The Original Programme Of The Theosophical Society

By H. P. Blavatsky


With an Introduction by C. Jinarājadāsa

The Theosophical Publishing House
Adyar, Madras, India


Introduction      iii
Original Programme Of The Theosophical Society      1
Appendix: “A Few Words etc” Letter From Chatterji and Gebhard      51
Charter      60
The Esoteric Section Of The Theosophical Society, Preliminary Memorandum      61
Appendix II: Some Words On Daily Life, Written By A Master Of Wisdom
Appendix III: K.H. Letter to H. S. Olcott (Letter 19, LMW I)
Appendix IV: Olcott’s comments on ES and Freemasonry rooms, from Convention Report for 1905


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    THERE exist in Adyar, in H.P.B.’s hand-writing, twenty-four pages of a fundamental pronouncement regarding the aim of the Theosophical Society. It was an article composed in response to a criticism of the Society and of its President, Colonel H. S. Olcott, by two prominent Theosophists, Mohini Μ. Chatterji of Calcutta and Arthur Gebhard of Elberfeld, entitled “A Few Words on the Theosophical Organization”.

    The first page of the manuscript is missing, but it contained only the first eleven and a half lines of the article as now printed. Page “2” of the manuscript now at Adyar begins with the twelfth line: “races, creeds, or social positions,” etc. The missing lines have been restored from a typed copy at Adyar of an incomplete rendering of H.P.B.’s article. As the article, owing to the loss of the first page, bears no title, Ι have put as title,

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“The Original Programme of the Theosophical Society,” taken from its last paragraph on p. 48.

    So far as Ι have been able to trace, H.P.B.’s article was not published at the time. The first occasion it was printed in full was in The Theosophist, June, 1924, and subsequent issues when, having found it among the Archives, Ι published it. But the instruction of the Master, from the sentence on p. 5, line 26, which begins “It is esoteric philosophy alone,” and continues on p. 45 with the sentence, “Theosophy must not represent merely a collection of verities” was used by H.Ρ.Β. in Lucifer, Vol. Ι, No. 5, January, 1888, as an article: “Some Words on Daily Life ( Written by a Master of the Wisdom).” In the Lucifer article there are changes and considerable amplifications of the main ideas, which are not in the Adyar manuscript.

    The statement by Messrs. Chatterji and Gebhard, in the former’s handwriting, existing at Adyar, appears as an Appendix.

    In the seventeen years of comradeship between H.Ρ.Β. and H. S. Olcott there were many occasions when there was a sharp

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divergence of views between them concerning what was best for the Theosophical Movement. Both were utterly devoted to the Master whom they served in common; yet each differed at times strongly from the other. Nevertheless these differences never diminished the deep affection between them, nor the recognition by each that the other was serving their common Master with fullest devotion. Naturally, in the history of the growth of the Movement, the bewildering and fascinating personality of H.Ρ.Β. has outshone the simpler personality of H. S. Olcott, and many there are who think of Theosophy and the Theosophical Society as the sole creation of H.Ρ.Β. All the more, no Theosophist should ever forget the tribute which she gives to H. S. Olcott, the active Co-Founder with her of the Society. Many, and particularly those who belong to organizations which have set forth from the bosom of the Parent Society, have tended in their veneration for H.Ρ.Β. to belittle Colonel Olcott’s part in creating the Theosophical Movement. With H.Ρ.Β. alone, there would have been Theosophy; but without Henry Steele Olcott, there would have

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been no world-wide Theosophical Society. Most striking therefore is the testimony which H.Ρ.Β. gives to his utterly self-sacrificing labours for Theosophy and the Masters.

    “Thorny and full of pitfalls was the steep path he had to climb up alone and unaided for the first years. Terrible was the opposition outside the Society he had to build—sickening and disheartening the treachery he often encountered within the Head Quarters. Enemies gnashing their teeth in his face around, those whom he regarded as his staunchest friends and co-workers betraying him and the Cause on the slightest provocation. Still, where hundreds in his place would have collapsed and given up the whole undertaking in despair, he, unmoved and unmovable, went on climbing up and toiling as before, unrelenting and undismayed,. supported by that one thought and conviction that he was doing his duty. What other inducement has the Founder ever had, but his theosophical pledge and the sense of his duty toward THOSE he had promised to serve to the end of his life? There was but one beacon for him—the hand that had first pointed to him his way up: the hand of the MASTER he loves and reveres so well, and serves so devotedly though occasionally perhaps, unwisely (pp. 36-7).

    The article of H.Ρ.B.’s, “The Original Programme of the Theosophical Society,” will always remain as a kind of Magna Carta for Theosophists. Of a similar value is her pronouncement when she created “The Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society”. This organization, now known to many as the

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“Ε. S.,” has since its commencement in 1888 been the theme of much criticism. It is therefore necessary to explain why H.Ρ.Β. started it.

    The Society was organized in 1875 with a membership open to all. By next year it was found advisable to make it a semi-secret body, and in addition to create among the members certain grades, which classified them into divisions somewhat akin to “exoteric” and “esoteric”. There were three grades called “Sections,” and the member was admitted in the beginning only to the lowest grade, which was the Third Section of “Probationers,” and only into the lowest division of it, which was its Third and lowest Degree. It was the intention of the Founders to admit into the Second Section only those as members of the Society who definitely pledged themselves to make Brotherhood a living reality, and not merely professed adherence to Brotherhood as a vague general ideal. This organization of the membership into three Sections with Degrees, with signs and pass-words characteristic of a Secret Society, was given up soon after the Society’s Headquarters were transferred to India.

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    There is one striking fact about the Theosophical Society’s organization, and it is that though all its leaders are exponents of Theosophy yet there is nowhere a statement in its Constitution of what Theosophy is. Nor is the very word Theosophy itself mentioned, nor is there any reference to Reincarnation, Karma, the Masters of the Wisdom, and other of the outstanding ideas of the philosophy. The Society’s broad basis accepts into its membership all who profess the ideas of Universal Brotherhood, who are interested in promoting investigations into Comparative Religion, Science and Philosophy, and who are keen to understand the psychic and occult nature of man.

    Now, anyone who reads a little in Theosophy will swiftly see that one vital part of its teachings deals with the evolution of the soul of man, which goes from grade to grade towards the perfection of Adeptship.. Inseparable from this teaching is the recognition that Adepts must still be living in the world. H.Ρ.Β. herself never made a secret of the fact that she was sent by the Adepts to do her work, and that one part of her labours

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was to bring pupils to Them who could be trained in Their service: Therefore, there inevitably gathered round H.Ρ.Β. many who not merely accepted Theosophy as a philosophy, but also desired to be trained by her so that they could become the pupils of the Masters of the Wisdom. Obviously those who were so received by H.Ρ.Β. as her pupils for training pledged to her a kind of personal allegiance which was more profound than their sense of loyalty to the Society as an organization. There thus arose two kinds of loyalties—first, a loyalty to the Society with its President, Colonel Olcott, and second, a loyalty far more intense and more vital, to H.Ρ.Β. as the Messenger of the Masters.

    After the upheaval in the Society in 1884-5, in connection with the so-called exposure of H.Ρ.Β. as a fraudulent conveyer of messages from the Masters, Colonel Olcott, as President of the Society, purposely allowed the fact of the existence of the Masters and of Their guidance of the Society to be withdrawn into the background of the Society’s activities. This did not mean that he did not believe in Them, for as a matter of fact he was the

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pupil of one of Them, and he never swerved in his intense devotion to his Master. But he was convinced that a kind of subtle danger to the Society arose from the occult element in its teachings. While therefore leaving members quite free to study those teachings as a philosophy, he desired as much as possible to withdraw the Society from any kind of an occult influence emanating from invisible sources.

    This policy of the President soon brought about a kind of devitalization of the Society. He himself was unaware of it, but H.Ρ.Β. saw what was happening. There is on record a Memorandum of hers of a conversation with the Master Κ. H., where He visualises the future of the Society as the result of the action of its President in practically putting a barrier to the influence of the Masters in the inspiration of the Society’s activities. The Master pointed out that after Colonel Olcott passed away the Society would fall to pieces.

H.Ρ.Β. therefore determined to revive once again the inner nucleus of the Society, which was intended to exist in it as the Second “Section” of the Society. This determination

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of hers was further made inevitable by the clamour of hundreds in the Society who wanted her to be their occult teacher, in order that through her they might come nearer to the Masters. Slowly a group of most devoted workers gathered around H.Ρ.Β., who were pledged to her conception of the development of the Society, and were willing, if necessary, to adopt a policy which might clash with the policy of the official President of the Society, Colonel Olcott.

    Here it can be frankly stated, with no sense of depreciation of the services of the Society’s first great President, that Colonel Olcott viewed with displeasure the creation in the Society of an imperium in imperio, a kind of Secret Society whose fiat might dominate the outer Society to its detriment. There arose then a most difficult situation. H.Ρ.Β. held that the salvation of the Society lay in the resuscitation of its occult nucleus. But the President of the Society was hostile to such a creation, as he was afraid that such a secret nucleus might try in Jesuitical ways to control the Society.

    This crisis in the Society, of which only a few were aware, became so acute that Colonel

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Olcott determined to go to London in 1888, and see if he could come to a solution by direct conversation with H.Ρ.B., instead of through correspondence. When he started from India, there is little doubt that he was determined to be hostile to the plan of H.Ρ.Β. The entries in his diaries reveal this trend. Then it was there happened a most striking incident which greatly modified his plans. As his steamer S. S. Shannon was nearing Brindisi on the morning of the 22nd, and as he was dressing in his cabin, there dropped from the air a letter to him from the Master Κ. H. which explained to him the situation. The letter is now at Adyar, and was first published as Letter No. ΧΙΧ in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, First Series. [Ed note, see Appendices at the end of this document] The Master after pointing out to Colonel Olcott that he had been most unjust towards H.Ρ.Β. with some of the thoughts which he had concerning her, sketched the general situation and briefly outlined certain broad principles, regarding the place of H.Ρ.Β. and Colonel Olcott in the activities of the Society. Briefly summed up, Colonel Olcott was told that while he was to keep in his hands the administration

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of the Society, yet he was to give full liberty to H.Ρ.Β. to organize its occult side which dealt with the relation of the Masters to those who aspired to be Their pupils. The following is the part of the Master’s letter dealing with this particular aspect of the situation:

    Τo help you in your present perplexity: H.Ρ.Β. has next to no concern with administrative details, and should be kept clear of them, so far as her strong nature can be controlled. But this you must tell to all: with occult matters she has everything to do. We have not abandoned her. She is not given over to chelas. She is our direct agent. Ι warn you against permitting your suspicions and resentment against “her many follies ” to bias your intuitive loyalty to her. In the adjustment of this European business, you will have two things to consider—the external and administrative, and the internal and psychical. Keep the former under your control and that of your most prudent associates, jointly; leave the latter to her. You are left to devise the practical details with your usual ingenuity. Only be careful, Ι say, to discriminate when some emergent interference of hers in practical affairs is referred to you on appeal, between that which is merely exoteric in origin and effects, and that which beginning on the practical tends to beget consequences on the spiritual plane. As to the former you are the best judge, as to the latter, she.

    After conversations with H.Ρ.B., Colonel Olcott finally agreed to her wishes in the matter, and gave his Presidential sanction, on

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October 9th, 1888, in London, to the creation of “The Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society”. As its very name states, the organization was to be an integral part of the Society, though solely under the direction of H.Ρ.Β. The statement of its chartering is as follows :


Ι. Τo promote the esoteric interests of the Theosophical Society by the deeper study of Esoteric philosophy, there is hereby organised a body to be known as the “Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society”.

ΙΙ. The constitution and sole direction of the same is vested in Mme. Blavatsky as Director; she is solely responsible to the members for results; and the Section has no official or corporate connection with the exoteric Society save in the person of the President-Founder.

III. Persons wishing to join the Section and willing to abide by its rules, should communicate with the director, Mme. H. Ρ. Blavatsky, 17, Landsdowne Road, Holland Park, London, W.

London                       H. S. Olcott,

October 9th, 1888      President in Council.

Attest :

H. Ρ. Blavatsky,

Corresponding Secretary.


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    When this proclamation of Colonel Olcott was printed by H.Ρ.Β. in her magazine Lucifer, she introduced it boldly in the following words:

    Owing to the fact that a large number of Fellows of the Society have felt the necessity for the formation of a body of Esoteric students, to be organized on the ORIGINAL LINES devised by the real founders of the Τ. S., the following order has been issued by the President-Founder.

    However, in order to remove any possible idea that the Society was going to be dominated by an inner organization, the name of the organization was changed. A clear separation took place between the Ε. S. and the Society, and the name of the Ε. S. was changed to “The Eastern School of Theosophy,” with the Esoteric Section as a grade in it. It was when the Esoteric Section was first organized and many desired to join it, that H.Ρ.Β. issued the “Preliminary Memorandum” now published, with the permission of Dr. Annie Besant, the present Head of that body.

