H. P. B. AND FREETHOUGHT
EDITOR’S OFFICE OF The Theosophist,
Private but NOT Confidential.
Ootacamund, August 16, 1883.
To the Secretary of the “London Lodge Theosophical Society.”
My Dear Sir,
When your letter reached me with the official (?) resolution of the local Council, concerning the inadvisability of advertising T. Paine’s and Bradlaugh’s Free-thinking literature, the article in the August Supplement “A Final Answer was already in print, in answer to certain letters received from a Manchester and a Scotch Theosophists. Therefore, I must beg of you to impress upon the minds of the esteemed Theosophists of the “London Lodge” that the said answer is not meant as a Reply to your letter. The latter was sent to the President, Col. Olcott, who being on his Southern tour had no time to answer it or give me any instructions to that effect. However he has called a Meeting of the Council to discuss this business. Only I fear that the objection—that such advertisements ought to receive the consent of the majority of the General Council before being published (or words to this effect) is groundless. The majority of our Council is composed of heathens of the first water. Most of them are furious to feel unable to send their children either to Missionary or secular schools without having their young minds poisoned (their expression not mine) by their hereditary enemy the padri against their respective non-Christian religions. It is they (i.e., the majority of the Council) who have repeatedly insisted on having such books distributed. Our Ceylon Buddhist members with 300 priests leading them, have spent a large sum to secure such anti-Christian tracts, as
the only antidote against the abuse lavished upon their forefathers’ faith. For, whoever lives in this country (as Mr. Sinnett will tell you) becomes very soon impressed with the sad fact that conversion in India means absolute perversion. Instead of bettering morality Christianity but adds to the natural human vices, owing to the doctrine of atonement and salvation by prayer, instead of that of self-reliance and Karma.
I would feel very much obliged to some of the British Theosophists who have protested, were they to send us for publication anti-buddhistic tracts. I would publish them immediately and without fear of hurting the feelings of my co-religionists. They are too intelligent, on the one hand, to take to heart the autopsy of the exoteric shell of their religion; while, on the other, centuries of daily abuse directed against Buddhism have made them indifferent. The same may be said of Hindus. What they (at least our members) want is the free discussion of every religion in its outer as in its inward form. Why then should ecclesiastical Christianity be excepted? Though the Reply in the August Supplement was not meant for the British Theosophists yet their “remonstrance” may find a fit answer in it. I, as an Editor, will never permit Christ to be attacked personally, no more than Buddha. But I must insist upon being allowed to remain entirely impartial in the dissection as in the praise of all and every religion the world over, without pandering to people’s personal emotional prejudices. This will never do in a Universal Brotherhood. I am very much surprised that Mr. Sinnett should have seconded the resolution, knowing as he does, my feelings on the subject; and that he was the first to approve of my “not minding” Mr. Hume’s objections in this direction. Nor is it quite clear to me, whether the “remonstrance” sent by the Branch Society is meant for the Editor of the Theosophist alone, or for the Parent Society in general, since the former humble individual acts under the authority of the Council, or at any rate in sympathy with the feelings often expressed by its majority.
Personally, I have no sympathy with Mr. Bradlaugh’s views, though he is too much abused and ill-treated not to have won my regards as an individual. I do not know him nor do I desire to make his personal acquaintance; but I cannot help believing on general principles that a person so much insulted, hated, abused and persecuted by “cultured Mrs. Grundy” must be an excellent man. As for Col. Bob Ingersoll, than whom no more moral, pure man, no more honest citizen good husband and good father ever trod this earth—I know him personally and he has my profoundest respect, though he laughs at Theosophy, Spiritualism and every other belief.
I have written the above not as an answer to the contents of your official letter, but as a reply to what I found therein between the lines. No one has a greater respect respect* and admiration than I have for Mrs. Kingsford (chiefly as a reflection of the feelings of our Mahatmas, who must know her better than any one on earth); nevertheless, unless I am directly ordered by my Guru M... to drop the advertisement objected to, I cannot go against my principles of fair dealing with every religion, even for the sake of doing that, which Mrs. Kingsford believes is due to the “London Lodge.” For indeed, were I to concede so much to your Society, the next thing I would have to do would be to drop every adverse criticism and discussion upon the Visishtadwaitee. There’s the “South Indian Visishta Theos. Soc.” composed of about 150 members objecting to my publishing the criticism upon their Catechism by the “Vedanta-Adwaitee” Theos. Society—(See art. of that name in June Theosophist); and the Almora Swami insisting upon my ceasing to lay sacrilegious hands upon his Iswara; and the “Brahmo Theos. Society” wanting me to fill the magazine with sermons upon Monotheism etc. About 14 Visishtadwaitees have resigned in consequence of the discussion. Very sorry, but I cannot help it. Thus, as you see, my position is that of an elephant
* Repeated twice in the original.—Compiler.]
trying to perform his Grand Trapèze on a cobweb thread. Nevertheless, I must try to maintain my perilous position and not to lose footing by the blessing and help of Yog-power. Meanwhile, believe me, dear Sir,
Yours most fraternally,
H. P. Blavatsky,
(Editor of The Theosophist).
P. S. The decision of the Council such as it will be, will be sent to you officially. H.P.B.