A DESCRIPTION OF THE WORK OF
C. W. LEADBEATER
Past Vice-President of
The Theosophical Society
THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE
A Description of the Work of Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater
IT is worth while to put on record the work done by our two distinguished leaders, Dr. Annie Besant and Bishop C. W. Leadbeater, through clairvoyant investigation. These fall into two groups, the first being a series of investigations into the past incarnations of various people, and the other a very unusual but most fascinating series of investigations into the nature of the atoms of the chemical elements.
I have been most especially identified with the second kind of work in the capacity of director and recorder of investigations, but as I have also been present when investigations into past incarnations have been undertaken, I think it is worth while to record what I recollect about them.
The two first met in London in April 1894. Bishop Leadbeater and I were then living in London. The two inner groups, senior and junior, of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society, used to meet at Mr. A. P. Sinnett’s house. Dr. Besant was living then at the Theosophical Headquarters at 19 Avenue Road, St. Johns Wood, where H.P.B. passed away on May 8, 1891. there had been for some years a coolness between H.P.B.’s group at Avenue Road and Mr. Sinnett’s Lodge, largely due to the fact that Mr. Sinnett disapproved of the democratic direction which H.P.B. had given to the movement in England by popularising it among those whom Mr. Sinnett considered were not the “cultured upper classes.”
In 1894, after Mrs. Besant’s return from India, she and Mr. Sinnett met, and the result was an invitation extended to her to address a meeting of the London Lodge, and to attend the private meetings of the groups. She accepted the invitation, and soon afterwards became a member of the senior group. She met Bishop Leadbeater at all these meetings, as he was the secretary of the London Lodge. I joined the senior group just before she joined. But it was after Bishop Leadbeater and I at her invitation moved from lodgings which we had in Bayswater, to take up our residence at 19 Avenue Road, in the autumn of 1895, that a close collaboration began between the two.
However, Bishop Leadbeater had done many occult investigations before this time. The most striking was the series of investigations into the condition of the astral plane, which he carefully and slowly wrote out in the form of a lecture to the London Lodge on November 21st, 1894. It was issued in April 1895 as a transaction of the Lodge, and later was incorporated into the Theosophical Manuals initiated by Dr, Besant, as the book The Astral Plane, Manual no. 5. The investigations were a landmark in the progress of mankind. It was the first occasion that anyone had examined scientifically the nature of the astral plane and recorded the results. Hitherto the knowledge was general, sufficient for right conduct. Because of the unusual and detailed nature of the work, the Master K.H., who is the Librarian of the Records Museum of the Adept Hierarchy, asked for the manuscript of the book to put among the Records.
New ground was broken in May 1894, when Bishop Leadbeater began the first series of investigations into past incarnations. He and I became friends with Mr. And Mrs. John Varley and their two daughters. Mr. Varley had an interesting link with Bishop Leadbeater, for both were present on that occasion when, at a meeting of the London Lodge in 1884, H.P.B. suddenly arrived from Paris to the sensation of all. Bishop Leadbeater and Mr. Varley were both sitting in the passage outside the crowded room, when a striking and voluminous lady appeared and from the door suddenly called “Mohini!”
Bishop Leadbeater, Mr. Varley and I used often to go for walks, and one afternoon Mr. Varley mentioned that the night before he had had a very vivid dream which was intensely real. He narrated that he was on the top of some building of an unusual shape which had a flat roof, and that he was dressed in some robe or garment which was novel to him. But the part of the dream which was most real to him was that he held in his hand a rod, whose end seemed to produce light when it touched the ground, and that he marked on the ground the astrological symbol for Jupiter. Mr. Varley, who was a landscape painter, was the grandson of John Varley, the well-known painter, and also astrologer; he was himself something of an astrologer, and so this particular astrological element in the dream was vivid to him.
On asking Bishop Leadbeater what he thought the dream might signify, the reply was that he did not know, but that the first thing to do was to get into touch with the dream. This could be done by calling up the record of the night before, with Mr. Varley living in his astral body, and then seeing what it was that he saw. We were by this time seated on a garden seat in the smaller park section of Wormwood Scrubbs. Bishop Leadbeater looked up the dream and saw Mr. Varley in an incarnation long ago actually performing what was dreamed; he was evidently a priest and was invoking the star spirits. After questionings by Mr. Varley, he identified the place as probably Chaldea.
It was then that Mr. Varley asked if something could not be found out concerning the life that he then lived. Bishop Leadbeater’s reply was that he did not quite know that he was authorized to do that kind of work with such occult power as he had, but that he would ask his Master. He did so then and there, and the Master gave his permission.
Then began a work which was continued on several afternoons and evenings, when Bishop Leadbeater investigated clairvoyantly the lives lived by Mr. Varley, following all of them life after life up to the present incarnation. As Bishop Leadbeater described what he saw, Mr. Varley took down rough notes, and immediately afterwards wrote out as much as he could recollect of what was described.¹ (1. The Theosophist, April 1912. The lives of Erato, as published in The Theosophist are not in the words of Mr. Varley himself. His transcription was not considered sufficiently literary, and so Mr. E. A. Wodehouse re-wrote them. I prefer Mr. Varley’s simpler manner, as more suggestive.) This is the first of the series of lives investigated. Later the name Erato was given to Mr. Varley.
The close co-operation of Dr. Besant and Bishop Leadbeater which began in 1895 produced much striking work, which I will record in its proper place later on.
Continuing now the story of the investigations into past lives, in 1895 Bishop Leadbeater investigated certain lives of Ulysses (H. S. Olcott).² (2. The Theosophist, October 1917.) These showed him to have been Asoka, the famous Emperor of India, who has been called the Constantine of Buddhism; and that before that, he was King Gashtasp of Persia, who enthusiastically upheld the mission of Zoroaster. Both of these lives of organising a kingdom to develop a new message, seemed to be a kind of preparation for the world mission which he had to perform with H.P.B., in founding and organizing the world-wide Theosophical Society.
About this time he investigated at Harrogate the lives of three people, one a boy of 8, the late Basil Hodgson Smith³ (3. The Theosophist, May 1932.); the other two were his father Mr. A. Hodgson Smith, and Miss Louisa Shaw.4 (4. Not published.) Only a few lives were investigated, but two of the characters come into touch with Hypatia, who was Dr. Besant, and there is some description of Alexandria at the time.
The Very Rev. Monsignor Arthur A. Wells, LL. D.,
General Secretary, T. S. in England
About 1895 came the investigation of two lives of an interesting personality, the Very Rev, Monsignor Arthur A. Wells, LL.D. Dr. Wells had been a Carthusian monk, and later a Franciscan. He was living in his suite of rooms in the monastery which he built for his Order near Guildford, Surrey. Bishop Leadbeater and I visited him there once, when we had lunch with the monks in the refectory—an interesting meal where all were served and ate in silence, while a monk read from some edifying book, and the abbot struck a bell to notify him to end. The Pope had conferred on Dr. Wells the grade of Monsignor as a recognition of his benefactions to the Church. When he found Theosophy, he joined the London Lodge and left his Church. He later became General Secretary of the Theosophical Society in England, in 1900. One very interesting part of the record is Dr. Wells’ analysis and comment. In his private memorandum, which I did not publish in The Theosophist,5 (5. The Theosophist, December 1932.) but which was read to the London Lodge group, he says as follows:
I never in all my life had so strange an experience as to sit and hear him [C. W. Leadbeater] explaining and wondering over me—the same in the minutest detail, in the body of this Italian lad. Not a word he said about him but I understood far better than he. The double life of which he spoke has been my torment all these years. Though I don t remember any single detail he gave of that life, everything is as real and true to me as if I did—there was not the least touch that jarred on the fullest sense of identity.”
Then in 1903 in U.S.A. followed investigations into certain lives of Alastor (Alexander Fullerton), and another person to whom the name Ursa6 (6. The Theosophist, February 1921.) was later given. Then in 1907 Dr, Besant investigated the last two lives of Arcor (Miss A. J. Willson) 7 (7. The Theosophist, May 1917, also January, 1932.), and also two lives lived in Alexandria and Florence by Bee (Miss E. Bright)8 (8. The Theosophist, April 1917.). Hiss Bright and Miss Willson were two of “Dr. Besant’s people”, and she wanted to know where they had been with her. The investigation was at Weisser Hirsch in Germany, where she and Bishop Leadbeater were together for a while. While Dr. Besant investigated, he “looked up” with her at the same time. Both Miss Bright and I recall the conversation of the two as they investigated. The first of these two lives of Bee is interesting because it centres round Hypatia, and we get some description of the troubles round her leading up to her martyrdom. The life in Florence was at the time of Savonarola, and we have glimpses of the movements of thought which characterized that period.
Then followed the long and extremely dramatic series of the lives of Orion, investigated by Bishop Leadbeater alone9 (9. The Theosophist, April 1911.). Among all the series of lives investigated, Orion in some ways is particularly interesting, from the psychological standpoint. He is evidently a strong ego but wilful, for he seems to lack intuition to understand the inner workings of the great laws. Through this failing he creates a great deal of suffering for himself, from which he seems to learn only slowly.
Sometime earlier than this, were recorded a few of the lives of Miss F. Arundale10 (10. Not published.). They give interesting glimpses of the operation of that special Karma where an individual attaches himself to Occultism, but refuses to carry out the solemn obligations given under vows.
There have also been published two lives of Mizar11 (11. The Theosophist, March 1911.), and one of Naga12 (12. The Theosophist, December 1920.). These have been incorporated into the Lives of Alcyone. Another series, that of Amal, was also published13 (13. The Theosophist, December 1917.). As yet unpublished are some lives of Alastor, Melete, Concord, Auson, Laxa and Vale.
Then followed the long series of the lives of Alcyone, in some of which Dr. Besant collaborated. The writing out of these lives was done by Bishop Leadbeater, with the exception of Life No. XXVIII which was written by Dr. Besant. Anyone reading this particular life will note how dramatically it is written, with a graphic quality and power which are not characteristic of the other lives. Dr. Besant read it herself at a “roof meeting,” with tears streaming from her eyes as she described the tragic fate of herself and Krishnamurti, then born as two women.
The series, The Lives of Alcyone, are interesting because they were investigated backwards. In the first life of Erato mentioned above, the investigation began with a recollection by Erato himself of an incident in a previous life. This gave the investigator a point de départ from which to investigate, and so to say, allowed him to anchor himself in the stream of time and watch its flow. But with Alcyone it was different.
The reason for the difference lay in the fact that the boy Krishnamurti, when observed clairvoyantly soon after he came to Adyar, possessed an unusually fine aura. The immediate interest was therefore to find out who he had been in his previous life. From this began the investigations into life after life of Krishnamurti, but going backward from the present into the past. The lives, when written out, were typed and three copies were made. The first set of lives investigated made the last ten, and of these one copy was sent to Dr. Besant, who was in Europe, and another to me. They reached me in California, and the reading of them was especially interesting as different from the lives of other egos whose stories I had read. I had of course not then met Krishnaji. In the course of the succeeding months, I received the record of the other two groups of ten lives. It is these 30 lives that were published in The Theosophist,14 (14. The Theosophist, April 1910.) but a few years later, many more of his lives were investigated, and all these were incorporated in the two volumes, The Lives of Alcyone.
After all the lives of Alcyone that were investigated had been put together, the printing was begun at the Vasanta Press. When the Lives that now compose Volume I had been printed, and part also of Volume II up to p. 488, the further printing was suspended in September 1914. The wildest rumours have of course been spread concerning the reason for the suspension. But Dr. Besant herself told me why it was that she stopped the publication of the book as announced.
The case brought against her by the father of Krishnamurti and his brother ended in May, 1914, by the Privy Council decision in her favour. The two boys were at last free of interference from their father, and the plan which she had formulated of their going to Oxford could now be taken up seriously. Long before the students enter into residence, arrangements have to be made with a tutor of the college selected, as the places for students are limited and especially so in the case of Indian students. With the introductions provided by Muriel, Countess De La Warr, who was acquainted with the head of Christ Church College, Mr. H. Baillie-Weaver had an interview with him regarding entering the two boys.
