H. P. Blavatsky
MADAME BLAVATSKY ON "THE HIMALAYAN
"On the authority of an adept" (?) "they"
(the Theosophists and Madame Blavatsky) "are all mediums
under the influence of the lower spirits." Such is the
sentence used by you in an editorial review of Mr. Sinnett's Occult
World (Spiritualist, June 17th). Doubtful as its pertinency
might appear, I personally found nothing very objectionable in
it, the more so, as elsewhere you do me the honour to express
your conviction that (whether controlled by good or bad spirits)
I yet am a "strong physical medium"--that term precluding
at least the suspicion of my being a regular impostor. This letter
then is not directed against you, but rather against the pretensions
of a would-be "adept." Another point should be also
attended to before I proceed, in order that the situation may
be as clearly defined as possible.
Finding myself for the period of nearly seven years one of the
best abused individuals under the sun, I rather got accustomed
to that sort of thing. Hence, I would hardly take up the pen now
to defend my own character. If people, besides forgetting that
I am a woman, and an old woman, are dull enough to fail to perceive
that had I declared myself anything in creation, save a Theosophist
and one of the founders of our Society, I would have been in every
respect--materially as well as socially--better off in the world's
consideration, and that therefore, since, notwithstanding all
the persecution and opposition encountered, I persist in remaining
and declaring myself one, I cannot well be that charlatan and
pretender some people would see in me--I really cannot help it.
Fools are unable, and the wise unwilling to see the absurdity
of such an accusation, for as Shakespeare puts it:
Folly in fools bears not so strong a note
As foolery in the wise, when wit doth dote.
It is not then to defend myself that I claim space in your columns,
but to answer one whose ex-cathedra utterances have revolted
the sense of justice of more than one of our Theosophists in India,
and to defend them--who have a claim on all the reverential feeling
that my nature is capable of.
A new correspondent, one of those dangerous, quasi-anonymous individuals
who abuse their literary privilege of hiding their true personality
and thus shirk responsibility behind an initial or two, has lately
won a prominent place in the columns of your journal. He calls
himself an "adept"; that is easy enough, but does or
rather can he prove it? To begin with, in the sight of the Spiritualists
as much as in that of sceptics in general, an "adept,"
whether he hails from Tibet, India, or London, is all one. The
latter will persist in calling him an impostor; and the former,
were he even to prove his powers, in seeing in him either a medium
or a juggler. Now your "J.K." when he states in the
Spiritualist of June 24th, that "the phenomena attendant
upon real adeptship are on an entirely different plane from "Spiritualism"
risks, nay is sure, to have every one of the above expletives
flung in his face by both the above-mentioned classes.
Could he but prove what he claims, namely, the powers conferring
upon a person the title of an initiate, such epithets might well
be scorned by him. Aye,--but I ask again, is he ready to make
good his claim? The language used by him, to begin with, is not
that which a true adept would ever use. It is dogmatic and authoritative
throughout, and too full of insulting aspersions against those
who are not yet proved to be worse or lower than himself; and
fails entirely to carry conviction to the minds of the profane
as of those who do know something of adepts and initiates--that
it is one of such proficients who now addresses them. Styling
himself an adept, whose "Hierophant is a western gentleman,"
but a few lines further on he confesses his utter ignorance of
the existence of a body which cannot possibly be ignored by any
true adept! I say "cannot" for there is no accepted
neophyte on the whole globe but at least knows of the Himalayan
Fraternity. The sanction to receive the last and supreme initiation,
the real "word at low breath" can come but through those
fraternities in Egypt, India, and Thibet to one of which belongs
"Koot Hoomi Lal Singh." True, there is "adept"
and adept, and they differ, as there are adepts in more than one
art and science. I, for one, know in America of a shoemaker, who
advertised himself as "an adept in the high art of manufacturing
Parisian cothurns." J.K. speaks of Brothers "on the
soul plane," of "divine Kabbalah culminating in God,"
of "slave magic," and so on, a phraseology which proves
to me most conclusively that he is but one of those dabblers in
western occultism which were so well represented some years ago,
by French-born "Egyptians" and "Algerians,"
who told people their fortunes by the Tarot, and placed
