[PETITION TO THE MASTERS FOR THE FORMATION OF AN “INNER GROUP” IN THE LONDON LODGE]
[Approximate date: late July or early August, 1884]
[The remarkable Document reproduced in facsimile and transcription below is included in the present volume because of its great historical interest and also for the reason that it bears a short paragraph in H. P. B.’s handwriting, followed by her signature. It is one of the most valuable documents in the Adyar Archives, and its facsimile is reproduced herewith for the first time, due to the gracious permission of N. Sri Ram, President of The Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras, India. It is essentially a Pledge to the Masters, written out in the handwriting of Miss Francesca Arundale, and signed by all those who intended to form the “Inner Group” of the London Lodge. In our transcription below, Miss Arundale’s writing is printed in 12-point type; H. P. B.’s additional paragraph, in 12-point italics; and the endorsements of the Masters, and two other sentences––one of them inserted in the main text, and the other appended to H. P. B.’s signature––in bold type. Master M.’s endorsement is in red on the original document, while Master K.H.’s handwriting appears in blue. It should be borne in mint that the expression “the undersigned” in the first paragraph of the text, refers to the signatories of the Group whose individual names come below the acceptance of the Masters.
In the Spiritualistic Journal Light, Vol. IV, No. 186, July 26, 1884, pp. 307-09, an article by C. C. Massey appeared dealing mainly with the so-called “Kiddle Incident,” and embodying his reasons for resigning from the Theosophical Society. In the last paragraph of his article, he says: “. . . with unabated regard and respect for many from whom it is painful to separate, I am forwarding my resignation of Fellowship to the proper quarters.” This provides us with at least an approximate date for the Document we are concerned with, as it is obviously connected with C. C. Massey’s action.
H. P. B. was in London at the time of the writing of this Petition, and was staying with Mrs. Mary Anne Arundale and her daughter,
Francesca Arundale at 77 Elgin Crescent, Notting Hill. She went to London on June 29th, 1884, and left for Elberfeld, Germany, August 16th. Therefore this document was produced sometime before the last date.
The allusion in the Petition to the fact that certain members of the London Lodge were inclined to discredit the Eastern teachings, refers to the group of people led by Dr. Anna Bonus Kingsford and Edward Maitland, who were more interested in the revival of mystical and esoteric Christian teachings, and the interpretation of Hermetic philosophy. This ultimately resulted in the formation of The Hermetic Society, on May 9, 1884.
Among other things, this Document provides an interesting insight into the alleged accuracy of certain personal memoirs, when written without adequate notes or with the perspective of a failing memory. In her book entitled Memorabilia (London: Rider & Co.,) Isabel de Steiger, at one time greatly interested in H. P. B.’s work, speaks (p. 175) of her growing mistrust for H. P. B. Reminiscing about the occasion when an “Inner Group” was to be formed in London, she describes how she refused to subscribe to “the promise of complete and absolute obedience” to the Masters, and “definitely signed my [her] refusal to join the Inner Group.” In view of this statement, it is surprising, to say the least, to find Isabel de Steiger’s signature appearing on the Document.
Due to internal stresses and dissentions, the “Inner Group” collapsed within a very short time. It should be considered, however, as one of the early attempts to form what later became the Esoteric Section.––Compiler.]
PETITION FOR THE FORMATION OF AN “INNER GROUP” —I
PETITION FOR THE FORMATION OF AN “INNER GROUP” —II
PETITION FOR THE FORMATION OF AN “INNER GROUP” —III
[The text of this Document has been published earlier, namely in the Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 1st Series, Transcribed and Complied by C. Jinarâjadâsa, 4th ed., 1948, Letter No. 5. The facsimile of it, however, has never been published before. It is reproduced in the present volume from a very clear and sharp microfilm of the original Document taken with the recently installed equipment at the Adyar Headquarters. It is not known why H.P.B.’s words on the third page of the folded sheet of foolscap are crossed out. The capital letters NB––nota bene––inserted at the end of the fourth paragraph of the text indicate where H.P.B.’s explanatory note is to be inserted.––Compiler.]
In view of the recent resignation of Mr. Massey and the reason for which it was given, namely, suspicion of the Mahatmas, and the inclination which has been shown by certain other members of the London Lodge, to discredit the Eastern teaching and distrust its Teachers, we the undersigned members of the London Lodge, being convinced that no spiritual education is possible without absolute and sympathetic union between fellow students, desire to form an inner group.
Taking the word religion in its broadest sense and while leaving every member of the said group to follow his or her own theological system or creed––
as heretofore done in all the Theosophical Societies
––––we desire nevertheless to establish a bond of true brotherly union of such a nature as to realize those conditions, which we are convinced are unattainable in the London Lodge as it is constituted.
For this Inner Group,—the Adytum of the London Lodge—we humbly crave the unchartered recognition of the Mahatmas, our Beloved Teachers: requesting them further to grant us special permission to form our own bye-laws and choose our own council; and while remaining individually subject to the rules and bye-laws of the London Lodge the group as such to be independent of the London Lodge in its special work.
The fundamental principle of the New Group to be implicit confidence in the Mahatmas and their teachings and unswerving obedience to their wishes in all matters connected with spiritual progress. NB — — — — —
Finally in submitting this prayer to our revered Masters we earnestly request them if it meets with their approval to confirm it with their signatures and to consent to continue their teaching as heretofore so long as there shall remain one faithful member in this group.
Approved. The covenant is mutual. It will hold good so long as the actions of the undersigned are accordant with the pledges implied in “the fundamental principle of the group” and by them accepted. K.H.
Approved. M ...
Mary Anne Arundale
NB. Should however there be a sincere conviction on the part of any member that he, or she, cannot conscientiously render this unswerving obedience in all matters of spiritual progress, such member may withdraw from the inner circle, with the assurance and knowledge that the imputation of dishonorable conduct will not be charged against him or her.
H. P. Blavatsky.
—provided he or she does not make any port of the teachings public by word or letter without special permission from the undersigned. K.H.