    As of particular interest in this connection, a reproduction is given of the charter issued by H.Ρ.Β. to a “Lodge” of the Esoteric

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Section. The charter was issued by her to Señor Francisco Montoliu of Madrid. It was transferred to Señor José Xifre in 1892, on Señor Montoliu’s death. But as H.Ρ.B. died in 1891, the transferred charter is signed jointly by Annie Besant who was the “Chief Secretary of the Inner Group of the Esoteric Section” appointed by H.Ρ.Β. and by W. Q. Judge who was the Secretary of the Ε. S. for the United States, these two becoming joint Heads of the Ε. S. after H.P.B.’s passing.


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By H. P. BLAVATSKY [1886]

    In order to leave no room for equivocation, the members of the Τ. S. have to be reminded of the origin of the Society in 1875. Sent to the U. S. of America in 1873 for the purpose of organizing a group of workers on a psychic plane, two years later the writer received orders from her Master and Teacher to form the nucleus of a regular Society whose objects were broadly stated as follows :

1. Universal Brotherhood;

2. No distinction to be made by the member between races, creeds, or social positions, but every member had to be judged and dealt by on his personal merits;

3. To study the philosophies of the East—those of India chiefly, presenting them gradually to the public in various works that

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would interpret exoteric religions in the light of esoteric teachings;

4. To oppose materialism and theological dogmatism in every possible way, by demonstrating the existence of occult forces unknown to science, in nature, and the presence of psychic and spiritual powers in man; trying, at the same time to enlarge the views of the Spiritualists by showing them that there are other, many other agencies at work in the production of phenomena besides the “Spirits” of the dead. Superstition had to be exposed and avoided; and occult forces, beneficent and maleficent—ever surrounding us .and manifesting their presence in various ways—demonstrated to the best of our ability.

    Such was the programme in its broad features. The two chief Founders were not told what they had to do, how they had to bring about and quicken the growth of the Society and results desired; nor had they any definite ideas given them concerning the outward organization—all this being left entirely with themselves. Thus, as the under-signed had no capacity for such work as the mechanical formation and administration of a

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Society, the management of the latter was left in the hands of Col. H. S. Olcott, then and there elected by the primitive founders and members—President for life. But if the two Founders were not told what they had to do, they were distinctly instructed about what they should never do, what they had to avoid, and what the Society should never become. Church organizations, Christian and Spiritual sects were shown as the future contrasts to our Society. * To make it clearer :—


     * A liberal Christian member of the Τ. S. having objected to the study of Oriental religions and doubted whether there was room left for any new Society—a letter answering his objections and preference to Christianity was received, and the contents copied for him; after which he denied no longer the advisability of such a Society as the proposed Theosophical Association. A few extracts from this early letter will show plainly the nature of the Society as then contemplated, and that we have tried only to follow, and carry out in the best way we could, the intentions of the true originators of the Society in those days. The pious gentleman having claimed that he was a theosophist and had a right of judgment over other people was told . . . [1] “You have no right to such a title. You are only a philo-theosophist; as one who has reached to the full comprehension of the name and

    [1] Throughout the body of the article, as in the footnotes, the occurrence of several full stops . . . indicate no elision of words, but only the beginning of a new sentence or thought which is particularly emphasised.—C.J.

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(1) The Founders had to exercise all their influence to oppose selfishness of any kind, by insisting upon sincere, fraternal feelings among the Members—at least outwardly; working for it to bring about a spirit of unity and harmony, the great diversity of creeds notwithstanding; expecting and demanding


nature of a theosophist will sit in judgment on no man or action . . . You claim that your religion is the highest and final step toward divine Wisdom on this earth, and that it has introduced into the arteries of the old decaying world new blood and life and verities that had remained unknown to the heathen. If it were so indeed, then your religion would have introduced the highest truths into all the social, civil and international relations of Christendom. Instead of that as any one can perceive, your social as your private life is not based upon a common moral solidarity but only on constant mutual counteraction and purely mechanical equilibrium of individual powers and interests . . . If you would be a theosophist you must not do as those around you do who call on a God of Truth and Love and serve the dark Powers of Might, Greed and Luck. We look in the midst of your Christian civilization and see the same sad signs of old: the realities of your daily lives are diametrically opposed to your religious ideal, but you feel it not; the thought that the very laws that govern your being whether in the domain of politics or social economy clash painfully with the origins of your religion—do not seem to trouble you in the least. But if the nations of the West are so fully convinced that the ideal can never become practical and the practical will never reach the ideal—then, you have to make your choice: either it is your religion that is impracticable, and in

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from the Fellows, a great mutual toleration and charity for each other’s shortcomings; mutual help in the research of truths in every domain—moral or physical—and even, in daily life.

(2) They had to oppose in the strongest manner possible anything approaching dogmatic faith and fanaticism—belief in the infallibility of the Masters, or even in the very existence of our invisible Teachers, having to


that case it is no better than a vainglorious delusion, or it might find a practical application, but it is you, yourselves, who do not care to apply its ethics to your daily walk in life. . . Hence, before you invite other nations ‘to the King’s festival table’ from which your guests arise more starved than before, you should, ere you try to bring them to your own way of thinking, look into the repasts they offer to you . . . Under the dominion and offer of exoteric creeds, the grotesque and tortured shadows of theosophical realities, there must ever be the same oppression of the weak and the poor and the same typhonic struggle of the wealthy and the mighty among themselves . . . It is esoteric philosophy alone, the spiritual and psychic blending of man with Nature that, by revealing fundamental truths, can bring that much desired mediate state between the two extremes of human Egotism ,and divine Altruism and finally lead to the alleviation of human suffering . . .” (See last page for contin.) [1]

    [1] So in manuscript. The continuation of the letter of the Master is on p. 45, and begins with the words: “Theosophy must not represent,” etc.—C.J.

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be checked from the first. On the other hand, as a great respect for the private views and creeds of every member was demanded, any Fellow criticising the faith or belief of another Fellow, hurting his feelings, or showing a reprehensible self-assertion, unasked (mutual friendly advices were a duty unless declined)—such a member incurred expulsion.. The greatest spirit of free research untrammelled by anyone or anything, had to be encouraged.

    Thus, for the first year the Members of the Τ. Body who, representing every class in Society as every creed and belief—Christian clergymen, Spiritualists, Freethinkers, Mystics, Masons and Materialists—lived and met under these rules in peace and friendship. There were two or three expulsions for slander and backbiting. The rules, however imperfect in their tentative character, were strictly enforced and respected by the members. The original $5, initiation fee, was soon abolished: as inconsistent with the spirit of the. Association; members had enthusiastically promised to support the Parent Society and defray the expenses of machines for experiments, books, the.

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fees of the Recording Secretary, * etc., etc. This was Reform No. Ι. Three months after, Mr. H. Newton, the Treasurer, a rich gentleman of New York, showed that no one had paid anything or helped him to defray the current expenses for the Hall of meetings, stationery, printing, etc., and that he had to carry the burden of those expenses alone. He went on for a short time longer, then—he resigned as Treasurer. It was the President-Founder, Col. H. S. Olcott, who had to pay henceforth for all. He did so for over 18 months. The “fee” was re-established, before the Founders left for India with the two English delegates—now their mortal enemies; but the money collected was for the Arya Samaj of Aryavarta with which Society the Theosophical became affiliated. It is the President-Founder, who paid the enormous travelling expenses from America to India, and those of installation in Bombay, and who supported the two delegates out of his own pocket for nearly 18 months. When he had no more money left, nor the Corr. Secretary either—a resolution was passed that


     * Mr. Cobb.

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the “initiation fee” sums should go towards supporting the Headquarters.

    Owing to the rapid increase of the Society in India, the present Rules and Statutes grew out. They are not the outcome of the deliberate thought and whim of the President-Founder, but the result of the yearly meetings of the General Council at the Anniversaries. If the members of that G. C. have framed them so as to give a wider authority to the President-Founder, it was the result of their absolute confidence in him, in his devotion and love for the Society, and not at all—as implied in “Α Few Words”—a proof of his love for power and authority. Of this, however, later on.

    It was never denied that the Organization of the Τ. S. was very imperfect. Errare humanum est. But, if it can be shown that the President has done what he could under the circumstances and in the best way he knew how—no one, least of all a theosophist, can charge him with the sins of the whole community, as now done. From the founders down to the humblest member, the Society is composed of imperfect mortal men—not gods. This was always claimed by its leaders. “He

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who feels without sin, let him cast the first stone.” It is the duty of every Member of the Council to offer advice and to bring for the consideration of the whole body any incorrect proceedings. One of the plaintifs [1] is a Councillor. Having never used his privileges as one, in the matter of the complaints now proffered—and thus, having no excuse to give that his just representations were not listened to, he by bringing out publicly what he had to state first privately—sins against Rule XII. The whole paper now reads like a defamatory aspersion, being full of untheosophical and unbrotherly insinuations—which the writers thereof could never have had in view.

    This Rule XIIth was one of the first and the wisest. It is by neglecting to have it enforced when most needed, that the President-Founder has brought upon himself the present penalty.* It is his too great indulgence and unwise carelessness that have led


     * For years the wise rule by which any member accused of back-biting or slander was expelled from the Society after sufficient evidence—has become obsolete. [Footnote continues next page]

    [1] So in manuscript.

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to all such charges of abuse of power, love of authority, show of vanity, etc., etc. Let us see how far it may have been deserved.

    As shown for 12 years the Founder has, toiled almost alone in the interests of the Society and the general good—hence, not his own, and, the only complaint he was heard to utter was, that he was left no time for self-development and study. The results of this too just complaint are, that those for whom he toiled, are the first to fling at him the reproach of being ignorant of certain Hindu terms, of using one term for another, for inst. of having applied the word “Jivanmukta” to a Hindu chela, on one occasion! The crime is a terrible one, indeed . . . We know of “chelas,” who being Hindus, are sure never to confuse such well known terms in their religion; but who, on the other hand, pursue Jivanmuktaship and the highest theosophical Ethics through the royal road of selfish ambition, lies, slander,


[Continuing from footnote previous page] There have been two or three solitary cases of expulsion for the same in cases of members of no importance. Europeans of position and name were allowed to cover the Society literally with mud and slander their Brothers with perfect impunity. This is the President’s Karma—and it is just.

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ingratitude and backbiting. Every road leads to Rome; this is evident; and there is such a thing in Nature as “Mahatma”-Dugpas . . . It would be desirable for the cause of theosophy and truth, however, were all the critics of our President in general less learned, yet found reaching more to the level of his all-forgiving good nature, his thorough sincerity and unselfishness; as the rest of the members less inclined to lend a willing ear to those who, like the said “Vicars of Bray” have developed a hatred for the Founders—for reasons unknown.

    The above advice is offered to the two Theosophists who have just framed their “Few Words on the Theosophical Organization”. That they are not alone in their complaints (which, translated from their diplomatic into plain language look a good deal in the present case like a mere “querelle d’allemand”) and that the said complaints are in a great measure just,—is frankly admitted. Hence, the writer must be permitted to speak in this, her answer, of theosophy and theosophists in general, instead of limiting the Reply strictly to the complaints uttered.

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    There is not the slightest desire to be personal; yet, there has accumulated of late such a mass of incandescent material in the Society, by that eternal friction of precisely such “selfish personalities,” that it is certainly wise to try to smother the sparks in time, by pointing out to their true nature.

Demands, and a feeling of necessity for reforms have not originated with the two complainants. They date from several years, and there has never been a question of avoiding reforms, but rather a failure of finding such means as would satisfy all the theosophists. To the present day, we have yet to find that “wise man” from the East or from the West who could not only diagnosticate the disease in the Τ. Society, but offer advice and a remedy likewise to cure it. It is easy to write: “It would be out of place to suggest any specific measures” (for such reforms, which do seem more difficult to suggest than to be vaguely hinted at)—”for no one who has any faith in Brotherhood and in the power of Truth will fail to perceive what is necessary,”—concludes the critic. One may, perhaps, have such faith and yet fail to perceive

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what is most necessary. Two heads are better than one; and if any practical reforms have suggested themselves to our severe judges their refusal to give us the benefit of their discovery would be most unbrotherly. So far, however, we have received only most impracticable suggestions for reforms whenever these came to be specified. The Founders, and the whole Central Society at the Headquarters, for instance, are invited to demonstrate their theosophical natures by living like “fowls in the air and lilies of the field,” which neither sow nor reap, toil not, nor spin and “take no thought for the morrow”. This being found hardly practicable, even in India, where a man may go about in the garment of an Angel, but has, nevertheless, to pay rent and taxes, another proposition, then a third one and a fourth—each less practicable than the preceding—were offered . . . the unavoidable rejection of which led finally to the criticism now under review.

