MR. LLOYD’S QUESTIONS TO MOHINI
[The following article, or draft of an article, in H. P. B.’s handwriting, exists in the Adyar Archives. It was originally published in The Theosophist, Vol. XLII, January, 1926, and republished in the same Journal, Vol. LXXV, June, 1954, with careful revision of uncertain readings and punctuation, and the addition of a reduced facsimile of the first page of the manuscript. The later consists of three questions put by Mr. Francis Lloyd to Mohini Mohun Chatterji, and H. P. B.’s answers thereto. Certain historical facts should be borne in mind for a correct understanding of her replies.
The London Lodge, founded in 1878, was the first “branch” to be chartered by the Parent Theosophical Society, and it carried on its work more or less successfully for a number of years. In 1883, A. P. Sinnett gave up his editorship of the Pioneer in India and settled down in London. His arrival gave renewed impetus to the activities of the London Lodge, but proved also to be a source of difficulty, for there arose in the Lodge at that time two distinct groups: one, the larger, led by A. P. Sinnett,
was specially drawn to the Oriental and Tibetan teachings, as represented in his books, The Occult World and Esoteric Buddhism; the second, the smaller, led by Dr. Anna Bonus Kingsford and Edward Maitland, was more attracted to a revival of mystical and esoteric Christianity, the Kabala and the teachings of the Hermetic philosophy. The clash between the two groups was for a time a rather bitter one, and H. P. B. and Col. Olcott tried to bring about a reconciliation when they came to London in early April, 1884, accompanied by Mohini M. Chatterji, who was at the time Col. Olcott’s private secretary.
Dr. Anna B. Kingsford’s group was of a nature too different to mix with the followers of A. P. Sinnett. As suggested by H. P. B. in her answer to Mr. Lloyd’s third question, an attempt was made to run the two groups simultaneously within the framework of the London Lodge; a special branch was then chartered by Col. Olcott on April 9, 1884, called the Hermetic Lodge, for the study of the Kabalistic and Hermetic teachings under the inspiration of Dr. Kingsford (See Old Diary Leaves, III, 94). Nevertheless her followers felt hampered in their aims by inclusion in the Theosophical Society. On April 22, 1884, the Hermetic Lodge decided to surrender its Charter, and to form a separate organization. On May 9, 1884, it reconstituted itself under the name of Hermetic Society, at the residence of Mr. Francis Lloyd, 43 Rutland Gate, London W., Col. Olcott being present at this inaugural meeting (op.cit., p. 97). Mr. Lloyd was made the Treasurer of the new Society. (Above historical summary drawn from Notes by Katherine A. Beechey, Keeper of the Archives, Adyar, India.)
In the light of the facts outlined above, the probable date of H. P. B.’s manuscript would appear to be either late Spring or early Summer of 1884.—Compiler.]
MR. LLOYD’S QUESTIONS TO MOHINI;—
ANSWERED BY MAD. BLAVATSKY.
Q. 1. What proof is there of the existence and powers of the exalted race of beings styled Adepts or Mahatmas?
Answer. We know of no “race of beings” styled the Adepts or Mahatmas. We know only of mortal men, as we are ourselves, who, though born in the same way as we are born and subject to death in the end, in common with all humanity of our fifth race—have nevertheless by self-restraint, purity of life, and steadiness of purpose
become Adepts. These we know, and no others. For us, They are the most “exalted beings” we know of, on this earth, as the most wise, and kind, and pure of men. The proofs of Their existence for those of us, who know Them, who have lived near Them, and learned from Them — are furnished by our physical as much as our spiritual senses. Were Mr. Lloyd to go to Tibet, there to preach the Hermetic doctrine and to speak of Mrs. Kingsford who is still less known in that country than our Mahatmas are here; and were the Tibetan sceptics to ask him: “What proof is there of the existence and powers of clairvoyant seership of the exalted being styled by him Dr. Anna Kingsford”—what would Mr. Lloyd answer? I pause for a reply.
Q. 2. Mr. Lloyd says that he puts this question simply, because although he wishes to believe in the existence of the Mahatmas, he feels it impossible rationally so to do without evidence, “and so far as he can see, no sufficient evidence has yet been received that they even exist.”
