How Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater turned “The Theosophical Society – Adyar” into the very antithesis of the Masters’ own teachings, aims, and principles. (With help from Geoffrey Hodson, George Arundale, C. Jinarajadasa, “Bishop” James Wedgwood, A. E. Powell, Clara Codd, and others.)
“The present volumes have been written to small purpose if they have not shown that the apostolic succession is a gross and palpable fraud.” – H. P. Blavatsky, “Isis Unveiled” Vol. 2, p. 544
“My clairvoyant investigation into those early periods absolutely confirms the contention of the Roman Church. They know that there has been no break in apostolic succession.” – C. W. Leadbeater, “Science of the Sacraments” p. 286
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The title of this article is certainly strongly worded and graphic. Those who will attentively read through to the end, however, will see that it is entirely warranted and necessarily honestly descriptive of the utter tragedy and disgraceful travesty that occurred within the Theosophical Movement in the first several decades of the 20th century.
The following excerpts all date from that period and most are in a sense eyewitness accounts of what was going on. They are quoted from “The O. E. Library Critic,” a monthly American periodical published by Dr H. N. Stokes, an independently minded Theosophist who was a member of all the Theosophical societies and organisations but swore allegiance to none. Stokes’ journal served as a sort of uncensored newspaper of the whole Movement, reporting each month on the latest news, occurrences, events, publications, and activities, of which there were many back in those days.
There is much more that we could have included but these will provide a fairly sufficient and concise overview.
In other issues, for example, Stokes reported on how the Sydney Lodge of the Adyar Society held a book-burning for those books in their possession which promoted H. P. Blavatsky’s work and teachings above that of the entirely rewritten “Theosophy” of Leadbeater and Besant and which defended HPB whilst exposing the ongoing deception of those two leaders and in particular the immoral and criminal activities of Leadbeater. Many doubted the legitimacy of the report until Clara Codd herself – “an ultra-Leadbeaterite” as Stokes put it – unabashedly confirmed that the books had indeed been burned and that she herself had been one of the chief incendiaries.
There were also reports sent in from Central Europe by a woman describing how her dissatisfaction with the direction and activities of the Adyar Society – of which she was a member – led her to start translating HPB’s masterwork “The Secret Doctrine” into her native language, only to have her copy of “The Secret Doctrine” and translation confiscated by Society officials who also expelled her for voicing lack of confidence in “Bishop” Leadbeater.
All this and more will justify the view held by the father of Jiddu Krishnamurti, that the organisation which had in a way “captured” his son was seemingly a bizarre quasi-Christian cult. It will also lend much strength to the belief of many Theosophists that Leadbeater, Besant, Wedgwood, the Liberal Catholic Church, the “Second Coming” of Christ etc., were inspired, directed, and used – whether wittingly or unwittingly – by the Jesuits to completely hijack, sabotage, and derail the work, aims, and message of the Eastern Mahatmas and the only one They ever called Their “Direct Agent” – H. P. Blavatsky.
“But the past is the past!” some will protest. “Why can’t Theosophists just forget about all that history and focus on the here and now so that we can all work together in unity?”
Such contempt for history is not uncommon amongst those with a shameful past which they wish to hide. Yet we can never understand or make proper sense of the present without a firm understanding and knowledge of the events and acts of the past. If members and sympathisers of the Adyar Society truly want “Theosophical Unity,” as some of them loudly and persistently claim, they will have to prepare for this and much much more to be brought up to the surface and to the light so that it can be faced, dealt with, learnt from, acknowledged, and the obvious lessons acquired.
Leadbeater, Besant, and the Society over which they ruled, were themselves the main and most antagonistic cause for disunity and disharmony in the Theosophical Movement; the disunity of then which still exists today. Adyar members would do far better by addressing the many disturbing skeletons in their own closet than pointing the finger of blame at groups such as the United Lodge of Theosophists and accusing them of causing disunity by their general lack of inclination to co-operate, support, and work together with the Adyar Society. This is merely the same old attitude of the 1920s and 1930s, albeit in a somewhat subtler form and expression.
Once one acquaints oneself with the real facts and details, it is hardly surprising that sincere and devoted students of HPB and her closest colleague, friend, and fellow Teacher William Q. Judge, find it an utter impossibility to work side by side or in union with the equally sincere and devoted students of Leadbeater, Besant, Hodson, Bailey, and so forth. It is not a matter of bias or prejudice; it is a matter of principles, ethics, and unswerving commitment to Truth and to what the actual Masters have actually taught.