After carefully reading “Α Few Words, etc.,” no very acute intellect is needed to perceive that, although no “specific measures” are offered in them, the drift of the

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whole argument tends but to one conclusion, a kind of syllogism more Hindu than metaphysical. Epitomised, the remarks therein plainly say: “Destroy the bad results pointed out by destroying the causes that generate them.” Such is the apocalyptic meaning of the paper, although both causes and results are made painfully and flagrantly objective and that they may be rendered in this wise: Being shown that the Society is the result and fruition of a bad President; and the latter being the outcome of such an “untheosophically” organized Society—and, its worse than useless General Council—”make away with all these Causes and the results will disappear”; i.e., the Society will, have ceased to exist. Is this the heart-desire of the two true and sincere Τheosophists?

The complaints—”submitted to those interested in the progress of true Theosophy “—which seems to mean “theosophy divorced from the Society”—may now be noticed in order and answered. They specify the following objections:—

(Ι). To the language of the Rules with regard to the powers invested in the

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President-Founder by the General Council. This objection seems very right. The sentence . . . The duties of the Council “shall consist in advising the Ρ. F. in regard to all matters referred to them by him” may be easily construed as implying that on all matters not referred to the Council by the President-Founder . . . its members will hold their tongues. The Rules are changed, at any rate they are corrected and altered yearly. This sentence can be taken out. The harm, so far, is not so terrible.

(ΙΙ). It is shown that many members ex-officio whose names are found on the list of the General Council are not known to the Convention; that they are, very likely, not even interested in the Society “under their special care”; a body they had joined at one time, then probably forgotten its existence in the meanwhile, to withdraw themselves from the Association. The argument implied is very valid. Why not point it out officially to the Members residing at, or visiting the Head Quarters, the impropriety of such a parading of names? Yet, in what respect can this administrative blunder, or carelessness,

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interfere with, or impede “the progress of true theosophy”? *

(ΙΙΙ). “The members are appointed by the President-Founder . . . it is complained; the Gen. Council only advises on what is submitted to it “. . . and “in the meantime that Ρ. F. is empowered to issue “special orders” and “provisional rules,” on behalf of that (“dummy”) Council. (Rule IV, p. 20.) Moreover, it is urged that out of a number of 150 members of the G. Council, a quorum of 5 and even 3 members present, may, should it be found necessary by the President, decide upon any question of vital importance, etc., etc., etc.

    Such an “untheosophical” display of authority, is objected to by Messrs. Μ. Μ. Chatterji and Α. Gebhard, on the grounds that it leads the Society to Caesarism, to “tyranny” and papal infallibility, etc., etc. However right the two complainants may be in principle it is impossible to fail seeing, the absurd exaggerations of the epithets used; for, having just been accused on one page of “tyrannical


     * Furthermore the writer of the complaints in “Α Few Words, etc.,” is himself a member on the General Council for over two years (see Rules 1885) why has he not spoken earlier?

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authority,” of “centralization of power ” and a ” ρaρa1 institution “(ρ. 9)—on page 11, the President-Founder is shown “issuing special orders” from that “centre of Caesarism”—which no one is bound to obey, unless he so wishes!” It is well-known “remarks the principal writer—”that not only individuals but even Branches have refused to pay this (annual) subscription . . . “of . . . two shillings” (p. 11); without any bad effect for themselves, resulting out of it, as it appears. Thus, it would seem it is not to a non-existent authority that objections should be made, but simply to a vain and useless display of power that no one cares for. The policy of issuing “special orders” with such sorry results is indeed objectionable; only, not on the ground of a tendency to Caesarism, but simply because it becomes highly ridiculous. The undersigned for one, has many a time objected to it, moved however, more by a spirit of worldly pride and an untheosophical feeling of self-respect than anything like Yogi humility. It is admitted with regret that the world of scoffers and non-theosophists might, if they heard of it, find in it a capital matter for fun. But the

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real wonder is, how can certain European theosophists, who have bravely defied the world to make them wince under any amount of ridicule, once they acted in accordance with the dictates of their conscience and duty—make a crime of what is at the worst a harmless, even if ridiculous, bit of vanity; a desire of giving importance—not to the Founder, but to his Society for which he is ready to die any day. One kind of ridicule is worth another. The Western theosophist, who for certain magnetic reasons wears his hair long and shows otherwise eccentricity in his dress, will be spared no more than his President, with his “special orders”. Only the latter,; remaining as kindly disposed and brotherly to the “individual theosophist and even a Branch”—that snub him and his “order,” by refusing to pay what others do—shows himself ten-fold more theosophical and true to the principle of Brotherhood, than the former, who traduces: and denounces him in such uncharitable terms, instead of kindly warning him of the bad effect produced. Unfortunately, it is not those who speak the loudest of virtue and theosophy, who are the best exemplars of

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both. Few of them, if any, have tried to cast out the beam from their own eye, before they raised their voices against the mote in the eye of a brother. Furthermore, it seems to have become quite the theosophical rage in these days, to denounce vehemently, yet never to offer to help pulling out any such motes.

    The Society is bitterly criticized for asking every well-to-do theosophist (the poor are exempt from it, from the first) to pay annually two shillings to help defraying the expenses at Headquarters. It is denounced as “untheosophical,” “unbrotherly,” and the “admission fee” of £1, is declared no better than “a sale of Brotherhood”. In this our “Brotherhood” may be shown again on a far higher level than any other association past or present. The Theosophical Society has never shown the ambitious pretension to outshine in theosophy and brotherliness, the primitive Brotherhood of Jesus and his Apostles, * and that “Organization,” besides


     * Yet, the Theosophical Brotherhood does seem doomed to outrival the group of Apostles in the number of its denying Peters, its unbelieving Thomases, and even Iscariots occasionally, ready to sell their Brotherhood for less than thirty sheckels of silver!

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asking and being occasionally refused, helped itself without asking, and as a matter of fact in a real community of Brothers. Nevertheless, such action, that would seem highly untheosophical and prejudicial in our day of culture when nations alone are privileged to pocket each other’s property and expect to be honoured for it—does not seem to have been an obstacle in the way of deification and sanctification of the said early “Brotherly” group. Our Society had never certainly any idea of rising superior to the brotherliness and ethics preached by Christ, but only to those of the sham Christianity of the Churches—as originally ordered to, by our MASTERS. And if we do not worse than the Gospel Brotherhood did, and far better than any Church, which would expell [1] any member refusing too long to pay his Church rates, it is really hard to see why our “Organization” should be ostracized by its own members. At any rate, the pens of the latter ought to show themselves less acerb, in these days of trouble when every one seems bent on finding fault with the Society, and few to help it, and that


    [1] So in manuscript.

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the President-Founder is alone to work and toil with a few devoted theosophists at Adyar to assist him.

(IV). “There is no such institution in existence as the Parent Society”—we are told (pp. 2 and 3). “It has disappeared from the Rules and . . . has no legal existence”. . . The Society being unchartered, it has not—legally; but no more has any theosophist a legal existence, for the matter of that. Is there one single member throughout the whole globe who would be recognised by law or before a Magistrate—as a theosophist? Why then do the gentlemen “complainants” call themselves “theosophists” if the latter qualification has no better legal standing than the said “Parent Society” or the Head-quarters itself? But the Parent-body does exist, and will, so long as the last man or woman of the primitive group of Theosophists Founders is alive. This—as a body; as for its moral characteristics, the Parent Society means that small nucleus of theosophists who hold sacredly through storm and blows to the original programme of the T.S., as established under the direction and orders of those,

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whom they recognize—and will, to their last breath—as the real originators of the Movement, their living, Holy MASTERS AND TEACHERS. *

(V). The complaints then, that the T.S. “has laws without sanction,” a “legislative body without legality,” a “Parent Society without existence,” and, worse than all—”a President above all rules”—are thus shown only partially correct. But even were they all absolutely true, it would be easy to abolish such rules with one stroke of the pen, or to modify them. But now comes the curious part of that severe philippic against the Τ.S. by our eloquent Demosthenes. After six pages


     * The members of the Τ. S. know, and those who do not should be told, that the term “Mahatma,” now so subtly analysed and controverted, for some mysterious reasons had never been applied to our Masters before our arrival in India. For years they were known as the “Adept-Brothers,” the “Masters,” etc. It is the Hindus themselves who began applying the term to the two Teachers. This is no place for an etymological disquisition, and the fitness or unfitness of the qualification, in the case in hand. As a state, Mahatmaship is one thing, as a double noun, Maha-atma (Great Soul) quite another one. Hindus ought to know the value of metaphysical Sanskrit names used; and it is they the first, who have used it to designate the MASTERS.

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(out of the twelve) had been filled with the said charges, the writer admits on the 7th,—that they have been so modified!—”The above” we learn (rather late) “was written under misapprehension that the ‘Rules’ bearing date 1885—were the latest. It has since been found that there is a later version of the Rules dated 1886 which have modified the older rules on a great many points”. So much the better.—Why recall, in such case, mistakes in the past if these exist no longer? But the accusers do not see it in this light. They are determined to act as a theosophical Nemesis; and in no way daunted by the discovery, they add that nevertheless “it is necessary to examine the earlier rules to ascertain the underlying principle, which rules through the present ones as well”. This reminds one of the fable of “the Wolf and the Lamb”. But—you see—”the chief point is, that the Convention has no power to make any rules, as such a power is opposed to the spirit of theosophy,” . . . etc., etc.

    Now this is the most extraordinary argument that could be made. At this rate no Brotherhood, no Association, no Society is

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possible. More than this; no theosophist,, however holy his present life may be, would have the right to call himself one; for were it always found necessary to examine his earlier life, “to ascertain the underlying principle” which rules through the nature of the present man—ten to one, he would be found unfit to be called a theosophist! The experiment would hardly be found pleasant to the majority of those whom association with the T.S. has reformed; and of such there are a good many.

    After such virulent and severe denunciations one might expect some good, friendly and theosophically practical advice. Not at all, and none is offered, since we have been already told (p. 9) that it would be “out of place to suggest any specific measures, as no one who has any faith in Brotherhood—and in the power of Truth, will fail to perceive what is necessary”. The President-Founder, has no faith in either “Brotherhood,” or “the power of Truth”—apparently. This is made evident by his having failed to perceive (a) that the Headquarters—opened to all Theosophists of any race or social position, board and lodging free of charge the whole year

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round—was an unbrotherly Organization; (b) that “the central office at Adyar for keeping records and concentrating information” with its European and Hindu inmates working gratuitously and some helping it with their own money whenever they have it—ought to be carried on, according to the method and principle of George Miller of Bristol, namely, the numerous household and staff of officers at Adyar headed by the President-Founder ought to kneel every morning in prayer for their bread and milk appealing for their meals to “miracle”; and that finally, and (c) all the good the Society is doing, is no good whatever but “a spiritual wrong,” because it presumes to call “a limited line of good work—(theosophy) Divine Wisdom”.

    The undersigned is an ever patient theosophist, who has hitherto laboured under the impression that no amount of subtle scholasticism and tortured casuistry but could find like the Rosetta stone its Champollion—some day. The most acute among theosophists are now invited to make out in “Α Few Words”—what the writers or writer—is driving at unless in plain and unvarnished language, it

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be—”Down with the Theosophical Society, President-Founder and its Headquarters !” This is the only possible explanation of the twelve pages of denunciations to which a reply is now attempted. What can indeed be made out of the following jumble of contradictory statements:—

(a) The President-Founder having been shown throughout as a “tyrant,” a “would be Cesar,” “aiming at papal power” and a “Venitian [1] Council of Three,” and other words to that effect implied in almost every sentence of the paper under review, it is confessed: in the same breath that the “London Lodge of the Theosophical Society has completely ignored the Rules (of the Pope Caesar) published at Adyar!” (p. 4). And yet, the “L.L. of the T.S.” still lives and breathes and one has heard of no anathema pronounced against it, so far . . . (b) Rule XIV stating that the Society has “to deal only with scientific and philosophical subjects,” hence, “it is quite evident (?) that the power and position claimed in the Rules for the President-Founder and the Gen. Council and Convention


    [1] So in manuscript. See Appendix letter from Chatterji and Gebhard for the term “Venetian Council of Three”

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are opposed to the spirit of the declared Objects”.

