REPLY TO THE ARTICLE “RÉVOLUTION,” BY ALEPH,
IN THE Revue du Mouvement Social †
[Le Lotus, Paris, Vol. I, No. 6, September, 1887, pp. 321-338]
[Translation of the foregoing original French text]
France, why do you misunderstand us?
European and American Journalists, why don’t you study genuine Theosophy before criticizing it?
Because scientific aristocracy is full of vanity and struts on stilts of its own fabrication; because modern philosophy is materialistic to the roots of its hair; because both, in their pride, forget that in order to understand and to appreciate the evolution of the future it is necessary to
* [This essay from H. P. B.’s pen was also issued in pamphlet form under the title: Fausses Conceptions, Réponse à diverses critiques (Tours: Imp. de E. Arrault, 1887. 8°. 20 pp. 2 fr.). According to the Bibliographer Albert L. Caillet, “Aleph” was Charles Limousin, Editor of the Journal Acacia. This pamphlet is very difficult to obtain, but can be consulted in the holdings of the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris (8°R. Pièce 3782). H. P. B.’s text is preceded therein by the following editorial notice:
“In order to reply to various criticisms which we receive from time to time, and which are due to the ignorance, rather excusable, of our critics, and to the secret slander of our enemies—former Fellows expelled from the Society or priests of idolatry in science as well as religion—we think it useful to publish separately the following essay of Madame Blavatsky, which appeared in No. 6 of Le Lotus. One could think of ALEPH as representing the public in general, and of Madame Blavatsky as representing The Theosophical Society, at least as far as the general tendency and the goal are concerned.”
† Nos. 10, 11, and 12 (issued in May); 41 rue Beaunier, Paris; 3 francs for each fasc. (F. K. Gaboriau).
H.P. BLAVATSKY ABOUT 1887
Reproduced from the work of Dr. Franz Hartmann
Unter den Adepten und Rosenkreuzern, facing p. 48
know the evolution of the past, should one consider everything that is not understood by this scientific aristocracy and this materialistic philosophy to be “intellectual derangement and mere jugglery”?
It is precisely because of these “thinkers who experience at the present time an indefinable discomfort,” when observing the crumbling of all truths, that the “missionaries from the Himâlayas” offer their knowledge and their light. A very feeble light, but one whose rays, proceeding as they do from the Sun of Truth, are worth more in any case than the artificial lights offered by physiologists and pathologists, suddenly elevated to the ranks of psychologists. Can it seriously be believed that to fathom the mystery of the origin and essence of the human soul, it is sufficient to paralyze certain regions of the brain and to excite certain others? In order to kindle a ray of hope which their tired eyes can hardly distinguish from the grimacing Chinese Shadows, manipulated by pseudo-scientists who tell the public: “Here is Science!”—we display the “symbolic Lotus” before these thinkers, the malcontents of life.
The article entitled “Révolution” is a false conception of Theosophy—whether that of Madras, or London, or Paris, or America. It is an alphabetical complaint and a series of errors, from capital A to capital Z. Errors, I say, concerning the Theosophical missions and teachings, but an admirable summary of today’s situation, as regards Science, the aspirations of the masses, and the observations concerning the state of social affairs. To sum up, “Révolution” is a syllogism, whose premises are false, but whose logical conclusion is a credit to “Aleph.” Truly, his only fault has been to judge the mission of the Madras Theosophists by the caricatures of the journalists of all countries. He has accepted this portrait on faith and from it draws his conclusions. This is an anti-theosophical procedure: Theosophists must not accept anything on faith; they leave that manner of acting to
the anthropomorphic religions and to the blind worshippers of materialistic science.
The “missionaries” of Le Lotus are ready to answer. Some of them have entered the laboratories of the chemists and have helped the latter to produce the phenomenon of astral sounds. Others have proved to physicists that when one knows how to awaken the latent principle, all matter is animated. One famous chemist was afraid to let his colleagues know of the phenomenon that he himself had produced. Physicists understood nothing of it. Challenged to explain what they had seen, they answered: “Matter, as we know it, cannot act in that way. Not believing in the devil, we are forced to consider this a trick. The Theosophists are skilful jugglers.” DIXIT!
So be it! The “ Theosophical missionaries “ are now singing:
“Since the laurels have already been cut,
We won’t go to the woods any more.”
The scientists have kept them all to themselves; they deny ancient occult science its due. The Theosophists-Occultists are well-behaved children; they do not fight for their portion, but cheerfully add the thistles that grow by the wayside, to the laurel crowns the scientists weave for themselves.