But Krishnamurti was nervous that if he and his brother went up to Oxford after the Lives had been published, they would be “ragged”, and much ridicule cast upon them, and also that it would add to the publicity then already considerable about him. Because of this, he asked Dr. Besant if the book could not be held back. As she was in the truest sense of the word his mother, she at once acceded to his request, and countermanded all the plans for immediate publication, even though the pictures for the book had been printed and were ready at Adyar.
After Bishop Leadbeater left Adyar in 1914, I had to supervise the completion of the work. Though publication was postponed, the second volume was completed very leisurely and placed in the “godown” in sheets, till the Oxford period should be over. As it happened, owing to various difficulties, Krishnamurti and his brother did not go to Oxford after all; and the War came soon after, and all the complications to Dr. Besant’s work in India.
After the first twelve lives in the book had been printed, new characters were recognized, and they had to be placed in the charts. Each new “star name” to be added to the charts, with all the relationships, meant much rearrangement. One ego, as for instance Naga, an “elder ego”, when recognized in December, 1913 and given his place in the charts, brought in a number of children, and with them grandchildren. Some of these had been recognized previously, but not placed in the charts because of the non-recognition of the grandparent. Mrs. D. Jinarajadasa (Sita) was found only after her arrival in Adyar on a visit in December, 1912. Her name first appears in chart No. XI. She was one of those who assisted Bishop Leadbeater in preparing the charts to be entered into long rolls, where the names are all placed horizontally in the form of a genealogical table. She knows the story of the addition of the names as little by little more characters were identified. Bishop Mazel was also one of those who worked in his room, and could explain what happened if he were still alive. Two characters, Naiad and Una, in whom I was particularly interested, were “looked up” at my request, and I sent their photographs for that purpose. These two have a close link with Naga, and appear in the charts after Life XII.
One striking omission from the charts as printed in The Theosophist of Alcyone’s lives is Dhruva, the Master of the Master K.H. This Adept did not deal directly with the affairs of The Theosophical Society, so Bishop Leadbeater knew of Him only by name from his Master’s pupils. But after he had the privilege of being presented to the Master, of course he recognized Him at once in the lives. The name Dhruva (the Sanskrit name for the Pole Star) was given to Him, and the name was incorporated in the charts as the book was put together. Altogether 32 new names were added at this time. More were added later. The additional star names up to the Life XII have to be incorporated in a second edition.
In reality, the “Band of Servers” who are pledged to follow the Masters in the Great Work are at least ten times the 281 names put in the charts. And it does not follow that, because a person is “in the Lives,” that fact is a guarantee that he will make a success of Occultism in this life! After his residence in Australia, Bishop Leadbeater identified many whom he had seen in past lives, but he did not “follow them up” into their past lives, as the task of enlarging the charts was far too strenuous. Besides, there was other and more urgent work.
Among the lives of Alcyone, the life in Persia with the last Zoroaster is interesting, because Bishop Leadbeater had a good deal of difficulty with the names of the principal characters. The words were so strange that he had to listen carefully and repeat the words himself, and slowly spell them phonetically. It is interesting here to read the article which Mr. B.P. Wadia, who is a Parsi, wrote on the matter of these names. In his article in The Theosophist of January 1911, he said as follows:
First, then, the gentleman who looked up this particular life is Mr. C. W. Leadbeater who, as far as my knowledge goes—and I have worked with him now for nearly two years—knows next to nothing about Zoroastrianism. He has not studied the ancient Persian history, nor even has perused the Shâh-Nâmeh in abridged translation. While looking up this life he was very much struck, he says, by the long and unpronounceable names he heard. This is not the place to give a psychological explanation of how this is done; enough to say that Mr. Leadbeater can hear as well as see the Akâshic Records from which he reads and dictates. The Persian name of the very hero—Alcyone—was a poser to him; and I doubt not that he must have heard it many times before he could pronounce it. He finally pronounced it as he heard it, and when he came to write it down he could do nothing else but spell it phonetically. So also with all other names,
When I first came across this life it was clear to me that I was fortunate enough to hit upon a clear and decisive proof of Mr. Leadbeater’s clairvoyant powers. There were open before me only two ways of explaining to myself this phenomenon of Mr. Leadbeater bringing out nearly a score of proper names, some of them very obscure; they were (1) that Mr. Leadbeater is a truly genuine and scientifically reliable seer; or (2) that he is a fraud (he will pardon my saying so), who reads encyclopaedias, obscure histories and what not, and then pretends that he can hear and see and work on subtler planes. Between these two there is no middle course; we have to accept the one and reject the other. I accept the first and absolutely reject the second, for scores of sound reasons which space forbids me here to give.
Mr. Wadia then goes into interesting details analysing the life. He was then Manager of The Theosophical Publishing House at Adyar. He has since left the Parent Society and now disowns what he wrote in 1911.
Dr. Besant and Bishop Leadbeater, as belonging respectively to the First and Second “Rays,” were naturally different in their methods of approach to truth and in their manner of work. One manner in which this difference of technique showed itself was during the investigation into past lives. The particular incident which showed this difference was when she was “looking up” her own life in Alexandria as Hypatia. Naturally there gathered round Hypatia hundreds of disciples, and Dr. Besant was curious to know who among them were reincarnated as her helpers in this life.
Now, when Bishop Leadbeater needed to trace a person from a past life into the present, his method was to note the death of the person, his passage into Devachan, and then his new birth. If the period was long ago, he would need to go through this process life after life till the present incarnation was reached. It was of course a long and tiresome process, but it was in the end sure.
But Dr. Besant was impatient of these slow methods, while she admired them; she evolved a technique of her own, which was novel to Bishop Leadbeater. She described her process as first looking at the ego of the person, and then as constructing a long tube, and looking through it, when the face of the person in the present incarnation would spring up at her at the other end. It was a rapid method. But he asked her, “How are you sure that you see the right person at the other end?” She laughed; she knew that there was a possibility of error. Probably in 999 cases out of a 1,000 her method would be accurate; as to the one error in 1,000, she was not going to avoid such a possibility by spending the long time necessary with the slow but sure technique of her colleague. She was always for speed, and was never afraid of making mistakes, for she was utterly sure that, though they might bring her much suffering, she would arrive at truth in spite of every obstacle. But he had the scientific temperament, and it was for him a matter of honour to be as accurate as possible.
Another interesting incident during these investigations into past lives was the comparison which the two investigators made between Savonarola and Bruno. The former came in the life of Bee who was a friend of Savonarola. Bruno was Dr. Besant, Bruno’s life was “looked up” by her, but Bishop Leadbeater investigated at the same time. As it was her life he made only a few comments, though he noted everything that was happening.
Dr. Besant of course recalled Bruno’s fiery temperament, and his scornful pride of the intellectual bigots of his day, who were unable to achieve or appreciate his vast vision of the universe. After the betrayal by Mocenigo and torture by the Inquisition, Bruno had of course periods of intense depression, convinced that his life and work had failed. The situation with Savonarola was not very different.
But what was noteworthy was the difference at the end, when they were burnt by the Roman Church as heretics. Savonarola was in deepest depression to the end, for he felt that he had failed to achieve. But it was far otherwise with Bruno. Though he was going to be burnt, though the Church had carefully selected for the burning a public holiday, so that the crowds that might be present and hear any speech of Bruno, and might possibly demonstrate, should be busy elsewhere with their holiday-making, Bruno at the end had a feeling of triumph, that he had won after all. As all know, at the place where he was burnt is now Bruno’s statue, erected by the public subscription of his admirers in many lands, who appreciate the value of his martyrdom to usher in the day of freedom of thought.
All these lives which have been investigated have for me a very profound interest; they reveal the working of that law so difficult to understand—the law of Karma. I have often wished that I had the time to write a long commentary on the Lives of Alcyone, taking up point after point which illustrates Karma. Probably I am the only person who knows all the series of lives that have been investigated, and I have met nearly all the characters and know their present history. Therefore they are all linked in my mind in one great scheme of a band of souls travelling throughout the ages busy at a work, but also, in the course of that work, influencing each other for good or evil. The more I read all these lives, and see the inter-relations of certain characters, and how they accepted or rejected opportunities, the more I understand what is so beautifully described in the Light of Asia with regard to Karma.
So merit won winneth the happier age
Which by demerit halteth short of end;
Yet must this Law of Love reign King of all
Before the Kalpas end.
Such is the Law which moves to righteousness,
Which none at last can turn aside or stay;
The heart of it is Love, the end of it
Is Peace and consummation sweet. Obey!
Some day I hope to publish all the series of Lives in a uniform series of volumes, for I have perfect trust that in the future this record will be appreciated at its true worth.
Soon after Dr. Besant became a member of the London Lodge group, discussions took place in it with regard to the migrations of various races of the past. In connection with this, both she and Bishop Leadbeater investigated certain periods of Atlantean civilisation. In order to understand the development of root-races, Bishop Leadbeater investigated the past shape of the earth, and after consulting the maps and globes kept in the Occult Museum of the Adepts, drew the maps of Lemuria and Atlantis which are in the book by Mr. W. Scott-Elliot under the title The Story of Atlantis. It was considered more effective for publicity that the maps should not be announced as due to clairvoyance. Mr. Scott-Elliot merely says, “it has been the privilege of the writer to be allowed to obtain copies—more or less complete—of four of these”. I regret greatly that when the original drawings were passed on to him, no copies were kept. I recall how years later Bishop Leadbeater expressed great regret that a particular map which he drew, of a system of locks for canals, used by Atlantean engineers, could not be recovered by him, as he considered that the Atlanteans had a novel idea not known to engineers to-day. It was too tiresome a task to do the work over again.
A striking research by the two investigators was into the origins of Christianity. This was done at the request of Mr. G. R. S. Mead. Mr. Mead had dedicated himself to the subject of Gnosticism, and this meant understanding its origins and its relations to the early Christian communities scattered in Palestine and round Alexandria.
The investigations were during the years 1897-8, and were once a week in the evening at the then Headquarters in London at 19 Avenue Road. I was at Cambridge at this time, but during vacations I was present on a few occasions. Dr. Besant assisted when she was in England, but most of the work was done by Bishop Leadbeater. Mr. Mead took very full notes.
In the course of these investigations, the lives and work of many Gnostic and a few Jewish leaders were examined and recorded, including the principal personalities round the Christ during His mission, and the disciples who carried on the work afterwards, as also St. John of Revelation, who was not “the disciple whom Jesus loved” but another, a Jewish revolutionary with much psychism which gave him astral visions. The journey of the young Jesus to Egypt, the teachers with whom He came into contact, and other fascinating bits of history were all unravelled bit by bit. The life stories of Valentinus, Ammonias Saccas, Iamblichus and others, and of Aedesius, who was Mr. Mead, were investigated.
One remarkable investigation was into the early Christian manuscripts of the Gospels. Here and there Bishop Leadbeater, whose Greek was slight, carefully spelt out word by word at Mr. Mead’s request various extracts which seemed to illuminate the problem. I regret greatly that no copy was made of Mr. Mead’s record of the investigations. A few years before his death I wrote to him offering him £100 for his transcription or for a copy, but I received no reply.
It is from these investigations that Mr. Mead began to obtain a coherent idea of the events in the early centuries of Christianity and Gnosticism. He then wrote his remarkable work, Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, which placed in an intelligible scheme the religious events of those centuries. The investigations were undertaken for his benefit, as he was doing an extremely valuable work with his contribution to the story of Gnosticism, but he was utterly at a loss, with the ordinary historical material, to understand the relation of various events recorded. The confusion was so vast that he begged for light, and so the clairvoyant research was undertaken.
It was also after these investigations that he wrote his book: Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.? This remarkable statement, that the true date of Jesus is one century earlier than that given in Christian chronology, was first made by the Master K.H. in 1883. A series of articles, which gave the English version of a French manuscript of Éliphas Lévi, appeared in The Theosophist. Many special foot-notes were appended as the articles were published. These foot-notes were signed E.O., which signified “Eminent Occultist”, a term given to the Master in the early correspondence with Mr. Sinnett, and used by Him for the foot-notes, instead of the better known K.H. If we had now the original manuscript on H. P. B.’s desk before it went to the printer, we should find the foot-notes in blue pencil. One paper of Éliphas Lévi was not published in The Theosophist, though it had the E.O. foot-notes. All the papers were issued in 1883 as a pamphlet. In one paper in the pamphlet Éliphas Lévi said: “Jesus, like all great Hierophants, had a public and a secret doctrine.” To this E.O. added the foot-note: “But he preached it a century before his birth.—E.O.”
