C. W. Leadbeater - A Great Occultist
Compiled by Sandra Hodson and Mathias J. van Thiel
|2.||A Study in Evidence||Hugh Shearman||3|
|3.||There is No Religion Higher Than Truth" -||Rt. Rev. Marijn Brandt||10|
|4.||An Appreciation of C.W. Leadbeater -||Geoffrey Hodson||15|
|5.||C.W. Leadbeater, A Self-Illumined Man -||Some of His Pupils.||19|
"There Is No Religion Higher Than Truth"
by The Rt. Rev. Marijn Brandt
With regard to the discussion arisen about Mr. E. L. Gardner's booklet "There is no Religion higher than Truth" I should like to make a few remarks. If we don't want our theosophy to become a kind of orthodoxy, it is necessary that we are always ready to submit our views to a thorough criticism, and that we actually do this now and then. Mr. Gardner's booklet might have been an inducement to do that. The idea of unconscious kriyashakti is a very important notion, and I am quite ready to accept that many people make such strong thought-forms and vivify them in such a way, that these finally appear to them as objective realities. It will be good to take this specially into account whenever we might have "occult experiences" ourselves. And also with regard to all "clairvoyant" informations, even by our great leaders. No man is infallible, and we must realise that great experts in the occult field, like C.W.L., can make mistakes, and might even be misled by their own imagination. I should like to add: why not also H.P.B. and A.B.? These three great people have often warned us not to regard them as infallible.
But a very weak point in Mr. Gardner's booklet is that he seems to make C.W.L. the scapegoat for all the "mistakes", whitewashing others who may have had an equal responsibility. Why should only C.W.L. have been misled by his unconscious kriyashakti? In trying to prove this, Mr. Gardner supplies "evidence" which contains many inaccuracies. Unacceptable is also the way in which parts of sentences, quoted from "The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett" are taken out of their context, and grouped in such a way that a meaning is suggested which we don't find in the original text. Mr. Hugh Shearman's article in the March issue of St. Michael's News pointed to a number of inaccuracies of Mr. Gardner's pamphlet. In answer to this Mr. Gardner wrote in a letter, printed in the April issue, that the announcement of the "Coming" was not widely proclaimed till after the war (1918). Mr. Gardner needs this statement as "evidence" to prove that Mrs. Besant relied for her "announcement" on the information she had received from C.W.L., as she had "cut off" her clairvoyant faculties in 1912. (Others say: after 1913). From my personal memory I know that Mr. Gardner is wrong in dating the "wide" announcement after 1918. When I joined the Order of the Star in the East in March 1914 (so: before World War l) there had already for at least three years been given wide publication to the expectation of the coming of the World Teacher. In March 1912 Mrs. Besant gave several public lectures on the subject in Holland.
In "A Short History of the Theosophical Society", compiled by Josephine Ransom, a survey is given of Mrs. Besant's activities and lectures about the "coming" in the years 1910-1913 on pages 386-399. This shows that she gave these lectures about the "coming" during a time when she had not yet made her psychic faculties inactive. So I don't think we have a right to say that only C.W.L. was responsible for the announcement of the "coming". In "The Theosophist" of October 1911 we read in "On the Watch-tower":
"The Older of the Star in the East . . . is making remarkable progress in England. It has already more than a thousand adherents in this country, and hundreds are joining on the Continent".
This proves also that wide publication was given to it in that time.
Does the fact that Krishnaji repudiated the authority which was created around him, mean that there has been no "coming", or that C.W.L. (and/or A.B.) were wrong? Who is able to judge such things now? And is it of any importance? Many things in the Order of the Star in the East may have been based on mistakes. But mistakes or no mistakes, Krishnaji is giving a message to the world, and it is that message which matters, not what people thought or did not think about him in the past.
And the same applies to the origin of the Liberal Catholic Church. Whether C.W.L. was right or wrong in his letters of 1916 to 1923 to Mrs. Besant about the relation between the Lord Maitreya and the liberal Catholic Church, is of little importance now. The important thing is, that the Liberal Catholic Church exists as a Christian church, free from a number of the limitations of other Christian churches, free from dogmas, free from anxiety, free from heaven and hell, free from the tyranny of a priestly caste. That this became possible is mainly due to the work of Bishops Leadbeater and Wedgwood. We may really be proud that Theosophy inspired them to bring about this regeneration of Christianity, just as we may be proud that our President-Founder Col. Olcott gave the impetus to a renaissance of Buddhism in Ceylon, and that other Theosophists tried the same for other religions.