    It might have been as well perhaps to quote the entire paragraph in which these words appear, * once that hairs are split about the possibly faulty reaction of the Rules. Is it not self-evident, that the words brought forward only with scientific and philosophical subjects. “are inserted as a necessary caution to true theosophists, who by dealing with politics within any Branch Society might bring disgrace and ruin on the whole body,—in India to begin with? Has the Society or has it not -over 140 Societies scattered through four parts of the World to take care of? As in the case of “Mahatmas” and “Mahatmaship”


     * XIV. The Society having to deal only with scientific and philosophical subjects, and having Branches in different parts of the world under various ‘forms of Government, does not permit its members, as such, to interfere with politics, and repudiates any attempt on the part of any one to commit it in favour or against any political party or measure. Violation of this rule will meet with expulsion.

    This rather alters the complexion put on the charge, which seems conveniently to forget that “scientific and philosophical subjects” are not the only declared objects of the Society. Let us not leave room for a doubt that there is more animus underlying the charges than would be strictly theosophical.

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—active work of the Theosophical Society is confused—willingly or otherwise it is not for the writer to decide—with Theosophy. No need of entering here upon the difference between the jar that contains a liquid and the nature of, or that liquid itself. “Theosophy teaches self-culture . . . and not control,” we are told. Theosophy teaches mutual-culture before self-culture to begin with. Union is strength. It is by gathering many theosophists of the same way of thinking into one or more groups, and making them closely united by the same magnetic bond of fraternal unity and sympathy that the objects of mutual development and progress in Theosophical thought may be best achieved. “Self-culture” is for isolated Hatha Yogis, independent of any Society and having to avoid association with human beings; and this is a triply distilled Selfishness. For real moral advancement “where two or three are gathered” in the name of the Spirit Of Truth there that Spirit of Theosophy will be in the midst of them. To say that theosophy has no need of a Society—a vehicle and centre thereof,—is like affirming that the

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Wisdom of the Ages collected in thousands of volumes, at the British Museum has no need of either the edifice that contains it, nor the works in which it is found. Why not advise the British Govt. on its lack of discrimination .and its worldliness in not destroying Museum .and all its vehicles of Wisdom? Why spend such sums of money and pay so many officers to watch over its treasures, the more so, since many of its guardians may be quite out of keeping with, and opposed to the Spirit of that Wisdom. The Directors of such Museums may or may not be very perfect men, and some of their assistants may have never opened a philosophical work: yet, it is they who take care of the library and preserving it for future generations, are indirectly entitled to their thanks. How much more gratitude is due to those who like our self-sacrificing theosophists at Adyar, devote their lives to, and give their services gratuitously to the good of Humanity!

    Diplomas, and Charters are objected to, and chiefly the “admission fee”. The latter is a “taxation,” and therefore “inconsistent with the principle of Brotherhood”. . . A

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“forced gift is unbrothely,” etc., etc. It would be curious to see where the T.S., would be led to, were the Pt. F. to religiously follow the proffered advices. “Initiation” on admission, has been made away with already in Europe, and has led to that which will very soon become known: no use mentioning it at present. Now the “Charters” and diplomas would follow. Hence no document to show for any group, and no diploma to prove that one is affiliated to the Society. Hence also perfect liberty to any one to either call himself a theosophist, or deny he is one. The “admission fee”? Indeed, it has to be regarded as a terrible and unbrotherly “extortion,” and a “forced gift,” in the face of those thousands of Masonic Lodges, of Clubs, Associations, Societies, Leagues, and even the “Salvation Army”. The former, extort yearly fortunes from their Members; the latter—throttle in the name of Jesus the masses and appealing to voluntary contributions make the converts pay, and pay in their turn every one of their “officers,” none of whom will serve the “Army” for nothing. Yet it would be well, perchance were our members to

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follow the example of the Masons in their solidarity of thought and action and at least outward Union, notwithstanding that receiving a thousand times more from their members they give them in return still less than we do, whether spiritually or morally. This solitary single guinea expected from every new member is spent in less than one week, as was calculated, on postage and correspondence with theosophists. Or are we to understand that all correspondence with members—now left to “self culture is also to cease and has to follow diplomas, Charters and the rest? Then truly, the Headquarter and Office have better be closed. A simple Query—however: Have the £1.—the yearly contribution to the L. L. of the Τ. S., and the further sum of 2/6d. to the Oriental Group been abolished as “acts of unbrotherly extortion,” and how long, if so, have they begun to be regarded as “a sale of Brotherhood”?

    To continue: the charges wind up with the following remarks, so profound, that it requires a deeper head than ours to fathom all that underlies the words contained in them.”Is

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the T.S. a Brotherhood, or not?” queries the plaintiff—”If the former is it possible to have any centre of arbitrary power? * To hold that there is necessity for such a centre is only a roundabout way of saying that no Brotherhood is possible, † but in point of fact that necessity itself is by no means proved (!?). There have been no doubt Brotherhoods under high Masters . . .” (there “have been” and still are. H.P.B.) . . . “but in such cases the Masters were never elected for geographical or other considerations (?). The natural leader of men was always recognized by his embodying the spirit of Humanity. To institute comparisons would be little short of blasphemy. The greatest among men is always the readiest to serve and yet is unconscious of the service. Let us pause before finally tying the millstone of worldliness around the neck of Theosophy. Let us not forget that Theosophy does not grow in our


     * It is the first time since the Τ. S. exists that such an accusation of arbitrary power, is brought forward. Not many will be found of this way of thinking.

     † No need taking a roundabout way, to say that no Brotherhood would ever be possible if many theosophists shared the very original views of the writer.

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midst by force and control but by sunshine of brotherliness and the dew of self-oblivion. If we do not believe in Brotherhood and Truth let us put ashes on our head and weep in sack-cloth and not rejoice in the purple of authority and in the festive garments of pride and worldliness. It is by far better that the name of Theosophy should never be heard, than that it should be used as the Motto of a papal authority.” . . .

    Who, upon reading this, and being ignorant that the above piece of rhetorical flowers of speech is directed against the luckless President-Founder—would not have in his “mind’s eye”—an Alexander Borgia, a Caligula, or to say the least—General Booth in his latest metamorphosis! When, how, or by doing what, has our good natured, unselfish, ever kind President merited such a Ciceronian tirade? The state of things denounced exists now for almost twelve years, and our accuser knew of it and even took an active part in its organization, Conventions, Councils, Rules, etc., etc., at Bombay, and at Adyar. This virulent sortie is no doubt due to “self- culture”? The critic has outgrown the

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movement and turned his face from the original programme; hence his severity. But where is the true theosophical charity, the tolerance and the “sunshine of brotherliness” just spoken of, and so insisted upon? Verily—it is easy to preach the “dew of self-oblivion” when one has nothing to think about except to evolve such finely rounded phrases; were every theosophist at Adyar to have his daily wants and even comforts, his board, lodging and all, attended to by a wealthier theosophist;. and were the same “sunshine of brotherliness” to be poured upon him, as it is upon the critic who found for himself an endless brotherly care, a fraternal and self-sacrificing devotion in two other noble minded members, then—would there be little need for the President Founder to call upon and humble himself before our theosophists. For, if he has to beg for 2 annual shillings—it is, in order that those—Europeans and Hindus—who work night and day at Adyar, giving their services free and receiving little thanks or honour for it, should have at least one meal a day. The fresh “dew of self-oblivion” must not be permitted to chill one’s heart,

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and turn into the lethal mold of forgetfulness to such an extent as that. The severe critic seems to have lost sight of the fact that for months, during the last crisis, the whole staff of our devoted Adyar officers, from the President down to the youngest brother in the office, have lived on 5d. a day each, having reduced their meals to the minimum. And it is this mite, the proceeds of the. “2 shill. contribution,” conscientiously paid by some, that is now called extortion, a desire to live “in the purple of authority and the festive garments of pride and worldliness”!

    Our “Brother” is right. Let us “weep in sack cloth and ashes on our head” if the Τ. S. has many more such unbrotherly criticisms to bear. Truly “it would be far better that the name of Theosophy should never be heard than that it should be used as a motto”—not of Papal authority which exists nowhere at Adyar outside the critic’s imagination—but as a motto of a “self-developed fanaticism”. All the great services otherwise rendered to the Society, all the noble work done by the complainant will pale and vanish before such an appearance of cold heartedness. Surely

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he cannot desire the annihilation of the Society? And if he did it would be useless: the T.S. cannot be destroyed as a body. It is not in the power of either Founders or their critics; and neither friend nor enemy can ruin that which is doomed to exist, all the blunders of its leaders notwithstanding. That which was generated through and founded by the “High Masters” and under their authority if not their instruction—MUST AND WILL LIVE. Each of us and all will receive his or her Karma in it, but the vehicle of Theosophy will stand indestructible and undestroyed by the hand of whether man or fiend. No; “truth does not depend on show of hands”; but in the case of the much abused President-Founder it must depend on the show of facts. Thorny and full of pitfalls was the steep path he had to climb up alone and unaided for the first years. Terrible was the opposition outside the Society he had to build—sickening and disheartening the treachery he often encountered within the Headquarters. Enemies gnashing their teeth in his face around, those whom he regarded as his staunchest friends and

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co-workers betraying him and the Cause on the slightest provocation. Still, where hundreds in his place would have collapsed and given up the whole undertaking in despair, he, unmoved and. unmovable, went on climbing up and toiling as before, unrelenting and undismayed, supported by that one thought and conviction that he was doing his duty. What other inducement has the Founder ever had, but his theosophical pledge and the sense of his duty toward THOSE he had promised to serve to the end of his life? There was but one beacon for him—the hand that had first pointed to him his way up: the hand of the Master he loves and reveres so well, and serves so devotedly though occasionally perhaps, unwisely. President elected for life, he has nevertheless offered more than once to resign in favour of anyone found worthier than him, but was never permitted to do so by the majority—not of “show of hands” but show of hearts; literally, as few are more beloved than he is even by most of those, who may criticize occasionally his actions. And this is only natural: for cleverer in administrative capacities, more learned in

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philosophy, subtler in casuistry, in metaphysics or daily life policy, there may be many around him; but the whole globe may be searched through and through and no one found stauncher to his friends, truer to his word, or more devoted to real, practical theosophy—than the President-Founder; and these are the chief requisites in a leader of such a movement—one that aims to become a Brotherhood of men. The Society needs no Loyolas; it has to shun anything approaching casuistry; nor ought we to tolerate too subtle casuists. There, where every individual has to work out his own Karma, the judgment of a casuist who takes upon himself the duty of pronouncing upon the state of a brother’s soul, or guide his conscience is of no use, and may become positively injurious. The Founder claims no more rights than every one else in the Society: the right of private judgment, which, whenever it is found to disagree with Branches or individuals are quietly set aside and ignored—as shown by the complainants themselves. This then, is the sole crime of the would-be culprit, and no worse than this can be laid at his door. And yet what is the

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reward of that kind man? He, who has never refused a service, outside what he considers his social duties—to any living being; he who has redeemed dozens of men, young and old from dissipated, often immoral lives, and saved others from terrible scrapes by giving them a safe refuge in the Society; he who has placed others again, on the pinacle [1] of Saintship through their statues in that Society; when otherwise they would have indeed found themselves now in the meshes of “worldliness” and perhaps worse;—he, that true friend of every theosophist, and verily “the readiest to serve and as unconscious of the service”—he is now taken to task for what ?—for insignificant blunders, for useless “special orders”, a childish, rather than untheosophical love of display, out of pure devotion to his Society. Is then human nature to be viewed so uncharitably by us, as to call untheosophical, worldly and sinful the natural impulse of a mother to dress up her child and parade it to the best advantages? The comparison may be laughed at, but if it is, it will be only by him who would, like the fanatical


    [1] So in manuscript.

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Christian of old, or the naked, dishevelled Yogi of India—have no more charity for the smallest human weakness. Yet, the similae [1] is quite correct, since the Society is the child, the beloved creation of the Founder; he may be well forgiven for this too exaggerated love for that for which he has suffered and toiled more than all other theosophists put together. He is called “worldly”, “ambitious of power” and untheosophical for it. Very well; let then any impartial judge compare the life of the Founder with those of most of his critics,, and see which was the most theosophical, ever since the Society sprung into existence. If no better results have been achieved, it is not the President who ought to be taken to task for it, but the Members themselves, as he has been ever trying to promote its growth, and the majority of “Fellows” have either done nothing, or created obstacles in the way of its progress through sins of omission as of commission. Better unwise activity, than an overdose of too wise inactivity, apathy or indifference which are always the death of an undertaking.


    [1] So in manuscript.

