Secret Instructions - NO. IIIb
Before I proceed let explain, for fear of being misunderstood again, that
by "Teacher” I neither mean myself - as I am but the humble mouthpiece
of the true Teacher - nor do I write the above in order to stimulate anyone
to defend or stand by my own personality, but verily to make it clear, once
for all, that to defend the E.S. and Theosophy (the heart and the soul of the
T.S. its visible body) is the duty of every good Theosophist, of the E. S. especially.
So is it his "bounden duty" to protect from attack and defend every
fellow-brother, if he knows him to be innocent, and try to help him morally,
if he thinks he is guilty. Nor is verse 5 intended to convey the idea of aggressive
as the best course to take, for it is not passive resistance and a firm refusal
to listen to any slanderous reports about one another, in the case of a member
as well as a stranger or any ex-fellow, is all that would be necessary in some
cases to defeat entirely conspiracy and malevolence. And now hoping that no
misunderstanding is any longer possible, I resume in this hope the Rules, quoting
a few more remarks upon them from the said letter. They came as a comment on
Article 5, and I quote them verbatim: - “And if the limbs have to
defend the head and heart of their body, then why not so also the Disciples
their Teachers as representing the SCIENCE of Theosophy which contains and includes
the “head” of their privilege, the “heart” of their
spiritual growth? Saith, the Scriptures: - ‘He, who wipeth away the filth
with which the parent's body may have been defiled by an enemy, neither loves
the parents nor honors himself. He who defendeth not the persecuted and the
helpless, who giveth not of his food to the starving, nor draweth water from
his well for the thirsty, hath been born too soon in human shape. ‘
"Behold the truth before you: a clean life, an open mind, a pure HEART,
an eager intellect, an unveiled spiritual perception, a brotherliness for one's
co-disciple; a readiness to give and receive advice and instruction, a loyal
sense of duty to the Teacher, a willing obedience to the behests of TRUTH, once
we have placed our confidence in, and believe that Teacher to be in possession
of it; a courageous endurance of personal injustice, a brave declaration of
principles, a valiant defence of those who are unjustly attacked, and a constant
eye to the ideal of human progression and perfection which the secret science
(Gupta Vidya) depicts. – these are the golden stairs in the steps of which
the learner may climb to the Temple of Divine Wisdom. Say this to those who
have volunteered to be taught by you."
These are the words of great Teachers, and I but do the bidding of one of these
in repeating them to you. What is found in the letter, I, H.P.B., now say to
you in the authentic words, which are: "THINK; and Thinking, TRY; the goal
is indeed worth all the possible effort.”
Much of what the Book of Discipline contains you may find in the fragments
just translated by me from "The Book of the Golden Precepts" and published
for the benefit of the "Few". These rules are as old as the world.
And it is these, as I now see, that I was expected to impress upon the minds
of all those who applied to me for instruction. This duty I knew well, and yet
omitted doing it. I will not excuse myself by saying that I forgot to do so,
for this would not be true, but I say and confess that I skipped it, out of
an idiotic regard to Western prejudices and habits of thought. I knew that a
code of preliminary ethics such as is obligatory with, and enforced upon, Eastern
disciples would grate upon, even offend, the feelings of many American and European
probationers. Even misunderstood, judged by appearances, villified, slandered
and persecuted, I feared to hurt the Society by forcing several if not many,
of our members to sever their connection with it, if they found that I made
the rules too exacting. For the first time in my life, I acted like a coward
in my on sight, and almost a traitor to my duties by such a compromise with
my conscience. Therefore, though the first punished, I do not complain, and
only hope that no one else will suffer through my weakness.