We are well aware that not all Adyar Society members of today study, revere, defend, or support the individuals just mentioned but we dare to venture that as long as any of these – plus the Liberal Catholic Church – remains an object of veneration and respect within that organisation, it will have no truly worthwhile future.
“Truth is One, and cannot admit of diametrically opposite views,” wrote the Master K.H., adding, “Our doctrine knows no compromises.” It may be well to keep these assertions in mind when reading what follows, as well as when reading and studying the Masters’ own Teachings through HPB and WQJ and comparing them with that presented by the later “luminaries.”
One might also remember with profit these words of the same Adept about the Adyar Society, words recorded by HPB herself: “The Society has liberated itself from our grasp and influence and we have let it go – we make no unwilling slaves. He [i.e. Col. Olcott] 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.”
There could hardly be any clearer or more definite words than these. As Robert Crosbie once asked, “Why try to resurrect a corpse?”
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By Dr H. N. Stokes, published in his monthly periodical “The O. E. Library Critic” Vol. XVI, No. 10, May 1927.
There cannot be the shadow of a doubt that Mrs. Besant and her associates have long since abandoned the original Theosophy and have substituted a spurious Theosophy of their own, in large measure directly contradictory. This is not the place to go into details, but a few examples will be given presently.
It is easy enough to see what causes have led up to this condition in the Theosophical Society. Two persons are responsible, Mrs. Besant and the scheming C. W. Leadbeater. While drawing constant attention to themselves in innumerable statements with which theosophical literature is filled, by placing persons who would sing their praises in prominent places, by forcing their own writings on theosophists and discouraging those of the founders, they have succeeded in casting out H. P. B. and the Mahatmas and have put themselves in their place. At the same time they have made use of the well-known fact that most people will accept what it is easy and pleasant to believe irrespective of its truth, and will follow those handing it out to them. By giving people what they like and backing it up with claims of clairvoyant insight, contact with the Masters and what not, by bestowing honors and initiations, so-called, on those who give promise of being useful to them, they have raised themselves to a sacrosanct position and have secured a large following.
Theosophy is a strong man’s religion. It states in the most unmistakable terms that progress is by self-induced and self-devised efforts, that whatever progress one makes must be made by oneself and cannot by any possibility be conferred by another; that there is no such thing as shifting one’s sins upon another. It is inexorably opposed to the doctrine of vicarious atonement in any form, and therefore does not appeal, as does church Christianity, to the shirkers and slackers who want to enjoy the pleasures of sin while casting the responsibility upon a redeemer, nor does it attract the weak who want to have “force” poured into them rather than seeking it in themselves.
The present leaders have exploited this human failing to the utmost. Instead of encouraging their disciples to stand on their own feet, they have encouraged them to be led and have held themselves up as the leaders, as the divinely appointed shepherds, and then, having caused them to renounce all spiritual and intellectual independence they have filled them to the neck with everything that was condemned by the Masters. It was announced that the only way to progress beyond a certain point was to begin with a pledge of blind obedience to Annie Besant; they have stimulated a desire to come into personal contact with Masters and then have put themselves forward as the only ones able to secure them such a privilege. In fact, Leadbeater tells us (“The Masters and the Path,” page 59) that the first step to a Master is to believe in Annie Besant and to think of her constantly in one’s meditations. Leadbeater had himself announced as being “on the threshold of divinity,” while Annie Besant actually printed and circulated a letter written by one of her sycophants, George Arundale, declaring that she is to be the “ruler of gods and men.” Leadbeater wrote an absurd book on the astral plane, clearly a work of imagination, and then gave out that the Master K. H. was so delighted with this work that he secured the original manuscript for the occult library of the White Lodge (“Theosophist,” February, 1919, page 419). In 1913 these two worthies published “Man: Whence, How and Whither,” a preposterous travesty on the Theosophy of the Masters, which was clearly intended to supplant “The Secret Doctrine,” and which actually attempted to do so by designating it as a product of dubious clairvoyance. Leadbeater produced those absurdities, “Rents in the Veil of Time” and “The Lives of Alcyone,” in which, as well as in “Man: Whence, How and Whither,” he appealed to the vanity of his dupes and bound them more closely to them by assigning them important roles in past lives, and connecting them up by marriage with himself, Annie Besant and Krishnamurti. About the same time he started an Initiation mill, pretending that certain persons whom he wished to make use of had taken initiations with the Masters, and holding out the hope to others that they might receive the same honor if they would but follow him – “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”