If Jesus was born 100 B.C., what of the story of his having been crucified under Pontius Pilate? It is a historical fact that there was a Pontius Pilate who was a Roman Governor, who was in Judea at the time stated in the accepted story of Jesus. This mystery was elucidated by the deciphering of certain Greek texts which gave the original form of the Apostles’ Creed. The Greek text was spelt out word by word. The word Maria was originally Maia, the Greek word meaning “mother”, and it referred to the descent of the Divine Life into virgin matter, which gave birth to manifestation. The phrase in the Creed, “Jesus Christ”, [OYNXPI TON], iêsounkhriston, was found in two variants, [IHTPONAPITON], iêtronariston, meaning “the chiefest healer (or deliverer)” and IEPONAPITON, ieronariston, meaning “the most holy one.” The words “Pontius Pilate,” in the phrase in the Creed, “suffered under Pontius Pilate”, are now in Greek IIONTIOYIIIΛATOY, pontiou pilâtou; but investigation revealed that the earliest manuscripts had instead IIONTOYIIIΛHTOY, pontou pilêtou, which would mean “[endured] the dense sea”, describing the descent of the Divine Life into the sea of matter at manifestation. The words “iêtron,” healer, or “ieron,” holy one, became changed to “iêsoun,” Jesus, and the word “pontos,” sea, into “pontios,” the Roman name Pontius, by the addition of the i, called iota. The change of pilêtou, dense or condensed, to pilâtou, Pilate, needs: no explanation, as the long ê was often pronounced as long â in dialect forms. Thus a formula which described the descent of the Divine Life into virgin matter, became, by an understandable error in transcription, a point in history in the life of Jesus.
All this was of course extraordinary and seemingly incredible, but Mr. Mead understood at once the significance of the clairvoyant record. Once thus convinced of the earlier date, he found that there was enough evidence which could be put together to make a book. Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.? which brings together a mass of striking statements in early writers, which throw doubt on the accepted date, was the result.
Later on Mr. Mead dissociated himself completely from the work of Dr. Besant and Bishop Leadbeater, and in the end he lost all faith in the veracity of the investigations. But in 1900, when he was engaged in writing the works referred to, his faith was clear and precise, for he has thus put himself on record in The Vahan, the magazine of the English Section, for April, 1900:
“Speaking for myself, I have had the opportunity of testing many statements of friends who can read the occult records; in hundreds of cases I have checked their statements with regard to dates and facts, where facts and dates were previously unknown on this plane both to my informants and myself. I have, therefore, confidence in accepting their statements with regard to this subject as a reasonable hypothesis which I may be able to verify by research.”
I recall being present at one of these investigations when in some way Francis Bacon’s work came to be examined. Knowing who Bacon is today, as one of the Adepts, Bishop Leadbeater felt that to investigate Bacon’s affairs clairvoyantly was like a piece of impertinence. But he did note that Bacon wrote the plays that pass as Shakespeare’s. However, what particularly drew my attention at the time was not that fact, which was fairly obvious to me upon the examination of the evidence, but rather something else which Bishop Leadbeater noted on higher planes. If Bacon is Shakespeare, and also if several other works passing under the names of other authors are also from Bacon’s brain, then, there must have been a terrific creative energy in Bacon at the time. Bishop Leadbeater said that, as he watched, it was as if some wonderful ray from a great creative centre on the inner planes had converged upon Bacon, so that he threw off one work after another in the way of plays, poems, philosophical theses, etc., without any particular effort. This little glimpse into the power of the creative consciousness behind everything was far more fascinating to me than the solution of the Bacon-Shakespeare problem.
Another joint work in occult research by Dr. Besant and Bishop Leadbeater was in 1896. One week end in early summer, they went to Box Hill, in Surrey, accompanied by Mr. Bertram Keightley. The investigations concerned the life of the Mental Plane and in Devachan. The work was not completed when they returned to London, and so during the course of several afternoon walks to Hampstead Heath the investigations were continued. The result was the manual, The Devachanic Plane which Bishop Leadbeater wrote from the material of their joint investigations.
At this time occurred a striking incident which Dr. Besant narrated later to a few of her intimate circle. One morning on awakening, she recalled vividly how that night she had been taken by her Master and presented to a Great One, who spoke to her a few gracious words. She recalled Him vividly, how He seemed to be the embodiment of all conceivable Power and yet spoke to her so graciously. During the afternoon walk she narrated the incident to her colleague, and remarking that she could hardly believe that such an undreamt of privilege could have been hers, said, “I wonder if it is only a dream!” That night she was called again to the presence of the Great One. On this occasion, He gave her certain instructions as to her work, and just as He dismissed her said, “I hope this time you will not think me only a dream!” The Great One thousands of miles away heard what she said on Hampstead Heath, for His consciousness envelops and interpenetrates every point on this earth. Dr. Besant told us how instantly she felt overwhelmed with shame, that she should have ever doubted that she had been in His Presence.
It is in these investigations of the Mental Plane that I find the only record of what is termed in the book the “Great Waves”. They are described in the manual. When the special Great Wave came, Dr. Besant desired to know where it would lead, and she said, “Let’s plunge in”. Her colleague’s response was, “I wonder whether that isn’t rash, but if you are going, I’ll come along.” They were just about to plunge into the Wave when from far away suddenly the Master K.H. interfered and barred their way. He explained later that if they had so plunged into the Great Wave, they would very quickly have lost consciousness during its upward sweep, and when they returned to consciousness again, it might possibly be on the star Sirius!
I shall always remember the next investigations because of the interesting setting. After much enquiry, a lonely farm in Sussex, Lewis Park Farm, near Nutley, was found which had some rooms to let. This little farm was fairly isolated, the nearest village being three miles away. The road was a lonely one, and in front of the farm was the Common, which was a part of Ashdown Forest. A party consisting of Dr. Besant, Bishop Leadbeater, Mr. Bertram Keightley, myself and my cat Ji, went down on the afternoon of Saturday, August 23rd. By Saturday evening we had installed ourselves, and so on Sunday morning the two investigators walked to the Common across the road with rugs and cushions, with Mr. Keightley and myself to take notes. As a matter of fact, Mr. Keightley did very little in the way of record, and I had to do my best in an abbreviated longhand to record the conversation of the two. As the two were watching what they saw clairvoyantly, they were continually conversing and comparing notes.
One interesting part of their work was when they tried to understand certain complicated happenings from the standpoint of two planes. The Akashic record is contacted on the Higher Mental plane. Bishop Leadbeater, with his very cautious and scientific temperament, could not sometimes easily see the general trend of things. Then Dr. Besant would transfer her consciousness to the Buddhic plane. From there she would get a kind of aeroplane view and understand with flashes of intuition the significance of it all. She would then give her opinion, while he would try to apply it to what he saw, to see if the explanation fitted the facts, both conversing all the time.
One slight incident at the time made a profound impression upon me. They were watching the first appearance on earth of the first class Pitris direct from their Pralaya on the Moon Chain. (These Pitris, therefore, have not been on either Mars or Mercury on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd rounds, nor on Mars on this 4th round). The investigators watched the first incarnation of the Master M., who has pronounced “First Ray” attributes. In that first incarnation on our globe, He became promptly the chief of the savages among whom He had incarnated. As the investigators were watching the Master when He was a Lemurian baby lying on the ground, there happened something which startled them. It was, that the Master as He is now, with His consciousness as the Adept, looked at them through the eyes of the baby of six hundred thousand years ago. For He was following their investigations. Needless to say, they were startled. This seems completely to abolish time, and particularly to enable an individual today to live, if he wants to, in the past, but with the consciousness of the present. I did not recall this incident when later I propounded the idea of changing the past, which I mention in my little books, In His Name and Flowers and Gardens.
The investigations were done on Sunday and Monday, morning and afternoon. We returned to town on Tuesday.
These investigations are to me some of the most valuable, because they give glimpses of that mysterious occult truth which underlies what is said about Mâyâ or cosmic illusion. Our modern Theosophical training leads us to see everything from an objective stand-point, i.e., in terms of matter, however subtle, and from below, as is the case with modern science. We proceed from the form to the life, and then, now and again, through the life into consciousness. But there is another approach, where everything is known in terms of consciousness, particularly the consciousness of the Logos. In other words, to see the cosmic process as He sees it gives naturally a new set of values. Glimpses of this are revealed in the investigations. I published the record in The Theosophist.15 (15. The Theosophist, August 1911.)
After Bishop Leadbeater returned to Adyar in 1909, a remarkable series of investigations were made which brought forth the volume, Man: Whence, How and Whither. The book contains material written by both Dr. Besant and Bishop Leadbeater. I was not present in India, but I heard about the investigations from the two amanuenses, Don Fabrizio Ruspoli and Mrs. A. Van Hook. The investigators lay down on the verandah on the river side of the President’s rooms, and under a mosquito net. Evening was the only available time for investigations, when both were free from their routine work and duties. Don Fabrizio knew shorthand, and I think Mrs. Van Hook also to some extent. The investigations must have taken several weeks, but unfortunately the shorthand transcript was not kept after the book was written. We had not then developed the “archives sense,” for nobody calculated on the fuss that has later been made with charges of various kinds of mutilation of the earlier teachings. Dr. Besant wrote out the investigations in her swift and dramatic way into certain chapters in the book, but if we had the stenographic record, I expect we should find many informative bits which to her did not seem of much importance.
In the latter part of this work is the description of the founding of the Sixth Root Race. In this investigation she took no part. Bishop Leadbeater describes in his introduction how it all happened, and how as he tried to describe the way the consciousness of Devas works, the great Deva, who is the guardian of Adyar, offered to help with an explanation, and showed them certain pictures of the future.
Soon after 1913, when Dr. Besant began to be immersed in her Indian political work, she found that keeping her brain open to the higher sensitiveness which goes with clairvoyance, clairaudience, astral memories, etc,, was producing a pressure on it which might presently result in serious damage to the brain cells. As she had been given as a special task the political work for India, and as at all costs that had to be done, she renounced her continuation of consciousness into the invisible, and so shut the door on her clairvoyant faculties. But not completely, for along her line of magic she knew how, when it was necessary that she should remember what happened on the other side, to make a special arrangement, so that when she returned from the higher worlds her brain would register the record. So, when she returned she recollected what had happened, and wrote down the orders given to her with regard to her Indian work. She used then to communicate with her colleague who was in Sydney, for usually he too was present with her when the orders were given, and so he was able to corroborate and give his version of what took place.
On Sundays, after the midday meal, she would close her door and rest, and receive no one till tea time. I recall vividly what happened on Sunday, August 15, 1915. When she opened her door just before tea time at 3 o’ clock, she came out on to “the roof” where I was waiting, and she called me to one side. She then told me that she had been summoned to be present at a certain occult Centre, and that there she had been shown certain pictures of coming events. Among them, she was shown in pictures certain events yet to happen of the War and the final victory of the Allies, which was therefore fore-ordained. She asked me not to mention that fact or to make any reference to that finality of the War. From her memorandum which I have, it seems to have been a part of the original plan of the Great Hierarchy that the Allies should have marched to Berlin and signed peace there. I have enquired in various places why the Allies did not do so, because that seems to have been the idea of some of them once, though they gave it up later. If this original plan had been carried out, perhaps certain of the complications which have since arisen might have been prevented or modified. Bishop Leadbeater, who too had been present when the pictures of the future were shown, corroborated from Sydney what she remembered on awakening. His letter on the matter is at Adyar.
It was this fore-knowledge by Dr. Besant of the victory of Britain and the Allies that made her go straight ahead and not swerve in her political campaign of Home Rule for India, even though the British Empire was at war. Lord Willingdon, then Governor of Bombay, was quite bitter that Dr. Besant should not realize how all the Provincial Governors and their administrations were striving every nerve to assist Britain in the War, and that it was not fair on her part to make the situation in India more difficult for them with her political agitation. But Dr. Besant did not swerve, for two reasons: first, that the victory of the Allies was assured, so there was no need for her to waste much energy on that work, though as a matter of fact she gave her help in recruiting, and threw in her weight with her pen to show that the cause of the Allies was the cause of righteousness; and secondly, because Britain was lavish in her thanks to the Dominions like Australia and Canada, and was pledging herself to give them more power in Imperial affairs, and utterly ignored India and her sacrifices. Dr. Besant did not intend to let India lose her rights by default in the matter of Imperial affairs.
