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Olcott’s Strained Relationship with Blavatsky and the Judge Case


During a period that The Secret Doctrine was being written, Olcott’s relationship with H.P.B. had become more strained, and it is said K.H. materialized a letter on Olcott’s table saying of H.P.B., that the Adepts have no favorites. K.H. adds, despite H.P.B.’s personality and flaws, she is their direct agent, and that they employ the best agents:

“….we have no favourites, nor affections for persons, but only for their good acts and humanity as a whole. But we employ agents – the best available. Of these for the past thirty years the chief has been the personality known as H.P.B. to the world (but otherwise to us). Imperfect and very troublesome, no doubt, she proves to some, nevertheless, there is no likelihood of our finding a better one for years to come – and your theosophists should be made to understand it. (…) Theosophists should learn it. You will understand later the significance of this declaration so keep it in mind. Her fidelity to our work being constant, and her sufferings having come upon her thro’ it, neither I nor either of my Brother associates will desert or supplant her. As I once before remarked, ingratitude is not among our vices. (…) To help you in your present perplexity: H.P.B. has next to no concern with administrative details, and should be kept clear of them, so far as her strong nature can be controlled. But this you must tell to all: – With occult matters she has everything to do. We have not abandoned her; she is not ‘given over to chelas’. She is our direct agent. I warn you against permitting your suspicions and resentment against ‘her many follies’ to bias your intuitive loyalty to her. (…) I have also noted your thoughts about the ‘Secret Doctrine’. Be assured that what she has not annotated from scientific and other works, we have given or suggested to her. Every mistake or erroneous notion, corrected and explained by her from the works of other theosophists was corrected by me, or under my instruction. It is a more valuable work than its predecessor, an epitome of occult truths that will make it a source of information and instruction for the earnest student for long years to come.”

The Theosophical Society lost its masters and sponsors, and Morya had written two letters to Col. Henry S. Olcott in very personal tone, saying:

“The night before last will prove a memorable one for you. … You have alienated from yourself another brother – though a woman – and that, I am afraid, for ever. What possessed you to speak in the way you did of a friend, a woman, one to whom you owe all you know, and even the possibilities of the future – for she was the first to show you the way – is more than all the occult sciences are able to explain! … She went to Maha Sahib the same night and proved to him she had been all the time right and He wrong. … The Maha Sahib had nothing to say – neither have I or any of us, but to regret, and that very deeply, that want of discrimination and tact so prominent in a man of your intellect and sense.” In the second mentioned letter: “These are foolish, insane ideas of yours about Upasika [H.P.B.], Henry, wretched thoughts – the mirage thrown upon your brain by some of those who surround you (…) You wrong her from beginning to end. You have never understood Upasika, nor the laws thro’ which her apparent life has been made to work since you knew her. You are ungrateful and unjust and even cruel.”

The superior of K.H. and M. introduced in The Identities of the Theosophical Masters Series IV as Maha Sahib is Serapis Bey, who was mentioned earlier.

This is showing that these Adepts watched the Theosophical Society mature from a distance, repeatedly stating their roles are not to be nannies, and the leaders and members must sort out the karma they create, and which brought them together. William Q. Judge, a co-founder of the Theosophical Society became Vice-President of the T.S., and leader of the entire American Section.

In a private letter to H.P.B. dated 29th November 1890, W.Q. Judge states that:

“I know and have for years known what is the matter with Olcott. It is this, he has never been loyal to you who gave him all he ever knew of the Masters and their wisdom. He used to say and to write the most awful mean things to me about you, and that is why I have always been disgusted with him. But I regarded him as a man whom THEY had taken to use for THEIR purposes as long as he would carry them out. I am not surprised at his attitude now for it is perfectly in line with the past and now when he has been put in the fire he shows the weakness of his disloyalty. Whatever you are and whatever faults you have in the eyes of the world I have never found you to fail about the Masters and Their wishes, and more I know that I and all the rest of the Society owe all that we prize in that line to you.”

Hence, it is very odd, that in the April Theosophist (magazine) of 1895, Olcott admits publicly his opinion, that H.P.B. forged bogus messages from these masters, and yet had such detailed accounts of him meeting the masters, stating of himself to be a pupil of Morya. William Q. Judge says in The Path, Vol. X, June 1895 that Olcott despite being beside H.P.B. remained ignorant of ‘practical occultism,’ in the same manner, H.P.B. said lacked in Annie Besant (Anagarika Dharmapala and Gandhi Distrusted Charles Leadbeater and Besant).

There was believed to be also a subtle magical and magnetic link between the Theosophical Society and the secret fraternities of adepts – a link, which was severed through pettiness, credulity, conflict and scandal.

How the Theosophical Movement Died

We can get a glimpse into the situation, which led these men originally associated with H.P.B. to sever their ties with the T.S.:

“Yet, to those Theosophists, who are displeased with the Society in general, no one has ever made to you any rash promises; least of all, has either the Society or its founders ever offered their “Masters” as a chromo-premium to the best behaved. For years every new member has been told that he was promised nothing, but had everything to expect only from his own personal merit. The theosophist is left free and untrammeled in his actions. . . . no harm in trying elsewhere; unless, indeed one has offered himself and is decided to win the Masters’ favors. To such especially, I now address myself and ask: Have you fulfilled your obligations and pledges? Have you, . . . led the life requisite, and the conditions required from one who becomes a candidate? Let him who feels in his heart and conscience that he has, — . . . let him, I say, rise and protest. . . . I am afraid my invitation will remain unanswered.” (William Quan Judge, The Path, Vol. 1, 260-1, Dec. 1886)