Mr. Gardner quotes on page 7 from a letter by C.W.L. to A.B. (published in the booklet "On the Liberal Catholic Church, Extracts from letters of C. W. Leadbeater to Annie Besant, 1916-1923", compiled by C. Jinarajadasa in 1952):
"He (The Lord Maitreya) told us to ask questions from the Master K.H. upon points as to which we were uncertain - and the information which we gained in this way was of the very greatest value to us'.
Then Mr. Gardner continues:
"The questions put by Bishop Leadbeater to the Master K.H., and said to have been answered by him, run to several thousand words. They relate to the celebration of Mass, the effect of consecration and of priesthood, and to numerous details of ecclesiastical procedure. The answer to these many questions all support and endorse the clerical views of Bishop Leadbeater himself.'
This is really a very remarkable accusation. Where does Mr. Gardner find the information that those "several thousand words" are answers given by the Master K.H.? He seems to think that the number of rather incoherent notes found in C.W.L.'s safe after his death, and published by Mr. Jinarajadasa on pages 17-54 of the above mentioned booklet, are the answers to questions put to the Master K.H. But before these notes Mr. Jinarajadasa printed the following introductory remark (p. 16):
'The following Notes are among the files in Bishop Leadbeater's safe. I print them from the copy which is with me. Much of this material was later Incorporated in Bishop Leadbeater's book 'The Science of the Sacraments'."
And what follows, is a number of notes - only some of them in the form of questions and answers, but nowhere is indicated that the answers came from the Master K.H.; a few answers are printed between quotation marks, indicating that C.W.L. was not the real author of those, and in one of the cases it is clear that he refers to the Lord Maitreya. For all the rest it seems quite clear to me, that these questions were questions put to Bishop Leadbeater, and answered by him. But most of the notes are not at all in the form of questions and answers, and in some cases they are very disconnected. What is the use of publishing such notes that have already been used as material for "The Science of the Sacraments"? It is true that Bishop Leadbeater stated that he had gained information from the Master K.H., but Mr. Gardner invents that the "several thousand words" printed there are claimed as answers from the Master! This is creating myths!
Mr. Gardner continues:
"Evidently the 'Lord Maitreya' knew nothing of the Master K.H.'s strong views on religions and sacerdotalism. The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett had not at that time been published. Letter No. 10, signed by the Master K.H., states:
'The chief cause of nearly two-thirds of the evils that pursue humanity . . . is religion under whatever form and in whatsoever nation. It is the sacerdotal caste, the priesthood and the churches; it is in those Illusions that man looks upon at sacred that he has to search out the source of that multitude of evils which is the great curse of humanity.
. . . The sum of human misery will never be diminished unto that day when the better portion of humanity destroys in the name of Truth, morality and universal charity the altars of their false gods.'"
One of the fundamental laws of scientific honesty is, that whenever we quote something written by another, we must use the quoted words in the same context as the original writer used them. Even slight alterations, such as changing a single word or omitting a part of a sentence, may change the meaning. Alas, there are many writers (even among trained scientists) who break this rule of honesty, and so, by untruthfully quoting, do violence to the meaning of the original writer.
This has been done in Mr. Gardner's booklet, and in order to show it, I shall quote a little more from that letter No. 10, giving that part exactly as it was printed in "The Mahatma Letters". For comparison I print the parts quoted by Mr. Gardner in italics. In a rather long treatise on "Our Ideas on Evil", the Master K.H. sums up many causes of evil, and writes:
"Therefore it is neither nature nor an imaginary Deity that has to be blamed, but human nature made vile by selfishness. Think well over these few words; work out every cause of evil you can think of and trace it to its origin and you will have solved one-third of the problem of evil. And now, after making due allowance for evils that are natural and cannot be avoided, - and so few are they that I challenge the whole host of Western metaphysicians to call them evils or to trace them directly to an independent cause - I will point out the greatest, the chief cause of nearly two-thirds of the evils that pursue humanity ever since that cause became power. It is religion under whatever form and in whatever nation. It is the sacerdotal caste, the priesthood and the churches. It is in those illusions that man looks upon as sacred, that he has to search out the source of that multitude of evils which is the great curse of humanity and that almost overwhelms mankind. Ignorance created Gods and cunning took advantage of opportunity. Look a India and look at Christendom and Islam, at Judaism and Fetichism. It is Priestly imposture that rendered these Gods so terrible to man; it is religion that makes of him the selfish bigot, the fanatic that hates all mankind out of his own sect without rendering him any better or more moral for it. It is belief in God and Gods that makes two-thirds of humanity the slaves of a handful of those who deceive them under the false pretence of saving them. Is nit man ever ready to commit any kind of evil if told that his God or gods demand the crime?; Voluntary victim of an illusionary God, the abject slave of his crafty ministers. The Irish, Italian and Slavonian peasant will starve himself and see his family staving and naked to feed and clothe his padre and pope. For two thousand fears India groaned under the weight of caste, Brahmins alone feeding on the fat of the land, and today the followers of Christ and those of Mahomet are cutting each other's throats in the names of and for the greater glory of their respective myths. Remember the sum of human misery will never be diminished until that day when the better portion of humanity destroys in the name of Truth, morality, and universal charity, the altars of their false gods.