It is of the second and last letter in relation to the E.S. that I speak. The
first was to the effect that those who desired to receive Eastern teaching had
to conform to the Eastern rules, and that I had better suspend my instructions
until I had notified them of that, reminding them also of Rule 3 of their Pledge,
which, if I had not the courage to enforce I had better change, as it only caused
the members to become UNTRUE to their vows. This was repeated by me to the Council
of the Esotericists, which was surreptitiously handed over to the R.F.J. office
Behold, all of you, the work of never failing, prompt Karma: Had I not departed
from the old Rules of the Book of Discipline, such a sad case would not have
happened, for there would have been no need of such a document as framed by
the Council. For the Rule says, to the Chela: - "If thou canst not
fulfill thy pledge, refuse to take but once thou hast bound thyself to any promise,
carry it out, even if thou halt to die for it." And to the Teacher:
- "Thou shalt not remind the Disciple who shows himself whether willingly
or in-advertently disloyal to the letter and spirit of any law more than twice;
at the third time thou shalt separate him from the Body". i.e., ask
him to resign or expel him.
But as unfortunately in general, though very fortunately in this case, every
handful of mud thrown at the T.S. had no opportunity of damaging anyone but
myself, I am loath to enforce this rule; I felt a great unwillingness to even
pass a message in which I was personally concerned. But after the second letter
I could no longer remain silent; it is the law and I had to be taking now this
opportunity to implore every pledged member of the E.S. who feels incapable
of allowing himself to be subjected to such a discipline, to resign. Knowing,
indeed, as I do, the free American and the free Briton, how can I come and tell
either of them, for instance: -
"The office of' Teacher was always considered as a very solemn and
responsible one. among our Asiatic ancestors, and the pupil was always enjoined
to obedience and loyalty. This is what you have to tell them advising them to
study Manu. " (From the letter).
And how could I hope to make them understand that by Teacher it was the Master
who was meant and not myself, when I knew that many of them while knowing of
me and luckily hot having any reason to doubt the existence, still doubted that
of the Mahatmas, with the exception of the very few? Such is my only excuse.
Unable to transfuse my certain knowledge of the reality of the Masters as men,
into the consciousness of the Theosophists and even of pledged members, for
the last fourteen years, I have ever avoided pressing this truth upon them.
Yet, unwilling to play the part of the crow in peacock's feathers, I had to
assert the existence of Teachers who had taught me all I know.
And yet the rules of Discipleship being so very strict upon the subject of
the personal and other relations between the Teachers and the pupils, I have
no choice. A Guru was ever considered as the chela's benefactor, because he
imparted that which was more precious than worldly wealth or honors, that which
money could not buy and which concerned the welfare of the pupils soul and future
weal or woe.
Yet the Guru is not the only one pointed out to the chela's consideration,
but also all those who help a disciple one way or another to pursue and progress
in his studies. Here, I have to say a few words with regard to these. And, now
again it is not myself who is concerned, but I speak of other “helpers”.
In the worse case, I can always take care of myself personally, and really
need no one's defense, though I shall always feel thankful to those who have
offered it. But I mean by "Helper" such as William Q. Judge; and I
now call upon all of those who will remain true to their pledges to do their
duty by both, When the time comes, and especially by their American brother.
Both are threatened and both are hated by certain persons as unjustly as I am
by some unprincipled enemies who would still call themselves Theosophists. (Note:
There appears to be some omission in this paragraph, it is verbatim from the
manuscript, however - Ed.).
Ingratitude is a crime in Occultism, and I shall illustrate the point by citing
the case of W. Q. Judge. He is one of the three founders of the T.S., the only
three who have remained as true as rick to the Cause. While others have all
turned deserters or enemies, he has ever remained faithful to his original pledge.
If one wants to know the Masters feelings towards him, let him read what one
of them writes about the fidelity of Col. Olcott and their appreciation of it,
in a letter published in the Occult World.
Though strong pressure was used to displease him and his associates (Judge
along with them) in favor of another - a new-comer – and all manner of
booms were promised for the T.S., Mahatma "K.H." flatly refused, saying
that ingratitude had never been one of his vices. Now that which Col. Olcott
has accomplished in India and Asia, W. Q. Judge has done in America. He is the
resuscitator of Theosophy in the U.S. and is working to the best of his means
and ability, and at a great sacrifice, for the spread of the movement; and he
is now being infamously attacked and schemed against for this by one who has
never done a thing for the T.S. and is now trying to crush it out of existence.
