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[The Theosophist, Vol. III, No. 9, June, 1882, pp. 236-237]

[Mr. N. Chidambaram Iyer, B.A., having criticized certain words used by H. P. B. as favouring Buddhism at the expense of Hinduism, H. P. B. appended to his article the following footnote and comment. To the writer’s words: “. . . in a spirit of indignation . . . you say that, ‘for all the alliances in the world,’ you will not renounce what you ‘consider to be the truth,’ or pretend belief in that which you ‘know to be false’ . . . you would have done well if you had omitted the latter clause. . . .”—she says:]


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A clear misconception, we regret to see. Our correspondent has evidently failed to comprehend our meaning. We referred to so-called “Spiritualism,” and never gave one thought to Buddhism! We were accused likewise by Pundit Dayanand of having turned “Zoroastrians.” Why, then, should our correspondent have understood us to mean only Buddhism as being “true,” and paid no attention to the religion of the Parsis? Read Editor’s Note which follows.
It is our intelligent correspondent, rather than ourselves, who has “overshot” his mark. He totally misconceives our meaning in the quoted sentences. We had in mind neither Hinduism nor Buddhism, but truth in general, and the truth of Asiatic psychology in particular. We maintain that the phenomena of Spiritualism are true; Swami Dayanand insists (though he knows better) that they are all false and “tamasha.” We defend the truth of man’s latent and—when developed—phenomenal powers to produce the most marvellous manifestations; the Swami tells his public that to insist that phenomena can be produced by will power alone “is to say a lie,” and forthwith derides very unphilosophically all phenomena; thus contradicting what he had maintained and admitted himself orally and in print, before he got “out of patience” with us for our eclecticism and universal religious toleration. That is what we meant by “true” and “false,” and nothing more.
If we were disposed to imitate the sectarian bigots of whatsoever creed, our advocacy of the superior merits of Buddhism would not have taken the form of a casual sentence or two in an article upon a totally different subject, but would have been boldly and openly made. Our friend is but just when he says that, since beginning our Indian work, we have never publicly preached our private religious views. It would be well if this fact were never lost sight of. Colonel Olcott, in addressing audiences of various religious faiths, has always tried to put himself, for the moment, in the mental attitude of a believer in that faith which his audience represented, and to bring prominently before their minds the highest standard of morals and attainable wisdom which it contains. Thus, he has, to the


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Parsis, shown the magnificence of ancient Mazdasnianism; to the Hindus, the splendours of Aryan philosophy, etc. And this, not from a poor desire to indiscriminately please, but from the deep conviction, shared by us both, that there is truth in every religion, and that every sincere devotee of any faith should be respected in that devotion, and helped to see whatever of good his faith contains. The rupture of the Swami with us resulted, not because of our holding to one religion or the other, but because of the strict policy of eclectic tolerance for men of all creeds upon which the Theosophical Society was founded and has since been building itself up.