Then it begins, with K.H. reminding H.S. Olcott, in his growing distrust, that the movement’s life is directly tied to H.P.B., their agent or emissary. In the Old Diary Leaves of Henry S. Olcott, Vol. 3., pg. 91, this letter is given as a brief extract, but this full publishing of the letter of August 1888, would have shown context during their conflicts:

. . . Her fidelity to our work being constant, and her sufferings having come upon her thro’ it, neither I nor either of my Brother Associates will desert or supplant her. As I once before remarked, ingratitude is not among our vices. With yourself our relations are direct, . . . That they are so rare is your own fault as I told you in my last. To help you in your present perplexity: H.P.B. has next to no concern with administrative details, and should be kept clear of them, so far as her strong nature can be controlled. But this you must tell to all: — with occult matters she has everything to do. We have not abandoned her. She is not given over to chelas. She is our direct agent. I warn you against permitting your suspicions and resentment against “her many follies” to bias your intuitive loyalty to her. In the adjustment of this European business, you will have two things to consider — the external and administrative, and the internal and psychical. Keep the former under your control and that of your most prudent associates, jointly; leave the latter to her. You are left to devise the practical details with your usual ingenuity. Only be careful, I say, to discriminate when some emergent interference of hers in practical affairs is referred to you on appeal, between that which is merely exoteric in origin and effects, and that which beginning on the practical tends to beget consequences on the spiritual plane. As to the former you are the best judge, as to the latter, she.” (K.H., Letters from The Masters of the Wisdom, First Series, pg. 52-53)

Pablo Sender stated that —

“In an attempt to save the Society, Olcott proposed to redi­rect its activity and publications, dropping all mention of phenomena, the occult, and the Masters, to work on the less controversial field of comparative religion, phi­losophy, and science. (…) Koot Hoomi, said that although this move was well-calculated to save the physical integrity of the Society, it would kill its soul.” (Pablo Sender, The Esoteric School of Theosophy, Quest Magazine 101. 3, Summer 2013, pg. 100-104)

K.H. told H.P.B. in a letter on the Theosophical Society and Olcott:

“Olcott (…) wants to know why? Because the Society has liberated itself from our grasp and influence and we have let it go – we make no unwilling slaves. He says he has saved it? He saved its body, but he allowed through sheer fear, its soul to escape, and it is now a soulless corpse, a machine run so far well enough, but which will fall to pieces when he is gone. Out of the three objects the second alone is attended to, but it is no longer either a brotherhood, nor a body over the face of which broods the Spirit from beyond the Great Range. His kindness and love of peace are great and truly Gautamic in their spirit; but he has misapplied that kindness. (…) This is his (Olcott’s) sin. (…) In our sight there is no crime worse than ingratitude and injustice.” (K.H., Letters from The Masters of the Wisdom, Second Series, Letter no. 60)

In the letter, of Feb. 1882, on the forlorn hope, K.H. threatens that the status of the Society is at a peril, and they will subside out of public view. At a time of inner conflict, when either William Quan Judge or Besant were going to lead the T.S., was Judge unjustly treated?

In another letter between H.P.B. and Richard Harte, a temporary editor of The Theosophist, London, September 12, 1889, H.P.B. states that:

“The Theosophist my dear sir, belongs to myself and Olcott only. . . . I will not permit Judge to be lowered or humiliated in it. Judge is one of the Founders and a man who has ever been true to the Masters. . . . And Judge will be the president of the T. S. after our death or the T.S. will die with us.” (Theosophical Forum, V, 133, Jan. 1934.)

Blavatsky signals a betrayal afoot in India summed up in an 1890 letter, as she had drifted from the Adyar Theosophical Society. Helena Blavatsky begins shifting her last work towards the Theosophical Movement in Europe in the West, and leaves to England, pondering on the positive results of her mission.

“Their [the adepts] chief desire was to preserve the true religious and philosophical spirit of ancient India; to defend the Ancient Wisdom contained in its Darshanas and Upanishads against the systematic assaults of the missionaries; and finally to reawaken the dormant ethical and patriotic spirit in those youths in whom it had almost disappeared owing to college education. Much of this has been achieved by and through the Theosophical Society, in spite of all its mistakes and imperfections. (…)And let me say at once, to avoid misconception, that my only reason for accepting the exoteric direction of European affairs, was to save those who really have Theosophy at heart and work for it and the Society, from being hampered by those who not only do not care for Theosophy, as laid out by the Masters, but are entirely working against both, endeavouring to undermine and counteract the influence of the good work done, both by open denial of the existence of the Masters, by declared and bitter hostility to myself, and also by joining forces with the most desperate enemies of our Society.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, Why I Do Not Return to India, 1890)

The adepts removed themselves from having anything else to do with the Theosophical Society, contrary to the claims of C.W. Leadbeater, Annie Besant and Alice A. Bailey that these same masters were then continuing to direct their work. Many theosophists have argued against this last case, especially because the philosophy and terminology of the original Masters differs from Leadbeater, Bailey and Besant.

Although, for the skeptic he may only conclude as Patrick Jane does in “The Mentalist,” when he unveils the switchboards to a supposed ‘Haunted House’ during a murder case:

“All fake, because you see my credulous Van Pelt, spirits are smoke-and-mirrors, and that’s all that they are.” (Patrick Jane played by Simon Baker, Season 2, Episode 5. Red Scare, “The Mentalist” TV Show)

But in light of the given information, is it that simple?

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