From the first this enemy of the cause, though he never believed in any Mahatmas,
their powers, or even existence, has worked for an object; hence he boasted
for over two years of his own marvellous intercourse and powers with our Masters.
He it is who published the shameful forgery under the Master K.H.'s name in
the Chicago Tribune; he who made all those who would believe that he was in
regular communication with the "Adepts." And now, when his object
- to rule despotically over the whole American Section - has been defeated;
when the first denial by one of the Masters (K.H.) of having written a single
line to any one in England or America for the last five years has shown him
a deceiver, and that neither Mr. Judge nor myself would help him to deceive
the public, or join him in a conspiracy of still wrose deception with regard
to Theosophists, he now turns round, repudiates Masters and Mahatmas, and tries
to substitute for them some bogus adepts in the Rocky Mt., and thus ruin the
Having vainly tried to crush me, and finding me unmalleable, he now fastens
his poisonous fangs on brother Judge. He has cunning indomitable energy, never
relaxing vindictiveness, and a great command of money. These are grave charges,
and may appear "untheosophical" to many, as they would undoubtedly
be, were there only danger for some units in the Society. But it is the Society
itself, or CAUSE, so dear and sacred to many of us, which is threatened - nay,
attacked; and to save it, I for one, would not hesitate one moment to be regarded
as untheosophical twenty times over by the whole world. For, understand well:
unless we unite all our forces against this enemy, we cannot win the day, or
ever have one hour of full peace and security for, or in, the Society. Ye is
wealthy and we are poor; he is unscrupulous, and we feel bound by our pledges
and theosophical duty. He lies with an easy worthy of the admiration of the
sons of Loyola; and we Theosophists hold that, whosoever lies even to conquer
an enemy or to save himself from a condemnation, is not worthy to call himself
He attacks us by every available means and foul play; we can only be on our
defensive, and defeat him by truth and not- ng.but the: truth. Yet that truth
must not be withheld, if, owing to his unrelenting hatred and alliance with
every enemy who has hitherto attacked us', openly or secretly (I speak on knowledge),
we would not now have the very name of Theosophy and its Society become very
soon a public household word of opprobrium.
Brother Judge refuses to defend himself, even more than I have refused to defend
myself after the Coulomb conspiracy. No man who knows himself innocent ever
will. But is that a reason why we should let him go undefended? It is our bounden
duty to support him in every way. Let our protest be on merely defensive lines,
and not of an aggressive character. For, if the spirit of true Theosophy does
not permit of aggressiveness being used, yet it does demand in some cases active
defense, and it does impose on every one of us the duty of taking an active
interest in the welfare of a brother, especially of a persecuted brother, as
Mr. Judge is now. Is it the part of a "Brother-Fellow" to remain indifferent
and inactive when one has done so much for the noble and sacred CAUSE, is villified
for its sake, hence, for that of every Theosophist; when he is selected by the
enemy as the mark of all the lying and damaging at-tacks of these who wish to
destroy the Society in order to build up on its ruins, another, a bogus Body
of the same name, and to enshrine therein an idol with feet of clay and a heart
full of selfishness and evil, for the admiration and worship of credulous fools?
Can we allow them to achieve this object when they seek to insure success by
ruining the character of this most unselfish champion of our T.S.? Put yourselves
in the victim's place, and then act as you think Brothers should act towards
you under similar circumstances. Let us protest, I say, all of us; protest by
word and deed. Let every one who can hold the pen expose every lie said about
our friend and brother, in every case we know it to be a lie.
You all profess to wish to acquire esoteric knowledge, and some of you - those
who believe in the blessed Masters - to win the regards of our teachers. Know
then, Brothers, that they have regard for only such as square their behavior
with the rules hinted at, with our Master's permission, by me in "Voice
of the Silence" in the 2nd and 3rd Treatises.
