imitated. I do not know if
he has a seal; if he has, I have not yet been informed of it; the
question of a seal owned by him as well as what is his writing or
signature are both still beclouded. None of the members who have been in
this recent trouble know what is the writing, or the seal, or the mark
of the Master. It was long ago told by H.P.B. that the so-called writing
of the Master was only an assumed hand, and no real knowledge is at hand
as to his having a seal. I have seen impressions similar to what you
have reproduced, but it is of no consequence to me. If there were a
million impressions of seals on a message said to be from the Master, it
would add nothing to the message in my eyes, as other means must be
employed for discovering what is and what is not a genuine message.
Seals and ciphers do not validate these things. Unless I can see for
myself by my inner senses that a message is genuine, I will not believe
it, be it loaded with seals I do not know. As I know the thousand and
one magical ways by which impressions of things may be put on paper,
even unconsciously to the human channel or focus, I have relied, and ask
others to rely, on their own inner knowledge and not to trust to
appearances. Others may think these little decorations of importance,
but I do not. I never asked anyone at any meeting, private or public, to
note or observe the seal-impression you give. Others may have done so,
but I did not. Others may have gone into laboured arguments to show the
value of such a thing, but I did not. The whole matter of this so-called
seal is so absurd and childish that it has made me laugh each time I
have thought of it.

Now I can do no more than deny, as I hereby do absolutely, all the
charges you have been the means of repeating against me. I have denied
them very many times, for I have known of them for about two years and a
half. My denial is of no value to you; nor to those who think there is
no supersensual world; nor to those who think that because conjurors can
imitate any psychical phenomenon, therefore the latter has no existence;
nor to those who deny the possibility of the existence of Mahatmas or
great souls. These things are all foolishness to such persons, and I am
willing to let it stay that way. Were I to go into all the details of
all the messages you refer to, and were I to get from those who know, as
I can, the full relation of all that is involved in those messages on my
letters which I saw after the July “investigation” was ended, I would be
opening the private doors to the secret hearts of others, and that I
will not do. Already I know by means not generally accessible altogether
too much of the private hearts of many of these people, and have no
desire to know more.

Some of the matters you cite are related to a private body, once called
the Esoteric Section, which is protected—nominally, so it seems, among
your informants—by a pledge. The breaking of that by others gives me no
right to add to their breach. I cannot, like Mr. Old and others more
prominent, violate the confidences of others. His revelations cannot be
analysed by me in public. He is in the position of those Masons who have
attempted to reveal the secrets of Masonry; and either the public has
listened to a liar or to one who has to admit that he does not regard
his solemn obligation as worth a straw when it obstructs his purposes;
in either case the information cannot be relied upon. His account and
yours contain so many misrepresentations that none [of] it has any
serious consideration from me.

And Mr. Old’s revelations, or those of any other members, amount to
nothing. The real secrets have not been revealed, for they have not been
put in the hands of such people; they have been given only to those who
have shown through long trial and much labour that they are worthy to
have the full relation of the plans of the master-builder exposed to
their gaze. Let the dishonest, the perjured, and the vacillating go on
with their revelations; they will hurt no one but themselves.

Now as to the Investigation at which you have laughed. I grant you it
was matter for laughter from outside to see such a lot of labour and
gathering from the four quarters to end in what you regard as smoke.
Now, my dear sir, I did not call the Inquiry Committee. I protested
against it and said from the beginning it should never have been called
at all. Must I bear the brunt of that which I did not do? Must I explain
all my life to a committee which had no right to come together, for
which there was no legal basis? It was called in order to make me give
up an official succession I did not have; months before it met I said it
would come to nothing but a declaration written by me of the
non-dogmatic character of the T.S. My Master so told me and so it turned
out. Will you give me no credit for this foreknowledge? Was it a guess,
or was it great ability, or did it come about through bribery, or what?
I was told to use the opportunity to procure an official declaration
that belief in Mahatmas or Masters was not and is not one of the T.S.,
and I succeeded in so doing. I might have been accused as an individual
and not official member. But by the influence of the Mr. Chakravarti
whom you mention the whole power of the society was moved against me, so
as to try and cut me down root and branch officially and privately, so
that it might thereby be made sure that I was not successor to the
presidency. This is the fact. That is why I forgave them all; for it is
easy to forgive; in advance I forgave them since they furnished such a
splendid official opportunity for a decision we long had needed. The
odium resulting from the attempt to try occult and psychical questions
under common law rules I am strong enough to bear; and up to date I have
had a large share of that.