their visitors within enchanted circles with a Tetragrammaton
inscribed in the centre. I do not say J.K. is one of the latter,
I beg him to understand. Though quite unknown to me and hiding
behind his two initials, I will not follow his rude example and
insult him for all that. But I say and repeat that his language
sadly betrays him. If a Kabbalist at all, then himself and his
"Hierophant" are but the humble self-taught pupils of
the mediaeval, and so-called "Christian" Kabbalists;
of adepts, who, like Agrippa, Khunrath, Paracelsus, Vaughan, Robert
Fludd, and several others, revealed their knowledge to the world
but to better conceal it, and who never gave the key to
it in their writings. He bombastically asserts his own knowledge
and power, and proceeds to pass judgment on people of whom he
knows and can know nothing. Of the "Brothers" he says:
"If they are true adepts, they have not shown much worldly
wisdom, and the organization which is to inculcate their doctrine
is a complete failure, for even the very first psychical and physical
principles of true Theosophy and occult science are quite unknown
to and unpractised by the members of that organization--the Theosophical
How does he know? Did the Theosophists take him into their confidence?
And if he knows something of the British Theosophical Society,
what can he know of those in India? If he belongs to any
of them, then does he play false to the whole body and is a traitor.
And if he does not, what has he to say of its practitioners, since
the Society in general, and especially its esoteric sections that
count but a very few "chosen ones"--are secret bodies?
The more attentively I read his article the more am I inclined
to laugh at the dogmatic tone prevailing in it. Were I a Spiritualist,
I would be inclined to suspect in it a good "goak" of
John King, whose initials are represented in the signature of
J.K. Let him first learn, that mirific Brother of the "Western
Hermetic Circle in the soul-plane," a few facts about the
adepts in general, before he renders himself any more ridiculous.
(1) No true adept will on any consideration whatever reveal himself
as one, to the profane. Nor would he ever speak in such terms
of contempt of people, who are certainly no more silly, and, in
many an instance, far wiser than himself. But were even the Theosophists
the poor misled creatures he would represent them to be, a true
adept would rather help than deride them.
(2) There never was a true Initiate but knew of the secret Fraternities
in the East. It is not Eliphas Levi who would ever deny their
existence, since we have his authentic signature to the contrary.
Even P. B. Randolph, that wondrous, though erratic, genius of
America, that half-initiated seer, who got his knowledge in the
East, had good reasons to know of their actual existence, as his
writings can prove.
(3) One who ever perorates upon his occult knowledge, and speaks
of practising his powers in the name of some particular
prophet, deity, or Avatar, is but a sectarian mystic at best.
He cannot be an adept in the Eastern sense--a Mahatma, for
his judgment will always be biased and prejudiced by the colouring
of his own special and dogmatic religion.
(4) The great science, called by the vulgar "magic,"
and by its Eastern proficients Gupta Vidya, embracing as
it does each and every science, since it is the acme of knowledge,
and constitutes the perfection of philosophy, is universal: hence--as
very truly remarked--cannot be confined to one particular nation
or geographical locality. But, as Truth is one, the method
for the attainment of its highest proficiency must necessarily
be also one. It cannot be subdivided, for, once reduced
to parts, each of them, left to itself, will, like rays of light,
diverge from, instead of converging to, its centre, the ultimate
goal of knowledge; and these parts can rebecome the Whole only
by collecting them together again, or each fraction will remain
but a fraction.
This truism, which may be termed elementary mathematics for little
boys, has to be re-called, in order to refresh the memory of such
"adepts" as are too apt to forget that "Christian
Kabbalism" is but a fraction of Universal Occult Science.
And, if they believe that they have nothing more to learn, then
the less they turn to "Eastern Adepts" for information
the better and the less trouble for both. There is but one royal
road to "Divine Magic"; neglect and abandon it to devote
yourself specially to one of the paths diverging from it, and
like a lonely wanderer you will find yourself lost in an inextricable
labyrinth. Magic, I suppose, existed millenniums before the Christian
era; and, if so, are we to think then, with our too learned friends,
the modern "Western Kabbalists," that it was all Black
Magic, practised by the "Old firm of Devil & Co."?