"If it is objected that we too have temples, we too have priest and that our lamas also live on charity, let them know that the objects named have in common with their Western equivalents but the name. Thus in out temples there is neither a god nor gods worshipped, only the thrice sacred memory of the greatest as the holiest man that ever lived."
When we carefully compare the sentences Mr, Gardner quotes with the original text, we see that he grouped them in such a way that the letter might be applicable to the Liberal Catholic Church, and that is probably what Mr. Gardner wants. But he omitted "ever since that cause became a power", and he places three little points instead of these words. That is the way in which we indicate something has been omitted, but the rule of honesty tells us, that we may only do that if we do not change the context. Here it makes quite a difference.
The next three little points indicate again a part which has been omitted. In that part the Master states that it is the imposture and the exploitation of the masses by the priestly caste, which is the cause of so much evil. He does not criticise praise and adoration of the Divine, nor the existence of temples and priests as such, but He does criticise the organisation of power which most of the Western churches in that time were and still are (perhaps to a lesser extent because they have lost much of their influence now). The Liberal Catholic Church is nothing like such an organisation of power, it has brought us a Christianity with freedom of belief, without fear, without exploitation, and with priests who have no power over people, and who do not receive any money, but who are only servants of their fellow-men. So there is no contradiction between "the Master K.H.'s strong views on religions and sacerdotalism", and the views on religion and church which Bishop Leadbeater brings in "The Science of the Sacraments". Mr. Gardner's quotation stops lust before the statement of the Master that They in Tibet too have temples and priests, but quite different from those in the West, having only their name in common with their Western equivalents. But this last thing may be said just as well of the L.C.C., -so much so that a number of orthodox churches refuse to recognise it as a Christian church! Is it so unlikely that the Master would welcome such a new form of church which is free from the causes of evil which He mentioned in His letter?
Mr. Gardner also "quotes" from letter No. 134 of "The Mahatma Letters". That letter contains a treatise on a totally different subject, namely that the Masters were willing to write to Mr. Sinnett and Mr. Hume, but not to certain other people, because those others were too much caught in religious prejudices, and the Masters would have to use more than ordinary exercise of power to drive away the undesirable entities around them. In his "quotation" Mr. Gardner picks out a small part of a sentence here, a small part of another sentence there, and again some part of a sentence somewhere else - and then puts these parts in a sequence, thus suggesting a whole which never existed. This is not any more quoting; this is, to say it very gently, a misrepresentation of the facts.
Because of all this, for an unprejudiced but critical student Mr. Gardner's booklet cannot stand the test. The idea of conscious and unconscious kriyashakti may be a valuable one, but the fact that this idea has been (mis)used in order to press forward a fixed idea, and above all: the way in which this has been done, is not in accord with the motto: "There is no Religion higher than Truth".
The Rt. Rev. Marijn Brandt.
An Appreciation of C.W. Leadbeater
by Geoffrey Hodson
The reliability of the seership of C. W. Leadbeater has been challenged by E. L. Gardner, who has described the former's occult experiences as being mere unconscious "thought-creations". Since some members of the Theosophical Society have become very disturbed by this charge, I have decided, in response to many requests, to relate certain personal experiences which demonstrate to me that E. L. Gardner is in error.
