FOOTNOTES APPENDED TO T. SUBBA ROW’S
REPLY TO THE CIRCULAR LETTER OF DR. ANNA
B. KINGSFORD AND EDWARD MAITLAND TO THE
[Pamphlet printed at Madras, India, by the Scottish Press of
Graves, Cookson and Co., January, 1884. 45 pages]
[Dr. Anna Bonus Kingsford, then President of the London Lodge, T.S., and her collaborator Edward Maitland, issued early in December 1883, a Circular entitled A Letter Addressed to the Fellows of the London Lodge of The Theosophical Society, by the President and a Vice-President of the Lodge, which embodied a severe criticism of the teachings contained in A. P. Sinnett’s Esoteric Buddhism.
At the end of January 1884, T. Subba Row in collaboration with “another still greater scholar” (Mah. Ltrs., p. 409), issued in pamphlet form a Reply to this Circular Letter entitled Observations on “A Letter Addressed to the Fellows of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society, by the President and a Vice-President of the Lodge.” He sent it to H. P. B. with a covering letter, requesting her to forward it to the London Lodge. She did so on January 27, 1884. Full text of the Observations may be found in the Esoteric Writings of T. Subba Row compiled by Tookaram Tatya, 2nd rev. and enl. ed., Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras, 1931, pp. 391-447.
H. P. B. has appended four footnotes to T. Subba Row’s text. They appear below together with those portions of the text to which they immediately refer.—Compiler.]
[. . . the contents of some of the letters, owing to distinct prohibition, were introduced in a very incomplete form, while other subjects of vital importance, for the correct understanding of the whole, were not even mentioned in the book so severely criticized by Mr. E. Maitland—simply because they could not be given to Mr. Sinnett . . .]
The specification implied in the second word of the title itself [is] misleading to all those who are not aware that “Buddhism” in this application refers entirely to the universal secret Wisdom—meaning spiritual enlightenment —and not at all to the religion now popularly known as the philosophy of Gautama Buddha. Therefore, to set off Esoteric Christianity against Esoteric Buddhism (in the latter sense) is simply to offer one part of the whole against another such part—not one specified religion or philosophy the world over, having now the right to claim that it has the whole of the Esoteric truth. Brahmavidyâ (which is not Brahmanism or any of its numerous sects) and Guptavidya—the ancient and secret WISDOM RELIGION, the inheritance of the Initiates of the inner Temple—have alone such a right. No doubt, Mrs. Kingsford, the gifted author of The Perfect Way, is the most competent person in all Europe—I say it advisedly and unhesitatingly—to reveal the hidden mysteries of real Christianity. But, no more than Mr. Sinnett is she an initiate, and cannot, therefore, know anything about a doctrine, the real and correct meaning of which no amount of natural seership
can reveal, as it lies altogether beyond the regions accessible to untrained seers. If revealed, its secrets would, for long years, remain utterly incomprehensible even to the highest physical sciences. I hope, this may not be construed into a desire of claiming any great knowledge for myself; for I certainly do not possess it. All that I seek to establish is, that such secrets do exist, and that, outside of the initiates, no one is competent to prove, much less to disprove, the doctrines now given out through Mr. Sinnett.—H. P. Blavatsky.
[Quoting from page 176 of Esoteric Buddhism, T. Subba Row comments: “If this is not sound, orthodox Kabalistic and ‘Hermetic Philosophy’ to which Mrs. Kingsford confesses she feels herself ‘especially attracted,’ then Éliphas Lévi has written his theistic Dogma and Ritual of High Magic (Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie) in vain? Let the Fellows of the ‘London Lodge’ open his Vol. I; and see what this great master of Christian Esoteric Doctrine says on the subject, on pages 123-26 et seq., and then draw their conclusions. Mr. Sinnett’s language is that of every occultist, who refuses to substitute his own personal fancy for the accepted theories of the ancient Hermetic Philosophy.”]
