The following are the words of an address delivered by Robert Crosbie – founder of the United Lodge of Theosophists – on 21st March 1915. The occasion marked the anniversary of the transition of the soul of William Quan Judge from his physical body.
You are invited to also read the articles titled Who was William Quan Judge? and The Welcome Influence of William Q. Judge if you would like to discover more about the life, work, and influence of this great and noble soul who was a co-founder of the Theosophical Movement with H.P. Blavatsky, who was called by her at the end of her life her “only friend,” and who stayed loyal, true, and faithful to her and her work and teachings after she had passed away, even when all others were relentlessly doing their utmost to depreciate and belittle her so as to elevate and draw attention to themselves as “great leaders” and “important teachers.”
The following words of HPB certainly turned out to be prophetic, especially in the light of how Mr Judge was so unimaginably persecuted, vilified, and conspired against after HPB’s death by the likes of Annie Besant, Col. Olcott, G.N. Chakravarti, and others…
“If W.Q. Judge, the man who has done most for Theosophy in America, who has worked most unselfishly in your country, and has ever done the bidding of Master, the best he knew how, is left alone…then I say – let them go! They are no Theosophists: and if such a thing should happen, and Judge be left to fight his battles alone, then I shall bid all of them an eternal good-bye. I swear on MASTER’S holy name to shake off the dust of my feet from every one of them … I am unable to realize that at the hour of trouble and supreme fight … any true Theosophist should hesitate for one moment to back W.Q.J. publicly and lodge in his or her protest.”
And what led to “the hour of trouble and supreme fight”? Nothing but WQJ’s firm and unflinching loyalty to the genuine Message and Messenger of Theosophy. Like HPB, he was far greater and higher in his inner being than many people ever realised.
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IN MEMORY OF WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
APRIL 13TH, 1851 – MARCH 21ST, 1896
As a student and worker with William Q. Judge in the early days of the Theosophical Society, I find it very difficult to speak of that personage in proper terms. It is not easy to give a comprehension of what that being really was, nor to bring to the minds of others all that may be present in my own mind from my own acquaintance with him.
It is well for us to consider that every great movement which has ever been has been instituted by some person or persons in the world; that these persons have terms or periods wherein they work; that there is a period in the life of every Teacher when the great mission of his life can be fulfilled. Buddha was born, lived through his youth, and came to manhood before the hour of his mission struck. With Jesus it was the same. So with H. P. Blavatsky. If we understand her to have been one of the Masters – for, even if we think she was less than that, we must admit that she was very much higher in knowledge than the rest of the world – if she were, and I suggest what is not beyond the possibilities, one of the Masters masquerading in a mortal body becoming in all things like unto us, then her mission must have occurred at some period of that body. The same is true with regard to Mr. Judge. There was the fulfilling of the early duties in life, and then the hour striking for that particular mission which was his.
The occupancy of the Judge body was not by birth, strange as it may seem. There is such a thing as an Ego leaving a body intact and habitable; and there is such a thing as another Ego, by agreement on higher planes, using that body which is still usable. If we know anything about the occult laws governing the entrance and the exit of Egos from bodies, we can understand that the Ego thus entering into a borrowed body would, of necessity, be a very highly developed being. In the case of William Q. Judge, there was the death, apparently, at the age of seven years of the child born to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Judge in Dublin; then was a sudden resuscitation, and a change in the nature of the child; the character, the mind, the operation of idea were all there, and from that time, a study and pursuit to fit the brain and body for the work that was to be done in later years.
H. P. B. and William Q. Judge were co-founders of the Theosophical Society in New York in 1875. In a letter where Mr. Judge stated the time of his first visit with her, he said it was not as a stranger that he came before her; it was not as the seeker after philosophies; but as if they had parted only the evening before; that he just desired to know what the work was to be; she indicated it, turned aside to her own work and left him to go on with his. That ought to tell us the story of what kind of a being he was. Mr. Judge was called by H. P. B. her “only friend” – her only friend. He worked with her from the beginning – the only one, of all those who followed her, who understood her; the only one who was absolutely true in his devotion towards her, and towards the Great Cause which she represented.
It has been said that there were two Masters who were the real founders of the Theosophical Movement and Society in that cycle marked by the ending of the first five thousand years of Kali Yug, which denoted a renaissance of spiritual inquiry and uplift to the minds of men, and when a sound basis must be given for the people of then and of the oncoming generation. We also know that H. P. B. and Mr. Judge worked together from the first to last, actually supporting each other in every way. These things go together. They were the two who represented those Masters in the world and put into operation what is greater than any Society the Theosophical Movement, for every society exists because of Theosophy, and not for any other reason whatever. If it is true that we have to discern what we do not know by correspondence with what we do know, it would not be a far stretch to admit, that, perchance, two Masters were in the world working through ordinary human bodies.