One of the accusations made by Mr. Gardner is that C. W. Leadbeater's supposed contacts with the Masters of the Wisdom were largely imaginary, being the result of the unconscious projections of his own thoughts. It should be remembered, however, that C. W. Leadbeater received two letters from one of the Masters, both being in solid, objective form and transmitted occultly from beyond the Himalayas. This being the case, neither Mr. Gardner nor anyone else can truthfully say that C W. Leadbeater's first contacts with the Masters were imaginary. The two letters were, and still are, physical objects now preserved in the archives of the Theosophical Society.*
Although a very great deal of what C. W. Leadbeater said and described is beyond my own limited experience, I am able to offer the testimony that I have independently become assured of the truth of certain of his teachings. The existence of the human aura, for example, and of the changes and conditions produced in it by both temporary and habitual feelings and thoughts, are undeniable facts for me. It fell to my lot for some six years to make a special study of this subject, having been drawn into collaboration with certain medical men and used as an investigator and diagnostician in London from 1923 to 1929. Again and again in the course of my investigations I received evidence of the close relationship existing between the physical body and clairvoyantly observable psychological and mental conditions.
As I thus studied the subject I found that much which is written in Man Visible and Invisible and Thought-Forms concerning the aura, and the astral and mental bodies of man, is strictly in accordance with my own observations. I am therefore able to say that I know that the human aura exists, and that it is correctly portrayed in many of the descriptions and illustrations contained in these two books by C. W. Leadbeater.
The health aura+, to which C. W. Leadbeater also draws attention, was the first etheric phenomenon which I observed and later charted, noting the outflowing from the body of both unused and used prana and of certain electro-magnetic forces. I further remember sending a copy of my chart to E. L. Gardner and a group of students then gathered around him. I confirm, in addition, the existence and visibility of the vitalising, life-energy from the sun, known in Sanskrit as prana, its absorption by the body, and its later distribution to different organs according to a very precise system of reception, individualisation and circulation of that life-energy.
* The K.H. Letters to C. W. Leadbeater, C. Jinarajadasa.
+ The Etheric Double, A. E. Powell.
I am also able to support, from independent observations made throughout a great many years, C. W. Leadbeater's teachings concerning the existence of the Serpent Fire or kundalini.* I have made a special study of this force in varying degrees of its activity, including its effects upon advanced occultists in whom it is fully aroused. The resultant increased functions of the seven force-centres or chakras in the etheric, astral and mental bodies of man have also long been a subject of study.
I pause at this point to assure my readers that the above and following observations concerning C. W. Leadbeater's seership are offered in response to special requests. It was thought that, as one who has carried out researches in the same field of study, I might be regarded as an acceptable witness.
Continuing, I am also able to confirm that one can be conscious and active in one's superphysical bodies whilst the physical body is asleep. In consequence, I have found that it is possible to serve effectively in this manner as helper, healer and protector of one's fellowmen.+
* The Chakras, C. W. Leadbeater.
+ Invisible Helpers, C. W. Leadbeater.
The existence of nature spirits and of the Angelic Hosts has become a reality to me and here again C. W. Leadbeater's vision, far outranging my own, is to me a correct source of information concerning members of this other kingdom of Nature. He also wrote Occult Chemistry, a work admittedly not yet found to be in conformity with modern physics. The book consists both of co-ordinated and illustrated descriptions of presumed etheric counterparts of the atoms of the then known chemical elements, and of other expositions of occult physics. I was at one time invited to collaborate with a scientist who, without informing me of the statements contained in Occult Chemistry, requested that I should attempt clairvoyant investigation of certain elements. The existence of etheric structures similar to the geometrical figures which C. W. Leadbeater described were on numerous occasions also seen by myself.
C.W. Leadbeater's teachings that the akashic records - or memory of Nature - exist, as also does man's power to read them, are demonstrably true for me. I have, for example, under the direction of a scientist, clairvoyantly examined fossil bones of ape-men and men-apes, and was later taken into the cave where these relics were found. The palaeontologist concerned confirmed in a written statement the correctness of most, but not all, of that which I had described. Interestingly enough, he tested the possibility of mind-reading by verbally giving me faulty information, and at the same time projecting into my mind a wrong thought-form concerning a specimen. I was not, however, aware of either of these actions and, as he later testified, saw and described the correct owner of the fossil - in this case an ape. Thus the two ideas advanced by C. W. Leadbeater - the existence of the akashic records and of the faculty of reading them - are, I repeat, in this instance demonstrable facts to me.
The discovery of Krishnamurti, and the prophecy that he had been selected to be a vehicle for a great Teacher, have an important place in E. L. Gardner's book. He assumes that since the manifestation did not occur in the manner expected, the prophecy was in error. Whilst this subject is referred to in another part of this booklet, I here describe certain experiences of my own in relation to the prophecy.