The notion of the near coming of a world teacher, the reincarnation of Christ, and the selection of young Krishnamurti to fill the role was a relatively harmless vagary, although it contravened a definite statement of H. P. B. to the effect that there would be no new teacher till about 1975, and tended to withdraw attention from the teachings which were already available. A far more pernicious innovation was the Liberal Catholic Church which, even had it not been founded upon fraud by a gang of disreputable sex-perverts, and had it not used every sort of fraud to force itself upon public attention and especially upon that of theosophists, was in direct conflict with the teachings of H. P. B. and the Masters, leading its followers to depend upon ritual and priestly ceremonial for their advancement. The doctrines of this church of magic and smells, sanctified grease, holy water and other humbuggery, as presented by Leadbeater and endorsed by Mrs. Besant, amount to a virtual denial of Theosophy. Leadbeater told us that sin is a “twist in the ether” (“Theosophist,” September, 1917), which will automatically straighten itself in time, but cannot be corrected by any effort of the sinner himself; only a priest, by use of the ceremonials peculiar to the church, can rectify it. Here we have a flat contradiction of the doctrine of Karma, a basic principle of Theosophy. He further announced that “power,” or what Christians call “the grace of God,” is something which no one can secure by his own efforts or worthiness, but that a priest of “apostolic succession” can secure it for him by muttering certain prescribed incantations by which an astral pipe is run up, and “Christ himself,” standing at the top pours the force or grace down through it, with the aid of an assisting angel. From the priest it is sprinkled over the congregation and even over the surrounding country for miles around – a sort of theosophical April shower, wetting alike the just and the unjust. This force or grace of God he described as a sort of electricity which could be stored in reservoirs and liquified and distilled in a suitably constructed still, and so gross was the picture he drew of it that one might expect it to be bottled and served from door to door like the morning milk (“Theosophist,” April, 1920, pages 55-63). These are no exaggerations; they are literally what he tells us in his book, “The Science of the Sacraments” and in a series of articles published by Mrs. Besant. We were even told that the devotional attitude was now becoming obsolete, that “the wave of devotion is receding and the wave of ceremonial rising,” and that while it is desirable that the priest who hands out the grace of God in the above fashion shall be a moral man, this is by no means essential, in fact quite a secondary consideration.
One looks for such stuff among voodooists, and in churches which deal in mechanical processes of salvation by proxy, but not in a society which once held that “Each man is his own absolute lawgiver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself, the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.” It is a direct repudiation of real Theosophy, of what every spiritually minded person must perceive to be self-evident, and yet, with and by the consent of Annie Besant, and with her public endorsement and her threats in the E.S. [i.e. Esoteric Section], it was and is being insidiously forced into theosophical lodges.
Those familiar with the methods of propaganda followed know how these changes have been effected. First, through Mrs. Besant’s E.S., backed by threats of expulsion and loss of advancement in future lives; then, by using the official machinery to bring the writings of H. P. B. into discredit and to push their own books instead. Official lecturers, selected from the most ardent followers of Besant and Leadbeater, went out of their way to state publicly that Blavatsky was too difficult to understand and recommending instead the books of these two leaders. “The Secret Doctrine” was kept carefully out of the way on top shelves or in the locked closet, to be consulted only at such times as nobody had the chance to read it; Blavatsky books were to be purchased only by special order, and were even falsely reported to be out of print; Besant and Leadbeater books were hawked about and kept on sale on lodge book tables, under the charge of trusted persons. A “Primer of Theosophy” was placed in the hands of new members, containing a list of books recommended by Leadbeater, who advised reading 23 books by Annie Besant and 10 books by himself before attempting to touch, if at all, H. P. B.’s “Secret Doctrine,” and even this they were discouraged from studying.
With the authority of Mrs. Besant the Adyar press issued a booklet for new members in which precisely the same tactics were followed. The whole was clearly enough a deliberate scheme for scuttling Blavatsky, substituting their own corrupted Theosophy and selling their own books.
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Lest some may be disposed to think that the statements made elsewhere in this issue regarding the deliberate suppression of the Theosophy of the Founders by the people controlling the Theosophical Society today is overdrawn, I refer the reader to the semiannual “Diary” of the Theosophical Society in England and Wales, which is mainly a directory of sectional and lodge officers and of lecture programs. The April-September, 1927, issue contains (pages 80-83) a list of books recommended for study. This consists of:
By Annie Besant – 48 books
By C. W. Leadbeater – 21 books
By C. Jinarajadasa – 8 books
By J. Krishnamurti – 3 books
By Bhagavan Das, Haden Guest, Irving S. Cooper, T. Subba Row, H. S. Olcott, N. Bilimoria, each – 1 book
By H. P. Blavatsky – NONE!
