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The ‘Judge’ Letters of H.P.Blavatsky - 03

The Authentic Letters of H.P.B., As Edited by One
Of the Main Founders of the Theosophical Movement
 
 
William Q. Judge
 
 
 
 
H.P. Blavatsky and W.Q. Judge
 
 
 
Introduction to Chapter 3
of the Present Online Edition:
 
The present chapter  shows the contradictory nature of Spiritualism.
 
In its higher dimensions, it has many points in common with theosophy and deserves suport. In its lower and necromantic aspects, it promotes dangerously unhealthy actions, against which the public must be warned with due information and explanation.  
 
The same complex view of Spiritualism is found in the Mahatma Letters. Camille Flammarion, the famous astronomer, was an example of the theosophical level of Spiritualism, while the necromantic sessions were always condemned.  Alfred Russell Wallace, mentioned by William Judge as a defender of Spiritualism, was one of the main scientists at the origin of the theory of evolution, and his researches are discussed in “The Secret Doctrine”.
 
Later on, H.P.B. describes in an ironical way the careful “phrenological examination” to which her head was submitted.
 
Phrenology was a psychological theory based on the idea that one’s mental faculties and character traits are indicated in the configurations of one’s skull. Needless to say, no phrenologist could ever know one’s higher self by examining the skull of one’s physical body. And the focus of  consciouness and center of decisions of an Initiate is precisely in the higher self.
 
At the point where H.P.B. discusses Huxley’s ideas and mentions “Anima Mundi, ether, Archos of Plato...” there was a mistake in the printed text. It  says “Anima Muni”. We made the correction.
 
The article on Huxley’s ideas which H.P.B. mentions in this chapter was published in “Banner of Light”, Boston, in October 28, 1876.[1]
 
In the final paragraph of the chapter HPB examines - in a letter dated 8 July, 1878 - her emotional difficulties with becoming a North-American citizen.  Personal emotions apart, one must also consider what she said  in an article published a little more than one year later. H.P.B.  was already living in India when she wrote, referring to the theosophical movement by the term “Society”, in an article published in October 1879:     
 
“Born in the United States, the Society was constituted in the model of its Motherland. The latter, omitting from its Constitution the name of God lest it should afford a pretext one day to  make a  state religion, gives absolute equality to all  religions in its laws. All support and each is in turn protected by  the State.  The Society, modelled upon this Constitution, may fairly be termed ‘A Republic of Conscience’.” [2]
 
(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)
 
NOTES:
 
[1] The article can be found at “H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings”,TPH, Volume I, pp. 226-233, under the title “Huxley and Slade: Who is More Guilty of ‘False Pretences’?”
 
[2] From the article “What Are The Theosophists?”, in “Theosophical Articles”, H.P. Blavatsky, “Theosophy Company”, Los Angeles, 511 pp., 1981, volume I, pp. 48-55, especially 53.
 
 
Letters of H.P. Blavatsky [1]
 
 
Chapter  III
 
[THE PATH, Volume IX, New York, February 1895, pp.  379-385.]
 
 
The following letter was written before the foundation of the Theosophical Society. A somewhat inaccurate translation appeared in Mr. Sinnett’s “Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky”, but as some additions were made to the original it is interesting to see what was actually written by H.P.B. at such an early  date.
 