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    Nevertheless, it is the members who now seek to sit in Solomon’s seat; and they tell us that the Society is useless, its President positively mischievous, and that the Headquarters ought to be done away with, as “the organization called Theosophical presents many features seriously obstructive to the progress of Theosophy. Trees, however, have to be judged by their fruits. It was just shown that no “special orders” issuing from the “Centre of Power” called Adyar, could affect in any way whatever either Branch or individual; and therefore any theosophist bent on “self culture”, “self-involution” or any kind of selfness, is at liberty to do so; and if, instead of using his rights he will apply his brain-power to criticize other people’s actions then it is he who becomes the obstructionist and not at all the “Organization called Theosophical”. For, if theosophy is anywhere practised on this globe, it is at Adyar, at the Headquarters. Let “those interested in the progress of true theosophy” appealed to by the writers look around them and judge. See the Branch Societies and compare them with the group that works in that “Centre of

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Power”. Admire the “progress of theosophy” at Paris, London and even America. Behold, in the great “Brotherhood, a true Pandemonium of which the Spirit of Strife and Hatred himself might be proud! everywhere—quarrelling, [1] fighting for supremacy; back-biting, slandering, scandal-mongering for the last two years; a veritable battlefield, on which several members have so disgraced themselves and their Society by trying to disgrace others, that they have actually become more like hyenas than human beings by digging into the graves of the Past, in the hopes of bringing forward old forgotten slanders and scandals!

    At Adyar alone, at the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society, the Theosophists are that which they ought to be everywhere else: true theosophists and not merely philosophers and Sophists. In that centre alone are now grouped together the few solitary, practically working Members, who labour and toil, quietly and uninterruptedly, while those Brothers for whose sake they are working, sit in the dolce far niente of the West and criticise


    [1] So in manuscript.

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them. Is this “true theosophical and brotherly work”, to advise to put down and disestablish the only “centre” where real brotherly, humanitarian work is being accomplished?

    “Theosophy first, and organization after.” Golden words, these. But where would Theosophy be heard of now, had not its Society been organized before its Spirit and a desire for it had permeated the whole world? And would Vedanta and other Hindu philosophies have been ever taught and studied in England outside the walls of Oxford and Cambridge, had it not been for that organization that fished them like forgotten pearls out of the Ocean of Oblivion and Ignorance and brought them forward before the profane world? Nay, kind Brothers and critics, would the Hindu exponents of that sublime philosophy themselves have ever been known outside the walls of Calcutta, had not the Founders, obedient to the Orders received, forced the remarkable learning and philosophy of those exponents upon the recognition of the two most civilized and cultured centres of Europe—London and Paris? Verily

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it is easier to destroy than to build. Then words “untheosophical” and “unbrotherly” are ever ringing in our ears; yet, truly theosophical acts and words are not to be found in too unreasonable a superabundance among those who use the reproof the oftener. However insignificant, and however limited the line of good deeds, the latter will have always more weight than empty and vainglorious talk, and will be theosophy whereas theories without any practical realisation are at best philosophy. Theosophy is an all-embracing Science; many are the ways leading to it, as numerous in fact as its definitions, which began by the sublime, during the day of Ammonius Saccas, and ended by the ridiculous—in Webster’s Dictionary. There is no reason why our critics should claim the right for themselves alone, to know what is theosophy and to define it. There were theosophists and Theosophical Schools for the last 2,000 years, from Plato down to the mediaeval Alchemists, who knew the value of the term, it may be supposed. Therefore, when we are told that “the question is not whether the Τ. S. is doing good, but whether it is doing that kind

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of good which is entitled to the name of Τheosophy“—we turn round and ask: “And who is to be the judge in this mooted question?” We have heard of one of the greatest Theosophists who ever lived, who assured his audience that whosoever gave a cup of cold water to a little one in his (Theosophy’s) name, would have a greater reward than all the learned Scribes and Pharisees. “Woe to the world because of offences!”

    Belief in the Masters was never made an article of faith in the Τ. S. But for its Founders, the commands received from Them when it was established have ever been sacred. And this is what one of them wrote in a letter preserved to this day:

“Theosophy must not represent mere]y a collection of moral verities, a bundle of meta-physical Ethics epitomized in theoretical dissertations. Theosophy must be made practical, and has, therefore, to be disenεumbered of useless discussion . . . It has to find objective expression in an all-embracing code of life thoroughly impregnated with its spirit—the spirit of mutual tolerance, charity and love. Its followers have to set the

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example of a firmly outlined and as firmly applied morality before they get the right to point out, even in a spirit of kindness, the absence of a like ethic Unity and singleness of purpose in other associations and individuals. As said before—no Theosophist should blame a brother whether within or outside of the association, throw slur upon his actions or denounce him * lest he should himself lose the right of being considered a theosophist. Ever turn away your gaze from the imperfections of your neighbour and centre rather your attention upon your own shortcomings in order to correct them and become wiser. . . . Show not the disparity between claim and action in another man but—whether he be brother or neighbour—rather help him in his arduous walk in life . . . The problem of true theosophy and its great mission is the working out of clear, unequivocal conceptions of ethic ideas and duties which would satisfy most and best the altruistic and right feeling in us; and the modelling of these conceptions


     * It is in consequence of this letter that Art. ΧΙΙ was adopted in Rules and a fear of lacking the charity prescribed, that led so often to neglect its enforcement.

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for their adaptation into such forms of daily life where they may be applied with most equitableness . . . Such is the common work in view for all who are willing to act on these principles. It is a laborious task and will require strenuous and persevering exertion, but it must lead you insensibly to progress and leave no room for any selfish aspirations outside the limits traced . . . Do not indulge in unbrotherly comparisons between the task accomplished by yourself and the work left undone by your neighbour or brother, in the field of Theosophy, as none is held to weed out a larger plot of ground than his strength and capacity will permit him . . . Do not be too severe on the merits or demerits of one who seeks admission among your ranks, as the truth about the actual state of the inner man can only be known to, and dealt with justly by Karma alone. Even the simple presence amidst you of a well-intentioned and sympathising individual may help you magnetically . . . You are the Free-workers on the Domain of Truth, and as such, must leave no obstructions on the paths leading to it.” . . . [The letter closes with the following lines which

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have now become quite plain, as they give the key to the whole situation] . . .”The degrees of success or failure are the landmark we shall have to follow, as they will constitute the barriers placed with your own hands between your-selves and those whom you have asked to be your teachers. The nearer your approach to the goal contemplated—the shorter the distance between the student and the Master.” . . .

    A complete answer is thus found in the above lines to the paper framed by the two Theosophists. Those who are now inclined to repudiate the Hand that traced it and feel ready to turn their backs upon the whole Past and the original programme of the T.S. are at liberty to do so. The Theosophical body is neither a Church or a Sect and every individual opinion is entitled to a hearing. A Theosophist may progress and develop, and his views may outgrow those of the Founders, grow larger and broader in every direction, without for all that abandoning the fundamental soil upon which they were born and nurtured. It is only he who changes diametrically his opinions from one day to another and shifts his devotional views from

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white to black—who can be hardly trusted in his remarks and actions. But surely, this can never be the case of the two Theosophists who have now been answered . . .

    Meanwhile, peace and fraternal goodwill to all.

H. P. BLAVATSKY, Corres. Sec ty T.S.

Ostende, Oct. 3rd., 1886


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Ed. Note: Mme Blavatsky’s reply above is in response to the following letter


A Few Words On The Theosophical Organization *

Βy Μοhini Μ. Chatterji And Α. Gebhard


    As an act of Theosophical duty the following observations on some features of the present organization of the Theosophical Society are submitted to those interested in the progress of true Theosophy. In the “Rules of the Theosophical Society together with an explanation of its objects and principles” for 1885 (the last published) [1] it appears that ” the whole Society is under the special care of one General Council, and of the President, its Founder. The members of the General Council shall annually be elected by the Convention and their duties shall consist in advising the President-Founder in regard to all matters referred to them by him”. On pp. 2 et seq. is to be found the list of additional members of the Council, which with some variations has continued for years. This list gives the names of those about whom alone there can be any elective rights exercised by the Convention: the


    [1] This is a mistake. The “Rules, etc.,” dated 1885, is the last published but one.

     *On the back of this manuscript, Colonel Olcott has written:

“Manifesto of Mohini and Arthur Gebhard about my despotism. H.Ρ.B.’s cutting reply. 1886.” C. J.

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rest being members ex officio. If the election is at all like what is known in the world outside the Theosophical Society the gentlemen appearing in the list ought at all events to be known to the Convention for some acts in pursuance of the “special care” of the Society vested in them by the Rules. But notoriously that is not the case. Practically they are all appointed by the President-Founder. The power of the General Council extends to “advising the President-Founder in regard to all matters referred to them by him”. But in the meantime the President-Founder is empowered to issue special orders and provisional rules “in the name and behalf of the General Council” (Rule iv, p. 20). Thus the President-Founder is empowered to pledge the name and credit of the General Council, which enjoys the right “of advising the President-Founder” in the terms of the Rule quoted above. It only remains to add that five, and in emergent cases three, members constitute a quorum of the General Council meetings and that there are over a hundred and fifty members on the Council.

    There is no such institution in existence as the Parent Society which by the Rules is competent to issue and nullify charters without which “no Branch can be formed or continued”. If however the Parent Society has any existence its constitution is as mysterious as that of the Venetian Council of Three. The centre of power in the Society is thus vested in [a] President who is further armed with the authority of this mysterious body.[1]


    [1] Without a word of explanation the Parent Society has disappeared from the “Rules” dated 1886.

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    The Convention mentioned before and described in Rule ix (p. 20) is in no sense a representative or legal body, being nothing more than the gathering of those among the members who pay a visit to Adyar during the Christmas holidays. These gatherings have a value of their own in contributing to mutual instruction of members. But this value is certainly not increased by grossly misconceiving its character. There is no possibility of any gathering of members of the Theosophical Society binding the whole Society by its resolutions. For a member does not give any undertaking beyond what is implied in his application. [1] From the standpoint of Universal Brotherhood however, such action would never be contemplated by any meeting calling itself Theosophical. In illustration it may be mentioned that the London Lodge of °the Theosophical Society has completely ignored the rules published by the Headquarters at Adyar.

    Thus it is plain that the Theosophical Society has laws without sanction, a legislative body without legality, a Parent Society without existence and a President-Founder above all rules. How far this is consistent with Theosophy and Brotherhood requires serious consideration. It is also noteworthy that the system of centralization of power discussed above is in contravention of rule ΙΙ (p. 19) which expects members “to govern themselves in their mutual relations


    [1] The form of application given in the “Rules” (1885) requires only acquaintance with the rules, while that dated 1886 declares willingness to conform thereto. But neither would validate Rules passed ultra vires as by the Convention. The change in the latest Rules is perhaps intended to remedy this illegal proceeding ‘on the part of the Convention.

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according to that principle” (i.e., of Universal Brotherhood). [1] The matter is placed in a more striking light by the declaration in rule XIV (p. 24) [2] that the Society has “to deal only with scientific and philosophical subject,”. Hence it is quite evident that the power and position claimed in the “Rules” for the President-Founder, the General Council, and the Convention are opposed to the spirit of the declared objects of the Society. There is no raison d’etre for any controlling. authority. The different Theosophic groups can but (a) preach and practise Universa]. Brotherhood,, (b) study ancient religion and philosophy, or (c) investigate psychical phenomena. Now, with regard to these matters Theosophy teaches self-culture and not control. The Society rests upon the declaration of sympathy with its objects, which every member makes before admission. As a Brotherhood it must aspire to bring about the state in which the sense of duty is the only incentive to action. Those amongst us who realize it most can and will but recommend greater simplicity of organization and not the reverse.

    The Parent Society [3] being what is described above, no charter to Branches can be issued. Nor is it necessary to do so. The same holds good of diplomas to members on admission without any test of merit.

    The admission fee paid by members to the office at Adyar is of the nature of taxation and therefore


    [1] This rule is not specifically mentioned in the “Rules” (1886) but is clearly implied.

    [2] Rule 25, p. 19 (1886).

    [3] The argument is not affected by the substitution of the Parent Society by a Council of Seven.

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inconsistent with the principle of Brotherhood. Nor does it appear that the Theosophical Society ought to be in need of money. The expenses for the maintenance of a central office at Adyar for keeping records and concentrating information cannot be more than would be met by voluntary contributions. Those for the annual gathering would always be paid by such members as perceive its benefit. A forced gift is unbrotherly; and moreover if the Society and its work are so little appreciated that a closer acquaintance with them will dissuade members from helping them with money to the amount now paid, then it can only be that those who join the Society do so only through misconceptions, and in that case it is better that the Society should cease to exist than that it should be the recipient of gifts which might produce subsequent regret in the donors. For the Theosophical Society to insist upon the fee of £1 before accepting as a brother one who asks for that recognition is the sale of Brotherhood. It is worse than useless to keep up a Society, call it Theosophical, and yet show no faith in Theosophy and the principle of Brotherhood.

