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OLD DIARY LEAVES, Sixth Series (1896-98)

by Henry Steel Olcott















































































ALL good things must come to an end and the grand Rajput wedding at Varal was no exception. On the 19th of April Prince Liluba, the Heir Apparent of Morvi, left and the bride’s presents and dowry were displayed in a large temporary structure. The presents alone were worth thirty thousand rupees and made a splendid display, as may be imagined from what I said in the preceding chapter. The wedding guests and hangers-on having departed, Harisinhji and I were left alone. He had a somewhat extensive library and I took advantage of the occasion to read, among other things, Max Nordau’s Degeneracy, which gave me the impression that the author was fully persuaded in his own mind that he was the only person in the world who could not be classified as a degenerate. Still, his book is full of sage deductions from observed facts and should be read along with the books of the great hypnotists of [2] Salpétriére and Nancy by all who have to do with persons of hysteric temperament. I left Varal for Surat via Sihor on the 24th, in what discomfort will be imagined when I say that the thermometer was registering 108 to 110 degrees (F.) in the shade. The top of one’s head became burning hot from the heat rays reflected from the roof of the railway carriage.

At something past midnight I reached Surat, the home of that universally beloved and respected colleague, Dr. Edal Behram, and of that other high-minded friend, Mr. Narotamram Uttamram Trivedi. I was taken by the doctor to his house, or, as he wished me to consider it, my house where, in his company and that of his amiable wife and nice children, I enjoyed myself very much. The weather continued very hot the next day but still I had many calls and in the evening addressed a meeting of our local Branch, of which Mr. Narotamram was President. The next day was also devoted to visitors and I got through a large amount of deskwork. That evening a large audience gathered to hear me lecture on the subject of education for boys, but mainly of adults for, strange as it may seen, the Missionaries had influence enough to prevent the boys in their schools from attending the lecture! Under the circumstances, therefore, the formation of a boys’ society was impracticable. On [3] the next day, Monday, I visited a girls’ school established by our Branch, and also saw there a considerable number of boys from the boys’ school which had also been started by our devoted members. In the evening I lectured on “India’s Place among the Nations,” and at about midnight left for Bombay.

Reaching there in the morning I was busy with visitors and conferences with our members and Parsi friends, bought my steamer ticket for Colombo, and at 6 p.m. lectured in Novelty Theatre to an overflowing audience, on the education of boys, which, as above noted, was the principal theme of my discourses throughout this short tour. Dewan Bahadur Manibhai Jasbhai, late Dewan of Baroda and, when H.P.B. and I first made his acquaintance in the early days, Dewan of Cutch, called on me and presided at my lecture. On the 29th I cleared off arrears of correspondence and attended a farewell reception given me at our Branch rooms.

The conferences above recorded between certain leaders of the Parsi community and myself resulted in an agreement that, as I was going to Europe on Society business, I should also obtain, on their behalf, the opinions of certain noted scholars and archræologists about the best way to promote the interests of Zoroastrian research. On the occasion of the meeting above mentioned, I received my [4] credentials from Mr. K. R. Cama and Dr. Jivanji J. Modi. The latter gentleman introduced me to the famous M. Menard, of the Institute, Dr. Mills, my compatriot, a noted Zendist, and that greatest of living archæologists, Professor Flinders Petrie. In his letter to the latter gentleman Dr. Jivanji says that he will be glad if he will exchange views with me on the subject and make any definite practicable suggestions. Needless to say it was almost pleasant anticipation to be thus brought into personal relations with so erudite and respected an archæologist as the one in question.

The next morning I exchanged farewells at our rooms, and then embarked at Victoria docks on the steamer “Rosetta” at about noon. We were at sea the rest of that day, the next and the next, and reached Colombo at 2.30 p.m. on the third day. I was met, of course, and then taken to the house of Dharmapala’s father, that good man and esteemed friend who is one of the most sincere Buddhists of my acquaintance. He has a fine mansion and extensive grounds at Kolupitiya, and if his son is “Anagarika,” the Homeless one, it is of his own choice.

Thus shifts our story from clime to clime and country to country; the Ariadne thread of memory leading me through all the maze of the crowded scenes of my official experience in the past. [5] My first duty on the morning after my arrival was to pay my customary visit of salutation to my friend the High Priest Sumangala, whom I found at his college in the accustomed reception room, with the usual swarm of pupil priests blocking up the doors and windows to catch any scraps of conversation between their master and his visitors. It has often happened that when I had something of a confidential nature about the work to discuss with Sumangala—through an interpreter, for he does not know English and but a few words of French—I have asked him to dismiss the crowd of eavesdroppers. It is the custom in the Orient for juniors to stand, in the presence of their elders, only by permission seating themselves even on the floor; but Sumangala has invariably caused a chair to be placed for me, usually a lower one than the ordinary, for he knows well enough that our Western kneejoints are not lubricated like those of Orientals so as to fold together the two halves of the leg, clasp-knife fashion. On the occasions of my returns to the Island he gets me to tell him about my travels, and especially rejoices when I am able to say that I have been asked to lecture on Buddhism. He is a good man and very learned but, at the same time, so susceptible to the criticisms of his people, that I am never sure of not finding him temporarily upset by some doubt created in his [6] mind as to my orthodoxy in Buddhism; it is never anything very serious, and I can always dispel it by getting him to compare the state of Sinhalese Buddhism to-day with what it was when he and I first met in 1880. From the College I went to the Fort, as it is called, the business quarter of the banks and foreign mercantile houses clustered about the head of the Harbor and near the old Dutch fort, built when the Hollanders were masters of the Island. Thence I went to our Ananda College, now a prosperous and very successful educational institution, but which was founded by Mr. Leadbeater in 1885 as an English High School, when he was working with me in Ceylon. I also went to the Sanghamitta Girls’ School, and finished the day with a dinner at Mrs. Higgins’, with whom the aged Mrs. Pickett of Australia was then working.