Letters from Masters – NONE!
The Bhagavad Gita finds an obscure place among the books of Annie Besant, T. Subba Row’s book on “The Philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita” is excellent, but such magnificent classics as “The Voice of the Silence” and “Light on the Path” are excluded, as are also “Isis Unveiled,” “The Key to Theosophy,” “The Secret Doctrine,” “The Mahatma Letters” to Sinnett, and even the two small volumes of “Letters from the Masters” edited by Mr. Jinarajadasa. This is natural enough, for they are incompatible with the others. On the contrary, students are recommended to study Mrs. Besant’s “Autobiography,” which is not a theosophical book, and Mr. Leadbeater’s “Science of the Sacraments,” which describes how the Grace of God is tanked, poured down through astral pipes and scattered around by a priest.
In fact, with two or three exceptions these books are not Theosophy at all. They are a mixture of the rhetorical inanities of Annie Besant and the psychic vagaries of C. W. Leadbeater, none of which would pass muster in the light of the original teachings. The neglect of H. P. B. and of the Masters is scandalous. The British Section is clearly in the hands of the agents of these two pseudo-theosophists, and is being used as a means of selling their books, and the Three Objects enunciated on page 1 should be supplemented, if not preceded, by a fourth Object:
“To sell, buy, and cause to be sold and bought, the publications of Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater.”
This is confirmed by the announcement that members are requested to make a special point of buying Besant books in commemoration of her 80th birthday. What utter nonsense! If it is the object of the British Section to spread Theosophy, why does it limit its efforts to this one writer, and why this constant talk about birthdays, always accompanied by an appeal for cash?
The Theosophical Society in England is not only dead, but stinketh.
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Mrs. Besant and the Liberal Catholic Church (By William Loftus Hare, F.T.S.)
Published by Dr H. N. Stokes in the monthly periodical “The O. E. Library Critic” Vol. XVII, No. 2, September 1927.
Theosophists who might have cared to wend their way to St. Mary’s Church, Caledonian Road (once a Wesleyan Chapel) on Sunday mornings June 12, 19, and 26, would have been entertained by the spectacle of Dr. Annie Besant, the aged President of the Theosophical Society, preaching on “Believe in the Light.” They would have seen her emerge from the presbytery during a processional hymn, heralded by candle-bearing acolytes, defended by a phalanx of six priests in purple birettas, and supported fore and aft by splendid bejewelled “Bishops” with towering mitres! Clouds of incense enfolded the throng and stifled the adjacent congregation, who were compensated by the rhythmical benedictions, showered from the cruciform movements of the episcopal fingers of Messrs. Arundale and Pigott! A deacon carried a huge pastoral staff to prove that they were true shepherds of souls!
The same march occurs a second time accompanied by the canopied host, held by a Bishop above the vast congregation of kneeling Theosophists; and again a third time to the strains of the final processional hymn.
I do not know what particular “Light” Mrs. Besant wishes her hearers to believe in, but I may express my conviction that the people are brought to this church by the personal authority of Mrs. Annie Besant and no other. It is no inner light that has drawn almost the whole of the Theosophical Society into this church, which was built up on “orders” obtained by bad faith and was forced upon the deluded Society by sophistry, besantry, and artifice unequalled in modern ecclesiastical history. It was, I believe, the conception of Mr. Wedgwood, aided by the powerful Leadbeater; but Annie Besant gave the word, and her word is law.
The service I witnessed on June 19 lasted two hours, and was accompanied by all the ritual familiar to the Roman Church, with Modernist changes. A portrait of “the Master” hangs over the illuminated altar and is suggestive of a composite of Christ and Krishnamurti!
The name “Christ our Lord” is used frequently in the liturgy, and occasionally “Jesus Christ our Lord.” Innocent Christians there believe they are worshipping the Gospel Saviour and Teacher. The “gnostic” Theosophists know better; they worship an unknown being whom they say drove out the soul of Jesus, dwelt in his body for three years, and escaped to safety just before the agony of the cross!
They ape the Roman Mass, which they interpret in the Leadbeaterian mode. Mrs. Besant preaches on “Transubstantiation” for fifteen minutes, of which she knows little, believes less, and tells nothing. It is truly a pitiful sight and painful hearing. She takes the sacrament from Mr. Arundale, genuflects before the “real presence,” crosses herself, and does all the acts which she has spent half her life in denouncing, and the other half in surpassing.