The reputation of the T.S. is in the keeping of each one of you, and as you
regard or neglect it, so will it prosper. But you have to remember that the
life of the E.S. too depends on that of the Body. The moment the T.S. falls
in America (it cannot die in India, or even Europe, so long as the Colonel or
I are alive) through your apathy or carelessness, every member of the E.S. who
has not done his duty will go down with it. From that day there will be no more
hope of acquiring true Eastern secret knowledge till the end of the 20th Century.
If I asked what kind of protest on defensive lines would I have? and re-minded
that neither Brother Judge consents to make of his path the field of controversy,
nor do the majority of the daily and weekly papers consent to insert such letters
from Theosophists - I answer plainly and sincerely: - There are means to do
so, but there is neither the willingness nor the energy to accomplish that which
is required for this among the American members of the E.S. and Theosophists
who refuse to even support the Path as it ought to be supported.
And yet look around you, my brothers and sisters. Not a sect, not a guild,
or Society, however insignificant and useless, and far smaller than our Theosophical
Body, but has its recognized organ. Adventists, Christian Scientists, mind curers,
Swedenborgians, tradesmen, and who not, have their dailies, weeklies and monthlies.
One weekly or even monthly sheet of only four pages is better than none; and
if we had not an absolute and immediate necessity for such a defensive organ
now, it would serve at all times for the dissemination of our Theosophical teachings,
the popularization of Theosophy and Eastern Ethics suited for the intelligence
of the masses. Neither the Path of Lucifer - least of all the Theosophist, are
for the masses. To understand them requires educated readers, and, in most cases,
high metaphysicians; and, therefore, none of these magazines can ever become
What, your American Theosophists require, indeed, are extracts and a weekly
paper as cheap as you can make them. Have an organ wherein to defend the Cause
from insidious attacks, from misrepresentation and lies, and teach the people
the truth, and very soon the enemy will have no hold upon us. Teach the common
laborer the truth, and very soon in the churches, and you will soon have saved
half of mankind of civilized countries, for the PATH is easier to the poor and
single of heart, than to the cultured and the rich. "Observe,"
writes the Master, "that the first of the steps of gold which mounts
towards the Temple of Truth is - A CLEAN LIFE. THIS means a purity of mind,
heart and spirit."
And the latter are found more in the poor country classes, than among the cultured
and rich. That the Master's eye is upon you, Theosophists, is evidenced by the
following lines from the same pen: - "Flow many of them (you) violate
one or more of these conditions (of the right path) and yet expect to be taught
the highest Wisdom and Sciences, the Wisdom of the Gods. As pure water poured
into the scavenger's bucket is befouled and unfit for use, so is Divine Truth
when poured into the consciousness of a sensualist, of one of selfish heart
and a mind indifferent and inaccessible to justice and compassion." "There
is a very, VERY ancient maxim, far older than the time of the Romans or the
Greeks, more ancient than the Egyptians or Chaldeans. It is a maxim all of them
ought to remember and live accordingly, And it is that a Sound and pure mind
requires a sound and pure body. Bodily purity every Adept takes precautions
to keep. Most of you know this".
And yet, knowing it how few live up to this! I had rather not say whether the
letter includes in this reproof Theosophists generally, or only Esotericists.
It names a few, but this is for my pen private information; meanwhile, these
are the words addressed to all.
“But though they have been repeatedly told of this sine qua non rule
on the Path of Theosophy and chelaship, how few of them have given attention
to it. Behold how many of them are sluggards in the morning and time wasters
at night; GLUTTONS, eating and drinking for the sensual pleasure they give;
indolent in business; selfish as to the keeping of their neighbors (brothers)
interests in view; borrowing from Brother-Theosophists, making money out of
the lean and failing to return it; lazy in study and waiting for others to think
for and teach them; denying themselves nothing, even of LUXURIES, for the sake
of helping poorer brothers; forgetting the cause in general and its volunteer
hard workers and even debauchees, GUILTY OF SECRET IMMORALITY in more than one
form. And yet all call themselves Theosophists; all talk with outsiders about
'Theosophical Ethics' and things, with a puffed up vain conceit in their hearts”.