   The above was written under the misapprehension that the “Rules” bearing date 1885 were the latest. It has since been found that there is a latter version of the rules dated 1886, which have modified the older rules on a great many points. But it is necessary to examine the earlier rules to ascertain the underlying principle which runs through the present ones as well. The chief point is that the Convention has no power to make any rules, as such a power is opposed to the spirit of Theosophy and also because the Convention

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itself is devoid of legal existence. Is there anything in the declared objects of the Society which allows of the existence of the Convention? Further, the Executive Council constituted or supposed to be so, by the Convention can have no power exceeding that of the Convention. But this it has by rule 14, clause (c), p. 17 of the “Rules” (1886), which limits the power of the Convention to the disposal of “all questions of importance laid before it by the President and Executive Council”. It has no power of effectually checking either. The whole question turns upon this—Is the Theosophical Society a Brotherhood or not? If the former, is it possible to have any centre of arbitrary power? To hold that there is a necessity for such a centre is only a roundabout way of saying that no Brotherhood is possible, but in point of fact that necessity itself is by no means proved. There have been no doubt Brotherhoods under single Masters, but in such cases the Masters were never elected for geographical or other considerations. The natural leader of men was always recognized by his embodying the spirit of Humanity. To institute comparisons would be little short of blasphemy. The greatest amongst men is always the readiest to serve and yet is unconscious of the Service.

    Let us pause before finally tying the millstone of worldliness round the neck of Theosophy. Let us not forget that Theosophy does not grow in our midst by force and control, but by the sunshine of brotherliness and the dew of self-oblivion. If we do not believe in Brotherhood and Truth, let us put ashes on our head and weep in sackcloth and not rejoice in the purple of

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authority and in the festive garments of pride and worldliness. Better it is by far that the name of Theosophy should never be heard than that it should be used as the motto of a papal institution. The fact must be recognized that the highest authority in the Society is to be found exactly where there is the untheosophic demand for authority. By rule 12, p. 17 (1886) “no Bye-laws and Rules of Branches shall be valid unless ratified by the President in Council”. What is the meaning of this power? Is it to be under-stood that the Executive Council sitting at Adyar knows better than the local members what is needed by a distant Branch, never perhaps visited by a single member of the Council?

    More words are useless. Enough has been said to show that the organization called Theosophical presents many features seriously obstructive to the progress of Theosophy, and that unless the danger is perceived in time we shall not know what answer to make when the day of reckoning comes.

    It would be out of place to suggest any specific measures. For no one who has any faith in Brotherhood and in the power of Truth will fail to perceive what is necessary. While on the other hand if the foregoing words are but a cry in the wilderness, not evoking any definite perception of duty in members of the Theosophical Society, no Theosophic measures can be suggested for the reform of that which is not Theosophical. There is another reason which determines the present course. The tyranny of majorities over minorities is opposed to the principle of Brotherhood. Truth does not depend on show of hands.

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    It only remains to express fraternal wishes that every one of our brothers may feel the full sense of the responsibility which he has undertaken in the name of Truth and Brotherhood. It behoves us to bear in mind—Theosophy first and organization after.

Μohini Μ. Chatterji, F.T.S.,

for self and

Α. Gebhard, F.T.S.

    The absence of one of the signatories to the foregoing necessitates the ensuing note to rest on the responsibility of the undersigned alone. That the Convention has practically no authority is evident from the following considerations. By rule 21, clause (d), p. 19 (1886) [1] it is laid down that “an annual subscription of two shillings shall always be paid in advance by all the active Fellows of the Society”. It is we)1 known that not only individuals but even Branches have refused to pay this subscription. The refusals have; been acquiesced in, to a1 appearances, without any, reference to the Convention: ” Comments are not necessary to show what bearing this has upon Theosophy and the Organization. Is it better to make demands which are abandoned on resistance being offered, or to leave such contributions to the Theosophical feelings of the members? .

The question for consideration is not whether the Theosophical Society is doing good, but whether it is doing that kind of good which is entitled to the name


    [1] This rule was first adopted at the Convention of 1883-4. In the edition of 1885 it is Rule ΙΙ (ρ. 22).

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of Theosophy. And also whether it is not doing spiritual wrong by calling a particular and limited line of good work Divine Wisdom—thus excluding other similar work which is being done by other organizations upon which a slur is cast by the limitation put upon the term Theosophy by the Society.

Sep. 23, 1886. Mohini Μ. Chatterji,

77, Elgin Crescent,

Notting Hill,

London, W.


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By H. P. BLAVATSKY    [1888]

    ONE object of the present memorandum is to give an opportunity to any one who has signed the pledge to withdraw it, should such person feel unable or unwilling to. accept fully and without reserve the instructions which may be given, or the consequences that may result, and to do the duties whose performance shall be asked. It is but fair to state at once that such duties will never interfere with, nor encroach upon, the probationer’s family duties; on the other hand, it is certain that every member of the Esoteric Section will have to give up more than one personal habit, such as practised in social life, and to adopt some few ascetic rules.

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    Therefore, anyone who wishes to retire after reading what follows can have his name removed from the list, and the pledge returned, by applying in writing to that effect with postage enclosed. Such applications to be made, within three weeks from the receipt of this; by members in Europe directly to H. P. Blavatsky, 17, Landsdowne Road, Holland Park, London, and by members in America to William Q. Judge, General Secretary, American Section, T.S.; Box 2,659, New York.

    This degree of the Esoteric Section is probationary, and its general purpose is to prepare and fit the student for the study of practical occultism or Raja yoga. Therefore, in this degree, the student—save in exceptional cases—will not be taught how to produce physical phenomena, nor will any magical powers be allowed to develop in him; nor, if possessing such powers naturally, will he be permitted to exercise them before he has thoroughly mastered the knowledge of SELF, of the psycho physiological processes

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(taking place on the occult plane) in the human body generally, and until he has in abeyance all his lower passions and his personal self.

    The real Head of the Esoteric Section is a Master, of whom H. Ρ. Blavatsky is the mouthpiece for this Section, He is one of those Adepts referred to in theosophical literature, and concerned in the formation of the Theosophical Society. It is through H. Ρ. Blavatsky that each member of this Section will be brought more closely than hitherto under His influence and care if found worthy of it. No student, however, need inquire which of the Masters it is. For it does not matter in reality; nor is there any necessity for creating one more chance for indiscretion. Suffice to say, such is the law in the East.

    Each person will receive in the way of enlightenment and assistance, just as much as he or she deserves and no more; and it is to be distinctly understood that in this Body and these relations no such thing is known as favour—all depends upon the person’s merits—and no member has the power or knowledge to decide what either he or another is entitled

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to. This must be left to those who know—alone. The apparent favour shown to some, and their consequent apparent advancement, will be due to the work they do, to the best of their power, in the cause of Universal Brotherhood and the elevation of the Race.

    No man or woman is asked or supposed to do any more than his or her best; but each is expected to work to the extent of their ability and powers.

    The value of the work of this Section to the individual member will depend entirely upon:

1st. The person’s power to assimilate the teachings and make them a part of his being; and

2nd. Upon the unselfishness of the motives with which he seeks for this knowledge; that is to say, upon whether he has entered this Section determined to work for humanity, or with only the desire to benefit or gain something for himself alone.

    Let all members, therefore, take warning in time, and seriously examine into their

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motives, for to all those who join this Section certain consequences will ensue.

    And at this stage it is perhaps better that the applicants should learn the reason for the formation of this Section, and what it is expected to achieve:—

    The Theosophical Society has just entered upon the fourteenth year of its existence; and if it has accomplished great, one may almost say stupendous, results on the exoteric and utilitarian plane, it has proved a dead failure on all those points which rank foremost among the objects of its original establishment. Thus, as a “Universal Brotherhood”, or even as a fraternity, one among many, it has descended to the level of all those Societies whose pretensions are great, but whose names are simply masks—nay, even SHAMS. Nor can the excuse be pleaded that it was led into such an undignified course owing to its having been impeded in its natural development, and almost extinguished, by reason of the conspiracies of its enemies openly begun in 1884. Because even before that date there never was that solidarity in the ranks of our Society which would not only enable it to resist all

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external attacks, but also make it possible for greater, wider, and more tangible help to be given to all its members by those who are always ready to give help when we are fit to receive it. When trouble arose, too many were quick to doubt and despair, and few indeed were they who had worked for the Cause and not for themselves. The attacks of the enemy have given the Society some discretion in the conduct of its external progress, but its real internal condition has not improved, and the members, in their efforts towards spiritual culture, still require that help which solidarity in the ranks can alone give them the right to ask. The Masters can give but little assistance to a Body not thoroughly united in purpose and feeling, and which breaks its fundamental rule—universal brotherly love, without distinction of race, creed or colour; nor to a Society, many members of which pass their lives in judging, condemning, and often reviling other members in a most untheosophical, not to say disgraceful, manner.

    For this reason it is now contemplated to gather the “elect” of the Τ. S. and to call

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them to action.” It is only by a select group of brave souls, a handful of determined men and women hungry for genuine spiritual development and the acquirement of soul-wisdom, that the Theosophical Society at large can be brought back to its original lines. It is through an Esoteric Section alone, i.e., a group in which all the members, even if unacquainted with one another, work for each other, and by working for all work for themselves—that the great Exoteric Society may be redeemed and made to realize that in union and harmony alone lie its strength and power. The object of this Section, then, is to help the future growth of the Theosophical Society as a whole in the true direction, by promoting brotherly union at least among the few.

    All know that this end was in view when the Society was established, and even in its mere unpledged ranks there was a possibility for development and knowledge, until it began to show want of real union; and now it must be saved from future dangers by the united aim, brotherly feeling, and constant exertions of the members of this Esoteric Section.

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    Therefore, any one who has signed the pledge without realizing this is earnestly recommended to re-consider his position, and to withdraw unless he is prepared to devote himself to the carrying out of this purpose. Once offered the grand example of practical altruism, of the noble lives of those who learn to master the great knowledge but to help others, and who strive to acquire powers but to place them at the service of their fellow-men, the whole theosophical community may yet be steered into action, and led to follow the example set before them.

    The Esoteric Section is thus “set apart” for the salvation of the whole Society, and its course from its first steps will be an arduous and uphill work for its members, though a great reward lies behind the many obstacles once they are overcome. He who wants to follow the working of his inner self and nature for the purpose of self-mastery, has to understand them by comparison; he has to strive to fathom the mysteries of the human heart in general, before he can hope to learn the whole truth about the mysteries of his own soul. The power of occult self-introspection

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is too limited in its area if it does not go beyond the Self, and the investigation of isolated instances will remain forever fruitless if we fail to work it out on firmly established principles. We cannot do good to ourselves—on a higher plane—without doing good to others, because each nature reacts upon other natures; nor can we help others without his help benefiting ourselves.

    Disappointment is sure to come to those who have joined this Section for the purpose of learning “magic arts” or acquiring “occult training” for themselves, quite regardless of the good of other people less determined. Abnormal, artificially-developed powers—except those who crown the efforts of a Black Magician—are only the culminations of, and reward for, labours bestowed unselfishly upon humanity, upon all men, whether good or bad. Forgetfulness of the personal Self and sincere altruism are the first and indispensable requisites in the training of those who are to become “White Adepts” either in this or a future incarnation.

    If any member of this Section agrees to all this, and yet says to himself that,

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notwithstanding what is said, he will seek for the knowledge for himself, caring little—provided he acquires the powers—as to whether he shall end as a Black or White Adept, let him know that disaster awaits him much sooner than he thinks, and that, although he tries to conceal his motive, it will be known and shall cause a reaction upon him which no one will be able to avert.

    No blame will be attached to anyone for a constitutional lack of capacity for assimilating the teachings given, if he works earnestly and continually, if his aspirations do not relax or weaken; his efforts will be known in the right quarter, and it is in strict accordance with his deserts that help will be given him when he expects it the least.

    Let every member know, moreover, that the time for such priceless acquisition is limited. The writer of the present is old; her life is well-nigh worn out, and she may be summoned “home” any day and almost any hour. And if her place is even filled up, perchance by another worthier and more learned than herself, still there remain but twelve years to the last hour of the term—namely,

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till December the 31st, 1899. Those who will not have profited by the opportunity (given to the world in every last quarter of a century), those who will not have reached a certain point of psychic and spiritual development, or that point from which begins the cycle of adeptship, by that day—those will advance no further than the knowledge already acquired. No Master of Wisdom from the East will himself appear or send any one to Europe or America after that period, and the sluggards will have to renounce every chance of advancement in their present incarnation—until the year 1975. Such is the LAW, for we are in Kali Yuga—the Black Age—and the restrictions in this cycle, the first, 5,000 years of which will expire in 1897, are great and almost insuperable.