Having started out to lead us out of the bondage of ritual into the freedom of Theosophia, Divine Wisdom, she dedicates her closing years to lead us back again into it by the aid of an amateurish pantomime, devoid of historical tradition, sincerity, piety, or beauty.
I say no word of censure for the Roman office, though I do not believe in it; but this Liberal Catholic Church I know to be based on untruth, and built up by a manoeuvre, almost every detail of which I have exposed during ten years of Theosophical contest.
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By Dr H. N. Stokes, published in his monthly periodical “The O. E. Library Critic” Vol. XVII, No. 3, October 1927.
If we are to judge from the deluge of words which Mr. Geoffrey Hodson pours forth in the July and August “Messenger” on “The Coming of the Angels,” Neo-Theosophy is rapidly getting back to the old idea of heaven as a place where one plays a harp before the Throne forevermore. He quotes one of the “angels” as saying: “We invite you to a journey of adventure and discovery in a land which has no horizons; which stretches on all sides out into the limitless fields of space. Come and hear the angel choirs, chanting their hymns of praise; see the choristers in robes of fiery white and listen to the voices of countless multitudes, singing their age-long and eternal song; hear the successive waves of harmony which flow outward from their midst, weaving and interweaving as they flow, combining, parting and rejoining in eddies, waves and vast areas of song, forming a mighty whole, which never ceases from eternity to eternity and yet is ever new. See the order and movement of their winged forms . . . ,” and much more. Further these angels “are singing to the accompaniment of the organ tones of the voice of God.” We are told in Hindu books that there are thirty-three crores, or three hundred and thirty million angels (devas), so the concert must be quite deafening withal. Just why Mr. Hodson’s angels have wings, when there is no air to fly in, why they wear robes, when they might as well be naked, and whether God has nothing else to do but to act as their choir leader through all eternity, perhaps Mr. Hodson can tell us. I don’t like to suggest that he is putting over this stuff because he finds it goes with the credulous followers of C. W. Leadbeater. It has all the earmarks of the stuff which can be heard in almost any séance room, and indicates that Mr. Hodson either has a superheated subconsciousness or is a victim of communications from the asstral [deliberate misspelling by Stokes] plane. In either event he has secured a market for his wares and will probably succeed the Grand Old Man Himself as seer-in-chief of the T. S.
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By Dr H. N. Stokes, published in his monthly periodical “The O. E. Library Critic” Vol. XVII, No. 5, December 1927.
Everybody with ears to hear knows that early this year Dr. Arundale set the welkin ringing with his vociferous appeals for a large sum as an 80th birthday gift to Arhats Besant and Leadbeater, and the British Section was asked to raise £3,000 for this purpose. The Section heard and obeyed, but only so far as the appeal was concerned. According to “News and Notes” for October (page 3), only £420 had been collected up to August 31st, while the collection bag closes December 1st. So England treats the prophets! Even this little will help, however, and enable Arhat Leadbeater to increase his ration of milk, which I am informed, consists of four gallons daily. This may be an exaggeration, however, as two gallons daily should be enough for anybody, even when on the threshold of divinity.
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By Dr H. N. Stokes, published in his monthly periodical “The O. E. Library Critic” Vol. XVII, No. 5, December 1927.
* “The Mental Body”; by Lieut.-Colonel Arthur E. Powell. pp. xii, 331. The Theosophical Publishing House, Limited, London, 1927.
In its way, this book by Col. Powell is a very creditable piece of work. He has evidently spent much time in collecting data, has presented them clearly and has had them neatly printed and bound. But with that the commendation must end. To students of Theosophy as it was given out by H. P. Blavatsky and by the Masters in the “Mahatma Letters” it can scarcely serve as more than a warning and, perhaps, a source of entertainment.
The author tells us in his Introduction that “some forty volumes, mostly from the pens of Dr. Annie Besant and Bishop Leadbeater, recognized today as the authorities par excellence on the Ancient Wisdom in its guise of modern Theosophy, have been carefully searched for data connected with the mental body. . . Throughout this series no attempt has been made to prove, or even to justify, the statements made, except in so far as their own internal evidence and reasonability justify them. The bona fides of these veteran investigators and teachers being unquestionable. . .” etc.
His list of “authorities” is given as follows:
By Annie Besant – 14 books
By C. W. Leadbeater – 19 books
By Besant and Leadbeater – 3 books
By E. Wood – 1 book
By J. I. Wedgwood – 1 book
By J. J. van der Leeuw – 1 book
By W. J. Long – 1 book
On the other hand we find:
By H. P. Blavatsky – NONE!