I refused a committee of honour, they say. I refused the committee that
was offered as it was not of persons who could judge the matter rightly.
They would have reached no conclusion save the one I now promulgate,
which is, that the public proof regarding my real or delusive
communications from the Masters begins and ends with myself, and that
the committee could not make any decision at all, but would have to
leave all members to judge for themselves. To arrive officially at this
I would have to put many persons in positions that they could not stand,
and the result then would have been that far more bad feeling would come
to the surface. I have at least learned after twenty years that it is
fruitless to ask judges who have no psychic development to settle
questions the one half of which are in the unseen realm of the soul
where the common law of England cannot penetrate.

The “messages from the Masters” have not ceased. They go on all the time
for those who are able and fit to have them, but no more to the doubter
and the suspicious. Even as I write they have gone to some, and in
relation to this very affair, and in relation to other revelations and
pledge-breakings. It is a fact in experience to me, and to friends of
mine who have not had messages from me, that the Masters exist and have
to do with the affairs of the world and the Theosophical movement. No
amount of argument or Maskelyneish explanation will drive out that
knowledge. It will bear all the assaults of time and foolish men. And
the only basis on which I can place the claim of communication by the
Masters to me, so far as the world is concerned, is my life and acts. If
those for the last twenty years go to prove that I cannot be in
communication with such beings, then all I may say one way or the other
must go for naught.

Why so many educated Englishmen reject the doctrine of the
perfectibility of man, illustrated by the fact of there now existing
Masters of wisdom, passes my comprehension, unless it be true, as seems
probable, that centuries of slavery to the abominable idea of original
sin as taught by theology (and not by Jesus) has reduced them all to the
level of those who, being sure they will be damned any way, are certain
they cannot rise to a higher level, or unless the great god of
conventionality has them firmly in his grasp. I would rather think
myself a potential god and try to be, as Jesus commanded, “perfect as
the Father in heaven”—which is impossible unless in us is that Father in
essence—than to remain darkened and enslaved by the doctrine of inherent
original wickedness which demands a substitute for my salvation. And it
seems nobler to believe in that perfectibility and possible rise to the
state of the Masters than to see with science but two possible ends for
all our toil: one to be frozen up at last, and the other to be burned
up, when the sun either goes out or pulls us into his flaming
breast.—Yours truly,

                                                       WILLIAM Q. JUDGE.

[The following is the “affirmation” of Mr. Abbot Clark, enclosed with
the above]:—

                                   “San Francisco, Cal., April 21, 1894.

“I, Abbot Clark, a member of the Theosophical Society, do hereby state
and affirm as follows: I have seen it stated in the newspapers that it
is charged that I wrote Colonel H. S. Olcott in 1891 to India, and that
in that letter was some message not known to me, and that Colonel Olcott
replied, asking where William Q. Judge was at the time, and that I
replied he was in my house. The facts are: That in 1891 W. Q. Judge was
lecturing in this State, and I was with him at Santa Ana, and that I had
no house and never had, being too poor to have one. Brother Judge
stopped at the hotel in Santa Ana, where he came from my home, my
father’s house at Orange, where he had been at dinner, and at Santa Ana
I arranged his lectures and I stayed at my aunt’s at Santa Ana; while in
the hotel a conversation arose with us, in which I spoke of Theosophical
propaganda among the Chinese on this coast, and Brother Judge suggested
that I write to Colonel Olcott, as he knew many Buddhists Theosophists,
and might arrange it better than Brother Judge; and I then myself wrote
to Colonel Olcott on the matter, showing the letter after it was done to
Brother Judge to see if it should be improved or altered, and he handed
me back the letter at once. I put it in my pocket and kept it there for
several days waiting for a chance to buy stamps for postage as I was
away from any post-office. Brother Judge left by himself the morning
after I wrote the letter and went to San Diego, and the only time I saw
him again was in the train just to speak to him on his return after
about four days, and the letter was not mentioned, thought of, nor
referred to.