We make no claims for any one religion. The supernatural does not exist in Nature, which is One, Absolute, and Infinite. We have never pretended that a miracle was a simple matter to us—a miracle being as impossible as a phenomenon, due to combinations as yet unknown to science, becomes possible as soon as it can be produced at will. We even say that every “manifestation with physical effects” (Spiritist vocabulary), whose nature escapes the perspicacity of natural sciences, is PSYCHOLOGICAL JUGGLERY. (Nota bene. Do not confuse this jugglery with that of Robert Houdin, please.)
The truth of our doctrines rests on their philosophy and on facts of nature. To accuse us of claiming that our occult science surpasses that of Jesus or of Buddha is to slander us.
European Theosophists have very little to do with “asceticism.” It is a hereditary disease of the Hatha-Yogis, the Hindû prototypes of the Christians who whip themselves and mortify their flesh until they become idiots and converse with the Devil without converting him. The Theosophists, even in India, protest against the Yogism of the fakirs. A solitary ascetic is a symbol of the most cowardly egotism; a hermit who flees from his brothers instead of helping them to carry the burden of life, to work for others, and to put their shoulders to the wheel of social life, is a coward who hides himself when the battle is on, and goes to sleep drunk on an opiate. Asceticism, as understood by exoteric religions, has produced the ignorant fools who throw themselves under the chariot of Juggernaut. If these unfortunate people had studied the esoteric philosophy, they would know that under the dead letter of the dogma taught by the Brâhmanas—exploiters, like all priests, inheritors of the possessions of their victims, who are driven to madness by superstitious terrors—is hidden a profoundly philosophical meaning; they would know that their bodies which they crush under the wheels of the chariot of Jagan-nâtha (Juggernaut in popular dialect—meaning Lord of the World or Anima mundi) are the symbols of the gross material passions which this “chariot” (the divine and spiritual soul) must crush. Knowing this they would not apply the moral and spiritual asceticism taught by esotericism to their bodies—the mere outer animal husk of the god which is latent within. The Theosophists of India labor to destroy exoteric asceticism, or the “deification of suffering,” veritable Satanism of superstition. As to our Genesis, “Aleph” knows not the first word.
Pre-historic annals, preserved by the Masters of Wisdom, on the other side of the Himâlayas, contain the account not of the “Creation,” but of the periodic evolution of the Universe, its elucidation and its philosophic raison d’être. The absence of the modern telescope proves nothing.* The ancients had something better than that. Moreover, one has but to read the Traité de l’astronomie indienne et orientale, by J. S. Bailly, to find therein proof that the ancient Hindûs knew as much as, and much more than, our modern astronomers.
Universal Esotericism preserved by certain cosmopolitan fraternities, and the key to which has long since been lost by the Brâhmanas in general, presents a cosmic and human genesis which is logical and based on natural sciences, as well as on a pure transcendental philosophy. Judeo-Christian exotericism gives but an allegory based on the same esoteric truth, but so smothered under the dead letter that it is taken for mere fiction. Jewish Kabbalists understand it to some extent. Christians having appropriated to themselves the possession of others could not possibly expect to be enlightened regarding the truth by those whom they had despoiled; they preferred to believe in the fable and to make of it a dogma. This is why the Genesis of the ancient Hindûs can be scientifically demonstrated, while the Biblical Genesis cannot.
There is no “Brâhmo-Buddhist” paradise, nor is there a Brâhmo-Buddhism; the two harmonize with each other as much as fire does with water. The esoteric basis is common to them both; but while the Brâhmanas buried their scientific treasures and disguised the beautiful statue of Truth with the hideous idols of exotericism, the
* It is common knowledge that in the vicinity of Mexico City, a bas-relief has been discovered on a pyramid older than the discovery of America, which represents a man looking at the stars through a long tube, very similar to our telescope. Not to mention the astronomical observations of the Sûrya-Siddhânta which can be mathematically traced to some 50,000 years ago.—Editor of Le Lotus.
Buddhists—following in the footsteps of their great master Gautama, the “light of Asia”—labored for centuries bringing the beautiful statue out in the open again. If the field of exoteric and official Buddhism of the Churches of both North and South, those of Tibet and Ceylon, is covered once more with parasitic weeds, it is precisely the Theosophists who are helping the high priest Sumangala to extirpate them.