As to Mr. Judge’s place in the Great Movement, we may make our own deductions from a few considerations. America presents the greatest possibilities for the most advanced civilization. We are capable here of absorbing everything that is good in all the nations of the older world; we have the advantages that a new country presents in a freedom from old existing institutions. We have reached the extreme confines of the western march of civilization, from which must be a rolling back of the wave that has come through all the centuries from the far East up to this point. There must be here, at the present time, those who are able to assimilate the knowledge that was presented; who have the courage and endurance to carry on the work; who recognize the nature of those whose will keeps it in being all the time. For, although those bodies have passed away as all bodies do, there yet remains the force, the knowledge, the very Presence of those beings who once occupied them.
In the recognition of those beings we should find a key to the whole Movement, – a key to the philosophy which they delivered. It would open many doors to us which now are closed. Taking it merely as a theory, thinking from that basis, reading with that idea in mind, applying with that thought, we would find knowledge springing up spontaneously within us; the real nature – our inner nature would be aroused to a finer and higher perception; and we would soon know just what we are and our place in the great work. The nature of those Beings would then be open to us; the similar nature in ourselves, which we all possess, would then be in accord with those higher natures. Their very presence in the world was an opening to a great force – an opportunity for everyone; the force that flows from true spiritual perception and knowledge is there for everyone able to open his spiritual eyes even just a little, and follow the lines indicated.
Speaking of Mr. Judge as anybody might have known him – as a human being like ourselves – he was humble, unassuming, modest, strong, patient, meek, courageous, an organizer beyond comparison, with powers similar to those possessed by H. P. B., and never using them in any way but to smooth the path for those who desired to follow the road to knowledge. He was kind and patient, as we do not often find with tremendous forcefulness; he had extraordinary powers of organization, with a perception that could look into the very motives and minds of others, could see traitors around him, could read the hearts of those desirous of injuring him, and yet in all his intercourse with them, paving the way for them, remaining ever kind. For the one who most injured him, he had only this to say when friends about him spoke their denunciations: “Never mind what others do. Put no one out of your heart. Go on with the work you see. Work will tell in time, and all these follies of others – follies of ignorance – will fall to nothing. Then, when the time comes, we will all have gained strength; when those who have fallen away for a while come back, there we will be with open arms, as strong brothers, to help them find the path and smooth out the effects of errors that they have created through ignorance.”
Left alone and unknown in America for eight years after the departure of H. P. B. for India, he waited until the time for his mission appeared. That time arrived in 1886, signaled by the publication of the Path Magazine, which ran until the time of his death, some ten years after. Article after article in that magazine from his pen points the way by which Theosophy may be made practical in daily life. He spoke continually in regard to the dangers of intellectualism – studying the philosophy intellectually only, without understanding it: showing how that will lead us into ambition, pride, and far, far away from any true advancement. He showed that the battle we all have to fight is within ourselves, and the enemy we have to face the defects in our character; that the purpose of life is to learn, and it is all made up of learning; that everything which comes to us is capable of being a stepping-stone to greater heights, and if there are difficulties, then, the greater the opportunity. No matter what difficulty confronts us, if it confronts us, we have the strength to overcome it; the very law of our being brings these two positions together. The one who confronts the difficulty, and the difficulty itself, are according to law, and no difficulty is insurmountable. He showed that what was really needed was a wider compassion for our fellowmen; a recognition of the great Beings – the Masters – and working in accord with Them, putting all criticism, all judgment of others aside.
His was a wonderful knowledge, and his was a wonderful power; but we know – perhaps some of us do, at all events – that what was really the cornerstone was rejected of the builders. That Being was soon neglected, and his works neglected by those who should have seen and known. The whole misunderstanding, which finally led to the disruption of the Theosophical Society, lies at that very point. H. P. B. and W. Q. Judge cannot be separated. They came together, they worked together, and they are together. Understanding this – that there was no link missing in the chain of those who worked in the Cause – constitutes the door that opens avenues of knowledge to those who seek. To imagine that knowledge can come in any other way than through the regularly developed channels is to make the greatest mistake. In that chain of being reaching from the very highest down to us no link can be missed; we cannot pass over the link immediately above us; that link must be understood before we can pass to a still higher one. So, while the philosophy recorded has been given out, its ideas spread throughout the world by different societies, each member needs to answer for himself the question – does he really know the truth of the philosophy –is he able to see from the heart out – does he know the straight line of communication, or is he merely following statements and claims made? The door for the Westerners is through William Q. Judge, just as the door for the world was through H. P. B. Those who fail in that recognition must fail in obtaining the benefits that flow from the great communication.