“I assert on my word of honour that Brother Judge said nothing to me
about any message pretended to be from Masters or otherwise, and so far
as any reports or statements have been made relating to me herein
different from the above they are absolutely false.

“From India I got a reply from Adyar T.S. office from one Charlu, saying
he had opened my letter in Colonel Olcott’s absence, and had forwarded
it to him; and Dharmapala told me he had seen letters from me to Colonel
Olcott on the matter received in India away from Adyar. The said Charlu,
in reply, also asked me where Brother Judge was when the letter was
written, and I wrote that he had been at my house on that date, which is
true as above stated, Orange being only three miles from Santa Ana, as I
thought Charlu wished to have Brother Judge’s dates. But I thought also
the questions put were peculiar from such a distance. I never got any
reply to my sincere first question in that letter about propaganda from
him, and never any reply of any sort from Colonel Olcott. When
Dharmapala was here he did not bring any message in reply from Colonel
Olcott, but referred to recollecting speaking with Olcott about a
proposal from California to work with the Chinese. And Charlu did not
speak of any enclosure in said letter. A year later I again wrote on the
same matter to Colonel Olcott, which was answered by Gopala Charlu, now
dead, saying but little, if anything, would be done by him. To all this
I affirm on my honour.

                                                        “ABBOT B. CLARK.

       “Witness: signatures:
 ALLEN GRIFFITHS, E. B. RAMBO.”



                        THE MAHATMA OF NEW YORK.


An Appreciation of Mr. Judge’s “Reply,” by the Author of “Isis Very Much
                               Unveiled.”

A convicted person has one last refuge. He may contrive to suggest
imbecility, and so appeal from the sense of justice to that of pity. To
the average reader it might seem that this, and this alone, could be the
real object of the astounding piece of self-revelation which I have been
privileged to extract from Mr. William Q. Judge, vice-president of the
Theosophical Society. But we must remember that with the Theosophical
reader it may be otherwise. To the Theosophical Society this “Reply”
from the man they have delighted to honour may seem, for all I know, a
model of candour, of coherence, and of cogency. That is not, I confess,
what I hear privately; but, so far as any public word goes, the good,
docile folk have evidently determined to wait till Mrs. Besant comes
home and tells them what to think, and (still more important) what to
say. For their benefit, then, and still more for the benefit of those
potential converts to Theosophy in whom the atrophy of the mental
processes is not yet complete, I will, as gravely as I can, examine the
vice-president’s utterance.


                         How Much is Admitted.

Now, first, let us see how many of the “Mahatma missives” Mr. Judge
directly or indirectly admits. Those which I have referred to as
produced by Mr. Judge included the following:—

 The Cabinet missive.
 The “Note the Seal” missive.
 The “Judge’s Plan is Right” missive.
 The “Masters Watch us” missive.
 The “Judge is the friend” missive.
 The “Master agrees” missive.
 The Envelope Trick missive.
 The “I withold” missive.
 The Telegram missive.
 The “Master will Provide” missive.
 The Inner Group missive.
 The “Grave Danger Olcott” missive.
 The “Follow Judge and Stick” missive.
 The “Judge is not the Forger” missive.
 The Poison Threat missive.

(Besides these I have referred to other Mahatma letters or endorsements
on letters, on bank-notes, &c.; but those enumerated will do for the
present.)

Out of all these Mr. Judge disputes only two. As regards the “Note the
Seal” missive, all that he denies is the statement that it was he who
drew the special attention of the Inner Group to the seal upon it—a
denial which I shall deal with presently. He denies the whole story of
the Cabinet missive, and in regard to the “Judge is not the Forger”
missive, he denies that it was fabricated by _him_, but suggests that it
was fabricated by some other Theosophist.

The facts about the whole of the remaining thirteen (and more) missives
he thus implicitly admits, using such general phrases as
these:—“_Several_ of the contested messages are genuine ones”; “they
were _all_ good and true”; “they were from the Master”; “I _have not
admitted_ her [Mrs. Besant’s] contention” [that they were only
psychically from the Master, and were written in Mahatmascript by
Judge]; and, finally, “I _will not tell_ how or by what means they were
produced.” The “Grave Danger Olcott” missive, by the way, he admits
explicitly.