None of the great religions, neither the Ethiopian nor any other, has preceded the religion of the first Vedists: ancient “Budhism.” Let us explain. When one speaks of esoteric Budhism (with one d) to the European public—so ignorant of oriental matters—it is mistaken for Buddhism, the religion of Gautama the Buddha. “Buddha” is a title of the sages and means the “illumined one”; Budhism comes from the word “Budha” (wisdom, intelligence) personified in the Purânas. He is the son of Soma (the moon in its masculine aspect or Lunus) and Târâ, the unfaithful wife of Brihaspati (the planet Jupiter), the personification of ceremonial cult, of sacrifice and other exoteric mummeries. Târâ is the soul which aspires to truth, turns away in horror from human dogma which claims to be divine, and rushes into the arms of Soma, god of mystery, of occult nature, whence is born Budha (the veiled but brilliant son), the personification of secret wisdom, of the Esotericism of the occult sciences. This Budha is by thousands of years older than the year 600 (or 300 according to certain Orientalists) before the Christian era, date assigned to the appearance of Gautama the Buddha, prince of Kapilavastu. Budhist esotericism has therefore nothing to do with the Buddhist religion, and the good and revered Sumangala has nothing to do with Theosophy in India. He has charge of the nine or ten “Branches of The Theosophical Society” in Ceylon, which with the help of theosophical missionaries become from year to year more and more free of the superstitions grafted on pure
Buddhism during the reign of Tamil kings. The saintly old Sumangala labors but to bring back to its pristine purity the religion preached by his great master—religion which disdains tinsel and idols and strives to re-become that philosophy whose sublime ethic eclipses that of all other beliefs the world over. (Vide Barthélemy Sain-Hilaire, Professor Max Müller, etc., on this subject.)
Once Theosophy and its principles are known, it will be demonstrated that our philosophy is not only a “close relative of modern science,” but its forbear, though greatly transcending it in logic; and that its “metaphysics” is vaster, more beautiful and more powerful than any emanating from a dogmatic cult. It is the metaphysics of Nature in her chaste nakedness, both physical, moral and spiritual, alone capable of explaining the apparent miracle by means of natural and psychic laws, and of completing the mere physiological and pathological notions of Science, and of killing for ever the anthropomorphic Gods and the Devils of dualistic religions. No one believes more firmly in the Unity of the eternal laws than do the Theosophists.
The Neo-Buddhism of the religion of Prince Siddhârtha Buddha will never be accepted by Europe-America for the simple reason that it will never force itself on the Occident. As to the Neo-Budhism or the “Revival of the Ancient Wisdom” of the Ante-Vedic Âryas, the actual evolutionary period of the Occidental peoples will end in a blind alley, if they reject it. Neither the true Christianity of Jesus—the great Socialist and Adept, the divine man who was changed into an anthropomorphic god—nor the sciences (which, being in their transition period, are, as Haeckel would say, rather protistae than definite sciences), nor the philosophies of today which seem to play at Blind Man’s Buff, breaking each other’s noses,
will allow the Occident to attain its full efflorescence if it turns its back upon the ancient wisdom of bygone centuries. Happiness cannot exist where Truth is absent. Erected upon the shifting sands of human fiction and hypotheses, happiness is merely a house of cards tumbling down at the first whiff; it cannot exist in reality as long as egotism reigns supreme in civilized societies. As long as intellectual progress will refuse to accept a subordinate position to ethical progress, and egotism will not give way to the Altruism preached by Gautama and the true historical Jesus (the Jesus of the pagan sanctuary, not the Christ of the Churches), happiness for all the members of humanity will remain a Utopia. Whereas the Theosophists are the only ones at present to preach this sublime altruism (even if two-thirds of The Theosophical Society should have failed in this duty), and some of them alone, in the midst of a defiant and sneering mob sacrifice themselves body and soul, honor and possessions, ready to live misunderstood and derided, if only they can succeed in sowing the good seed of a harvest which will not be theirs to reap, those who are interested in the destiny of the miserable people should at least abstain from vilifying them.