Let down like a dragnet into the world, the Theosophical Society first caught many different human beings – a small lot of humanity who were tried out in their various separate ways and directions with results that we have seen. Among them were some of vast ability and some who had vanity and the desire to lead; through them the great Movement came to be almost a by-word among the most intellectual of people, and instead of attracting the brightest minds, it attracted those who were credulous, who were unable to perceive a right basis or follow it. The old faults of their education were present, and there were none strong enough or wise enough to point out the true path for them. They followed the line of popes and priests and prelates and successors of kings, not seeing that knowledge cannot be passed on from one to another; that the way to knowledge may be pointed out and that those who follow the pointing should be very humble, instead of vain.
These phases still persist, but the hour struck for a truer formation. And do not imagine for a moment that that which is now was not foreseen. It was. Every single dissension that arose among those following the Theosophical Movement was known in advance; everything that exists Theosophically to-day was known in advance; the very step taken by this voluntary association of students was known in advance; long before the hour struck for that work to be done, the true path had been laid out. That the line is straight is possible for any student whatever to see for himself, for there is always the recorded history of the Movement in black on white, by those who worked in it, to check by.
There is, and there must be, a true path and a right direction. Can we imagine that the great Masters of Wisdom with all Their knowledge made a mistake in selecting those who were to represent Their ideas in the world? To imagine that is to doubt Their wisdom. Can we think that any better instruments were available? If we understand the power of the Masters, we would know that any instrument chosen by Them would carry out to the ultimate whatever mission to the world it was entrusted with, and in that carrying out, there would be no false notes, no mistakes possible. The test of William Q. Judge is in the examination of his mission; the proof is in our own use of what he gave us.
Would it be strange to think that he is still working with us? Would it be strange to think that H. P. B., as we knew her, is still working? That same great power is working; but for what? To create a great association? A following for some person? No; to draw a true line for those who are able to see at all; to keep the standard of Theosophy, pure and simple, undiluted, uncontaminated; to carry it through to the coming of the Great Messenger in 1975. For, whoever says to the contrary, the statement of H. P. B. and William Q. Judge was that no Masters will come to the West, nor send anyone, until that year. And, do we not know, that if it is our wish, we will come again into that work when the hour strikes for that Messenger? It is the power of our thoughts and the effects of our efforts which bring us into incarnation at any time. If we are ignorant, careless, ungrateful, selfish, we are swept into that condition which befits our power and action; but, if our power lies in a right perception and a right application of what we perceive right action, we can come back when They come back. We can take ourselves to Them through our thought and effort; by perceiving what the work was; what the nature of those Beings, and follow faithfully the lines that They laid down. But take no one’s word for it; take only the records They have left.
The welfare of humanity is at stake. This great country, as it is, will not long remain calm. We have seen in Europe effects of long centuries of wrong thought and action, but in own new country is the same selfishness; the same ideas prevail, even if not the same conditions, and the same ideas will bring all the same results. We have not the elements of solidarity here, a true philosophy that will aid us in rectifying the conditions must result from a false basis. Yet there are an increasing number of good and sincere, true men and women, who desire to do best for their fellowmen, who desire to know all that may be known ; by them the horrors of the future may be mitigated. It was of Sodom and Gomorrah, if there were only a few true men women the city might be saved; and so, if there are only comparatively a few strong earnest men and women who see the line for this civilization, who see the true purpose of the Masters much that must come will be easier for our people. The salvation of this country is in the hands of those who listen, and do. On those who listen and do not do, or fail to do that which they see ought to be done, lies the gravest responsibility.
In William Q. Judge we had a true man – the kindest-hearted being that ever lived, patient, forgiving, strong, courageous, with the wisdom of the serpent, the harmlessness of the dove. From my own point of view, I have never, never met such an one before. It is because of the memory of his sojourn among us in a mortal body that this meeting has been held; and that, by some who know just what he was, it is desired others may know, and others may take up the work which he laid down, adding their force to the great end of benefit to their fellowmen. He lived for that. He works for that. Let us all do likewise. And, if we do, in a happier time and a higher civilization we shall know what our first step led to rejoicing in that which it made possible. Such a civilization could have been here before, if men had opened their hearts to the Masters’ Work for that. All true Theosophists work for that. They care nothing for their own progress, nor for any reward for themselves. To see their fellowmen in better case, with better understanding, better results, a higher civilization, more rapid progress – gives them all the reward they seek.
If the passing of William Q. Judge shall help us to emulate example, much will be done for ourselves, and the world.
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SOME RELATED ARTICLES: Who was William Quan Judge?, The Welcome Influence of William Q. Judge, Who are you, Madame Blavatsky?, Words from The Masters about H.P. Blavatsky, The Closing Cycle, Col. Olcott’s Disloyalty to H.P. Blavatsky, Is Theosophy a Progressive System of Religion?, Theosophy: The Ancient Wisdom, Helpful Hints for Spiritual Progress, Meditation Advice, William Q. Judge’s “New Era of Western Occultism” and The Man Who Rescued Theosophy.