Alas! If these words apply to the T.S. in general, to the selfish coldness
and indifference of most members to the future of the Cause they belong to but
will not go out of their way to serve, do not most of the cases cited apply
also to some Esotericists, if not to all? Do not we find among them envy and
hatred for their colleagues, suspicion and slanderous talk? Who of you who read
this, is prepared to say that not one out of the above enumerated faults concerns
you? Ah, friends, brothers and many of you beloved co-workers, indeed, indeed,
little do you know of the eternal, unchangeable conditions of soul-development,
and chiefly of the inexorable occult laws: Believe the Teacher from whose letter
I quote, if you will not believe me, that: - "Though such a person
with any of the faults as above declared should fill the world with his charities,
and make his name known throughout every nation, he would make no advancement
in the Occult Sciences, but be continually slipping backwards. The six and ten
transcendental virtues, the Paramitas, are not for full grown Yogis and priests
alone, but for all those who would enter the Path".
If, explaining this, I add that gentle kindness to all beings, strict honesty,
(not according to the world-code, but that of Karmic action), virtuous habits,
strict truthfulness, and temperance in all things; that of these alone are the
keys that unlock the doors of earthly, happiness and peaceful bliss of mind;
and that fit the man of flesh to evolve into the perfect Spirit-Ego - many of
you will feel inclined, I fear, to mock me for saying this.
You may think that I am carrying coals to Newcastle, and that each of you know
this, at least, as well as I do. You may remark, perhaps, that I am taking my
role of "teacher" on a too high tone altogether, regarding and treating
you, grown-up intelligent men and women as I would little school boys and girls.
And some of you may indulge in the thought that it is useless for me to be
teaching you to be "goody-goody" instead of going on with my instructions
and give you explanations about "that occult jumble of color and sound,
and their respective relations to the human principles," as some have already
complained. But I say again, that if you are ignorant of the real occult value
of even such trite truths as are contained in "my grandmother's sermon",
how can you hope to understand the science which you are studying? Can an electrician,
however well familiarized with the electric field and its variable currents,
apply them to himself or the body of any living man unless he knows human anatomy
and is a good physician at the same time, without risking to kill his patient
What is the good of knowing all about the occult relations between the forces
of nature and the human principles if, by remaining deliberately ignorant of
SELF, we remain thereby as ignorant of what does or what does not affect each
distinct principle? Are you aware that by starving, so to speak, one principle,
or even center, at the expense of another principle or center, we may lose the
former and injure hopelessly the latter? That by forcing our Higher Ego (not
SELF, mind you) to remain inactive and silent, which is easily achieved by over-feeding
the lower Manas ever gravitation down to Kama Rupa, we risk utter annihilation
of our present personality?
As this may be questioned by some members who are not very strong even in the
exoteric Theosophical doctrines, in order to make my meaning more clear, I will
supplement the present explanation which has become unavoidable by incorporating
a paper on this subject in the next Instructions, which explains the case in
hand. Let the dreadful possibility of losing one's soul, not a rare occurrence,
and vouchsafed, moreover by the experience of a long series of seers and clairvoyant
teachers, become known to all. This dogma of the Inner schools has often been
hinted at in our literature, yet never till now explained, It can be done only
to the few who are pledged not to make the details of it known.
Those who still desire to remain working members of the E.S. will henceforth
receive their Instructions as regularly as this can be done. No. III is ready
and being multityped; it will be sent very shortly. And now I must close. For
some of you, I have little doubt, this will turn out to be a "parting"
farewell letter. Such I may as well thank now for the confidence they have shown,
and with which they have honored me, if even for a few months; and so I will
wish them "God speed" in some other science made less heavy by discipline
and rules. But those, whom no hardships, providing they lead them to Eternal
TRUTH, can ever discourage, I address in the words of the great American poet,
whose lips are now cold and mute" "Upward and Onward forevermore!"
Let this be the motto of the E.S. applied to Death of Selfishness and Sin through
the bright dawn of the resurrection of the Divine Science now known as THEOSOPHY.
H. P. B.