J and K
There is but one way of ever ameliorating human life and it is by the love of one’s fellow man for his own sake and not for personal gratification. The greatest Theosophist—he who loves divine truth under all its forms—is the one who works for and with the poor. There is a man known to the entire intellectual Europe-America who possibly may never have heard the name of The Theosophical Society; I mean Count Leo N. Tolstoy, author of War and Peace. This great writer is a perfect model for all aspirants to true Theosophy. He is the first in European aristocracy to have solved this problem: “What can I do to make happy any poor man whom. I may meet?” This is what he says:
I think that it is the duty of everyone to work for all who may need help; to work with the hands, remember, a certain portion of your
day. It is more practical to work with and for the poor man than to give him a portion of your intellectual labor. In the first case you help not only him who needs to be helped, but you preach by means of example to the lazy one and the beggar; you show them that you do not consider their prosaic work as being below your dignity, and thus you inculcate in him the feeling of respect and esteem for himself and of satisfaction with his destiny. If, however, you persist in working solely in your own high intellectual region and give to the poor the product of your labor, as one gives alms to the beggar, you will succeed only in encouraging his laziness and his feeling of inferiority. In doing so you establish a difference of social caste between yourself and him who accepts your alms. You take away from him his self-esteem and his confidence in you and you suggest to him aspirations to shake off the hard conditions of his existence, spent in daily physical labor, to associate himself with your life which appears to him easier than his own, to wear your garb which seems to him more beautiful than his own, and to obtain access to your social position which he considers superior to his own. It is not in this manner, owing to scientific and intellectual progress, that we can ever hope to assist the poor, or to inculcate into humanity the idea of a true fraternity.
In India the Theosophical “missionaries” labor towards the eradication of the caste idea and with a view to uniting all the castes in their fraternity. We have already seen—a thing incredible and impossible before their arrival in the country of the Sacred Cows and the Bull-Gods—Brâhmana and Pariah, Hindû and Buddhist, Parsi and Mohammedan, seated at the same table. When we see in republican France aristocrats and financiers keep company with their laundrymen, or a lady of society, proud of her democratic sentiments, help a poor farmer’s wife plant her cabbage, as is done by the daughter of Count Tolstoy and by the real European Theosophists at Madras and elsewhere—then we may say that there is hope for the poor in Europe.
“Aleph” confuses the priests of the public temple with the Initiates of the Sanctuaries. These latter never believed in an anthropomorphic God. The history that he gives us of the evolution of occult sciences and of the magnetic power is a fantasy. His description shows much imagination but very little knowledge of the procedures employed for the acquisition of “occult” powers.
Astrology is the mother of Astronomy, and Alchemy is the mother of Chemistry, just as the plastic soul is the mother of primitive physical man. Astrology and Alchemy are equally the soul of the two modern sciences. As long as this truth is not recognized, Astronomy and Chemistry will continue to run in a vicious circle and will produce nothing beyond materiality.
To say that occult sciences claim to command nature arbitrarily, is equivalent to saying that the sun commands the day-star to shine. Occult sciences are nature itself; intimate knowledge of their secrets does not give to the Initiates the power to command them. The truth of it is that this knowledge teaches the Adepts the manner in which to furnish certain conditions for the production of phenomena, always due to natural causes, and to the combination of forces analogous to those used by the scientists. The real difference between modern science and occult science consists in this: The first opposes to a natural force another natural force more powerful on the physical plane; the second opposes to a physical force, a spiritual or psychic force, in other words, the soul of that same force. Those who do not believe in the human soul nor in the immortal spirit cannot recognize a fortiori a vital and potential soul in every atom of matter. This soul, whether human, animal, vegetable, or mineral, is but a ray loaned by the Universal Soul to every manifested object during the active cycle or period of the Kosmos. Those who reject this doctrine are either materialists or sectarian bigots who dread the word “Pantheism” more than the devil of their unwholesome dreams.
The idea of the “Great Work” associated with the idea of God and Devil would make any chela of six months smile in pity. Theosophists do not believe either in the one or in the other. They believe in the Great ALL, in Sat, i.e., absolute and infinite existence, unique and with nothing like unto it, which is neither a Being nor an anthropomorphic creature, which is, and can never not
be. Theosophists see in the priest of any religion a useless if not a pernicious being. They preach against every dogmatic and infallible religion and recognize no other deity, which dispenses suffering and recompense, than Karma, an arbiter created by their own actions. The only God which they worship is TRUTH; the only devil which they recognize and which they fight against with unabated fury is the Satan of egotism and human passions.