It is for the Theosophists, therefore, now to consider whether the
substance of these admitted missives (to say nothing of this “Reply,” in
which also Mr. Judge asserts the Master’s collaboration) squares with
their conception of “the Master of Wisdom,” that “god-like” exemplar of
“the perfectibility of man,” as his own “Messenger” describes him.


                      The Two Contested Missives.

The reason why Mr. Judge selected just these two for denial is, no
doubt, the damaging suggestiveness of the contents of the one and of the
circumstances under which the other was produced. I for my part applaud
his choice, because it will bring him into sharp conflict, as regards
the one missive, with Mrs. Besant, and as regards the other, with
Colonel Olcott.


               (1) The Cabinet Missive: Judge v. Besant.

In regard to all those missives which were palmed off on Mrs. Besant
herself, my account is based, as regards generalities, on Mrs. Besant’s
own statements and Mr. Judge’s own admissions. As regards details,
however, I have had to rely on intimates and colleagues at Avenue-road,
to whom Mrs. Besant told the wondrous tale at the time.

The story of the Cabinet missive is briefly this (see “Isis Very Much
Unveiled,” p. 28). Mr. Judge suggests to Mrs. Besant that they should
put a question to the Masters by writing it on paper, and placing this
in a certain cabinet in “H.P.B.’s” room. The result was the endorsement
of the paper with the words, “Yes,” “And hope,” in the red script used
in all these communications, and also the impression of what Madame
Blavatsky called the “flap-doodle” seal, under circumstances which
demonstrated either psychic precipitation on the part of the Master, or
else vulgar trickery on the part of Mr. Judge.

Mr. Judge declares “no such thing took place.”

Now, on the facts stated, it is obvious that only one person can
authoritatively contradict Mr. Judge here: to wit, Mrs. Besant. This I
am bound to suppose that she will do; for my version of the story is
that given by her on the day after the occurrence to a colleague, who
quoted it from his diary. Mrs. Besant also showed what purported to be
the missive, sealed and endorsed as described, and this to several
people. At Adyar, at the beginning of this year, when the Judge missives
were being blown upon all round, she repeated the story, with only one
correction—a notable one—that she had _not_, as she at first implied,
stayed in the room all the time during Mr. Judge’s working of the
Cabinet oracle.

What Mr. Judge will do if Mrs. Besant sticks to her version of the story
I do not know. But he has already, in the secret circular lately
divulged, disposed of the rest of her action in this matter as due to
possession by a devil; so no doubt he will say that here, too, it was
“the Black Magicians” (_per_ Brother Chakravarti) who both imposed the
delusion and manufactured the missive to fit it. Note that he does not
appeal to Mrs. Besant to bear him out, but says: “It cannot be proved by
anybody’s testimony, _unless you will accept perjury_.” This is not the
only passage in his Reply where Mr. Judge foreshadowed his readiness to
extend his accusations of lying, pledge-breaking, &c. (as, indeed, he is
logically bound to), from Mr. Old to Mr. Old’s fellow-sinners, Mrs.
Besant and Colonel Olcott.


      (2) The “Judge Is not the Forger” Missive: Judge v. Olcott.

The other missive with which Mr. Judge disclaims connexion is the only
one in the whole series which was apparently not produced in immediate
juxtaposition with him, and under his personal superintendence. That,
indeed, was just the point of it; it was enclosed in a letter from
another person, with all the distance between New York and California to
prove that Mr. Judge could have had no hand in it. It was, in fact, a
last desperate attempt to lull the suspicions of the recipient, Colonel
Olcott, who, however, discovered that Mr. Judge had been in California,
and in the company of Mr. Clark, from whom the letter came, at the very
date of the letter. (“Isis,” pp. 50-52.)

