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The Hill of Discernment

By Alfred Trevor Barker

Theosophical Slackness

"I pledge myself to support before the world the Theosophical Movement, its Leaders and its Members. . . .
". . . A brave declaration of principles, and a valiant defence of those who are unjustly attacked. . . ." — M.
All active workers in the Theosophical Movement are under an obligation to act always in terms of the above quotations, and probably most of them are under the impression that they do give effect to the principles involved at least sufficiently to keep their conscience quiet. There is an all too prevalent attitude of apathy among Theosophists in regard to the whole question of the support of H. P. Blavatsky before the world, and the defence of her reputation and literary integrity whenever these are attacked. There are those who have accepted her Teaching, but have not for a moment considered that in doing so they have incurred a debt and an obligation to her memory which they could not adequately repay, even if they did all that lies in their power to support her before the world in every situation in which such support is called for. More than one of this kind of Theosophist has stated: "H. P. B. does not need any defence as far as I am concerned; therefore I do not need to bother my head about it." It does not seem to have occurred to them that the following words of the Master K. H. on this subject were not uttered for amusement, but on the contrary as a warning, and indeed almost as a command. In The Mahatma Letters we find these passages:

p. 362. Let the eyes of the most intellectual among the public be opened to the foul conspiracy against Theosophy that is going on in missionary circles and in one year's time you will have regained your footing. In India it is: "either Christ or the Founders (!!) Let us stone them to death!" They have nearly finished killing one — they are now attacking the other victim — Olcott. The padris are as busy as bees. The P. R. S. has given them an excellent opportunity of making capital of their ambassador. — Mr. Hodgson fell quite easily a victim to false evidence; . . . but there is no doubt that if the Society collapses it will be due to him.
p. 257. I say again what you like me not to say, namely that no regular instruction, no regular communication is possible between us before our mutual path is cleared of its many impediments. The greatest being the public misconception about the Founders.
p. 365. Could but your London Lodge understand, or so much as suspect, that the present crisis that is shaking the T. S. to its foundations is a question of perdition or salvation to thousands; a question of the progress of the human race or its retrogression, of its glory or dishonour, and for the majority of this race — of being or not being, of annihilation, in fact-perchance many of you would look into the very root of evil, and instead of being — guided by false appearances and scientific decisions, you would set to work and save the situation by disclosing the dishonourable doings of your missionary world.
p. 251. On the other hand we claim to know more of the secret cause of events than you men of the world do. I say then that it is the vilification and abuse of the Founders, the general misconception of the aims and objects of the Society that paralyses its progress — nothing else.
Words could not be more clear, and herein lies the root cause of the lack of wide public support of the modern Theosophical Movement that we all of us deplore and for which many of us are seeking the right means to overcome. The plain truth is that the reputation of the Founders down to the present moment has never been rehabilitated in the public mind in a thoroughly radical fashion. This is partly due to the fact that the data to be found scattered over the early Theosophical literature has never up to the present time been available in published documents. But today that situation is changed. Most if not all of the necessary information is now available for those who seek it.

Probably many of our readers are unaware of these words of H. P. B. to William Q. Judge, which we quote from a private letter written about 1887, and referred to occasionally in Theosophical periodicals: "I am the Mother and the Creator of the Society; it has my magnetic fluid. . . . Therefore I alone, and to a degree Olcott, can serve as a lightning conductor of Karma for it. I was asked whether I was willing when at the point of dying — and I said Yes — for it was the only means to save it. Therefore I consented to live — which in my case means to suffer physically during 12 hours of the day — mentally 12 hours of the night when I get rid of the physical shell. . . ."

In Occultism ingratitude is a crime which inevitably brings its own nemesis by the withdrawal of at least some of the influence and inspiration of the Higher Self. Can we take the waters of life from a spiritual Teacher and at the same time by our supine passivity and neglect insult the memory of that Teacher without paying for it? Should we not do well to reflect on the deep meaning of that little known incident which occurred during H. P. B.'s lifetime at her house in Lansdowne Road? Six or eight of her pupils were gathered together one evening in one of the upper rooms. Bertram Keightley was there, and also Mrs. Cleather, who recorded the incident on page 17 of her book H. P. Blavatsky as I knew her. They had been discussing a scurrilous attack on H. P. B. that had just appeared in the Westminster Gazette, but it had never occurred to any of them that they should do anything about it, or make any reply. We quote:

Suddenly H. P. B.'s bell rang somewhat violently, and Mr. Keightley jumped up with some semi-jocular remark and ran downstairs to her room. . . . While Mr. Keightley was downstairs we just went on with our desultory talk; after a few minutes he returned with a very long face and serious manner. He said we were under severe reproof by the Master, who (unseen, of course) had been in the room while we were so light-heartedly discussing the newspaper attack on our "Outer Head." He had descended immediately to H. P. B. in great displeasure, telling her to inform us that if this was our conception of keeping our newly-taken pledge we had better all resign at once. We — at least I can speak for myself — were terribly ashamed, and all with one accord sat down at once and wrote as good a defence and indignant protest as in us lay. I do not remember the sequel, but certainly one, if not more, of those letters were inserted.
Surely this is sufficient evidence for those who are in need of it, of what must be the opinion of the Teachers of H. P. B. today whenever they look over the record of the activities of the members of the different Theosophical organizations. Need we doubt for a moment that they will not hold us guiltless for failing to seize the glorious opportunity that is now presented to us of establishing H. P. B. in the public mind in that place which was rightfully hers even during her lifetime? The thing that made H. P. B. suffer almost more than anything else was the weakness and slackness in her defence on the part of those for whom she had given her lifeblood to teach. It is not suggested that individual Theosophists should rush into print, for at the moment of writing these words there is no immediate necessity, but what we believe they are called upon to do is to instruct themselves as to the evidence which is now available, which proves conclusively to any interested person that H. P. B. was neither a fraud nor a charlatan; that she was never a deceiver, but a transmitter from The Great Lodge to the Western World of that priceless body of Occult doctrine which is at once the spiritual heritage of our race, and our hope for the future.



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