It would be curious to learn where “Aleph” went to obtain his information on Hindû occultism. I have an idea that it was from the Brâhmanical romances of Louis Jacolliot. Well, he evidently does not know that at present the Brâhmanas are as ignorant of the occult sciences as the Buddhists of Ceylon! Of the seven esoteric keys which open Bluebeard’s closet (occultism) they possess only one—the physiological key or the sexual “phallic” aspect of their symbols. In India, among the 150,000,000 Brâhmanas of every degree, one would not find 150 initiates, including the Yogis and Paramahamsas. “Aleph” has never heard, it would seem, that their temples have become cemeteries where lie the corpses of their once beautiful symbols and where reign supreme superstition and exploitation. If it were different, why would American Theosophists have gone to India? Why would have thousands of Brâhmanas entered The Theosophical Society eager to belong to a centre where they might encounter from time to time a true Mahâtman of flesh and blood from the other side of the “great mountain”? “Aleph” would do well to study The Secret Doctrine and to learn that the red forefather of the vanished Atlantis (the Atala of the Sûrya-Siddhânta and of Asuramaya) had for still older forbear Vâhi Sarasvatî on the island of Sambhala, when Central Asia was but a vast sea where today is Tibet and the desert of Shamo or Gobi.
“Aleph” recognizes the need of keeping secret dangerous sciences —chemistry for instance—and not disclosing to the crowd, even in civilized countries, the mystery of
certain death-dealing combinations. Why should he then refuse to see in the law of silence forced upon Adepts, in connection with occult revelations, an act of wisdom, necessitated by the experience of the human heart?
I suspect, however, that it is precisely the intelligent and rich classes which would abuse occult powers for their own benefit and profit, much more than the ignorant and poor ones. The first law of the Sacred Science is never to use one’s knowledge for one’s own interest, but to work with and for others. But how many people could one find in Europe-America ready to sacrifice themselves for their fellowmen? An Adept who is sick has no right to use his magnetic force to lessen his personal suffering as long as there is, to his knowledge, a single creature that suffers and whose physical or mental pain he can lessen, if not heal. It is so to speak the exaltation of the suffering of one’s self, for the benefit of the health and happiness of others. A Theosophist, if he contemplates Adeptship, must not revenge himself. He must suffer in silence rather than excite in someone else evil passions or the desire to revenge himself in his turn. Non-resistance to evil, forgiveness and charity, are the first rules of discipleship.
However, no one is expected to become a Theosophist and even less to make himself accepted as a candidate for Adeptship and occult initiation.
“Aleph” is right once more—in appearance; the feverish activity of Europe-America would be turbulent company for Asiatic quietism. However, polarity alone can produce the phenomenon of vitality, just as it produces, through the union of positive and negative forces, the phenomenon of gravitation. Two similar poles repel each other; as an example, see the entente cordiale, the sweet brotherhood which reigns among the Occidental nations. If the fusion of contraries does not come about, if the Englishman does not openly acknowledge
the Hindû as his brother, and does not act towards him accordingly, the nations of Europe-America will end one day by devouring each other, leaving on the battlefield nothing but their tails as did the Kilkenny cats.
When criticizing Brâhmanism, “Aleph” is dead right, only he should know that the Brâhmanas in Vedic times knew neither castes nor widows from Malabar. His questionnaire under the letter N proves to me conclusively that he has read Jacolliot and that he judges India according to the twenty-one volumes of a writer, more prolific and charming than accurate. The Brâhmanism of which he speaks did not exist in the age of the Rishîs and it has been definitely shown that the Brâhmanas have embellished their laws of Manu in the post-Mahâbhâratean period. During the Vedic age widows remarried quite peacefully and the castes were invented but in the Kali-yuga, for reasons as occult as they were just, from the standpoint of the prosperity and the health of the races.
But what is the good of this? What do we Theosophists have to do with Brâhmanism, except to combat its abuses, since The Theosophical Society was established in India nine years ago. Ragunath Rao, a Brâhmana of the highest caste, who has presided for three years over The Theosophical Society of Madras, and who is at present Prime Minister (Dewan) of the Holkar, is the most fervent reformer in India. He is fighting, as so many other Theosophists, the law of widowhood, on the strength of texts from Manu and the Vedas. He has already freed several hundred young widows, destined to celibacy because of the loss of their husbands in their childhood, and he has made possible their remarriage in spite of the hue and cry of protest on the part of orthodox Brâhmanas. He laughs at castes; and the one hundred odd Theosophical Branches in India help him in this all-out war against superstition and ecclesiastical cruelty.