Of course she received much abuse because of her work for India at this time when the Empire was straining every nerve. I recall that when she visited Australia in 1922, one of our group heard an Australian say as she went to the ferry, “That’s the woman who worked to help the Germans win the war.”
Another occasion when she and Bishop Leadbeater received occult orders was in Benares, on January 12, 1912. We—the two leaders, Krishnamurti and his brother, George Arundale and myself—were staying at Shânti Kunj, Dr. Besant’s home. That morning, soon after eleven, after breakfast, we saw that the two went to their rooms and closed their doors. We never asked the reason, though it was curious. About half-past twelve the doors were opened, and Dr. Besant called us into her room; we found Bishop Leadbeater already there. We all sat down on the big “chowki”.
She then told us that they had that morning received a “call” from their Masters to report at once, and so they had lain down and left their bodies. First, they went to the homes of their Masters, and then with Them to the great occult Centre whose name is whispered with awe. There they received orders regarding the preparation of Krishnamurti and myself to be presented for the Second Initiation on the full moon of the month of Chaitra following. The question to be discussed by us was how to carry out the orders.
Dr. Besant would have liked some place in India, like Kashmir; but Krishnamurti’s father had fallen under dark influences, and had turned against Dr. Besant and all her plans for Krishnamurti and his brother, and was about to file a suit. Any moment there might be serious interference, if Krishnamurti remained in India. After long discussion, it was decided that Bishop Leadbeater should select a place in Sicily, because he and I had been in Taormina in 1907, and he knew much about the island, and was enthusiastic about its beauty.
When occult orders are received, action has to be swift. Dwarkanath Telang was let into the secret, and he at once took charge of the necessary arrangements. Bishop Leadbeater and he left that same night,—it was night, though about 4 a.m. of next day—for the Bombay mail at Mughal Sarai. Bishop Leadbeater sailed from Bombay on the 15th. When the Theosophical compound at Benares that morning woke to the fact that he had left, the partisans of Krishnamurti’s father promptly started the rumour that Bishop Leadbeater had fled secretly to avoid arrest!
Bishop Leadbeater’s clairvoyance was objective, not subjective. That is to say, it was not a picture which took form in his mind but on the contrary the sight of a thing external to him, like any other object on the physical plane. Again and again those of us who were close to him had proofs of this. I have a stenographic record of some of the investigations into chemical compounds in 1922, and the reader can there note how he is trying to describe what he sees, just like anyone who is looking into a microscope is watching, noting and describing. He would look into a man’s inside, and if there was any obstruction, point out the particular spot in the intestines which was the root of the trouble. His eyes were generally open. When however a long and detailed examination was necessary, he would close his eyes, for if open, the mental concentration affected the optic nerve and created a strain.
Once, when he was seriously ill, when he suffered greatly from heart trouble, I once asked him what his heart looked like. He was lying down, and glancing down at his heart, he replied, “It looks like a boiled tomato”. Any doctor would understand, for it meant that the heart instead of being springy and solid, had the quality of collapse of a boiled tomato.
In the year 1906 I was much interested in the mystery of cancer, and when I met him at the end of the year on my return from U.S.A., I had provided myself with several microscopic sections of carcinomas and sarcomas which I wanted him to investigate. I found out afterwards that the slides would have been no good, because the cells having become dried would have collapsed. One morning as we were walking up and down the deck on our trip to Sicily, I asked him about cancer. He said that he had already investigated the cancer cell, so that there was no need for the slides which I had with me. However, he looked again, and then said that the curious thing about the cancer cell was that it was exactly like the normal cell, except that it was a looking-glass image of it. He used the simile of a right hand glove which could be turned inside out to be the left hand glove. He did not know what caused this enantiomorphism. He did not investigate if there was any kind of filter-passing virus. He did however wonder if the microscope could ever show such a looking-glass inversion. He was always interested in everything, and I recall once an investigation into epilepsy, a second into incipient paralysis, and a third into a case of slowly increasing paralysis of the legs and arms which revealed the fact that certain grains of matter within the nerve cells of the spine reacted to electricity, being attracted or repelled, and that in this case of partial paralysis the grains which should react failed to do so.
I have recorded elsewhere what he noted concerning the smallpox germ and its work.16 (16. The Theosophist, March 1933.) I had been vaccinated, and the second day I went to him and asked him to see what was happening. He was always ready, when his energies would permit, for any kind of investigation which anyone wanted, provided it seemed to be for a serious purpose of knowledge.
Bishop Leadbeater, when investigating clairvoyantly, made the fullest use he possibly could of any knowledge he could procure on the physical plane. If he noted something at some period in Chaldea, he would not waste his time to ferret out all the historical details by clairvoyance. He would consult some work on Chaldea in his large library to see if its author gave him some leading ideas on the matter. He would then follow up and test whether what had already been recorded by historians gave him any real assistance or not. Naturally if someone, who knew that he was investigating a particular topic, found him looking into encyclopedias, he would come to the conclusion that Bishop Leadbeater obtained what he described only from books. Once or twice he had been observed by some of his assistants consulting books, and they had this thought of suspicion. But they did not know that he saw their thought. Sometimes, I would get to know of some of these instances from a casual remark of his.
As an instance of these thought forms which were at once seen is one which exists in the book Thought Forms (No. 19). It is a yellow thought form which has the shape of a corkscrew. I asked him when he saw this curious shape, and he said that it once issued from Mr. Sinnett, who tried to “worm” things out of him, when he appeared to be holding back some knowledge which Mr. Sinnett wanted. However, he never minded what anyone thought of him, and he always treated the individual courteously, as if that particular part of his critic’s life was unknown to him. Of course he never entrusted to an assistant capable of such suspicions any of his real intimate knowledge concerning matters of an occult nature.
It is difficult for us to realize how his clairvoyance was not sporadic or intermittent; it was continuous night and day. During the year 1906, when many violent and angry thoughts were sent towards him, he saw them all as they buzzed round him like flies do in Egypt or the Punjab. They were of course a nuisance, as he had to be continually brushing them aside, as has to be done with flies.
A quaint instance of the usefulness of clairvoyant sight happened when in 1894 he was called to assist a friend in Paris who was being persecuted by enemies. In the course of his efforts to assist his friend, he was continually shadowed by a detective. When he went upstairs on a bus, the man would get in downstairs, or when he got into a train, the man would enter into the last carriage at the last moment. The detective appeared in various disguises, but appeared in various disguises, but unfortunately for him, while he could disguise himself, he could not disguise his aura, so he was seen at once through all his disguises.
I must not forget to mention an unusual investigation which is interesting because it revealed the true spiritual significance of astrology. Most astrologers today look upon their science from the standpoint of gaining indications of favourable or unfavourable aspects for undertakings. But when the inner meaning of astrology is understood, modern astrology appears very much as a mere bony skeleton compared to the living body. It was through occult investigation that a glimpse was obtained of real astrology.
Among the Theosophists in London were two astrologers, Mr. Alan Leo and Mrs. Bessie Leo. They were both greatly devoted to Dr. Besant, but as I shall narrate, felt a profound gratitude to Bishop Leadbeater for what he did for them. Mr. Alan Leo had not had the opportunity of much higher education but he was (and possibly for the lack of that) very intuitive. Though Mrs. Leo was also intuitive, he was the more intuitive of the two. He was remarkable for an unusual understanding of the significance of the various indications received from his astrological charts. He felt convinced that modern astrology is only the outer husk of something far grander, and he and his wife asked Bishop Leadbeater if he could not in any way assist them.
As I have already narrated, the first investigation into past lives began with a life of Mr. John Varley, where he was a Chaldean priest, and performed a ceremony of invocation of the Star Spirits. Bishop Leadbeater had therefore already a touch with a period of the long past in Chaldea. At that epoch, Chaldean civilization had a religion which, in its higher aspects, was a worship of the Planetary Logoi and Star Spirits, and in its lower, a system of rules for conduct guided by the position of the planets. The religion was full of gorgeous ceremonial, and little by little he investigated this religion of astrology in ancient Chaldea.
The material thus supplied meant a great revelation to the Leos. It made them more mystical and fuller of insight, and was indeed the beginning of the striking contribution to astrology given by both, and particularly by Alan Leo. These investigations were first published in The Theosophical Review,17 (17. The Theosophical Review, February, March, April 1900.) and were later incorporated into Man: Whence, How and Whither, Chapter XIII.
Some day in the future, when once again the Third or Astrological Ray will influence mankind, true astrology will be the predominating religion of man-kind. But it will be really a religion, that is, a worship, and not this modern time-table astrology beyond which its professors do not seem to be able to pass. True astrology begins when a man knows who is his “Father Star”, and reaches out in aspiration towards the Planetary Logos of his Ray, or to some representative of that great Being. While a man will use the forces, which the combination of the spheres will give him, to find out the best way to achieve a result, yet his highest life will be in communion with his Father Star. It is this inner vision of astrology which was given to Alan Leo which enabled him to theosophise astrology.
One work of research made by Dr. Besant and Bishop Leadbeater is outstanding. It is the research into the nature of the atom. We know that not even the most powerful ultra-microscope can actually show the structure of the atom. All the theories about the atom are built upon photographic records on the sensitized plate, as the atom is driven hither and thither, or broken up by powerful currents of electricity or magnetism. But no scientist dreams that it is possible ever to see the atom in puris naturalibus. How is such a thing possible? Curiously enough, there has always been a tradition in Indian occultism that it is possible by Yoga to develop a power which is described as making oneself infinitesimally small or as large as the earth.
The rationale of this is fairly clear. Our conception of size depends upon our conception of ourselves. I who am 5 ft. 3½ inches naturally consider a man who is 6 ft. as very tall, while one who is six feet would think of another who is 6 feet 4 inches as only slightly taller than himself. Similarly, we say that we put a book down on the table, but a cat will say that he has to jump up on to the table. Similarly, too, is it with regard to size. It is our standard of measure which gives us our scale of long or short, large or small, light or heavy. Now, one of the faculties developed by Yoga is to make oneself so infinitesimally small as the observer that by comparison to him the atom is large. This is the technique of magnification which is adopted in clairvoyance. The object itself is not magnified, but the observer is minimized.
The first investigations into Occult Chemistry were at the time when there was much talk in the London papers about the discovery of Argon by Lord Rayleigh and Professor Ramsay. There was also at the time much speculation about the gas Helium, which was known to exist in the Sun, but whose presence had not then been detected on the earth.
Our occult investigators looked into the atmosphere round them and saw various objects by their clairvoyant magnification. Naturally these objects bore no labels, and therefore could not be declared as Oxygen, Hydrogen or Nitrogen. But a very active element was noted, which answered to the chemical descriptions of Oxygen. Then by counting the units of which Oxygen was composed, two other elements, Hydrogen and Nitrogen, were located by counting their units, taking Hydrogen as the unit of weight. Each atom was in very rapid movement, and before it could be examined, its movement had to be slowed down by the exercise of will power. Then a diagram in two dimensions was made of it.
This investigation involved also the examination of the ultimate indivisible particle, which was then found not to be the chemical atom but something smaller still. Our investigators saw that the ultimate unit, which they called “ultimate physical atom” was a very complex object, not made up of “matter” at all, but composed of a series of forces in a very intricate spiral formation.
The moment they saw this, they were reminded of a drawing of the atom which appeared in the work, The Principles of Light and Color by E. D. Babbitt in 1878. I was once informed that this work was the result of spiritualistic communications. If so, it is the first time that a discarnate entity has done something “worth while” with regard to science. A picture of the ultimate physical atom is given, but Babbitt says that it has only three orders of spirals, whereas our investigators noted seven orders of spirals. There is, however, one radical mistake in Babbitt, and that is when he makes the atoms go one into the other, touching head to tail. According to Chemistry no two atoms can ever really touch, and the distance between any two atoms is considerable, compared to their size. This was found to be perfectly correct on clairvoyant examination. Furthermore our investigators saw two variants of the atoms, a positive and a negative; each was the looking-glass image of the other, with their spirals in reverse direction. Babbitt has no idea of this dual nature of the atom. He makes one end of his atom negative and the other positive. Babbitt’s atom was also too elongated.