“The more I see of spiritist séances in this cradle and hotbed of Spiritism and mediums, the more clearly I see how dangerous they are for humanity. Poets speak of a thin partition between the two worlds.  There is no partition whatever. Blind people have imagined  obstacles of this kind because coarse organs of hearing, sight and feeling do not allow the majority of people to penetrate the difference of being. Besides, Mother Nature has done well in endowing us with coarse senses, for otherwise the individuality and personality of man would become impossible, because the dead would be continually mixing with the living, and the living would assimilate themselves with the dead. It would not be so bad if there were around us only spirits of the same kind as ourselves, the half-spiritual refuse of mortals who died without having reconciled themselves to the great necessity  of  death. Then we might submit to the inevitable.  One way or another,  we cannnot help identifying ourselves physically  and in a perfectly unconscious way with the dead, absorbing the constituent atoms of what lived before us: with every breath we inhale them, and breathe out that which nourishes the formless creatures, elementals floating in the air  in the expectation of being transformed into living beings. This is not only a physical process, but partly a moral one. We assimilate those who preceded us, gradually  absorbing their brain molecules and exchanging mental auras - which means  thoughts, desires and tendencies. This is an interchange common to the entire human race and to all that lives. A natural process, an outcome of the laws of the  economy of nature  . . . . .  It explains similarities external and moral . . . . . But there exists another absolute law, which manifests itself periodically and sporadically: this is a law, as it were, of artificial and compulsory assimilation. During epidemics of this  kind the kingdom of dead invades the region of the living, though fortunately this kind of refuse are bound by the ties of their former surroundings. And so, when evoked by mediums, they cannot break through the limits and boundaries in which they acted and lived . . . . .  And the wider the doors are opened to them the further the necromantic epidemic is spread; the more unanimous the mediums  and the spiritists in spreading the magnetic fluid of  their evocations,  the more power  and vitality are acquired by the glamour.”
 
Madame Jelihovsky says that “Helena Petrovna described many séances in terms of horror in consequence of the sights she was enabled to see as a result oh her clairvoyance.  She saw details hidden from the others present:  perfect invasions of hosts of soulless remains of mortals, ‘woven of fleshly passions, of evil thoughts, of vicious feelings which had outlived the body’.  And H.P.B. wrote:
 
“It stands to reason  that this mere earthly refuse, irresistibly drawn to the earth, cannot follow the soul and spirit - these highest principles of man’s being. With horror and disgust I often observed how a reanimated shadow of this kind separated itself from the inside of the medium; how, separating itself from his astral body and clad in someone else’s vesture, it pretended to be someone’s relation, causing the person to go into ecstasies and making people open wide their hearts and their embraces to these shadows whom they sincerely believed  to be their dear fathers and brothers, ressuscitated to convince them of life eternal, as well as to see them . . . . . Oh, if they only knew the truth, if they only believed! If they saw,  as I have often seen, a monstrous, bodiless creature seizing hold of someone present at these spiritistic  sorceries! It wraps the man as if with a black shroud, and slowly disappears in him as if drawn into his body by each of his living pores.”
 
In the year 1878, or thereabouts, a defense of modern  Spiritualism was brought out by Alfred Russell Wallace.  This greatly pleased H.P.B., who wrote on the subject to her sister:
 
“See how cleverly he proves how mistaken people are who say that we propagate ancient prejudices and superstitions; how he proves that a body of people who preach the study of man’s nature, who teach the acquirement of eternal bliss as a consequence of attaining the full perfection of their moral and spiritual powers, is the chiefest enemy, not only of gross materialism, but  also of all kinds of silly bigotry and myth-worship.  Spiritualism is an experimental science; its development - which is the object of the Theosophical Society [2] - will make it possible to find a foundation for a true philosophy . There is only one truth, and it is higher than anything else. Theosophy is bound to destroy such meaningless expressions as ‘a miracle’ or the ‘supernatural’.  In nature everything is natural, but everything is not known; and yet there is nothing more miraculous than her powers, hidden as well as revealed. Spiritualism, meaning the spiritual powers of man and the deeper knowledge of the psychical aspects of life, which we Theosophists preach, will cure the old evils of religious quarrels, owing to which the faith of man in the primitive truths of immortality and repayment according to deserts is disappearing. Wallace speaks the truth when he says that Spiritualism well deserves the sympathy of moralists, philosophers, even of politicians and of everyone who desires the perfecting of our  society and our life.”
 
H.P.B. did not spare herself when portraying the humorous side of her surroundings. The American Phrenological Society wrote and asked for her portrait and for a cast of her head, and Professor Buchanan, the phrenologist and psychometer, called on her for an interview. She describes the incident in writing to Madame Jelihovsky:
 