It is wrong to say that these institutions have been established during the reign of Esotericism. It is the loss of the keys to symbolism and to the laws of Manu which has produced all the errors and all the abuses that have infiltrated into Brâhmanism. But even if these allegations were correct, what do we have in common with orthodox Brâhmanism? The horrors described by Devendro Das in “The Hindû Widow,” in the Nineteenth Century, and quoted against the Theosophists in the same issue of the Revue du Mouvement Social, p. 333 (January 1887), are entirely true. However, Devendro Das having been a Theosophist since 1879, it should be clear at last that the Theosophists fight the Brâhmanism of the pagodas, as they do all the superstitions, all the abuses, and all the injustices.
As it would appear from the behavior of Budhist Theosophists, servants of Wisdom and Truth, that they belong to no religion, to no sect, and that on the contrary they combat all exoteric cults and the abuses which follow therefrom, and that they endeavor to be useful to humanity, the reflections of “Aleph” are unjust. The present explanation should be sufficient to finally reestablish the truth concerning the “missionaries.” of the Himâlayas. It is precisely because occult science and esoteric philosophy have “for pivotal function the service of humanity,” because their ardent advocates try to awaken European and Asiatic peoples sleeping under the deathly shadows of clericalism, by reminding them of the lessons of the ancient wisdom—it is on account of these motives that these servants offer themselves to Europe-America. Those who would still doubt it are asked to judge the tree of Theosophy by its fruits; for by judging it by the fruits of the tree of the Brâmanical, Buddhist, or Judeo-Christian religions, they commit an evident injustice and prevent the Theosophists from being useful to their fellows, more especially to the disinherited ones of the world.
As we have already mentioned the good old Sumangala elsewhere, there is no need of our wasting time in repudiating any solidarity with Bonzes or Brâhmanas. The latter—those at least who have remained ultra-orthodox and who fight every benevolent reform—persecute us and hate us as much as do the Christian clergy and the missionaries. We break their idols; they endeavor to smash our reputations and to soil our honor; those who act in this manner are especially the servants of Christ, of him who in the first place forbade prayer to the “Father” in the temples, comparing the hypocrites to the Pharisees who perform acts of devotion at all the crossroads, and who are but whited sepulchres full of decay. However, the “Bonzes,” Buddhist priests, are, we must confess, the only ones who have really helped us in our reforms! The voice of a priest of Gautama never has been raised against us. Ceylon Buddhists have always been true brothers to the Theosophists of both Europe and America. What is happening in Tibet? The few missionaries who were able to get into that land have been struck by one remarkable fact: in the midst of the street activities at noon all the shopkeepers go home leaving all their merchandise spread openly on the sidewalk and almost on the street itself; the buyers who happen to come by see the prices marked on the articles they need, so they take them and leave their money on the counter. Upon his return, the merchant finds the payment for the merchandise that was taken; the rest remains intact. Now this is something that could hardly be found in Europe-America. This is, however, but the result of the exoteric commandments of Gautama the Buddha—who was but a sage and has never been deified. There are also no beggars in Tibet, nor people dying from hunger. Drunkenness and crime are unknown there, as well as immorality, except among the Chinese who are not “Buddhists” in the real sense of the word, no more than the Mormons are Christians. May destiny preserve poor Tibet, with its ignorant and honest population, from the beneficence of civilization, and especially from the missionaries.
May destiny protect Tibet even more from the “God Progress,” as it manifests itself in Europe-America. We are told that progress is meillorisme, “social evolution incessantly ameliorating the physical, intellectual and moral conditions of the greatest number of people.” Where did “Aleph” get that? Did he find it in London with its four million inhabitants, one million of which eat but every three days, if that often? Is it in America, where progress necessitates the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Chinese laborers, sent elsewhere to die from hunger, and the immediate expulsion of thousands of Irish immigrants and other paupers of which England is trying to rid itself? A progress built on the exploitation of poor people and of laborers is but another car of Juggernaut plus a false nose. One has the right to prefer even a quiet death under the manchineel tree to the progress of the rich and learned classes achieved over the bodies of thousands of poor and ignorant people. The Chinese of California, are they not our brothers? The Irish driven from their huts and condemned with their children to die of hunger, do they prove the existence of social progress? No, a thousand times no! As long as people, instead of fraternizing with and helping each other, claim but the right to safeguard their national interests, while the rich man refuses to understand that in helping a poor stranger he helps his poor brother in the future, and sets a good example for other countries; as long as the feeling of international altruism remains an empty phrase in the air, progress will accomplish no other function than that of executioner of the poor.