I told this story—quoting Colonel Olcott’s evidence—and forthwith was
assured, publicly, in general terms (“Isis,” p. 76), then specifically
through a private source, that Mr. Judge could annihilate it by
producing an affidavit from the Mr. Clark in question. (“Abbot
Clark”—the name comically recalls that of “Abner Dean” in Bret Harte’s
“Society upon the Stanislaus.”) I was not much perturbed by this
announcement, as the reserve evidence in my hands happened to include
the substance of a letter from Mr. Abbot Clark himself, offering
abundant material for cross-examination upon the boasted “affidavit,” if
and when this was produced.

And lo! now we have this precious “affidavit” (which, by the way, turns
out not to be an affidavit at all), testifying—what? Why, that Mr. Judge
had abundant opportunities for inserting or getting inserted any
enclosure he wished in Mr. Clark’s letter, and that the letter which
provided the opportunity was actually written at Mr. Judge’s suggestion,
and passed once through Mr. Judge’s fingers, besides spending several
days in Mr. Clark’s coat pocket!

The guilelessness with which Mr. Abner De—I mean Mr. Abbot Clark—adds,
among the rest of the plaintive verbiage of his statement, that “on my
word of honour Brother Judge said nothing to _me_ about any missive,”
completes the charm of this document. Ah! it would be a poor world for
the William Q. Judges if it did not contain a good percentage of Abbot
Clarks.


                      Whom does Mr. Judge Accuse?

But now arises another point. Mr. Judge does not number this missive
among the “several genuine” ones. It was not the Mahatma’s; it was not
fabricated by Mr. Judge; therefore it must have been fabricated by
somebody else. “You can make what inference you like,” Mr. Judge
liberally remarks; but the only inferences possible from what he says
are that the guilty person is Colonel Olcott or Colonel Olcott’s manager
at the _Theosophist_ office. (The latter, by name T. Vijiaraghava
Charlu, was the person who received and forwarded the letter and
enclosure to Colonel Olcott. Mr. Judge and his satellite appear to wish
to confuse this person with another Charlu, Theosophical treasurer, who
committed suicide after peculation.)

Now, as I have made sufficiently clear, I hold no sort of brief for any
Theosophist, and especially none for any Theosophical official. In the
past, Mr. Judge has had no monopoly of the missive-manufacturing
industry; and if he can prove that there are colleagues in the business
even now, I shall be glad to consider the evidence. But, in this
particular case, just look at the probabilities.

First, there is the handwriting, which is apparently exactly the same in
this missive as in others of the series with which, admittedly, these
other gentlemen had nothing, and Mr. Judge had everything, to do.

Then there are the contents. These also fit admirably into the chain.
The Master is made to declare that “Judge is not the forger”—a point of
which Mr. Judge was trying hard to convince the Colonel; also, to
provide explanations of various suspicious circumstances in other
missives which tended to show that Judge _was_ “the forger”; also to
exculpate Judge for various misstatements by suggesting that he was an
unconscious vehicle.

Then, there is the description of the “flap-doodle” seal as “the Lahore
brass”—a bad shot at the place of origin known to Olcott, but only half
known to Judge. Attribute this to Mr. Judge trying to startle his
colleague, and it exhibits just that mixture of fatuity and cunning
which appears throughout the vice-president’s transactions. Attribute it
to Colonel Olcott manufacturing a pretended Judge forgery, and it
becomes a refinement of malignant ingenuity such as his worst enemy, I
fancy, will not suspect Colonel Olcott of compassing, either himself or
through an agent.

It needs no Sherlock Holmes to point the bearing of these probabilities.


                       The Evidence of the Seal.

We have it now on Mr. Judge’s authority that “the whole matter of this
so-called seal ... has made me laugh whenever I have thought of it.” If
so, it shows how much harmless mirth a trivial and apparently useless
nick-nack may be the cause of. Throughout its history this
Mahatma-signet seems to have had a magical effect on the risible
muscles. We saw how Madame Blavatsky smiled at it as “a flap-doodle of
Olcott’s”; Colonel Olcott himself has told us that he had it
manufactured in the first instance as “a playful present,” and
accompanied the gift with “a jocular remark”; and there is no doubt that
he has enjoyed many a quiet chuckle since over the unwary use of it by
his rival, who may yet prove to have sealed his own official
death-warrant in sealing the Mahatma’s “missives.”