After the three gases, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen, were examined, the next work was to find out how they came to be constructed out of the ultimate physical atoms. This was done by pushing each gas into a higher state, when it was found that the gas disintegrated into smaller units, and then pushing it still higher and higher till the units were no longer divisible. The last unit is the “ultimate physical atom”, lately christened “Anu”, the Sanskrit word for the smallest particle of matter. Dr. Besant wrote the description of the work done, and published her article with a diagram in Lucifer, November 1895.
I have mentioned that there was much talk at the time about Helium. The atomic weight of Helium had not then been determined. Our investigators saw a very light gas in the air, and a drawing was made of it, but it was not incorporated into the article by Dr. Besant on Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen, as the investigators were not quite certain if it was Helium. The diagram, however, which I drew at the time bears the label “Helium.” Later, when the investigations were resumed in 1907, the weight of Helium had been ascertained by chemists; this unusual gas, whose weight is 3, is a different element. It is curious that this element has not yet been discovered by chemists. When the articles on the second series of investigations were published, I christened the element “Occultum”, as two occultists were its discoverers. Similarly, in 1934, there was found in the stratosphere an element with weight 2. As the work was done at Adyar, I christened it “Adyarium”, and published its diagram.18 (18. The Theosophist, December 1932.)
It is with the second series of investigations into Occult Chemistry that I was closely identified, for I was a kind of “general manager” to arrange the work. In 1907, a party consisting of Mrs. Ursula M. Bright and Miss Esther Bright, Mrs. A Van Hook and Hubert Van Hook rented rooms in a house at Weisser Hirsch, near Dresden for the summer. The plan was that Dr. Besant, Bishop Leadbeater and I should join the party. When the party was complete, every afternoon when the weather was fine our two investigators and their assistants went off into the woods with rugs and cushions. The two investigated, while the others listened or read. It was then that the lives of Arcor and Bee were investigated.
But the most important investigation was to continue the work begun in 1895. We had for our guidance the general conception of the Periodic Law, which Crookes had formulated in his pendulum diagram. Crookes was known to the investigators, as he was a member of the “senior inner group” of the London Lodge of the Society. His diagram gave a clear idea of the theory propounded by him of the formation of the chemical elements from an original substance which he termed protyle. Crookes propounded a rhythmical and periodical manner of formation which, to him, explained the various mysteries involved in valency and in dia- and para-magnetism, and also the positivity and negativity of the elements.
Several of the elements in the table of elements like Iron, Sulphur, Carbon, are readily procurable, but there are others which are very rare, or not easily found except in laboratories. Such, for instance, is Sodium, which, with the combination of Chlorine, makes the particle of salt, but pure Sodium is only kept in laboratories. More difficult to obtain was Scandium, and a request was sent to Crookes for this. It was, however, soon found that it was not necessary to have an element in its pure condition. Provided an element was found as a component in a chemical compound, it was possible, by dissociating the bonds which held its radicles in combination with the radicles of other elements, to make its radicles unite again to rebecome the element by itself alone.
Even then, however, there were certain elements which existed in compounds which were only in rare minerals. My part of the work then was to note where the elements were to be found in compounds, and to locate these latter in various minerals in the Dresden Museum. I made a preliminary expedition with lists and located in what cases were the minerals. Then in a second expedition, Bishop Leadbeater came to the Museum and looked at the minerals, and got a fair idea of what the element which was being hunted was like.
This work of investigation of the elements was done in two departments, and here the differing temperaments of the two investigators came into play. Bishop Leadbeater was extremely scientific and meticulous in observation. He never ventured to form any kind of a hypothesis unless he had examined many instances of one kind, so that on the whole there was probably little liability to error. As an instance of his care in observation, he wrote to Dr. Besant with reference to his striking article on “The Aether of Space”, where he described the Anu or the “ultimate physical atom”:
Yes, I counted all those 1680 turns in the wire of the atom, not once, but many times. I tried altogether 135 different specimens, taken from all sorts of substances, organic and inorganic, because I wanted to be reasonably sure that there were no variations. It was a wearisome task, but it had to be done.
But Dr. Besant was very impatient of this detailed cataloguing work. Knowing that she could rely upon him to attend to that department of the work, she concentrated on splitting up the elements into their component parts upon the etheric, super-etheric and sub-atomic planes. Not only did she do this, but she mapped out the flow of forces within each sub-group. I have greatly regretted that, at the beginning of this work, none of us realized what it would later develop into, and that I did not then have blank diagrams ready, of a sphere, so that Dr. Besant could map the force as it moved in three dimensions. But, there was little time to organize details of work; the party was to disperse after three weeks, and both the investigators had much other work to do. Her diagrams are drawn on a plane, so that when now we desire to understand in detail whether the forces flowed above the plane of the paper or below, we are left in the dark.
Day after day, each afternoon the party moved out to the forest and there the investigations were done. Fortunately, the weather was mostly fine. Dr. Besant’s drawings in pencil are still at Adyar, mounted in a special book. So, too, are what Bishop Leadbeater drew of the elements, with all relevant correspondence.
Since each element seemed to follow a certain geometrical construction according to the system of the Platonic solids, it was not necessary to draw every part of it. The drawing of the centre and of one “funnel” or “spike” was quite enough; we could tell from its place in the Periodic Law, and by noting the number of funnels, that it belonged to such and such a family, and so built in a particular way.
When Bishop Leadbeater drew the centre and the funnel or spike, and said how many of each of these latter composed the element, he passed the diagram to me, and I did the necessary arithmetic and labelled the element.
After the preliminary drawing of each element by Bishop Leadbeater, my second task began, which was to draw the final diagram. Day by day, and sometimes in the evenings, I worked at the diagrams, mapping them out as clearly as possible. I had had no experience in geometrical drawing, but managed somehow to make fairly decent drawings, which Dr. Besant used when she published the articles in The Theosophist, Jan.-Dec. 1908.
I recall one interesting incident. If anyone will look at the diagram of the inert gases Helium, Neon and Argon in the book, he will note that Neon is placed unusually in the diagram, squeezed in a curious way. What happened was that only one variety of Neon was found, curious way. What happened was that only one variety of Neon was found, while two varieties were discovered of Argon, Krypton, Xenon, and “Kalon.” So I drew the diagram, labelling as Neon what is marked in the diagram as Meta-Neon. But after the diagram was finished, the true Neon was discovered. There was no time to draw another diagram and place the meta variety by its side, as done with Argon. So, as the new Neon diagram was small, I squeezed it into the completed diagram, and changed the old label Neon to Meta-Neon.
The mapping out of each new element was always an exciting adventure to me, because of the manner in which the conception of the operation of the Third Logos developed in my mind. It was like the watching by a horticulturist of the opening of some exquisite new flower from the bud, with all the revelation of beauty which it contained.
The investigations at Weisser Hirsch were published by Dr. Besant on her return to India. The drawings of the elements were those which I did, but she found some draftsman in Madras to draw in black and white from her pencilled drawings of the disintegrations. I had by then left for U.S.A. and so could not look at the proofs before the publication in The Theosophist. Several errors, therefore, appeared which could have been avoided with closer supervision than Dr. Besant could give at the time. 56 elements and 6 isotopes were described. A novel idea which develops from an examination of the diagrams of bivalent, trivalent and tetravalent elements is that each valency is a duad of two half valencies. Hydrogen can split up its valency into two halves, and even into six of one sixth each.
While the articles were appearing, there was much talk about Radium. It was stated that Radium could be found in pitchblende. I procured that and some other minerals and sent them to Bishop Leadbeater, who by that time had come to reside again at Adyar. He had, however, seen the Radium atom before my material reached him. He sent me its diagram, and I drew it for illustration, as before I had done the others, and sent it to Dr. Besant.
In The Theosophist for July 1909, is a long article of 14 pages, describing the additional work done on Occult Chemistry. Twenty-six more elements are described, and the type and weight of each is given.
It is a pity that when the second edition of Occult Chemistry was issued, under the editorship of Mr. A. P. Sinnett in 1919, that this material of July 1909 was not incorporated. I was astonished that Dr. Besant gave Mr. Sinnett, who practically knew nothing of the work done, the preparation of the second edition. As a matter of fact, except for an introductory chapter by Mr. Sinnett, of little value, nothing was added to the book to bring it up to date, nor to correct the typographical errors. On my enquiring, Dr. Besant said that Mr. Sinnett, who for a considerable time had had a grievance against her and her management of the Society, had changed and become more friendly, and she desired, therefore, to give him this work to please him, though she knew he was not very competent, as his knowledge was so slight on the details of Occult Chemistry.
One noteworthy fact recorded in these investigations was the existence of isotopes. It was in 1913 that isotopes were discovered by chemists, and before that there was no thought whatsoever that such duplicates of an element ever existed. But already, in 1907, isotopes were recorded, and diagrams given, of the isotopes of the inert gases, argon, neon, xenon, and krypton. It was at this time that another inert gas, heavier than krypton, was noted, and I christened it “kalon”, “the beautiful”, and also drew its isotope. This gas, however, has not yet been discovered. An isotope of Platinum was described; it is probably what was discovered in Canada a few years ago, and labelled Canadium. But it had not yet been officially recognized.
In April 1908, again Bishop Leadbeater noted the possibility of isotopes, for writing to Dr. Besant, he said, “It is quite possible that, this [Radium] being a heavy element, there may be two or three forms of it differing only by a few atoms in each spike or funnel.” He also sensed the possibility, which has later become one of the accepted facts, that the speed of a particle may change its mass. For in the same letter he writes, “As to the matter of atomic weight, it occurs to me that that may not always depend entirely on the number of ultimate atoms. May it not conceivably be affected by their arrangement and the direction and rapidity of their motion? I do not know enough of mechanics to be sure about this; but it seems to me that two atoms revolving round a common centre of gravity, something like the two balls in the ` governor’ of a machine, might exert a pull at right angles to their motion against ordinary gravity which would mean a diminution of weight. Besides, we do not yet know that positive and negative atoms are exactly equal in weight.” Today the mass of the proton is known to be far greater than that of the electron. In the investigations of 1909, two isotopes, one of Mercury which is solid, and another of Illinium, were mentioned, and their diagrams filed. Illinium has not yet been officially adopted—it is not in the Atomic Weights Commission’s list of 1937—but in 1909 both it and an isotope of it, as also Actinium then not known, were drawn and filed.
One interesting series of three elements is a fourth inter-periodic group. According to Mendeléeff’s arrangement of the Periodic Law, there are three groups of inter-periodics, (1) Iron, Cobalt, Nickel; (2) Ruthenium, Rhodium, Palladium; (3) Osmium, Iridium, Platinum. As one looks at the arrangement of the Periodic Law, there is a gap where properly speaking another inter-periodic group should exist, between the 2nd and 3rd groups mentioned above. It is strange that this discrepancy in the Periodic Law has not been noted and emphasized. But such omissions of observation happen now and then, even among the most careful observers in scientific investigations. We know that, as a matter of fact, even as long ago as 1785, Cavendish had noted a residuary gas in Nitrogen. He recorded the details of his experiments and concluded that the residuum was something other than Nitrogen. Subsequent investigators knew that Nitrogen from the air was heavier than Nitrogen liberated from compounds; but nobody particularly thought it worth while to follow up the matter till 1894, when Lord Raleigh and Professor Ramsay took it up. Then it was found that the heavy residuum was not Nitrogen but a new gas, Argon.
In the same kind of way, one of these days when the curious gap in the Periodic Law is recognized, possibly a special hunt will be made for the new interperiodic group. The difficulty lies in that they come among the “rare earths” of which there is so little to be obtained for experimental purposes.
However, when I had completed the diagrams for the three inter-periodic groups, (1) Iron, Cobalt, Nickel; (2) Ruthenium, Rhodium, Palladium, and (3) Osmium, Iridium, Platinum, it occurred to me by a close study of the diagrams that surely another inter-periodic group of three elements must exist between the second and third groups. I worked out a theory of their construction, and sent my theoretical diagrams, with weights according to my calculations, calling the elements X, Y, Z. My calculations were:
I stated then that probably they came among the rare earths. In the rare earth material which I sent from U.S.A., Bishop Leadbeater did find the three new inter-periodics.