Ans. In Baring Gould’s Popular Myths (I believe)* a story is told showing how easy it is to convert the best known historical personages into Solar or other myths. A certain French Abbé undertook to furnish the best, the most unimpeachable evidence that Napoleon the First was but a Solar myth—and he did it. If a person will not see, and will go moreover daily to an occultist, who, under the pretext of improving will impair his sight—whose fault is it? Mr. Lloyd, instead of remaining with the London Lodge, is a zealous visitor of the Hermetic Lodge, whose Fellows loudly proclaim—in the Pall Mall Gazette†
* [Reference here is to Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould’s Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, 1st Series, pp. 127-133, in 2nd rev. ed., 1868. ––Comp.]
† [Reference is to the issue of July 15, 1884, where an article appears under the title: “The Newest Thing in Religions. The Hermetic Society. By One of its Fellows.” A cutting of this article is pasted in H. P. B.’s Scrapbook No. XX, pp. 72-73, the portion quoted being underlined in blue pencil.—Compiler.]
for one place—that having rather a mystic than an occult character they depend for guidance upon no “Mahatmas” and “can boast no worker of wonders on the phenomenal plane.” If so, then why belong to the Theosophical Society at all? Or, once belonging to it, but finding wiser teachings in the Doctrine of Hermes, why not, availing oneself of art. the 2nd of the Rules,* which gives the Fellows full permission to constitute themselves in branches or groups of co-religionists, or co-workers, of persons in short, of the same way of thinking—why not leave the vexed question alone? Surely, the existence or non-existence of our Mahatmas is a problem of very little importance to those who do not accept their teachings? It interests only those who do; and—Mr. Lloyd is not one of these. It thus becomes simply idle curiosity; and, I am sorry to say, a malevolent desire to embarrass, if possible, to put into a false position those of the Fellows, who, while believing and having confidence in the Mahatmas and their teachings, are unable, so far, to say, as we can—We know them personally, and look straight into the face of our opponents. I am one of those who have seen them, lived near them, and have as much proof of the existence of these revered Masters as I have of those of Mr. Lloyd and his guru—Mrs. Kingsford. I pause again, to ask! Is Mr. Lloyd prepared to look me straight in the face, as I look into his eyes and say to me that I am a liar? And having disposed thus of me, is he prepared to do the same with Colonel Olcott, who has also seen his guru and Mahatma Koot Hoomi personally? And with Mohini, and Mr. Brown, to a certain degree, and with Damodar and Dharbagiri Nath and so many others who have been blessed for a longer or a shorter time with the Masters’ presence, in their own living bodies, not merely astral forms?
* [The reference is to the 2nd paragraph of Article I of the Society’s Revised Rules and Bye-Laws of 1883, which reads as follows: “A Branch may, if so desired, be composed solely of co-religionists, as for instance, Aryas, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians, Mahomedans Jains, etc., each under its own President, Executive Officers, and Council.”––Compiler.]
Q. 3. “Everything in our Society is founded on the teachings of the Mahatmas”—says Mr. Lloyd.
Ans. I answer—not so if he means by “our” Society the Parent body; for we have, to begin with, 8 Branches in Ceylon, and many more in India, composed of orthodox, Southern Buddhists, and of Freethinkers, who never interested themselves about our Mahatmas or their teachings; and who are yet devoted theosophists–– philanthropists, and scholars. But if by “our” Society—the London Lodge is meant—then, I say, if unfortunately, during our absence some too zealous theosophists had such a desire, the inadvisability of such a plan has now been taken into consideration, as you will all see presently. Now, the Fellows of the London Lodge are at liberty to form themselves into distinct groups, if they so prefer it. Every group is at liberty to choose its own masters as its own philosophy—or any object of research it likes. The time has come when I, one of the Founders of the Society, have to speak plainly. Experience of the last few months has shown, how dangerous it was to have rules, and not to abide by them. Henceforth they must and shall be enforced. Whether the London Lodge consists of two or more groups, it is one Lodge and every group in it must be made subordinate to its rules. These groups will have to meet probably at general meetings, and then article VI will have to be enforced. This article reads: *
* [Article VI of the 1883 Rules stated: “No officer of the Society, in his capacity of an officer, nor any member, has the right to preach his own sectarian views and beliefs, or deprecate the religion or religions of other members to other Fellows assembled, except when the meeting consists solely of his co-religionists. Nor is any member entitled to demand pecuniary aid from his richer brother, nor can he be forced to give help to a poorer . . . After due warnings, violation of these two clauses shall be punished by suspension or expulsion, at the discretion of the President and General Council.”––Comp.]