As I have elsewhere written, I attended several of the Star Camps in Holland and was present when there was evidence of remarkable, if brief, supernormal manifestations. On more than one occasion some two thousand people from many parts of the world were gathered at Ommen to hear Krishnamurti. Each evening, all were seated in concentric circles round a large camp fire. Krishnamurti would arrive, take his place for a time, and then rise and apply a torch to the camp fire. As the flames arose against the evening sky he would chant a mantram to the god Agni, and return to his seat. Thereafter he would begin to speak, and on more than one occasion a noticeable change took place in him. His voice altered and his hitherto rather iconoclastic utterances gave way to a wonderful tenderness of expression and thought which induced in those present an elevation of consciousness. The Talks were followed by prolonged meditative silences. Many of those present, myself among them, bore testimony to the sense of divine peace which had descended, to a realisation of the Presence of the Lord, and to an assurance that the prophecy had begun to be fulfilled.
These phenomena occurred during some few successive years, the events being so marked that Krishnamurti himself thereafter changed the Objects of the Order of the Star in the East from, in effect, "To prepare for the coming of the Lord" to "To serve the World Teacher now that He is in our midst." I, myself, more than once heard Krishnamurti affirm that the great Teacher was now here and that the "Coming" had actually occurred. Even now when he is speaking, with others I discern a spiritual influence emanating from him, as if a great Being were still using him as a vehicle. This, however, does not constitute a complete fulfilment of the original prophecy.
The foregoing and many other experiences prevent me from allowing to pass unchallenged an attack upon the seership of C. W. Leadbeater. I am convinced that his occult experiences were no mere projections of his own thought-creations, and it should ever be remembered that he himself never assumed total accuracy; neither did he ever ask his readers to believe his observations merely because they were made by him. He wished them to be judged on their merits alone, after application of the tests of reason and intuition. Indeed, recalling C. W. Leadbeater's presence, the clarity of his mind and the stamp of authority and greatness in him, I deny that he was a self-deceived, deluded man. E. L. Gardner himself recognises this in the remarkable perception and pre-vision exhibited by C. W. Leadbeater in his discovery that an apparently normal Indian boy was, in fact, the reincarnation of an advanced human being, as has since been proved to be the case; for Krishnamurti is today recognised throughout the world as a great teacher and helper of mankind, large numbers of people flocking to hear him wherever he goes.
Finally, I think it would be a great tragedy if, because of E. L. Gardner's attack upon C. W. Leadbeater, less notice were taken of the latter's valuable writings, especially those which expound basic Theosophy, for he always wrote with rare lucidity. His unique contributions to the literature upon the spiritual life, the Path of Discipleship, the Masters of the Wisdom and the Great White Brotherhood of Adepts upon Earth, are not likely to be equalled in their power to transform people's lives in this period of world history. With so many other revealers of spiritual and occult wisdom to mankind, he has been - and by E. L. Gardner is now-decried and assailed. For me, however, C W. Leadbeater was a giant amongst men, a great teacher and light-bringer to mankind, and I am indeed grateful for this opportunity of adding my testimony to that of others who knew him far more intimately than ever was my own privilege.
C. W. Leadbeater - A Self-illumined Man
by Some of His Pupils
We, the undersigned, are moved to protest against the attack upon C. W. Leadbeater made by Mr. E. L. Gardner in his booklet, There Is No Religion Higher Than Truth, adding our voices to those already raised on C.W.L.'s behalf. We do this for the following reasons:
- Mr. Gardner has attacked a very great servant of humanity, no longer alive to defend himself.
- In response to the ideal of "A valiant defence of those who are unjustly attacked", as consistently taught by C.W.L.
As his pupils, drawn for some years into close association with him, we are able to state categorically that, for us, he was certainly not a self-deluded man (Mr. Gardner's accusation against him). On the contrary, we know C.W.L. to have been a self-illumined seer, and this certainty of ours is supported not only by natural intuitive responses throughout many years, but also by direct, independent experiences of an extra-sensory nature. We also affirm our conviction that C.W.L. was, in fact, in close association with certain Adepts, this relationship having begun on receipt of two letters from his own Master.*
Mr. Gardner's use of the official Motto of the Theosophical Society, There Is No Religion Higher Than Truth, as the title of his booklet is, in our opinion, most regrettable. It would seem that by using this Motto he intended to imply that he is in
*The K.H. Letters to C. W. Leadbeater, C. Jinarajadasa. possession of the truth, and therefore in a position rightfully to sit in judgement on C.W.L. A very high position indeed, for he would also have to assume a mantle of greater truthfulness than C.W.L. Yet we discover that in support of his charges, namely that C.W.L. was guilty of errors caused by self-delusion, he has demonstrably misquoted passages from theosophical literature.