But together with every other person who knows some-thing of what
he or she talks about, I say that it is nothing of the kind; that
J.K. seems to be superbly ignorant even of the enormous difference
which exists between a Kabbalist and an Occultist. Is he aware,
or not, that the Kabbalist stands, in relation to the Occultist,
as a little detached hill at the foot of the Himalayas, to Mount
Everest? That what is known as the Jewish Kabbala of Simon Ben
Jochai, is already the disfigured version of its primitive source,
the Great Chaldean Book of Numbers? That as the former,
with its adaptation to the Jewish Dispensation, its mixed international
Angelology and Demonology, its Orphiels and Raphaels and Greek
Tetragrams, is a pale copy of the Chaldean, so the Kabbala of
the Christian Alchemists and Rosicrucians is naught in its turn
but a tortured edition of the Jewish. By centralizing the Occult
Power and his course of actions, in some one national God or Avatar,
whether in Jehovah or Christ, Brahma or Mahomet, the Kabbalist
diverges the more from the one central Truth.
It is but the Occultist, the Eastern adept, who stands a Free
Man, omnipotent through its own Divine Spirit as much as man can
be on earth. He has rid himself of all human conceptions and religious
side-issues; he is at one and the same time a Chaldean Sage, a
Persian Magi, a Greek Theurgist, an Egyptian Hermetist, a Buddhist
Rahat and an Indian Yogi. He has collected into one bundle all
the separate fractions of Truth widely scattered over the nations,
and holds in his hand the One Truth, a torch of light which no
adverse wind can bend, blow out or even cause to waver. Not he
the Prometheus who robs but a portion of the Sacred Fire, and
therefore finds himself chained to Mount Caucasus for his intestines
to be devoured by vultures, for he has secured God within himself
and depends no more on the whim and caprice of either good or
True, "Koot Hoomi" mentions Buddha. But it is not because
the brothers hold him in the light of God or even of "a God,"
but simply because he is the Patron of the Thibetan Occultists,
the greatest of the Illuminati and adepts, self-initiated
by his own Divine Spirit or "God-self" unto all the
mysteries of the invisible universe. Therefore to speak of imitating
"the life of Christ," or that of Buddha, or Zoroaster,
or any other man on earth chosen and accepted by any one special
nation for its God and leader, is to show oneself a Sectarian
even in Kabbalism, that fraction of the one "Universal Science"--Occultism.
The latter is pre-historic and is coeval with intelligence. The
Sun shines for the heathen Asiatic as well as for the Christian
European and for the former still more gloriously, I am glad to
To conclude, it is enough to glance at that sentence of more than
questionable propriety, and more fit to emanate from the pen of
a Jesuit than that of a Kabbalist, which allows of the supposition
that the "Brothers" are only a branch of the old established
firm of "Devil and Co." to feel convinced that beyond
some "Abracadabra" dug out from an old mouldy MS. of
Christian Kabbalism, J.K. knows nothing. It is but on the
unsophisticated profane, or a very innocent Spiritualist, that
his bombastic sentences, all savouring of the Anche is son
pittore, that he may produce some sensation.
True, there is no need of going absolutely to Thibet or India
to find some knowledge and power "which are latent
in every human soul"; but the acquisition of the highest
knowledge and power require not only many years of the severest
study enlightened by a superior intelligence and an audacity bent
by no peril; but also as many years of retreat in comparative
solitude, and association with but students pursuing the same
object, in a locality where nature itself preserves like the neophyte
an absolute and unbroken stillness if not silence! where the air
is free for hundreds of miles around of all mephytic influence;
the atmosphere and human magnetism absolutely pure, and--no animal
blood is spilt. Is it in London or even the most country-hidden
village of England that such conditions can be found?
Bombay, July 20th.
Spiritualist (London), August 12, 1881