Let us understand each other. I am speaking of the progress of civilization on the physical plane, the progress that “Aleph” praises to the skies, playing the role of its bard. Let this material progress enter into ethics and the “missionaries” of Le Lotus and of India will recognize
in you their masters. But you do nothing of the kind. You have exhausted or have contributed to the drying up of the only source of consolation for the poor, faith in his immortal Ego, and you have not given him anything else in return. Are three quarters of humanity happier due to the progress of science and its alliance with industry, about which you seem so happy? Has the invention of machines done any good to manual laborers? No, for it has resulted in one more evil: the creation among the workers of a superior caste, semi-instructed and semi-intelligent, to the disadvantage of the less favored masses which became more miserable yet. You confess it yourself: “The excessive production of things and workers . . . . creates encumbrance, plethora, poverty, deficiency, i.e., idleness and misery.” Thousands of poor children in the factories, representing for the future whole generations of crippled, ricket-ridden and unhappy people, are sacrificed in a holocaust to your progress, an insatiable and forever hungry Moloch. Yes, we protest, we say that “today is worse than yesterday,” and we deny the benefits of a progress which aims only at the welfare of the rich. The “happiness” you speak of will not come as long as moral progress slumbers in inactivity, paralyzed by the ferocious egotism of everybody, the rich as well as the poor. The revolution of 1789 has shown but one very evident result: that false fraternity which says to his fellow man, “Think as I do, or I will knock you down; be my brother, or I will run you down!” *
The Theosophical “missionaries” aim also at a social revolution. But it is a wholly ethical revolution. It will come about when the disinherited masses understand that
* It seems to us that Madame Blavatsky is obviously exaggerating here. It has been a long time since she left France where she lived in an epoch when things were not too bright; since those days, the newspapers which inform her abroad can give her but a sad idea of France, as they do their utmost to soil our democracy. (F. K. Gaboriau.)
happiness is in their own hands, that wealth brings nothing but worries, that he is happy who works for others, for those others work for him, and when the rich realize that their felicity depends upon that of their brothers—whatever their race or religion—then only will the world see the dawn of happiness.
“Aleph” asks why the world should not be eternal. Why the entities of the hierarchy which compose it should not succeed each other like the members of the species which populate our globe and the others. Is not the idea of the formation of worlds by other worlds, and of universes by other universes more rational by analogy than that of Moses or even of Laplace? “Aleph” teaches thus pure Theosophy; he is therefore a Theosophist and a “ Budhist missionary” without knowing it; we hail him and welcome him with open arms. The Secret Doctrine * which will be published shortly will show that at the beginning of the last periodic evolution of our globe, as well as that of its beings, the processes of generation offered varieties not even suspected in the laboratories. The co-operation of the male and female principles, inaugurated solely by the physical man, formed only one of such processes.
The “finiteness” of the Kosmos has never been accepted by our “new religion,” which is not at all a religion but a philosophy. Neither Brâhmanas nor Bonzes, in their most acute exoteric delirium, have ever accepted the finiteness of the Kosmos. “Aleph” has but to open the Vedânta, Manu, the Purânas, the Buddhist Catechism, etc., to find therein a statement regarding the eternity of the Kosmos, which is but the periodic and objective manifestation of absolute eternity itself, of the forever
* This work, mentioned in No. 4 of Le Lotus, is in English; it will cover five thick volumes of the size of Isis Unveiled, and for financial reasons easy to understand, will not appear very soon in French (F. K. Gaboriau.)
unknown principle called Parabrahman, Âdi-Buddha, the “One and Eternal Wisdom.”
If there is a still greater absurdity than to speak of a cruel God: it is to admit that God, the Great, Absolute Whole, could ever interfere in terrestrial or human affairs. The infinite cannot associate with the finite; the unconditioned ignores the conditioned and the limited. The absolute “Intelligence-Wisdom” cannot act in the restricted space of a small globe. It is omnipresent and latent in the Kosmos, infinite as itself. We find its only truly active manifestation in humanity as a whole, composed as it is of stray sparks, finite in their objective duration, eternal in their essence, issuing from that Hearth without beginning or end. Therefore, the only God whom we should serve is Humanity, and our only cult should be the love of our fellow man. Doing evil towards him, we wound God and make him suffer. When we deny our brotherly duties and refuse to consider a pagan as well as a European as our brother, we deny God. This is our religion and our dogmas.
Far from being unwilling to understand Europe, intellectual India, if not the Brâhmanical India of Jacolliot, favors it.