Well, since it is so provocative of pleasant emotions, let us look again
into this matter of the Master’s seal. For, indeed, it is only since
certain other things have been found out that Mr. Judge has discovered
how little the question of the seal’s genuineness matters either way. It
is all very well now for him to declare that internal evidence is the
only test of Mahatmic origin: that in a message, for instance, like
“Follow Judge and stick” (“Isis,” p. 48), it is the words themselves

                      whose very sweetness giveth proof
                That they were born for immortality.

But that was not always Mr. Judge’s line. After all, _somebody_ must
have been at pains to see to the seal impression in those missives which
Mr. Judge vouched for—to say nothing of such other external and material
things as the texture of the paper, quite unlike any found elsewhere,
and the handwriting and signature, all of which used to be triumphantly
cited as evidence by Mr. Judge’s satellites (the present quotation is
from a pamphlet on “Mahatmas,” embellished with learned references to
“Lord Bacon,” which is by Mr. Judge’s private secretary, and bears the
imprimatur of Mr. Judge). Mr. Judge denies that it was he who called
special attention to the seal impression as authenticating his first
pioneer missive in 1891 (the “Note the Seal” missive, as I have called
it). As he does not deny my statement that he excused himself to the
others present for not showing the contents of the letter, perhaps he
will explain what it was that he did call attention to, if not the seal
and signature. But why labour the point, when there is the direct
evidence afforded by one of his own seal-bearing letters—one which he
has not denied—in which he wrote, “I believe the Master agrees with me,
_in which case I will ask him to put his seal here_”—and “plump on the
written word came the seal” (“Isis,” p. 34). In those days at any rate
Mr. Judge was of those who “think these little decorations of
importance,” as he now puts it.

“You trace it [the seal] to her [H.P.B.], and there you leave it,” Mr.
Judge says; “and then you think I am obliged to prove I did not get
it—to prove negatives.” But I traced it rather farther than to H.P.B. I
traced the seal to Lansdowne-road in 1888 (Mr. B. Keightley’s evidence).
I traced an impression of it on a letter from _Mr. Judge_ at
Lansdowne-road in 1888 (Colonel Olcott’s evidence). I showed that when
Mr. Judge went back to America, the seal went too (telegram impression,
New York, 1890; evidence of Mr. B. Keightley). I showed that
thenceforward it appeared on missives produced by Mr. Judge, and on no
others, again and again. I showed how, in the missives planted on
Colonel Olcott, as if dubious how far the Colonel would carry on the
complaisance of Madame Blavatsky, Mr. Judge’s complete letter-writer
tried the seal on gradually; first, an illegible impression, and then a
bold one; how, when the Colonel threatened to “peach,” the latter _pièce
à conviction_ was suddenly and stealthily removed from the spot where
Mr. Judge had taught the Colonel to find it; how, after that, legible
impressions were reserved for others, and the Colonel only got illegible
ones; how, finally (this was after the Colonel had threatened to
reproduce any he saw anywhere, together with the whole story of the
seal, in the _Theosophist_), seal-impressions ceased altogether; and how
Mr. Judge erased such as he could get hold of, and began quibbling and
equivocating about the seal as he is doing up to the present moment.

These facts, again, I leave to tell their own story; in face of which it
matters little how many “stories” Mr. Judge may tell.


                      Quibbling about the Mahatma.

Mr. Judge’s particular version of the old Theosophistry about the small
part played by Mahatmas and their missives in the society is
conveniently adjacent in this Reply to statements of his own in the
exactly opposite sense. While in one breath he denies “influencing the
course of affairs by any such thing,” a few lines lower down he tells us
how he got a message directing him to prevent the president’s
resignation, “and at once cabled to him and went to work to have the
American section vote”; and, again, how he stopped Mrs. Besant going to
India, “under direction”; and, again, how authoritative messages are
going round “even as I write,” “and in relation to this very affair.”
Compare these, too:—

      MR. JUDGE IN HIS “REPLY.”             MR. JUDGE ELSEWHERE.