“And so the poor victim (victim in view of his awful task) was sent to me - a phrenological occultist, who came in the company of a huge bouquet (as if I were a prima donna!) and with three trunk-loads of compliments.  He fingered my head and fingered it again; he turned it on one  side and then on the other. He snorted over me - snorted like a steam-engine, until we both began to sweat. And at last he spat in disgust. ‘Do you call this a head?’ he says; ‘It’s no head at all, but a ball of contradictions.’   ‘On this head’, he says, ‘there is an endless war of most conflicting bumps; all Turks and Montenegrins.[3]  I can’t make anything of this chaos of impossibilities and confusion of Babel.  Here, for instance’, he says, poking my skull with his finger, ‘is a bump of the most ardent faith and power of belief, and here, side by side with it, the bump of scepticism, pessimism, and incredulity, proudly swelling itself.  And now, if you please, here is the bump of sincerity for you, walking hand in hand  with the bump of hipocrisy and cunning.  The bump of domesticity and love for your country boxes the ears of the bump of wandering and love of change.  And do you mean to say you take this to be a respectable head?’ he asked. He seized himself by the hair, and in his despair pulled a considerable lock from his own respectable head, answering to the highest standards of phrenology . . . . . But all the same he described, drew,  and published my poor head for the amusement  of the hundred thousand subscribers to the Phrenological Journal.  Alas, Alas, ‘heavy is the crown of Monomach! [4]  The aureola of my own greatness, acquired so undeservedly, is simply crushing me. Here, I send you a copy of my poor head, which you are requested to swallow without sauce. A hundred thousand Yankees are going to feast upon it, and so I am certainly going to save a bit for my own blood!”
 
“Now listen to this, little brothers”,  she writes in her next letter, “I am sending you a great curio. Examine it, wonder at it, and improve by it.  The Freemasons of England, whose Grand-Master is the Prince of Wales, have sent me a diploma, which means to say  that I am raised to a  high  Masonic dignity, and so my title is ‘Mysterious Freemason’.  Ah, me! Next I shall probably be elected Pope of Rome for my virtues. The decoration they sent me is very beautiful: a  ruby cross and a rose.  I send you the cutting from the Masonic Journal.”
 
Many honors were showered upon H.P.B. as a result of the publication  of “Isis Unveiled”.  A very  ancient Society in Benares, founded before the beginning of the Christian Era, called the Sat-Bai, sent her a diploma in Sanskrit, decorated with many symbols. It is remarkable that in this diploma Helena Petrovna is alluded to as a “Brother of the female sex”. “Henceforward our brother Rad is entitled, owing to his great knowledge, to power over the inferior  grades of ministers, couriers, listeners, scribes,  and  the dumb ones.” H.P.B. also received a  very ancient copy of the “Bhagavad Gita”, in a mother-of-pearl  and gold binding, from an Indian Prince.  At the approach of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878, H.P.B. wrote many articles against the Roman Catholics, because the Pope had blessed the weapons of the Turks.  These articles she  signed “A Russian Woman”. They created such a stir that Cardinal McCloskey sent his Jesuit secretary to her, under the pretext of making the acquaintance of “such a remarkable woman,  and pioneer thinker, who knew how to shake off the prejudice of patriotism and to create  for herself an independent  position in an independent country”.   In February, 1877, she  wrote to her  sister:
 
“I told him his endeavors were in vain; that whatever I personally, as a Theosophist, might believe was no business of his at all;  that the faith of my Russian fathers  was sacred to me; that I shall always stand up for this faith and for Russia, and shall always write against the attacks of the  hypocritical Catholics upon them as long as my hand  can hold a pen,  and without letting myself be frightened  by the threats of their Pope or the wrath of their Roman Church, the great Beast of the Apocalypse!”
 
The result of  this visit was a new article by her against the head of  the Western Christian Church, who blessed Musselmans that they might better kill Christians, Slavs, and Russians. Soon after this move Mme. Jelihovsky received newspaper cuttings containing the report of H.P.B.’s real fight - but this time not with an ecclesiastic, but with a propagator of materialistic views, of European renown. She writes to her sister in her usual humorous way:
 