    As to the relations of the Masters of this Section, it may be further said, paradoxically, that with Them everything is possible and everything is impossible. They may or may not communicate personally on the outer plane with a member, and those who are continually wishing to receive “order ” or

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communications directly from Them on this plane, either phenomenally or otherwise, will in all probability be disappointed. The Masters have no desire to prove Their power or give “tests” to anyone whatever. And. the fact that a member has concluded that a crisis of some kind or other is at hand, when, according to his wise opinion, the Master or Masters ought to speak and interfere personally, is no sound reason for such an outward interference.

    It is, however, right that each member, once he believes in the existence of such Masters, should try to understand what Their nature and powers are, to reverence Them in his heart, to draw near to Them, as much as in him lies, and to open up for himself conscious communication with the guru to whose bidding he has devoted his life. This can only be done by rising to the spiritual plane where the Masters are, and not by attempting to draw them down to ours.

Inasmuch as growth in spiritual life comes from within, members must not expect to receive any other communications than those through H.Ρ.Β. The additional help,

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instruction, and enlightenment will come from the inner planes of being, and will, as said, always be given when deserved.

    To achieve this, the attitude of mind in which the teachings given are to be received is that which shall lend to develop the faculty of intuition. The duty of members in this respect is to refrain from arguing that the statements made are not in accordance with what other people have said or written, or with their own ideas upon the subject, or that, again, they are apparently contrary to any accepted system of thought or philosophy. Practical esoteric science is altogether sui generis. It requires all the mental and psychic powers of the student to be used in examining what is given, to the end that the real meaning of the Teacher may be discovered, as far as the student can understand it. He must endeavour as much as possible to free his mind, while studying or trying to carry out that which is given to him, from all the ideas which he may have derived by heredity, from education, from surroundings, or from other teachers. His mind should be made perfectly free from all other thoughts, so that the inner

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meaning of the instructions may be impressed upon him apart from the words in which they are clothed. Otherwise, there is constant risk of his ideas becoming as coloured with preconceived notions as those of the writers of certain otherwise excellent works upon esoteric subjects who have made the occult tenets mere subservient to modern Science than to occult truth.

    In order, also, that the student may receive as much benefit as possible, it is absolutely essential that the superficial and inattentive habits of thought, engendered by Western civilization, shall be given up, and the mind concentrated upon the instructions as a whole as well as upon every word in them. To this end students are required to practise the habit of careful and constant concentration of mind upon every duty and act in life they may have to do, and not to reserve their efforts in that direction for the consideration of these teachings only. The student must make all his desires lean to, and centre upon, the acquirement of spiritual knowledge, so that the natural tendency of his thought may be in that direction. He must, therefore,

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in every moment of leisure revert to these subjects, as well as have a special time set apart for their consideration.

    Students must not look for tests and trials of a special nature; these will come in the affairs of life and in relations with fellow-men. Specific tests will not in general be given, but even the manner in which the student approaches these teachings will be in itself a test or trial. The Masters do not judge students simply by their ability to do this or that special or difficult thing, but by the actual self-development and progress accomplished.

    In entering this Section, the student begins to look his own nature in the face, and in accordance with the intensity of his aspirations, will be his difficulties. These difficulties may exhibit themselves on the physiological, mental, moral, or psychic planes of his being, or in the circumstances of his life. Having signed the pledge, his first failure to keep any one of its clauses is the failure to stand the first trial. Such a failure, however, is not defeat, so long as a further sincere endeavour is made.



Ed. Note: The following additional appendices have been added to the original publication for this expanded edition




Some Words On Daily Life

(Written By A Master Of Wisdom)

From “Lucifer” Magazine Vol. I, January, 1888, pp. 344-46


It is divine philosophy alone, the spiritual and psychic blending of man with nature, which, by revealing the fundamental truths that lie hidden under the objects of sense and perception, can promote a spirit of unity and harmony in spite of the great diversities of conflicting creeds. Theosophy, therefore, expects and demands from the Fellows of the Society a great mutual toleration and charity for each other’s shortcomings, ungrudging mutual help in the search for truths in every department of nature—moral and physical. And this ethical standard must be unflinchingly applied to daily life.

    Theosophy should not represent merely a collection of moral verities, a bundle of metaphysical ethics, epitomized in theoretical dissertations. Theosophy must be made practical; and it has, therefore, to be disencumbered of useless digressions, in the sense of desultory orations and fine talk. Let every Theosophist only do his duty, that which he can and ought to do, and very soon the sum of human misery, within and around the areas of every Branch of your Society, will be found visibly diminished. Forget SELF in working for others—and the task will become an easy and a light one for you . . . . .

    Do not set your pride in the appreciation and acknowledgment of that work by others. Why should any member of the Theosophical Society, striving to become a Theosophist, put any value upon his neighbours’ good or bad opinion of himself and his work, so long as he himself knows it to be useful and beneficent to other people? Human praise and enthusiasm are short-lived at best; the laugh of the scoffer and the condemnation of the indifferent looker-on are sure to follow, and generally to out-weigh the admiring praise of the friendly. Do not despise the opinion of the world, nor provoke it uselessly to unjust criticism. Remain rather as indifferent to the abuse as to the praise of those who can never know you as you really are, and who ought, therefore, to find you unmoved by either, and ever placing the approval or condemnation of your own Inner Self higher than that of the multitudes.

    Those of you who would know yourselves in the spirit of truth, learn to live alone even amidst the great crowds which may sometimes surround you. Seek communion and intercourse only with the God within your own soul; heed only the praise or blame of that deity which can never be separated from your true self, as it is verily that God itself: called the HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS. Put without delay your good intentions into practice, never leaving a single one to remain only an intention—expecting, meanwhile, neither reward nor even acknowledgment for the good you may have done. Reward and acknowledgment are in yourself and inseparable from you, as it is your Inner Self alone which can appreciate them at their true degree and value. For each one of you contains within the precincts of his inner tabernacle the Supreme Court—prosecutor, defence, jury and judge—whose sentence is the only one without appeal; since none can know you better than you do yourself, when once you have learned to judge that Self by the never wavering light of the inner divinity—your higher Consciousness. Let, therefore, the masses, which can never know your true selves, condemn your outer selves according to their own false lights . . . .

    The majority of the public Areopagus is generally composed of self-appointed judges, who have never made a permanent deity of any idol save their own personalities—their lower selves; for those who try in their walk in life, to follow their inner light will never be found judging, far less condemning, those weaker than themselves. What does it matter then, whether the former condemn or praise, whether they humble you or exalt you on a pinnacle? They will never comprehend you one way or the other. They may make an idol of you, so long as they imagine you a faithful mirror of themselves on the pedestal or altar which they have reared for you, and while you amuse or benefit them. You cannot expect to be anything for them but a temporary fetish, succeeding another fetish just overthrown, and followed in your turn by another idol. Let, therefore, those who have created that idol destroy it whenever they like, casting it down with as little cause as they had for setting it up. Your Western Society can no more live without its Khalif of an hour than it can worship one for any longer period; and whenever it breaks an idol and then besmears it with mud, it is not the model, but the disfigured image created by its own foul fancy and which it has endowed with its own vices, that Society dethrones and breaks.

    Theosophy can only find objective expression in an all-embracing code of life, thoroughly impregnated with the spirit of mutual tolerance, charity, and brotherly love. Its Society, as a body, has a task before it which, unless performed with the utmost discretion, will cause the world of the indifferent and the selfish to rise up in arms against it. Theosophy has to fight intolerance, prejudice, ignorance and selfishness, hidden under the mantle of hypocrisy. It has to throw all the light it can from the torch of Truth, with which its servants are entrusted. It must do this without fear or hesitation, dreading neither reproof nor condemnation. Theosophy, through its mouthpiece, the Society, has to tell the TRUTH to the very face of LIE; to beard the tiger in its den, without thought or fear of evil consequences, and to set at defiance calumny and threats. As an Association, it has not only the right, but the duty to uncloak vice and do its best to redress wrongs, whether through the voice of its chosen lecturers or the printed word of its journals and publications—making its accusations, however, as impersonal as possible. But its Fellows, or Members, have individually no such right. Its followers have, first of all, to set the example of a firmly outlined and as firmly applied morality, before they obtain the right to point out, even in a spirit of kindness, the absence of a like ethic unity and singleness of purpose in other associations or individuals. No Theosophist should blame a brother, whether within or outside of the association; neither may he throw a slur upon another’s actions or denounce him, lest he himself lose the right to be considered as a Theosophist. For, as such, he has to turn away his gaze from the imperfections of his neighbour, and centre rather his attention upon his own shortcomings, in order to correct them and become wiser. Let him not show the disparity between claim and action in another, but, whether in the case of a brother, a neighbour, or simply a fellow man, let him rather ever help one weaker than himself on the arduous walk of life.

    The problem of true Theosophy and its great mission are, first, the working out of clear unequivocal conceptions of ethic ideas and duties, such as shall best and most fully satisfy the right and altruistic feelings in men; and second, the modelling of these conceptions for their adaptation into such forms of daily life, as shall offer a field where they may be applied with most equitableness.

    Such is the common work placed before all who are willing to act on these principles. It is a laborious task, and will require strenuous and persevering exertion; but it must lead you insensibly to progress, and leave you no room for any selfish aspirations outside the limits traced . . . . Do not indulge personally in unbrotherly comparison between the task accomplished by yourself and the work left undone by your neighbours or brothers. In the fields of Theosophy none is held to weed out a larger plot of ground than his strength and capacity will permit him. Do not be too severe on the merits or demerits of one who seeks admission among your ranks, as the truth about the actual state of the inner man can only be known to Karma, and can be dealt with justly by that all-seeing LAW alone. Even the simple presence amidst you of a well-intentioned and sympathising individual may help you magnetically. . . . . You are the free volunteer workers on the fields of Truth, and as such must leave no obstruction on the paths leading to that field.

… … …

    The degree of success or failure are the landmarks the masters have to follow, as they will constitute the barriers placed with your own hands between yourselves and those whom you have asked to be your teachers. The nearer your approach to the goal contemplated—the shorter the distance between the student and the Master.




From Letters From The Masters Of The Wisdom I,


K.H. Letter to H.S. Olcott (Letter 19)


    Again, as you approach London I have a word or two to say to you. Your impressibility is so changeful that I must not wholly depend upon it at this critical time. Of course you know that things were so brought to a focus as to necessitate the present journey and that the inspiration to make it came to you and to permit it to the Councillors from without. Put all needed restraint upon your feelings, so that you may do the right thing in this Western imbroglio. Watch your first impressions. The mistakes you make spring from failure to do this. Let neither your personal predilections, affections, suspicions nor antipathies affect your action.

    Misunderstandings have grown up between Fellows both in London and Paris, which imperil the interests of the movement. You will be told that the chief originator of most, if not of all these disturbances is H.P.B. This is not so; though her presence in England has, of course, a share in them. But the largest share rests with others, whose serene unconsciousness of their own defects is very marked and much to be blamed. One of the most valuable effects of Upasika’s mission is that it drives men to self-study and destroys in them blind servility for persons. Observe your own case, for example. But your revolt, good friend, against her infallibility—as you once thought it—has gone too far and you have been unjust to her, for which I am sorry to say, you will have to suffer hereafter along with others. Just now, on deck, your thoughts about her were dark and sinful, and so I find the moment a fitting one to put you on your guard.

    Try to remove such misconceptions as you will find, by kind persuasion and an appeal to the feelings of loyalty to the Cause of truth if not to us. Make all these men feel that we have no favourites, nor affections for persons, but only for their good acts and humanity as a whole. But we employ agents—the best available. Of these for the past thirty years the chief has been the personality known as H.P.B. to the world (but otherwise to us). Imperfect and very troublesome, no doubt, she proves to some, nevertheless, there is no likelihood of our finding a better one for years to come—and your theosophists should be made to understand it. Since 1885 I have not written, nor caused to be written save thro’ her agency, direct and remote, a letter or line to anybody in Europe or America, nor communicated orally with, or thro’ any third party. Theosophists should learn it. You will understand later the significance of this declaration so keep it in mind. Her fidelity to our work being constant, and her sufferings having come upon her thro’ it, neither I nor either of my Brother associates will desert or supplant her. As I once before remarked, ingratitude is not among our vices.

    With yourself our relations are direct, and have been with the rare exceptions you know of, like the present, on the psychical plane, and so will continue thro’ force of circumstances. That they are so rare—is your own fault as I told you in my last

    To help you in your present perplexity: H.P.B. has next to no concern with administrative details, and should be kept clear of them, so far as her strong nature can be controlled. But this you must tell to all:With occult matters she has everything to do. We have not abandoned her; she is not ‘given over to chelas’. She is our direct agent. I warn you against permitting your suspicions and resentment against ‘her many follies’ to bias your intuitive loyalty to her. In the adjustment of this European business, you will have two things to consider—the external and administrative, and the internal and psychical. Keep the former under your control and that of your most prudent associates, jointly: leave the latter to her. You are left to devise the practical details with your usual ingenuity. Only be careful, I say, to discriminate when some emergent interference of hers in practical affairs is referred to you on appeal, between that which is merely exoteric in origin and effects, and that which beginning on the practical tends to beget consequences on the spiritual plane. As to the former you are the best judge, as to the latter, she.