I would draw the attention of Mrs. Kingsford, Mr. Maitland, and the other Members of the London Lodge to that whole chapter in the work cited, and ask them to compare its grossly materialistic language with the explanation offered on the same subject by Mr. Sinnett. If Éliphas Lévi’s “number of gnosis” . . . this “Adam, the human tetragrammaton resumed in the mysterious jod, the image of the Kabalistic phallus . . . the insertion of the vertical phallus in the horizontal cteis forming the stauros of the gnostics, or the philosophical cross of the Masons, in the mysterious language of the Talmudic Kabalists”—as he calls it can be preferred to the chaste images offered by the Eastern Esotericism, it is only by those who are unable to divorce their thoughts from an anthropomorphic God and his material progeny, the Adam of the Old Testament. Withal, the idea and substance, if not the language, are identical; for Éliphas Lévi expounding
the true Hermetic Philosophy, in the coarse language of the Jewish Seers and for the benefits of a Christian-born public says neither more nor less than what was given to, and written by, Mr. Sinnett in the far more philosophical phraseology of Esoteric Buddhism.—H. P. Blavatsky.
[As agents of destruction of our system, when it comes to its proper termination, they are the twelve Rudras (“burning with anger,” erroneously translated as “Howlers” by Max Müller), who reduce everything back to its undifferentiated state]
This has reference to the fiery consummation which our system must undergo at the time of the Solar Mahâpralaya. Twelve Sûryas (suns) will arise, it is exoterically taught, to burn up the Solar universe—and bring on the Pralaya. This is a travesty of the esoteric teaching that our end will come from the exposure of the real sun “by the withdrawal of the veil”—the chromo- and photosphere, perhaps, of which the Royal Society thinks it has learnt so much— H. P. Blavatsky.
[The last footnote by H. P. B. has already been quoted in the present series of volumes, namely, on p. 136 of the 1883 Volume, in connection with the authorship of the Replies to the Inquiries of Frederic W. H. Myers concerning Esoteric Buddhism. It refers to the following passage from T. Subba Row’s pamphlet:
“To crown the list of voluntary and involuntary mistakes and misconceptions, we must mention his [Maitland’s] ascription to Madame Blavatsky of certain statements that considering her relation to the holy personage to whom they refer, could never have been, nor were they made by her. The internal evidence, in the absence of any signature to the article (Replies to an English F. T. S.), in which the sentence occurs (see Theosophist, October, 1883, p. 3), is strong enough to warn off all careful readers from the unwarranted assumption which Mr. Maitland has made. But it is certainly curious that the gentleman should have never missed a single chance of falling into blunder! The ‘Replies’—as every one in our Society is aware of—were written by three ‘adepts’ as Mr. Maitland calls them—none of whom is known to the London Lodge, with the exception of one—to Mr. Sinnett. The sentence quoted and fathered upon Madame Blavatsky is found in the MSS. sent by a Mahâtma who resides in Southern India, and who had alone the right to speak, as he did, of another Mahâtma. But even his words are not correctly stated, as shown in the foot-note.”]
I here deny most emphatically of having ever caused to be printed—let alone to have myself written it—the sentence as it now stands quoted by Mr. Maitland in his “Remarks.” The Theosophist of October is, I believe, available in England and the two sentences may be easily compared. When the writer of Reply No. 2, referring to “Greeks and Romans,” jocularly remarked that their ancestors might have been mentioned by some other name, and added that “besides the very plausible excuse that the names used were embodied in a private letter, written [as many unimportant letters are] in great haste, and which [this particular letter] was hardly worthy of the honour of being quoted verbatim with all its imperfections”—he certainly never meant his remark to yield any such charge as is implied in Mr. Maitland’s incorrect quotation. Let any one of the London Lodge compare and decide whether the said sentence can lead any person to doubt “the accuracy of the adept Brothers,” or infer “that they are frequently given to write in great haste things which are hardly worthy of the honour of being quoted, etc.” And since the word “frequently” does not occur in the alleged quotation, and alters a good deal the spirit of the remark, I can only express my regret that, under the present serious circumstances, Mr. Maitland should have become himself (inadvertingly, no doubt) guilty of such an inaccuracy.—H. P. Blavatsky.