“I send you, friends, one more article of mine, which received by no means small honors here and was reprinted by several New York papers.  This is the  way it happened: the London scientist Huxley has been visiting here, ‘the progenitor of protoplasm and high-priest of psychophobia’, as I have surnamed him. He delivered three lectures. At the first, he made short work of Moses and abolished the whole of the Old Testament, declaring to the public that man is nothing but the great-grandson of a frog of the Silurian period. At the second he ‘beat everyone’, like a new Kit Kitich. [5]  ‘You are all fools’, he says, ‘you don’t understand anything  . . . . . Here is the four-toed foot of Hypparion,  the antediluvian horse, for you, from which it is evident that we, five  toed men, are closely related to it as well, through our origin.’  There is an insult for you!  But at  the third lecture  our wise psychophob tried to sing it altogether  too high,  and so started telling fibs.  ‘Listen to me’, he says, ‘I have looked into the telescopes, I have whistled under the clouds  in balloons, I have looked out for God everywhere with great zeal; and nowhere, in  spite of all my researches, did I see or meet him!   Ergo – there is no God and there was never any  such!’ It was worth these people’s while paying him $ 5,000 for  three lectures of  this sort of logic. ‘Also’, he says, ‘the human soul  . . . . .  where is it?  Show it to me as I can show you the heart and the rest of the ‘inwards’.  Anima Mundi, ether, Archos of Plato . . . . .  I have searched for the soul with the aid of spy-glasses  and microscopes;  I have observed the dying and anatomized the dead, but upon my word  of honor,  there is no trace of it anywhere!  It is all a lie of the spirits and the spiritualists. Don’t you’, he says, ‘believe them’.  I felt awfully sorry at all this. So sorry as even to be angry. So I thought to myself, let me go and write an article against this self-willed, self-opinionated Kit Kitich. And what do you think? I have written it. And it came out not at all so bad, as you can see by the enclosed copy. Needless to say, I immediately took this article,  sealed it, and sent it through our corresponding members to London, to be delivered to Huxley with my most earnest compliments.”
 
H.P.B. was compelled for various reasons to become an American citizen. This troubled her considerably, as, like all Russians, she was passionately devoted to her country.  She wrote to Madame Fadeef:
 
“My dearest, I write to you because otherwise I would burst with a strange feeling which is positively suffocating me. It is the 8th of July to-day, an ominous day for me, but God only knows whether the omen is good or bad.  Today it is exactly five years and one day since I came to America, and this moment I have just returned from the Supreme Court where I gave my oath of allegiance to the American Republic and Constitution. Now for a whole hour I have been a citizen with equal rights to the President himself. So far so good: the  workings of my original destiny have forced me into this naturalization, but to my utter astonishment and disgust I was compelled to repeat publicly after the judge, like a mere parrot, the following tirade: that I ‘would renounce for ever and even to my death every kind of submission and obedience to the Emperor of Russia, and that I would renounce all obedience to the powers established by him and the government of Russia, and that I would accept the duty to defend, love and serve the Constitution of the United States alone. So help me God in whom I believe!’  I was awfully scared when pronouncing this blackguardly recantation of Russia and the emperor. And so I am not only an apostate to our beloved Russian Church, but a political renegade. A nice scrape to get into, but how am I to manage to no longer love Russia or respect the emperor? It is easier to say a thing than to act accordingly.”
 
NOTES:
 
[1] Copyright 1895.
 
[2] At  this time a wide distinction was drawn between “Spiritualism” and “Spiritism”. It will be seen by H.P.B.’s own  definition that she was not speaking of “Spookology” as the object of the  Theosophical Society. (W.Q.J.)
 
[3] This was during the war in 1877. (W.Q.J.)
 
[4] The coronation crown of Russia; this was said by one of  the Tsars. (W.Q.J.)
 
[5] Kit Kitich, or in Academic Russian Tit Titich, is a stage character whose favorite saying is: “Who can beat  Kit Kitich when Kit Kitich will beat everyone first?” He has long become the synonym of a bully, a petty, a self-willed, domestic tyrant. The popular Russian dialect quite unconsciously transforms “Titus, the  son of Titus” (Tit Titich) into “the Whale, the son of the Whale” (“Kit” means “whale” in Russian); and H.P.B. used this unconscious pun to make fun  of the bilogical evolutionist who claimed to be, in some sense, the son of the whale,  and whose doctrine she found to be “very like a whale”, too. But a pun, unlike a bishop, loses by translation. (W.Q.J.)
 
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On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.  
 
 
 
Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.
  
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The ‘Judge’ Letters of H.P.Blavatsky - 03




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