    I have also noted your thoughts about the ‘Secret Doctrine’. Be assured that what she has not annotated from scientific and other works, we have given or suggested to her. Every mistake or erroneous notion, corrected and explained by her from the works of other theosophist was corrected by me, or under my instruction. It is a more valuable work than its predecessor, an epitome of occult truths that will make it a source of information and instruction for the earnest student for long years to come.

    P. Sreenivasrow is in great mental distress once more because of my long silence, not having a clear intuition developed (as how should he after the life he has led?). He fears he is abandoned, whereas he has not been lost sight of for one moment. From day to day he is making his own record at the ‘Ashrum’, from night to night receiving instructions fitted to his spiritual capabilities. He has made occasional mistakes, e.g., once recently, in helping thrust out of the Headquarters house, one who deserved a more charitable treatment, whose fault was the result of ignorance and psychical feebleness rather than of sin, and who was a strong man’s victim. Report to him, when you return, the lesson taught you by at Bombay, and tell my devoted tho’ mistaken ‘son’ that it was most theosophical to give her protection, most untheosophical and selfish to drive her away.

    I wish you to assure others T.T, R.A.M., N.N.S., N.D.C., G.N.C., U.U.B., T.V.C., P.V.S., N.B.C., C.S., C.W.L., D.N.G., D.H., S.N.C., etc. among the rest, not forgetting the other true workers in Asia, that the stream of karma is ever flowing on and we as well as they must win our way towards Liberation. There have been sore trials in the past, others await you in the future. May the faith and courage which have supported you hitherto endure to the end.

    You had better not mention for the present this letter to anyone—not even to H.P.B. unless she speaks to you of it herself. Time enough when you see occasion arise. It is merely given you, as a warning and a guide; to others, as a warning only, for you may use it discreetly if needs be.


    Prepare, however, to have the authenticity of the present denied in certain quarters.

… … …


Notes to Letter 19 by C. Jinarājadāsa


    There is little doubt, not only from the context, but also from one fact mentioned by Colonel Olcott that this letter was received in August 1888. But, curiously, it seems from reading Old Dairy Leaves, Third Series, p.91, as if it were received in 1883. Colonel Olcott there quotes from this Letter, and connects it with the difficulties of 1884 in the London Lodge, concerning which instructions were given to him in Letter 18. Colonel Olcott mentions (O.D.L., Third Series, p.91) that Letter 19 was ‘received phenomenally in my cabin on board the “Shannon“, the day before we reached Brindisi’. But he sailed from Bombay for London on P. & O. Mail Steamer Shannon on 7 August 1888, as reported in his diary on that date, and in The Theosophist ‘Supplement’, September 1888, p. ciii. Furthermore, in the body of the letter itself the Master says: ‘since 1885 I have not written’; and C.W.L., who is mentioned at the end of the letter, did not come out to India till December 1884. It would seem, therefore, that Colonel Olcott, when narrating events about the London Lodge, took this letter about the ‘situation’ in 1888 to refer to the situation in 1884.

    It is perhaps worth mentioning the urgency of the situation in 1888. The T.S. was founded in 1875, and for the first seven years of its life it was being tested in several different ways. In one respect it failed, and this was because of its disinclination to accept openly the direct guidance of the Society by the ‘Brothers’, i.e., the Masters, who formed the ‘First Section’ of the Society. By 1882 the majority of members in the T.S., especially in London, accepted the occult philosophy given by the Masters, but refused to accept the occult guidance given by the Masters through their chelas in the outer administration of the Society. At the end of the first cycle, in 1882, the Masters, therefore, retired somewhat into the background, so far as the Society’s outer affairs were concerned, and gave their directions only to a few selected individuals.

    Before the second cycle was about to be completed in 1889, H.P.B. was anxious to make another effort to strengthen the occult links between the T.S. and the Masters, because the T.S. was becoming steadily devitalized. It did not attempt to develop the idea of brotherhood, and its magazine, The Theosophist, was, under Colonel Olcott’s direction merely one for comparative religion. After the shock to the Society from the Coulomb-Missionary attack in 1884, and the adverse report of the Society for Psychical Research declaring H.P.B. to be a fraud and trickster, Colonel Olcott feared for the Society if it were to be publicly linked to the idea of the Masters, and he purposely avoided in the magazine all references to them and their connection with the Society (See Letter 60, K.H. letter to H.P.B., and notes [Letter 47 in earlier editions], Letters From The Masters Of The Wisdom I).

    “Because the Society has liberated itself from our grasp and influence and we have let it go—we make no unwilling slaves. He says he has saved it? He saved its body, but he allowed through sheer fear, to its soul to escape, and it is now a soulless corpse, a machine run so far well enough, but which will fall to pieces when he is gone. Out of the three objects the second alone is attended to, but it is no longer either a brotherhood, nor a body over the face of which broods the Spirit from beyond the Great Range.”

    Meantime in London, from 1887, a band gathered round H.P.B., especially of men and women under about thirty-five, composed of the two Keightleys, C.F.Wright, G.R.S. Mead, Laura Cooper, E.T. Sturdy, W.G. Old, and others, who pledged themselves to H.P.B. In addition, they definitely desired to tread the road to the Masters, and enrolled themselves as H.P.B.’s personal disciples. A complication was added to the situation by a fear on the part of Colonel Olcott that H.P.B. in Europe was organizing a counterpoise to his influence in the Society as President, and was attempting to create an imperium in imperio. The young band round H.P.B. had little knowledge of Colonel Olcott’s record of sacrifices for the Society. They thought of him as ‘the old man’ at Adyar who was obstructing H.P.B.’s plans to serve the cause of the Masters. The Colonel was angry with H.P.B. and her devoted band when he set out from India to put a stop to what he construed to be an insurrection. It was then that the Master K.H. entered into the situation with this letter precipitated in his cabin on board s.s. Shannon, the day before the steamer reached Brindisi. As a result of the letter Colonel Olcott modified his attitude and he smoothed matters in the Society’s administration, so that the E.S.T. might do its work under the sole direction of H.P.B., without the T.S. interfering in its affairs, or being interfered with in its democratic organization by the E.S.T. It was not, however, till 1908 that the T.S. fully regained its original position, with the Masters of the Wisdom as once more the First Section of the Society.

The triangle with dot in the middle refers to the Master M. The incident referred to is as follows. In the U.S.A., Mr D.M. Bennett was at this time one of the foremost leaders of free-thought and a strong opponent of the narrow bigotry which then passed as Christianity in the eastern States. He was editor of The Truthseeker. He had suffered a year’s imprisonment on a charge of blasphemy, Colonel Olcott says, ‘for his bitter—often coarse—attacks upon Christian dogmatism’, and he narrates the story of the trumped up charges against Mr Bennett (O.D.L., Second Series, Chap. XXII). Mr Bennett arrived in Bombay in January 1882, in the course of a world tour. He had read The Occult World, and applied to join the Society. Owing to hostile incidents in Bombay which Colonel Olcott narrates, he ‘hesitated to take him into membership, for fear that it might plunge us into another public wrangle’. It was then that the Master M. interfered and ordered him to admit Mr Bennett into membership, giving certain reasons.

    But even before the arrival of Mr Bennett, Mr Sinnett received from the Master D.K. a message from the Master K.H. as follows:

    I have also to tell you that in a certain Mr Bennett of America who will shortly arrive at Bombay, you may recognize one, who, in spite of his national provincialism, that you so detest, and his too infidelistic bias, is one of our agents (unknown to himself) to carry out the scheme for the enfranchisement of Western thought from superstitious creeds. If you can see your way towards giving him a correct idea of the actual present and potential future state of Asiatic but more particularly of Indian thought, it will be gratifying to my Master (The Mahatma Letters to A.P.Sinnett, Letter 37, received at Allahabad, January 1882).

    When Mr Sinnett met Mr Bennett, evidently his reactions were distinctly unfavourable. (Here we have to remember that Mr Sinnett’s attitude to all but a few selected Americans was not cordial.) The topic of Mr Bennett is now taken up by the Master M. writing to Mr Sinnett:

    You saw only that Bennett had unwashed hands, uncleaned nails and used coarse language and has—to you—a generally unsavoury aspect. But if that sort of thing is your criterion of moral excellence or potential power, how many adepts or wonder producing lamas would pass your muster? This is part of your blindness. Were he to die this minute—and I’ll use a Christian phraseology to make you comprehend me the better—few hotter tears would drop from the eye of the recording Angel of Death over other such ill-used men, as the tear Bennett would received for his share. Few men have suffered—and unjustly suffered—as he has: and as few have a more kind, unselfish and truthful a heart. That’s all: and the unwashed Bennett is morally as far superior to the gentlemanly Hume as you are superior to your bearer. [1]

    What H.P.B. repeated to you is correct: ‘the natives do not see Bennett’s coarseness and K.H. is also a native’. What did I mean? Why simply that our Buddhalike friend [2] can see thro’ the varnish, the grain of the wood beneath and inside the slimy, stinking oyster—the ‘priceless pearl within!’ B—is an honest man and of a sincere heart, besides one of tremendous moral courage and a martyr to boot. Such our K.H. loves—whereas he would have only scorn for a Chesterfield and Grandison. I suppose that the stooping of the finished ‘gentleman’ K.H., to the coarse fibred infidel Bennett is no more surprising than the alleged stooping of the ‘gentleman’ Jesus to the prostitute Magdalene. There’s a moral smell as well as a physical one, good friend. See how much K.H. read your character when he would not send the Lahore youth to talk with you without a change of dress. The sweet pulp of the orange is inside the skin, Sahib: try to look inside boxes for jewels and do not trust to those lying in the lid, I say again; the man is an honest man and very earnest one; not exactly an angel—they must be hunted for in fashionable churches, parties at aristocratical mansions, theatres and clubs and such other sanctums—but as angels are outside our cosmogony we are glad of the help of even honest and plucky tho’ dirty men (The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Letter 43, received at Allahabad, February 1882).


    [1] Personal valet, ‘dressing boy’.

    [2] The Master K.H.


    I have not been able to get any reliable knowledge regarding the lady referred to and why she was sent away from Adyar by P. Sreenivasarow

    The initials refer to the following persons: Tookaram Tatya, Norendro Nath Sen, Gyanendra Nath Chakravarti, T. Vijayaraghava Charlu, P. Vencata Subbiah, (Pandit) Chandra Sekhara, C.W. Leadbeater, Dina Nath Ganguli, S. Nilakantkumar Chatterjee. I am unable, though I have inquired and searched much, to identify who are the other ‘true workers in Asia’ referred to.




The ES premises at the TS


Olcott’s comments from Convention Report for 1905, supplement to “The Theosophist“, page 23 under the heading of ‘Freemasonry’.
Explanatory comments from The Golden Book Of The TS, Pages 146-7.


    When Mrs. Besant came to India in 1893 and, with her deep understanding of the spirit of Indian culture, threw a great deal of her energy into the revival of the glory of the ancient days of India, there were indeed a few in England who criticised whether a Theosophical lecturer, endorsed by the Society, had any right to go outside the mere bald proclamation of Theosophical principles. These few were alarmed that Mrs. Besant was committing the Society to Hinduism. Later on, when a certain number of Theosophists threw themselves with enthusiasm into Co-Masonry, a few protests were again made that the Society’s neutrality was being infringed. In the Convention address of Colonel Olcott in 1905, he states his judgment on this general problem, whether Lodges and individuals of a non-sectarian Society—like the T. S. do commit the Society as a whole, when they take up some particular line of activity which is congenial to them. His statement is as follows:

   “During the past year some strong protests have been sent me against the mixing up of the Society with a system of Co-Masonry in which Mrs. Besant and some of our best members have taken a great interest. One chief objection has been the giving of our Branch Rooms for meetings of the new Order. For my part, I see no more objection for members to join this Society than any other, always provided that every necessary precaution should be taken to prevent the appearance of the Society as a body being in any way responsible for the basis or government of the Association. In this respect I should say that it would come within the same category as the E. S. T. or any other body composed of individual members. In view of my official position it would not be proper for me to have any personal relation with any of these bodies. At the same time my wish to meet the legitimate desires and aspirations of my colleagues is proved by what I have done in the making of the present room for the E. S. T. in the new Library Building.”

In 1902 E. S. T. members subscribed the cost of building the present rooms over the Eastern section of Adyar Library, and since then these rooms have been reserved for the use of E. S. members.