What was interesting was that the diagrams which I suggested were nearly accurate, and my inaccuracies were due to the fact that whenever the human mind conceives, the Mind of the Third Logos has something more ingenious still. Out of the three weights which I suggested, the last was accurate, so that while I suggested that the number of ultimate physical atoms in the three were 2590, 2618 and 2646, they were in reality 2646, 2674 and 2702.
As mentioned above, these three inter-periodics have yet to be discovered, but when they are found, the rhythmic periodicity of the law will be complete. On the other hand, these three elements, with Adyarium, Occultum, Canadium (which is really not an isotope of platinum but a new metal), and Kalon necessitate a new formulation of Moseley’s law of atomic numbers. There are 99 elements, not counting isotopes, according to Occult Chemistry. Chemistry is positive that there can be only 92.
In Crookes’ lecture at the Royal Institution in 1887, he presented a model of the Periodic Law with two lemniscates slowly descending. It occurred to me to construct a new model with four lemniscates. I made this model, which was a large one, and for several years it was in my office, and for a while in the Adyar Library. It gave far more beautifully than the model of Crookes the idea of the Periodic Law. But very few seemed to be interested in it, and as the model was in the way, I have taken it to pieces and put it away in a box-room to await more propitious days.
Another interesting fact is that Bishop Leadbeater soon found that it was not necessary for him to have an element before him for investigation, provided he knew where that element was to be located. Thus, for instance, in connection with the investigations at Adyar in 1933, one element hunted for was Masurium. It seemed likely that this new element might be found among Rubidium salts, but I had no Rubidium salts, and at the moment of investigation I could not procure any in Madras, not even in the laboratory of the chief College in Madras. It was therefore necessary to look for it elsewhere. I had with me several chemicals procured from Hilger & Co. Their address was on the samples, in Rochester Place, Camden Road, London. Bishop Leadbeater could find this street easily, and from Adyar he located the laboratories of Hilger & Co. He then saw where all the chemicals were stored in bottles on shelves. The next thing was to find out where were the bottles containing Rubidium salts, and for this he had to tap the mind of one of the assistants who was working among the bottles; he then located the salts, but Masurium was not among them. He promised to take up the investigation at night during sleep, and to see if he could locate Masurium among the chemicals at the Dresden Museum, which he had visited in 1907.
However, I went at once to the Library of the Madras University and searched in various volumes, and finally found a volume of Chemical Abstract, which referred to the original German paper which recorded the first investigation into Masurium. Fortunately the Library had the German paper also, and there I found that Masurium was discovered in certain oxides. These oxides were among the rare earths which I had procured from Hilger & Co.
Another instance of the way that an examination could be carried on at a distance was in the case of the Radium emanations. Of course we had no Radium at Adyar, but we knew that some was kept in Madras Hospital. Bishop Leadbeater did not feel up to the task of wandering about the various corridors of the Hospital to go to the place where Radium was kept, nor as a matter of fact was it necessary, provided I went. I procured the necessary introduction, and saw the needles of Radium in the lead cabinet. When I got back, the picture in my mind of the room and the cabinet was sufficient, and he then watched the Radium emanations. For various causes, this particular investigation into Radium went no further.
As I have noted above, the Occult Chemistry investigators to the end of 1909 had examined 86 elements. Soon after this period, both the investigators became absorbed in many duties, and I myself was not with them, as my work was then in the United States. I was with them again at the end of 1911, but that was the time when there was much anxiety concerning the welfare of Krishnamurti and his brother, owing to the hostile attitude of their father. Furthermore, in February 1912, Dr. Besant put the two boys in my charge, and I was away in England with them till the end of 1913, when again I returned to India. At this time Dr. Besant became absorbed in her political work, and two months after I took up residence in Adyar, Bishop Leadbeater left for Java and Australia.
In the development of events after the war, by which time I had become Vice-President of The Theosophical Society, I had to go to Australia in 1919. Bishop Leadbeater was then residing in Sydney; he was affected with diabetes, and was an invalid with a weak heart which kept him a great deal of each day in bed. However, I knew that he was always keen on Occult Chemistry, and so made my preparations to use any opportunity that might arise to ask him to investigate.
Not knowing how many years he might live, my plan was, not to complete the remaining elements of the Periodic Table, but rather to ask for investigations into compounds. No compound had been examined in the investigations; while Hydrogen and Oxygen had been described, there was no mapping out of the molecule of water. As chemistry was not a subject I had taken up for any examination, though I had done some physics, I arranged for a very rapid course on theoretical chemistry with a teacher of Sydney University, so as to prepare myself for the next stage in the investigations. I began to collect various compounds to offer to Bishop Leadbeater.
I recall quite an exciting afternoon in Sydney, when he telephoned over to me to say that he had made models of water and of salt. The model for the first was made with a candle through which several lady’s hat pins were struck, and similarly the model of salt had as its centre an apple through which the pins were skewered. In the investigations that followed in Australia, in the years 1920 and 1922, wherever possible I arranged for Bishop Leadbeater’s secretary, Miss V. K. Maddox, to take down verbatim the conversation between him and me, as we discussed operations. I have published in The Theosophist19 (19. The Theosophist, from March 1924 to August 1933, in various issues.) many diagrams of various compounds, though still there remain a good many which are only in the stage of rough diagrams. One that interests me greatly is Indigo, whose formula is C16 H10 N2 O2. I have long waited to make the model.
This work of Occult Chemistry has always been to me one of intensest fascination, because every element and compound investigated revealed the inspiring quality of that divine work which the Platonists described as “God geometrizes”. I was always impregnated with a sense of beauty as I watched these diagrams as they were drawn one by one. For, not only is the Mind of the Third Logos wonderfully exquisite in ingenuity, but it possesses a quality of beautiful building which thrills me. The sense of beauty is something like what one has when watching the Woolworth Building in New York from a distance. As it rises from story to story, there is a combined majesty and a beauty. In the same way, as one takes the elements of one family one after another, and notes their structure, from the lightest of the family to the heaviest, one feels like singing a psalm in glorification of the work of the wonderful Divine Mind.
An instance of this beautiful building is the structure of benzene. Its structure is still one of the disputed points amongst chemists. Benzene is composed of 6 Carbon atoms in a “ring”, and to each of them a Hydrogen atom is linked. Now in 1895 the structure of Hydrogen was described, and that of Carbon in 1907. When benzene as seen by clairvoyance was described in 1922, one saw in it the wonder of the Divine Thought, which combined the 6 Carbon and 6 Hydrogen atoms. That sense of wonder increased with naphthalene, the second of the ring series. The mode of structure of the “benzene ring” is so clear, that then I went on to build a model of anthracene, the third member of the series, though it was not examined clairvoyantly, and the beauty of its structure is most impressive. So, too, but to a lesser degree of exquisiteness, is the building of the aliphatic or open chain series.
One event of excitement was the building of the molecule of diamond. Bishop Leadbeater put on to the task of making 594 paper octohedra the group of young people who were then living at The Manor in Sydney. All these octohedra were stuck to make the diamond model, which was then despatched to me. A box arrived with the model inside. The diagrams describing the diamond, including one plate in colour, appeared duly in The Theosophist 20 (20. The Theosophist, September 1925.). Of course the model was most interesting, but it was something of a white elephant, for I could only hang it from the ceiling. In a couple of years the dampness of the climate of Adyar slowly made the model fall into pieces.
Another interesting incident in connection with these investigations was the help which Sir William Crookes gave. He knew in 1907 of the work begun of clairvoyant investigation. In 1933 at Adyar, there was the need to find some compound which would have the element Radon. This is one of the inert gases, and the next heavier of the family after “Kalon”. As there seemed to be no way of finding the source of the element, finally it occurred to Bishop Leadbeater to ask Sir William Crookes, who is still on the astral plane. He is continuing his old work of research, and has a laboratory of his own. He has all the radio-active elements kept in specially strong receptacles of etheric matter. Sir William Crookes knew what was wanted, and he had just one single atom of the element. It seems to be so rare that in all the seas of Tuscarora Deep, he had found only this single specimen. Whether the Radon, which is a product of Radium Emanation, and is what might be termed an alchemical product, is a “star” of the inert gases group or not, was not investigated, for want of a specimen.
Bishop Leadbeater could investigate at any time, provided his brain was not tired. Several of the investigations in 1933 took place in the evening while he was lying on a sofa, and a masseur was working upon his legs and feet. This did not interfere with his clairvoyant observations. One particular evening while the old masseur was pounding him, we were trying to locate Erbium. Now, in 1909 Gadolinium had been mapped out. Erbium is of the same family but heavier. Though we could not get at any substance at the moment which had Erbium, he thought that he would make an experiment. He put together the parts that appeared in the central rod of Gadolinium, this time three of them and not two, to see if they would cohere. They would not; but when the connecting rod of Silver of 19 was placed in the middle of the three, there was not only perfect cohesion but also a very great vitality. Then the funnels of Gadolinium were stuck on; everything held. This seemed to show that the experiment was a success, and that what was put together was really an atom of Erbium.
But obviously this was not enough, and so the search was continued. What was to be done next? We knew that Iodine exists in the sea. Immediately—and this while he was being massaged—it occurred to him to look into the sea for Erbium, which is of the same family as Iodine and Gadolinium. Having constructed Erbium alchemically, he got into touch with a sea nature spirit, a triton, who he knew lived in the sea near Adyar beach. He asked the triton if he knew anything of the kind in the sea, and showed him the alchemical Erbium. The creature answered, “Yes, we will bring it”, and quickly brought a handful of natural Erbium. The atoms of Erbium which the triton produced were like spiculae, or a handful of tiny pencils held in the hand. The triton was curious to know why Bishop Leadbeater should want to see them, but of course could not understand for what reason he was asked to produce what were to him little toys.
Another instance when nature spirit scouts were used by Bishop Leadbeater was when he investigated Polonium in August 1933. We found in the Encyclopedia Britannica that Polonium exists in pitchblende. I had sent some pitchblende in 1909 from U.S.A., and there was still a few bits of powder left. But the Polonium that existed in it had departed from the powder when it was examined in 1933. The Encyclopedia stated that pitchblende existed in some mines in Ceylon, in the district of Sabaragamuwa. Bishop Leadbeater had been in that Province in the early years of his work in Ceylon; so that night, while asleep, he went to Ceylon and located the mines. But to find an atom in a mine is like trying to locate some small star in the Milky Way. However, he arranged for some nature spirits to act as scouts and look for the element. Of course it was a kind of game to the creatures. At last, in all the mines in that region, he found only three Polonium atoms.
One incident in all this touches me personally, as it shows that owing to some curious dullness on my part I lost a striking opportunity. The element Masurium was discovered spectroscopically; and when it was found in certain minerals, the announcement was duly made. So we knew that it existed in oxides of columbite, gadolinite and tantalite. The investigation was then easy, as I had already with me these minerals, among the rare earths procured from Hilger & Co. Bishop Leadbeater investigated and gave me the diagram on September 5th, 1932.
Ten days later I found that, as a matter of fact, Masurium, though not under that name, had not only been noted but that also the diagram for it had been drawn in 1909. Among the mass of papers in the Occult Chemistry box, I found a slip with diagrams of three elements, and one was marked “unknown element”. When the diagram for Masurium was made in 1932, it was exactly the same as this forgotten diagram which was drawn in 1909. Had that diagram been then published, our Theosophical investigators could have claimed priority of discovery, as the actual chemical weight of the then unknown element was given, as also its place in the Periodic Table.
In a similar manner, through my want of careful study, I failed to note that Illinium was discovered, mapped out and its place and weight announced, in. July 1909.
These blunders lead us to the strange fact that, whenever we might have given an instance of proof, with regard to occult facts, without any possible challenge, always something happened to prevent the finality in the proof. It is well known that, in the early days of Spiritualism, many striking objects were transported from distances, showing that the spirits were able to use extraordinary powers. But in each such instance there was just one final link in the chain missing. There was always a loophole for doubt. Similarly, in the phenomena done by the Adepts in connection with Madame Blavatsky’s work at Simla, it would have been the easiest thing for Them to have transported the London “Times” of the day to Simla, as was once suggested. But in all cases of phenomena, there was the omission through oversight, or for some other reason, of some important evidential fact.