In all our association with C.W.L. we found him to be the last person ever to claim infallibility, either in his exposition of theosophical teachings or in his own researches. On the contrary, he always said in effect' "This is what I have discovered to be true for myself. Use your reason and your intuition and, if you have them, your own clairvoyant faculties, to verify or disprove my findings. Thus you may discover truth for yourself." Mr. Gardner has ignored this approach to truth which was typical of C.W.L. If, furthermore, Mr. Gardner so gravely doubted C.W.L.'s teachings, one may ask why, during the years of his acquaintance with C.W.L. when he was alive, did he not express personally his doubts and so give C.W.L. the opportunity to defend himself? Why wait until more than thirty years after C.W.L.'s death? Those of us who knew him well, however, are aware that had Mr. Gardner attacked him while he was alive, he would never have defended himself; for this was something he had always steadfastly refused to do.
When appraising the life of an occultist, it is necessary to remember that much of that life must inevitably be hidden from public view, because it is private and personal; also that this concealment is deliberate, for there is a self-imposed discipline of silence. Nevertheless the existence of these hidden factors, of which Mr. Gardner should be well aware, must in all justice be taken into account. This is especially so when considering attacks upon the life and work of such a selfless Theosophist and server of mankind as was our friend and teacher - C.W.L. Some day in the future, we feel sure, the world will recognise C.W.L.'s genius, his immense contributions to spiritual and occult knowledge, and his absolute purity of heart and single-minded integrity up to the day of his death.
We who knew and respected C.W.L. are particularly disturbed by, and take grave exception to, the introduction by Mr. Gardner of a satirical note on the first page of his booklet. Satire has been defined as being essentially a criticism of folly or vice, which it holds up to ridicule or scorn. It is simply sarcastic expression deliberately used thus to draw attention to that which is purported to be erroneous. This undesirable frame of mind causes a doubt to arise in the mind of the genuine enquirer as to the sincerity of the author in stating on the following page his "warm indebtedness" to C.W.L. Those students who seriously study the Ancient Wisdom must surely be struck by the hypocrisy of such an attitude and its expression. In the analysis he claimed to have found "evidence" and "proof" in support of his accusation. It is then suggested that the "phenomenon of 'unconscious Kriyashakti'" is the cause of it all.
To the general public, or world at large, this may seem very impressive and could possibly be readily believed. Yet on close examination it proves not to be an analysis at all, but merely expressions of the writer's own personal doubts. A series of quotations follow, some if not all of which are fragments pieced together to convey a meaning different from the real message of the originals when read in their complete form. A false image is thus presented,* which in actual fact throws a wrong light on a series of events and the personalities who played a part in them; for in these quotations neither proof nor evidence can be found at all.
Two Letters of the Mahatmas,+ Nos. 10 and 134, are quoted, for example, and alleged to convey Their views on "the celebration of the Mass", "the effect of consecration and of priesthood" and "numerous details of ecclesiastical procedure" in the Liberal Catholic Church; for it is this Church and its teaching which are now also under attack in the booklet. Firstly, as far as is known these Letters were written in the last century, long before the L.C.C. was founded, and cannot therefore be regarded as an expression of the Mahatma's views on this Church and its teaching. Secondly, Letter No. 10 consists of notes on the then existing conceptions of God and the forms of worship in the then existing denominations of various religions in the world, of which the Christian Religion is one. The views expressed in Letter No. 10, however, are in complete harmony with - and the underlying principle of - the teaching of the Liberal Catholic Church.*
At the time when the Mahatma Letters were written, both orthodox conceptions of God and ecclesiastical practices were of such a nature as to call forth and justify the Master K.H.'s denunciations. The L.C.C., which brings Theosophy into Christianity, was not yet in existence. Therefore the Master's remarks cannot possibly be regarded as being directed against that Church. Letter No. 134 refers to misconceptions prevalent in the then existing forms of popular religion. The same remark can be made here as in connection with Letter No. 10. The last sentence in the quotation is not quite correct, for Mr. Gardner left out "and Mohamedans".