 It is absolutely untrue that the    I am not acting impulsively in my
 society grows by talking of the     many public statements as to
 Mahatmas or Masters, or by having   Masters.... Experience has shown
 messages sent round from them. The  that a springing up of interest in
 movement here and elsewhere is      Theosophy has followed
 pushed along the line of            declarations, and men’s minds are
 philosophy.... Messages from the    more powerfully drawn.... The
 Masters do not go flying around,    Masters have said, “It is easier to
 and the society does not flourish   help in America, because our
 by any belief in those being        existence has been persistently
 promulgated.                        declared.”—(Mr. Judge, letter in
                                     _Lucifer_, April, 1893.)

 Nor am I, as you hint, in the habit I now send you this, all of it
 of sending such messages about the  being either direct quotations from
 society, nor of influencing the     the messages to me or else in
 course of affairs by using any such substance what I am directed to say
 things. Could I be such a fool as   to you.... We are all, therefore,
 to tell all others to go by what I  face to face with the question
 get for my own guidance?            whether we will abide by Masters
                                     and their messenger.—(Mr. Judge,
                                     circular to “the core of the T.S.,”
                                     deposing Mrs. Besant, November,
                                     1894.)


                        What Mr. Judge Lives On.

Mr. Judge pretends that I have said that his motive is mere pecuniary
gain. I have throughout treated the vice-president as a spiritual Jabez,
not a financial one; and I wish him joy of the distinction. But since he
has raised the question at such length, I will examine it a moment. Mr.
Judge says: “No salaries are paid to our officers. We support ourselves,
or privately support each other.” As he has elsewhere explained that he,
for one, gives his whole time to the society, it will be seen that the
Theosophical officials supply a parallel to those famous Scilly
Islanders who “eked out a precarious existence by taking in each others’
washing.” The statement about the salaries is directly contradicted, on
turning to the 1894 Convention Report, by an extra vote of £150 for the
officials at Avenue-road. But I am well aware that the ready money of
the T.S. is drawn far more from a few individuals with means and from
special funds than from the small annual subscription, and I have said
already that the “free board and lodging” amid the temple groves at
Adyar, Avenue-road, and New York is more than their small salary to
those of “the smaller fry” to whom such things are a consideration. As
for Mr. Judge, he does not deny that it is he to whom the _Path_, and
the press and publishing business connected with it, now belong; but he
makes the curious statement that the proceeds, whatever they may be,
come out of the pockets, not of “members, but largely of others.” In
other words, it is not Theosophists, but the outside public, who support
the official organ of Theosophy! Can it be that the _Path_ is widely
taken in as a comic paper?


                        A Few Other Curiosities.

Note the information conveyed, in this Reply and in Mr. Judge’s recent
Circular, that both Mrs. Besant and Colonel Olcott also profess to get
“messages from the Master.” “If you may get messages (he asks in effect)
why not I missives?” Why, indeed?

Note the reproach about “abusing a woman who has long enough fought,”
&c. This from the man who has just issued a circular ordering the
deposition of the said woman for being possessed of a devil!

Note the threat, addressed to me and the Editor of THE WESTMINSTER, that
Mr. Judge’s Master will get us “execrated for offences not yet exposed,”
and that he has already let Mr. Judge into “altogether too much of the
secret hearts” of his Theosophical colleagues. This is an old line which
Madame Blavatsky used to find very effective with weak-minded disciples.

Note the claim to prophetic “foreknowledge,” based on the fact that Mr.
Judge said, long before the July “Enquiry,” that it would come to
nothing. It must be granted that this does imply a complete prescience
on the part of Mr. Judge—of the tactics which Mr. Judge in due course
adopted.

Note, lastly, Mr. Judge’s plain avowal that he declines to face any
inquiry of any sort or kind. He declines the Law Courts, which, I
frankly agree, are no possible tribunal for him. He declines the
Judicial Committee of the T.S., because he, the vice-president, is a
private member. He declined a Theosophical Jury of Honour in July, which
would have tried him as a private member, because they, too, were not
occult enough for him. And he avows that he will decline everything and
anything else, because the “proof” of the New York Mahatma “begins and
ends with myself.” Need I add a word more?

                                                      F. EDMUND GARRETT.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES


 1. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 2. Retained anachronistic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as
      printed.
 3. Footnotes have been re-indexed using numbers.
 4. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.
 5. Enclosed bold font in =equals=.





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