By The Masters of Wisdom – NONE!
That, perhaps, is sufficient to characterize the book. But Col. Powell does not think so, for he states further:
“The works of H. P. Blavatsky are not included in the list of authorities quoted. To have searched “The Secret Doctrine” for references to the Mental Body would, frankly, have been a task beyond the powers of the compiler, and would, also, in all probability have resulted in a volume too abstruse for the class of student for whom this series of books is intended.”
I do not question the sincerity of this astonishing assertion. Probably Col. Powell has never looked inside “The Secret Doctrine.” Had he done so, and had he used the revised edition current in England, he would have found it the best indexed book in the whole of theosophical literature, the separate index volume having almost the proportions of a concordance, making search extremely easy. As for “The Mahatma Letters,” the only authoritative book aside from the works of H. P. B., which contains much information on the mental body and which is fairly well indexed, this does not even receive mention. Had Col. Powell proceeded conscientiously with his work he would have faced the dilemma of having to publish numerous statements which flatly contradict those of his favorite authorities, notably the fairly detailed accounts of what happens at death and after. If the bona fides of the Masters who founded the T. S. and of their messenger H. P. Blavatsky is unquestionable, then much that is in this work is illusion, pure and simple. If Leadbeater is right, then the Masters are wrong.
In what does the bona fides of Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater consist? It is to be regretted that Col. Powell does not inform us, but it is easily taught. It does not consist in teaching what the Masters and H. P. B. taught. It consists solely in the unlimited laudation of Mr. Leadbeater by Mrs. Besant and the unstinted praise of Mrs. Besant by Mr. Leadbeater, whereby the public is led to believe that these two sages are of unquestionable authority, the agents of the Masters and beings on the threshold of divinity. This reciprocal endorsement is aided by the unequaled oratorical powers and facile pen of Mrs. Besant and the plausible style and pretended claims to clairvoyant infallibility made by Mr. Leadbeater, of which there is not an iota of proof other than his own assertions.
If any reader is disposed to question these statements, but would like to know to what extent the Theosophy of Mrs. Besant is contradicted by the teachings of H. P. B. and the Masters, and will communicate with this office, he will be put in the way of finding out for himself.
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* “A Syllabus for a Ten Week’s Course of Study on Esoteric Christianity”; by Daisy E. Grove. Paper, pp. 46. The Theosophical Publishing House, Limited, London, 1927.
This is a pernicious booklet intended to lead the student, under the guise of presenting the mystical side of Christianity, into the arms of C. W. Leadbeater and the bosom of the Liberal Catholic Church. Mrs. Besant’s “Esoteric Christianity,” which serves as a basis for study, is bad enough, but this goes much further and delves into Leadbeater’s “Science of the Sacraments,” his consecrated grease and other paraphernalia for securing salvation through magical processes and through the agency of a priest. It is entirely possible to study Christian mysticism profitably, and when properly understood it is simply an aspect of Theosophy expressed in different terms. But that is a far different matter from the clairvoyant absurdities of Leadbeater, which conflict not only with the theosophical teachings of the Masters, but with the spirit of the Christ of the New Testament.
As is to be expected, the writer discourages the student from following up the controversial material to be found in “Isis Unveiled” and in “The Secret Doctrine” on the ground that “for the student of today, however, the perusal of these early controversies is no longer profitable, save as witness to the distance already traversed.” What is this distance? It is the distance between H. P. B.’s declaration (“Isis Unveiled,” Vol. II, page 544) that “the apostolic succession is a gross and palpable fraud” and the teaching distinctly laid down by the founders of the Liberal Catholic Church, that any rascal, by virtue of having had a certain hocuspocus pronounced over him in a specified fashion by a bishop dressed up in a specified toggery, possesses the power of calling down the divine blessing on his hearers and of absolving them from their sins, whereas a virtuous and spiritual man who has not gone through this performance does not possess such power; it is the distance from the Christianity of Christ to the worst sort of blasphemy, a blasphemy the more dangerous because it is accompanied by everything calculated to blind the true spiritual perceptions and to produce a species of spiritual intoxication.
The booklet costs but a shilling, but the student will save himself far more than a shilling by not buying it; he will save himself the risk of getting on to the left-hand path of ceremonial magic. Mrs. Grove, of course, is not to be charged with deliberate intention of corrupting her readers, as she has been deluded and misled by the “revered President” to whom she dedicates her syllabus.
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