One wonders how much actual truth a serious student of the occult doctrine can find in this booklet, which has such an exalted title, and yet in which so much negative thought, prejudice. suspicion and doubt are expressed in the Introduction, and why the wrong presentation of facts? These but serve as barriers to Mr. Gardner's own understanding, and also cause distraction to the reader.
The Coming of the World Teacher was proclaimed by Dr. Annie Besant in December, 1910, while she was still supposed to be in the "plenitude of her powers" as Mr. N. Sri Ram, President of the Theosophical Society, expressed it in his Watch Tower Article in The Theosophist of February, 1964. It was in 1913, and not in 1912 as Mr. Gardner stated, that she reportedly put aside the use of her clairvoyant faculties - another misstatement of fact. Concerning the prophetic announcement in regard to the World Teacher, Mr. Gardner wrote: "Obviously there has been no Coming." Referring to this in his Article, Mr. Sri Ram added the qualification "as expected". He then went on to say that "Krishnaji is giving a teaching, message or whatever else we may call it, which is of unique value and importance." This would seem to indicate a thought in the President's mind that possibly Krishnamurti may be to some extent a vehicle for the World Teacher. This, if true, would negate Mr. Gardner's declaration that "there has been no Coming."
*Demonstrated in the accompanying Article by The Rt. Rev. Marijn Brandt.
+ The Mahatma Letters To A. P. Sinnett, A. T. Barker.
*The Science of the Sacraments, C. W. Leadbeater.
Indeed, it is an undeniable fact that many people still regard J. Krishnamurti as a great teacher, and this is even stated on his current publications. For instance, on the cover of his book Life Ahead, edited by D. Rajagopal*, we read: "A great teacher writes on the meaning of a mature life." On the inside of the jacket there is a reference to him as being "unique among spiritual leaders" and the statement that "many thousands of people from all walks of life have been uplifted and spiritually reborn through his teachings." This is the man whom C.W.L. saw as a poor boy in India and recognised as one who would become a great teacher. Dr. Annie Besant, with the assistance Of C.W.L., subsequently gave him both protection and education. Is not this in itself a living testimony of C.W.L.'s powers of seership?
Mr. Geoffrey Hodson, also commenting, has raised the question of how any human being can with certainty affirm that Krishnamurti is or is not a vehicle, which gives rise to the further question: "How does Mr. Gardner know?" Mr. Hodson continued: "The absence of drama and of miracle is no proof that in both the presentation of certain ideas and the function of a channel for the Lord's outflowing inspiration and blessing, Krishnamurti may not very well be serving according to the Lord's original plan; for He, in His wisdom, may have decided to rely upon the transmission of ideas rather than the production of dramatic events and transcendent phenomena! Indeed a quiet, persuasive, pervasive presentation of a group of ideas, appealing as much to the intuition as to the mind, may have been the original plan. This is what is actually occurring and Krishnamurti's personal renunciation of the Office, as he thought, would not in any way affect this kind of vehicleship. Even if Mr. Gardner's pronouncement of failure is justified, the fact would not deny C.W.L.'s ability accurately to receive and convey communications from the Adepts; for his actual words when first announcing that Krishnamurti would be the vehicle for the Lord were, according to the testimony of the late Mr. Ernest Wood who was present, 'unless something went wrong'+ [heavy print ours]. Mr. Wood stated also: 'This I want to emphasise in justice to Mr. Leadbeater.' I am aware that Ernest Wood endorsed 'almost every word' of Mr. Gardner's booklet, but consider that this gives his testimony (quoted above) added strength. The Lord may have decided that He would quietly and undramatically - and here and there in Krishnamurti's Talks, as it were - send out into the world certain selected ideas. One of these could have been, 'where truth is concerned, try to stand upon your own feet.'"