When the Adepts were asked on this matter, we were informed that They purposely prevented any phenomenon which would be absolutely “watertight” in the matter of proof. It is Their plan that, while humanity is at the present stage, where a large number of powerful minds lack an adequate moral development, no opportunity shall be given to these unscrupulous minds to have a complete trust in the existence of occult powers. So long as there is scepticism on the matter, mankind is protected from exploitation by the unscrupulous. We know already how mankind has been exploited economically and industrially by selfish minds controlling the resources of nature. How great a calamity might occur, if these selfish minds were to use occult powers also for exploitation, is not difficult for anyone with a little imagination to conceive.
One great handicap has been that wherever the investigations took place, there was no chemical laboratory, nor a chemist who could perform the necessary experiments. Thus, for instance, none of us had ever been in a laboratory where the mass spectroscope was being used, and so Bishop Leadbeater could not get into touch with that work. There were however, three instances when an actual experiment was made. The first experiment was to watch what happens in catalysis. For chemistry as yet gives no explanation of this phenomenon. It was done in Sydney, when I heated potassium chlorate and mixed it with manganese dioxide. It was then noted that a totally new force, not hitherto noticed in any previous observation, was present to make catalysis. The second experiment was in Adyar, when Mr. Y. Prasad, who was a science teacher, performed the experiment of making water from hydrogen and oxygen in the presence of spongy platinum.
A third interesting experiment was to discover the nature of heavy Hydrogen or Deuterium. Mr. K. Zuurman, Superintendent of our Electrical Department, arranged a simple apparatus to dissociate the water into its constituents of Hydrogen and Oxygen, using the house current. In the process it was found that the curious “double Hydrogen” was formed now and then, while Hydrogen was given off from the cathode terminal. During a period of some two or three minutes, only three double Hydrogen or Deuterium atoms were formed. The reason for the existence of Deuterium is that there are two varieties of Hydrogen, which we have labelled A and B, and one of them is slightly more positive than the other. So one combines with the other to make a new body.
The last investigation was on October 13th, 1933. Once again Mr. Zuurman assisted, and he brought his radio receiving set, for I wanted to see if it was possible to find out what was the electron after all. For it is not our ultimate physical atom, but might possibly be an astral atom. The thermionic valve, which is supposed to be throwing off streams of electrons, was examined. A stenographic report was taken at the time.
Just as this work was suspended, Bishop Leadbeater thought that he had a glimpse of what lay at the back of the nature of positive and negative in electricity. It seemed as if this distinction went as far back as the nature of the “bubble” itself in Koilon. For the first time it seemed as if we might hit upon the greatest of all principles of knowledge, as to what after all is positive and what negative. But he was tired, and next day I left for Brazil.
The last words of the stenographic report are what I said as the work was suspended: “We will now adjourn till next year.” But next March Bishop Leadbeater passed away at the age of eighty-seven, and so there was no “next year.”
I have mentioned that the second edition under the editorship of Mr. Sinnett was nothing more than a reprint of the first, and did not incorporate the material that had accumulated between the two editions. Since that second edition, there have been many important researches. I have given a summary of the work done in The Theosophist of July, 1933.
The material for the third edition is ready. The work will require at least a year’s close attention, and I am waiting for the time when I can be freed from other and more urgent work. The book will be quarto size, quite different in format from the two previous editions. The size can be seen by consulting the large diagram already published in The Theosophist, October, 1932. I am hoping for the assistance of others to supervise several sections of the work, as the new material is considerable. When the third edition is published, it should contain about three times the material published in the other editions.
As I was the organizer and recorder, my aim was to arrange for the investigations to cover as wide a field as possible, so as to leave material for study for future generations. I am certainly profoundly glad that all the elements have been mapped out, and that the Periodic Table is complete; but when the work was resumed in Australia in 1920, I put aside the completion of the work upon the elements, and directed the investigations into compounds. I was also anxious to have a few crystals mapped out. All this work is of course only like the scratching of one small corner of a large field. But it is a new kind of study of Nature, and my aim, in which my two leaders heartily co-operated, was to draw, as it were, the outlines of a great continent, and leave the lands to be filled in by succeeding generations.
Often the question is asked, what corroboration is there from present day chemistry of these investigations? We know that at the moment much work is being done on the nucleus of the atom. But there is no bridge as yet between the work of the clairvoyant investigators and the work done by the chemists and physicists with the mass spectroscope. The two groups of investigators are working from two different standpoints. The clairvoyant investigator watches the atom as it is in its normal condition, not in any way affected by electrical or other forces. The laboratory investigator throws into the atom currents of high voltage, and produces results from which he deduces the nature of the atom. Since all atoms behave alike under electricity according to certain laws, the description of the atom from the laboratory is a correct indication of its nature, but of the atom under exceptional circumstances. It is as if some scientist from Mars, desiring to know the behaviour of human beings, were to come in an airship and drop bombs on London at stated intervals. He would discover that the inhabitants lived in tunnels, which are the “Tube” stations; and if they were being periodically bombed, that they were living all the time under the earth. But his scientific observations would not describe the life of London. It was Professor Whittaker who gave an accurate commentary on the work done by physicists in the laboratory when he said, “Something unknown is doing we do not know what; that is what our theory amounts to.” I would not like in any way to imply that the work done by the scientists is not accurate or valuable. I think it a most wonderful testimony to what the scientific imagination and ingenuity are capable of, under rigorous scientific training. But the two kinds of research, through clairvoyance and though the spectroscope, are very much like the work done in tunnelling a mountain for a railway. The work is done from both sides of the mountain, and slowly the two groups of tunnellers come nearer and nearer, and at last meet. As the situation stands now, the occult investigators and the laboratory investigators are not likely to meet for several generations.
I would like, since Dr. Besant and Bishop Leadbeater are no longer with us, to explain on their behalf and for myself our motives in all this work. None of us ever dreamed of any kind of fame accruing to us from these researches. We have never planned for recognition. Always our aim was to know just a little more of the way that the Divine Mind manifests in Nature. There was never any thought of proving the truth of these researches to anybody. The investigators, with all the accuracy at their command, recorded what they saw. They left it at that. Whether anyone disbelieved or scoffed never counted with them, for they were first and foremost Theosophists who knew the significance of the phrase “the Divine Wisdom”. They had already received so much inspiration for noble living and service from what they knew of Theosophy, that they desired to know more of the Wisdom. It might well be said that their motto was, “To the glory of the Grand Geometrician of the Universe, and for the perfecting of Humanity.”
I, however, who have been so inspired and broadened in my outlook by this work, and have also followed the work of scientists, know that the investigations into Occult Chemistry will be the most lasting contribution to knowledge which the Theosophists of these generations will have made. For, as the generations pass, our main Theosophical ideas will be professed by the whole world. But there will always remain, as a wonder for centuries to come, this magnificent work, which lifts a tiny corner of the veil which hides from man the Face of the Grand Geometrician.
IT has been customary among the many friends of Bishop Leadbeater to call him by his initials “C.W.L.”. In Australia, however, his friends have always called him “Brother”, certainly a less crude manner of designating him. However, for the purpose of this article I shall use the initials C.W.L.
There are many works written by C.W.L. which record his clairvoyant knowledge. That knowledge is presented in a clear manner, and from the standpoint of a scientist who states what he has observed, without claiming from others any belief. It is only as future generations develop men and women with similar trained clairvoyant ability that the validity of his knowledge will be proved. But there are three instances of another type of clairvoyance on his part which are interesting.
Suppose a man picks out three Indian boys of obscure parentage, in none of whom is evident any outstanding characteristic; suppose he then says, that each of them will play a rôle on the international stage of the world; then, seeing that such a future is the last event likely to happen to these three boys, one might well say that, if the prophecy is proved true, the man exercised an unusual gift of prophecy. The three boys concerned are—C. Jinarajadasa, J. Krishnamurti and D. Rajagopalacharya. When C.W.L. “picked out” these three boys, their ages were 12, 14 and 13.
When C.W.L. left the Theosophical Headquarters at Adyar in 1885 to take up, under Colonel Olcott’s direction, work in Ceylon, he threw himself vigorously into that work. It was not to organize Theosophical Lodges, but to assist in Colonel Olcott’s plan of reviving the waning spirit of Buddhism in the land. One part of C.W.L.’s work of organization consisted in opening several Buddhist Sunday Schools in and near Colombo. He gathered round himself several boys, who became most enthusiastic for him and his work. An elder brother of mine, now dead, was one of these.
C.W.L. organized these boys in various ways; for instance, as carol parties to sing Buddhist carols, and help in such ways as were within their capacities so as to arouse Buddhist enthusiasm. Each week, on Saturday mornings, he took them to a part in Colombo Harbour where swimming was possible, and taught them all swimming. Then as the work developed, he organized in 1886 an English School for boys. This School grew, and is now the important College in Ceylon with over a thousand boys, called Ananda College.
When C.W.L. went to Ceylon, his Master told him that he would there find his brother Gerald, who had been killed in Brazil in 1862 under dramatic circumstances. He has narrated the story of that period of his life with his brother in Brazil in his book, The Perfume of Egypt, and the story is called “Saved by a Ghost”. The Master did not tell him who his brother was in this incarnation, except that he was in Ceylon. C.W.L. therefore was on the look out for this brother.
I was not in the first group of boys round him, though towards the end I did join one of the carol parties. But there were several other boys who took part with enthusiasm in his many schemes, my brother being one of them. I think he must have “tried out” several of the boys to see which was his brother. Finally, in various ways, he found that I must be the brother. I had joined the School in 1886, and so he knew me. On my side, there was no special emotional recognition of an old link, as has happened to me often with regard to many persons; but on the other hand, there was an intuitive understanding of him and of his work, and a full co-operation.
I think he must have been quite sure that I was his brother after a certain incident. This was when, after an afternoon’s walk, he explained to me a little about the work of the Masters, and described briefly the characteristics of the Masters M. and K.H. He then asked me if I cared to be one of Their disciples, and of which Master. After a few moments’ thinking I replied that the Master K.H. attracted me.
The moment I was “found”, the next work to be done was to arrange that I should be given the proper opportunities to equip myself to enter the Master’s work. Obviously there was scarcely any opportunity, particularly in education, in Ceylon, seeing that my parents were poor. At this time events so happened that Mr. A. P. Sinnett, between whom and C.W.L there was a very cordial bond, desired C.W.L. to come to England to undertake the education of his son Denny Sinnett. C.W.L. then saw that there was a splendid opportunity for me, if I could be taken to England. Mr. Sinnett expressed no objection to an Indian boy coming to reside with him, and being associated in the education of his son. The problem then was to get me to England.
Here there arose a great obstacle from my parents. They were simple-minded pious Buddhists, and in those days England was far away, and to the Oriental imagination a kind of wild woolly West. Although I was the second son, yet when I cautiously put out feelers on the matter of my going to England, the response was a very decided negative. They considered that I could get all the education any boy needed in the Government College in Colombo. However, the plan of my going to England had to be carried out.
During our Saturday morning swims, we used to go out to an English sailing ship which was in the harbour, and which had been there several weeks. On one occasion we climbed on board, and I had to dive—sometimes C. W. L.’s training was not tender—from the side of the ship. C. W. L. found that this ship was to sail soon by way of the Cape to London. Somehow he got in touch with the Chief Mate, and made an arrangement with him for me to be taken as a passenger. The ship was to sail almost immediately, and the plan was then for me to get on board just before she sailed, and leave no tracks behind me.
Bit by bit I collected a few clothes, which were put in a carpet bag, and on a certain afternoon I took them to a particular place in Colombo where a sailor from the ship met me, and I gave the bag to him. That evening I slipped away from home, and went to the beach, where I found C. W. L. It was utterly dark, and a monsoon wind was blowing, with huge waves. I was told that the ship’s boat was out there beyond the waves, and that I was to swim out. I had on only a dhoti and a coat. I stripped and gave these to C. W. L. and plunged into the waves. Just beyond the breakers I saw something white, and this was the boat. Two sailors hauled me in. I still vividly recall the sensation of cold and shivering as I lay crouched at the bottom, with a strong wind blowing. The boat took me to the ship, and the Chief Mate conducted me to a cabin, where I found my carpet bag. I stayed locked in the cabin that night and the whole of the next day and night, also a part of the following day.
I was locked in not as a prisoner but to prevent any of the sailors, stevedores and others knowing of my presence on board, and to prevent the police who were inquiring after me from getting to know where I was. I had put in the carpet bag two volumes of Jules Verne, so I was happy enough.