This India has never condescended to preach the God-misfortune, nor asceticism as understood by “Aleph”. This is proven by the law of Manu which enjoins marriage to the Grihastha Brâhmana, before he becomes an ascetic Brâhmana. The greatest misfortune for a Brâhmana is not to have a son, and marriage is obligatory barring the exceptional cases when the child is destined to become a Brahmachârin, a Yogi celibate, for occult reasons which cannot be enumerated here. Esotericism has never proscribed sexual or marital functions created by nature herself. Esotericism works in, with, for nature, and condemns but immorality, abuse and excess. Moreover, of all the animals, man is the most animal in his excesses; the beast has its seasons, but man has none.
“Aleph” probably speaks of Christian ascetics, those who plunge themselves into exoteric asceticism, a blessed rosary in their hands and the dogmas of the church in their heads. The Hindû becomes an ascetic only after having sufficiently studied the occult sciences to allow his spiritual nature to control his material nature. “Aleph” surely confuses the ascetics of India with the Spiritualistic mediums of Europe-America. The latter, poor sensitives and neurotics, ignore the esoteric laws, and it is they who end by creating incubi and succubi—as is proven by the discarnate wives of certain mediums in Paris itself.
The comparison between the “God of the past” and the “God of science” is neither a just nor a happy one as the reigns of these two Gods differ very little from each other. The poor man is just as unhappy today as he was a thousand years ago, and even more so, as the gap between him and the rich man has widened.
Progress has served but to provide the rich with enjoyments unknown in the centuries of barbarism.
The Occident is free to refuse the hand extended to it by the Orient. However, it is not always refusing it, as is evidenced by the numerous Theosophical societies popping up like mushrooms in Europe-America.
Jesus, quoted by “Aleph,” upsets all the theories of the latter when he says: “My kingdom is not of this world.” Would our benevolent critic like us to admire the action of the Pharisees, and to offer their noble example to Europe-America? It would be effort wasted as the Christians of these two continents have long since delivered Theosophy into the secular hands of the pretorians of journalism. The latter crucify us daily. Up to now we have had as enemies the clergy, the missionaries (who preach brotherhood but bring to the
pagans only vice and drunkenness), the Salvation Army,hypocritical and pious aristocracy, all the materialists, and even the Spiritualists who have ceased to consider us as their “dear brothers”. Alone, the intelligent socialists have understood us; will they also turn against us?
In the meantime, “Aleph” makes us listen to some profound truths. Yes, exoteric Brâhmanism must fall, but it will be replaced by esoteric Vedism, to which will be added everything noble and beautiful that progressive science has evolved in this last century. But this revolution will not be accomplished by conquerors; it is by means of brotherly love that the fusion of the two Âryan races will be brought about, and only when the Englishman will have ceased to look upon the Brâhmana—whose genealogical tree encompasses three thousand years—as the representative of an inferior race. In his turn, the Brâhmana hates the Englishman whose temporary rule he is forced to endure. The brotherhood of the Theosophists throughout India are the only ones to see the haughty Englishman sitting down at the same table with equally arrogant Brâhmanas, mellowed and humanized by the example and the lessons of the Theosophists who serve the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom, the descendants of those Rishis and Mahâtmans which Brâhmanism has always revered, though it has ceased to understand them.
It follows, therefore, from all that precedes, that it is not the “priesthood of India” that attempts to bring the Occident back to the ancient wisdom, but rather a few Occidentals from Europe-America who, led by their Karma to the happiness of knowing certain Adepts of the secret Himâlayan Brotherhood, attempt, under the inspiration of these Masters, to lead the priesthood of India back to the primitive and divine esotericism.
In this they have largely succeeded in India and in Asia. Europe-America alone still resists, incapable of understanding or of appreciating the simplicity of their
goal. After all, it is only the majority who refuse to understand, that majority which has always bitten the hand that offered it help. But let us not despair. When the day, so greatly yearned for, will have arrived, when universal and intellectual brotherhood will be accepted de facto, if not proclaimed de jure, then at long last the portals of the sanctuary, closed for many ages both to orthodox Brâhmanas and sceptical Europeans, will be flung open for the Brothers of every land. The “Grand-sire” will welcome his prodigal children, and all his intellectual treasures will be their heritage.
But in order that this time may arrive, the goal of the “missionaries” of India must be understood and their mission completely appreciated. So far the public has seen only its own distorted and grimacing image in the mirror of publicity. The object pursued by some mystical Theosophists has become, according to our ill-advised critics, the object of the entire Brotherhood; and the quid pro quo has culminated finally in the article of “Aleph” who preaches our own doctrines to us.
H. P. BLAVATSKY (F.T.S.).