Mr. Gardner has laid himself open to strong criticism, not only because he has attacked C.W.L. who, being dead, is unable to defend himself, but also because when quoting from The Secret Doctrine to support his attack he has been guilty of misquoting from that work. Here are Mr. Gardner's words from page thirteen of his booklet concerning skandhas and Kriyashakti:" . . . Thus, the elemental enclosed within the consciously created form, if vitalised by the skandhas of its creator - i.e., personal desire vibrations - will be awakened into a desire to live. And, should its creator weaken, it may become his Frankenstein. Such is the vivid description given by H. P. Blavatsky of the possible result of unconscious Kriyashakti. (The Secret Doctrine, Adyar edition, V.560)"
Let us now turn to the Volume from which Mr. Gardner affirmed that he was quoting. Here is the relevant passage in its original form: "It is wrong to speak of Tanhas in the plural; there is only one Tanha, the desire to live. This develops into a multitude or one might say a congeries of ideas. The Skandhas are Karmic and non-Karmic. Skandhas may produce Elementals by unconscious Kriyashakti. Every Elemental that is thrown out by man must return to him sooner or later, since it is his own vibration. They thus become his Frankenstein." A comparison of these two passages will demonstrate at once that Mr. Gardner has misquoted.
At this juncture we may justifiably demand that if Mr. Gardner wishes to lay a charge against anyone, no matter whom it may be, let him both present facts accurately in their complete perspective, untainted by his own personal desire and opinion or those of others, and found his thesis upon irrefutable logic.
In further defence of our great teacher it may be pointed out that he never claimed to be a perfect exponent of the occult doctrine, but humbly offered his work as a contribution to human thought. He has at least given us a wonderful glimpse of the powers latent in every man, powers that we believe enabled C.W.L. to bring the teachings of Occult Science down into his physical brain. Whilst observing the many activities in which he was engaged, one witnessed a scientist at work, whether alone or in collaboration with his most trusted colleagues. Many observations had to be made over and over again, checked and counter-checked many times, before the information was accepted as correct and finally expressed in that lucid language characteristic of all that he wrote and said. We furthermore submit that he who decides publicly to pass judgement upon another, to do so fairly and justly must take into account not only the external and visible results of that person's life work but also the very nature of his being. Those of us who were so often elevated in consciousness in C.W.L.'s presence, and revered him so greatly as being very much wiser than ourselves, were never once asked to believe his teachings on his authority alone, but were always encouraged to reason them out for ourselves.
*Harper and Row, 1963, Copyright by Krishnamurti Writings Inc.
+See Article entitled Krishnamurti, Memories of His Early Life, The Theosophical Journal (England), Vol.6, No. 1, Jan-Feb., 1965.
Finally, we wish to acknowledge before the Theosophical Society and the world our deep respect and our love for C. W. Leadbeater, also our profound gratitude for all that he was and all that he gave to us of spiritual and mental light, of true and lasting happiness, and of invaluable practical guidance in the living of our lives, We believe that we knew him as he really was - a great occultist, a seer, a sage, and a selfless servant of the human Race.
|Sandra Hodson||Maude Fisher|
|Mathias J. Van Thiel||Claire Thompson|
|Ellie Freeman||David B. Ewart|
|Hilda van Hall||H. H. Banks|
|Lilie Muller von Czernicki-van Thiel||H. A. Edsall|
|J. Leonie van de Waart-van Gulik||Marjorie S. King|
|Alexandra Bitter||Esme Ellison|
|Arthur van Gelder||Muriel Parkes|
|Russel Balfour Clarke||D. Hooker|
|Melanie van Gelder||Axel Poignant|
|Karel van Gelder||Gwendolyn Garnsey|
I think all of us firmly believe that C.W.L. did all in his power to prepare us for the task of living as sincerely and truly as conscience dictates. Personally, I think he had enormous courage and a wonderful and very selfless love for all his pupils, whom he prepared as best he could, and according to his honest convictions, for life in a terrible age.
As to his clairvoyance, I have no power to judge as he never stressed this. We were all very untalented on this point, so we could not prove or disprove anything, but C.W.L. was one of the most careful and most truthful people I know. Therefore I do not think that he would have said anything he did not thoroughly believe.
Furthermore, I presume it is very difficult to explain things that no-one has ever seen or can place in any known frame of picture or experience! I certainly do not think C.W.L. was self-deluded. The difficulty was transmitting what he saw to a host of others who did not have the same vision. I think all seers must have the same trouble. If anything, C.W.L. was more careful and
less apt to exaggerate than most people, as he was a man of little imagination really. To us he was a great man because of his human qualities; not because he was clairvoyant and not for his beliefs, but because he had the courage to act accordingly and was more capable of a real and very pure love than anyone I know.
-Hilda van Hall.
`I only hope that, when I am as old as Mr. Gardner, I shall not have forgotten C.W.L. as I have known him, viz. - a man of absolute integrity, a "great" man, radiating love and a powerful light.
- J. L. van de Waart.van Gulik.