In the meantime, naturally there was much commotion in my home. I was sought for on all sides with no result. It seems that my father had an idea that C.W.L. must have known where I was, and next day be went and threatened him, but of course to no purpose. C.W. L. would not give me away. Towards evening the family capitulated, and intimated to C.W.L. that if I returned, they would give me their formal consent to go to England. As a matter of fact the ship should have sailed the day after I got on board, and I should have been out of Colombo Harbour when the family capitulated. But her sailing was delayed for some reason. When the family at last agreed, C.W.L. came to me on board and explained, and so I returned home. But unfortunately for myself, lost a splendid opportunity of becoming a good sailor, because in the slow journey round the Cape I should have learned a good deal of the mystery of sailing ships.
In all this which might read as an exciting adventure, I recall that there was not the slightest sense of excitement or adventure. A certain decision was made which was common sense and inevitable. All the actions which followed were movements towards a goal from which there could be no swerving. That day when I handed the carpet bag to the sailor, and slipped away to the beach and swam out, there was not the slightest emotional excitement or upheaval. It was as if the ego had taken charge, and the personality acted according to a prearranged plan.
My action to prove that I did mean what I said, when I stated I would follow the Master, brought me the opportunity of becoming His disciple. That happened a few days after the ship left Colombo. I have narrated in the section called “The Master”, in Christ and Buddha, how that happened, and how it was preceded by great emotional suffering.
Then duly I left with C.W.L. for England in November, 1889. The chief events of my subsequent life are known to most of my friends. He had by this time told me that I had in my last incarnation been his brother Gerald Leadbeater. Once he mentioned casually that one of my habits as Gerald was to get under the dining-room table and there sit singing some of the hymns I learnt about Jerusalem the Golden, and similar attractive hymns about Heaven. I have often thought of this characteristic of Gerald, because it is now pronounced in me, for all the Theosophical knowledge concerning the Heaven World is always vivid in my mind. Indeed, sometimes I think that I am the only Theosophist who really has any real belief in Devachan. Years afterwards I found a book of verses of my then mother, with poems to Gerald.
It is perhaps not without interest that when I made my first trip to South America in 1928, the first land to be visited should be Brazil.
Here then is the story of a boy of obscure parentage, of no outstanding ability, who is selected by C.W.L., and for whom his prophecy is in brief, “This boy is one of the Master’s people, and he will play a rôle on the world’s stage”. Is not this a kind of clairvoyance?
The father of J. Krishnamurti and his brother Nityananda was Jiddu Naraniah, a Telugu Brahmin, who had joined the Theosophical Society in its early years. In 1909 he was the Assistant Secretary of the Esoteric School in India. He had been a Government servant and had lately retired as a Tahsildar, a minor administrative officer. In February of that year C. W. L. came to live again at Adyar, and soon after Mr. Naraniah also came to Adyar. There is a fragment of unpublished autobiography by Mr. Krishnamurti where he describes his life when he first came to Adyar. The mother of the children was dead, and there seemed to be no one looking after them properly.
On September 2, 1909, C. W. L. wrote to Dr. Besant as follows:
September 2nd, 1909.
Naraniah’s children are very well behaved, and would cause us no trouble; Van Manen and I have taught some of them to swim, and have also helped the elder with English composition and reading, so we have come to know a little of them. Also (but this is not generally known) I have used one as a case to investigate for past lives, and have found him to have a past of very great importance, indicating far greater advancement than his father, or indeed than any of the people at present at Headquarters—a better set of lives even than——’s though I think not so sensational. I am sure that he is not in this compound by accident, but for the sake of its influence; I should not be at all surprised to find that the father had been brought here chiefly on account of that boy; and that was another reason why I was shocked to see the family so vilely housed, for it seems to me that if we are to have the karma of assisting even indirectly at the bringing-up of one whom the Master has used in the past and is waiting to use again, we may as well at least give him the chance to grow up decently!
It was then that he began the investigation of the lives of Krishnamurti, who was given the “star name” Alcyone. The following extracts from his letters to Dr. Besant gives us the story:
November 4th, 1909.
I send you herewith another ten lives of Alcyone, in the hope that you will make time to read them on the steamer, for I feel that it is important that you should see them before you arrive, so that you may know exactly how matters stand.
November 11th, 1909.
I sent you to Port Said another batch of the Alcyone incarnations, preceding the previous set, so that you have now twenty successive lives, and I think you will agree that they are transcendently interesting.
November 23rd, 1909.
I rejoice greatly at your approach, and I hope you have decided to come straight through from Bombay, now that the troubles there are settled. As to lives, if we do not take Varley’s, I suggest beginning with Orion’s; but there will still be time to talk over this when you come. We called you Heracles because of the many labours through which you have passed.
I have already done three lives of the C set, and find them fully up to the others in interest. I shall have them ready to show you when you arrive.
December 22nd, 1909.
I think Master’s Indian children have known that they were much in your thoughts, for they have spoken constantly of you, and they often feel you near them. At night in your room they seem always to sense you very strongly, and Krishna sees you in the Shrine-room in the early morning. Everything goes excellently with them, and I think it will not be long before the acceptance comes.
There is more of this correspondence between C. W. L. and Dr. Besant when she was away from Adyar, describing the training of Krishnamurti and the instructions received from the Masters concerning him. I have published it in The Theosophist for June, July, September, October and November, 1932.
All those who knew Krishnamurti as a boy noted that he certainly was not as wide awake intellectually as was his brother Nityananda. Indeed some of his father’s friends still recall the casual way the father would refer to the boy as of a dull mind. Both boys, and especially the elder, were timid, and it was a part of C. W. L.’s work to train them to develop a sense of assurance and courage; helped by Dr. Besant, he surrounded them with friends whose affection for them would make them blossom out, till they lost the suppressed nature which characterized them when they first came to Adyar.
As a matter of fact, as was noted by the English “coach” who prepared the two boys for London Matriculation, while Nityananda had the sharper mind, Krishnamurti’s mind was the bigger mind. He had a wider grasp of a subject, though he was handicapped by not being able to express his thought readily. I sympathised with him in this, because I too matured late, and was not brilliant in passing examinations.
Once again, here is a boy who, according to his father, is dull in mind, whom C. W. L. selects, and about whom he prophesies that the boy will play an unusual rôle on the world’s stage. Is that not clairvoyance again?
The father of D. Rajagopalacharya was Mr. V. K. Desikacharya, an Ayyangar Brahmin of South India, who was a Sub-judge. He had been many years a member of the Theosophical Society and was also in the Esoteric School. In December 1913, the Kerala Theosophical Conference met at Calicut, and C. W. L., was asked to preside and give lectures. I had from him the story of what happened. The night before he started from Adyar, the Master K.H. told him that he (C. W. L.) would find at the Conference one of the Master’s people. When C. W. L. got to Calicut, he looked at the members present, but he saw no one with an aura which seemed to be at all out of the ordinary. However, he did not doubt the Master’s statement, though he did wonder. The second day, however, Mr. Desikacharya turned up with one of his sons, Rajagopalacharya. He had intended to be present on the first day, but at a junction station his cook missed the train. As Mr. Desikacharya was an Ayyangar Brahmin, and could not accept food from any other Brahmins except Ayyangars, he had always to travel with his cook. Owing to this accident his arrival at the Conference was delayed by a day. When the boy turned up, and C. W. L. saw his aura, he realized that this was the person concerning whom the Master had spoken. He has entered in his diary on December 26, “Met D. Rajagopalacharya and instantly recognized him as one of us.”
The father was of course most cordial and anxious in every way that his son should have the very unusual privilege of close contact with C. W. L. The boy also felt a strong attraction to C. W. L. and responded eagerly to his intense friendliness. When C. W. L. returned to Adyar, he wrote to the boy every day. This was often his custom with regard to various young people. It was not merely to keep up the friendship, but also to send them strength, for each letter that was sent was highly magnetized so as to bring before the young person’s mind the great ideals to which the ego was pledged. I have at Adyar the boy’s letters full of affection, and always asking for guidance how to live the life of dedication to the Master, which he had accepted with joy.
But in February 1914, C. W. L. had to go to Java and Australia, and did not quite know what to do to continue the work for young Rajagopal. I had, however, then come to Adyar and settled down to work; so he then gave into my charge the general direction of Rajagopal. Before he left, I had to go to Ceylon, and I arranged that on the way back I would diverge from Tuticorin to go to Palghat, where Mr. Desikacharya was acting as Sub-judge. When I met the boy, we became great friends. I stayed with the family two or three days, and on my return to Adyar, arrangements were made, with the father’s cordial co-operation, to send Rajagopal to the Theosophical School in Benares.
When Rajagopal came to Adyar he lived with my wife and myself. As he was called Raja, and I was also called Raja by my friends, he became “Young Raja” and I became “Old Raja.” From this time on, during his holidays, he stayed with us at Adyar. Later on he entered Madanapalle Theosophical College. All at Adyar liked him immensely, for the boy had remarkable charm.
At Madanapalle Rajagopal began to show certain characteristics which recalled something of his true greatness as an ego. Before C. W. L. left, and after he had discovered Rajagopal, he investigated his last life. The star name Naga was given to him, and Naga in his last incarnation was St. Bernard of Clairvaux. The life is narrated in The Lives of Alcyone, vol. II, pp. 725-9, as also in The Theosophist, December, 1920.
Rajagopal found at Madanapalle that, in the neighbourhood of the College which was on the outskirts of the town, there were several villages where there was no school anywhere near. Moved by the tragedy of the children and of the elders who could not read or write, he organized a night school. He got the villagers to clean out a cow shed, and several of his fellow students answered his call to go out and teach several nights a week. The procuring of books, lights, etc., was done by Rajagopal by appealing to his friends.
In the course of his stay at the College, he organized two other night schools, and for two of them he built two small buildings. The first school was called Vasanta, after Dr. Besant; the second Krishna, after Krishnamurti; and the third Raja, after myself.
It was characteristic of the boy that he did not himself teach in the schools, but he organized the others to do that work. At every visit to Adyar he was full of this work, and Dr. Besant and myself and his other friends cordially supported him in his idealism. Then happened an event which also revealed something of the ego. One of the villages in the vicinity had a disastrous fire and was nearly totally destroyed. Rajagopal then had the brilliant idea of making a model village, instead of allowing the villagers to rebuild the village after the old crowded and insanitary pattern. This meant, of course, much planning and collecting much money and material. But his enthusiasm infected others, and he persuaded even the local Government officer to promise the necessary timber free from a Government forest near by. He came down post haste to Adyar with his great scheme. Dr. Besant was at this time full of her plans for the reorganization of India. Not only did she warmly approve but she promised a contribution of Rs. 2,000. Others also promised various sums for the construction of this model village, which was to be strictly an Indian village of huts, but arranged on a new plan, with all that was necessary in the way of school, sanitation, well, temple, etc.
This splendid effort started by Rajagopal came to nothing, owing to the action of one single individual. In the plan of the reconstructed village, a piece of land at one corner was necessary to round off the scheme; but the individual who owned this land demanded an exorbitant price for it. As this money could not be found, and as the individual was obviously holding out for the large sum merely because of the scheme, the project collapsed.
In 1919 Rajagopal accompanied my wife and myself to Australia and New Zealand. Needless to say everywhere he made warm friends. When he returned from New Zealand and Australia he had collected £200 for his night schools. I have always admired (and envied) this gift of Rajagopal. He had only to propound his scheme and offers of help came. It may still be a secret, but there is no harm in revealing it now, that when he became the Secretary of the Star Trust at Ommen, and it was necessary to make certain changes in Eerde Castle, during one Camp he organized his set of helpers, and in the course of the Camp meetings, and without making any public mention of it, he collected over £8,000 for the scheme.
Once again we find an Indian boy of obscure family for whom C. W. L. prophesies, “Here is a lad who will play a rôle on the world’s stage.”
We find, then, that C.W.L. takes three Indian boys out of an obscure environment, makes much of them, trains them and helps them, and believes in a striking future for them. They “make good”. Is that not a testimony to what C.W.L. was?
Ever kindly, a rigid task master, training us to perform each task efficiently, inspiring us with a lofty ideal of truth and honour, unsparing of himself in the Master’s work, giving us an unforgettable vision of Righteousness—these he taught me, my Brother of the past, the present and the unending future.