[The Theosophist, Vol. II, No. 6, March, 1881, pp. 118,139]
The Revue Spirite, edited by that honoured and thoughtful French spiritist, our friend, Mr. Leymarie, F.T.S., has devoted many pages to Theosophy during the past three years, and commended our Society’s plans and principles to public notice. In a recent issue appears a review of our progress from the beginning to the present time. “We may say,” it remarks, “that even now this Society is on the highroad towards a grand success. Its birth seems likely to be the beginning of a most important philosophical and religious movement in both hemispheres; while at the same time contributing to a moral regeneration among the Hindus, so sadly degenerated by centuries of different oppressions. . . . In our opinion the Theosophical Society is a great centre of research, and its magazine, The Theosophist, the channel through which we (Europeans) may to a certain extent share in the same.”
For the magnetists none, of course, are so well authorized to speak as Baron Du Potet and Mr. Alphonse Cahagnet. The former wrote us (see Vol. I, 117): “Receive me, then, as one closely identified with your labours, and rest assured that the remainder of my life will be consecrated to the researches that your great Indian sages have opened out for us.” The latter said: “The foundation of such a Society as yours has always been the dream of my life.”
History teems with examples of the foundation of sects, churches, and parties by persons who, like ourselves, have launched new ideas. Let those who would be apostles and write infallible revelations do so, we have no new church but
only an old truth to commend to the world. Ours is no such ambition. On the contrary, we set our faces like flint against any such misuse of our Society. If we can only set a good example and stimulate to a better way of living, it is enough. Man’s best guide, religious, moral, and philosophical, is his own inner, divine sense. Instead of clinging to the skirts of any leader in passive inertia he should lean upon that better self—his own prophet, apostle, priest, king, and saviour. No matter what his religion, he will find within his own nature the holiest of temples, the divinest of revelations.
In the Sunday Mirror of February 20, we find a paragraph in which Sir Richard Temple’s opinion on the Brahmo Samaj is quoted from his India in 1880 to the effect that “quite recently they (the Brahmos) have adopted the name of Theosophists.” This, one of the many inaccurate statements made in his book by Sir Richard Temple upon India in general and Indian religions especially, seems to have spurred the Brahmos to a quick repudiation of any connection whatever with the Theosophists. The able organ of the New Dispensation says:—“The reference to the Theosophists is a mistake. The Brahmos have never identified themselves with the Theosophists.”
Amen. Nor have the Theosophists identified themselves with them. But whether either the one or the other have acted the most wisely in this, is another question. The Theosophical Society includes members of nearly every known religion, sect, and philosophy, none of them clashing or interfering with the other, but each trying to live in peace with his neighbour. The universal tolerance preached by us is but the active protest against mental slavery. We have as is known, purely Buddhistic, purely Christian, and purely orthodox Hindu branches, and societies allied with us; and union is strength. But of this anon. For the present we would be glad to learn from our esteemed friends and Brothers—if unhappily not allies—the Brahmos, why, while hastening to repudiate Sir Richard’s connection of them with us, they have allowed to pass unnoticed another still more serious “mistake” made by the ex-Governor of Bombay? Speaking of them in his lecture (in furtherance of the Oxford mission
to Calcutta) he said that the Brahmos “are almost, though not entirely,Christians”. . . “lingering upon the very threshold of Christianity” . . . “almost persuaded to be Christians.” Unless there has been a like repudiation of the uncalled-for charge which has escaped our notice, is it possible that the latter should have been passed over only because Christianity is popular among the British rulers and Theosophy—is not?
THE ROYAL SOCIETY AND SPIRITUALISTIC LITERATURE.—Our esteemed contemporary, The Spiritualist (London), notes the fact that the Royal Society has actually condescended to express its thanks for a presentation copy of Zöllner’s Transcendental Physics. Until now its practice was to take all such donations, insert their titles in the library catalogue, but never say “Thank you,” for fear of compromising its dignity! Mr. Harrison, the editor, who is fond of a good joke, recalls an anecdote about Sir John Lubbock, which is to the point. Once Sir John exhibited in the theatre of the Royal Institution, a picture of an African savage, armed to the teeth, cowering behind his shield, lest in defiance of popular superstition he should cast eyes upon his passing mother-in-law. Mr. Harrison dryly adds:—“Some Englishmen, it may be remarked in passing, are in a similar state of demoralisation on better grounds. Superstition dies hard, but it is pleasing to see, now that the ground has long been broken by great men, that others are beginning to peep out from behind their shields, and we hope that spiritualists will do nothing to frighten them off again, by suddenly presenting more proved facts of nature than timid creatures are able to bear.”