Early the next morning I left for Beruela, thus beginning the tour which had been sketched out for me. I inspected our boys’ school in which we had sixty pupils, and thence by afternoon train to Ambalangoda. Here a crowd welcomed me at the station and a hundred and fifty Buddhist boys escorted me in procession to the large school building which had been erected for us by liberal Buddhist friends. The room was uncomfortably crowded, but I distributed prizes and made an address upon [7] the state of education in Ceylon. Three other gentlemen followed me, and after the adjournment I was taken to the breezy and cool rest house by the seashore, where I had a good meal and refreshing sleep. These travellers’ bungalows along the seashore of Ceylon are the most comfortable that I have ever seen in the tropics; the rooms are large, the ceilings lofty, the floors paved with large tiles, and the ocean breeze circulates freely through the venetians that give upon the broad verandahs. I remember perfectly how charmed H.P.B. and I were the first time that we passed a night at one of these bungalows: we should have been glad to have spent the whole hot season there, for back of the house was a sandy beach and sheltered pools fenced in from the ocean by rocks, where the water was so clear and limpid as to invite one to step in and refresh himself from the burden of the tropical heat. At the time of which I write we had four schools at Ambalangoda, two for boys and two for girls, an aggregate of 860 children, and buildings that were highly creditable to the local promoters of Buddhist education. Here was no flash-in-the-pan, like that first famous school that was opened at Galle in the first flush of excitement caused by our visit, which began with a register of over five hundred pupils and, before the year was out, dwindled away to [8] almost nothing, because the rich and wily Missionaries suddenly abolished their school fees and baited their traps with free education for Buddhist children. The people at Ambalangoda were in dead earnest, and had had sixteen years since the Galle episode in which to get to realise what the undertaking of an educational movement implied in the way of self-sacrifice and courageous persistence. In the afternoon of that day I moved on by train to Galle, where I was taken to our Mahinda College, another of our great Buddhist schools, where the boys greeted me with cheers aud fireworks and I made them the inevitable address before I could betake me to bed.

On the next morning (May 7th) I inspected our schools at Dangedera North and Dangedera South, also at Miripenna and Habaraduwa, all suburbs of Galle. I was very much pleased with all; they occupied substantial buildings and showed signs of good management. Returning to town, I lectured at the college at 5 p.m., to the general public, and started a subscription towards a College Fund, getting over two thousand rupees subscribed on the spot. By the next morning’s train I went to Ahangama to inspect two schools of 221 and 259 pupils respectively. They were also excellent. Of the former I had laid the corner-stone in 1888, eight years previously. By the noon train I returned to [9] Colombo and reached the hospitable house of Mr. Don Carolis at 6 p.m.

My next move was towards Kandy, the old hill-capital of the native sovereigns, and one of the prettiest places in the Orient. After the four hours’ journey by rail I reached there and was put up at our local college building, where, at 2.30 p.m., I held a public meeting and raised a subscription of Rs. 530 for the benefit of the college. My destination the next day was Katagastota where there was a grand procession, in which three huge elephants, one from the Dalada Maligawa, or Tooth Relic Temple, figured. I lectured to a large crowd in the big school building put up by Mr. Ranaraja and raised a few hundred rupees for the Education Fund. The same afternoon I went on to Matale, where that old veteran nobleman and connecting-link between the times of the Kandyan kings and the British Raj, Mr. W. Dulewe, the Adigar, met me and took me under his wing. I found a boys’ school prospering greatly and, at the meeting which I addressed, a subscription for the proposed girls’ school was started with every appearance of good feeling and popular interest.

The turn of Rattota, where we had a girls’ school, came the next morning. Its chief promoter and patron was a Dr. Goonesekara. Dulewe, Adigar, went with me and Mr. D. J. Jayatilleke went as [10] interpreter. A little Sinhalese boy prodigy was brought to me to the rest house and delivered a lecture in Sinhalese on the celebrated verse, Sabbapapassa akaranam, etc. A breath of Europe came to me that day on the arrival of a German Doctor and his wife at the rest house and we passed a vary agreeable evening in talk. The lady was a friend of my dear and always respected friend Baron Oskar von Hoffmann, of Leipzig. To Wattegama to inspect our boys’ and girls’ schools, the next morning, thence by carriage, a charming mountain drive of seven miles over a good road, to Panuela. In this small and retired village, the Mistress of our prosperous Girls’ School had earned the marked distinction of getting from the Government Inspector of Schools a certificate of 100 per cent at the last examination; every girl in the school was found perfect in every subject. This is as well as Mrs. Courtright did this year with one of the fine Panchama Schools under her charge—the one at the village of Urur where 116 pupils were presented—and 14 per cent better than the average-of passes throughout the whole Madras Presidency. I believe also that this is the only case where every child presented for examination passed “perfect”. The average of her four schools was 95 per cent. This shows what can be done with Oriental children in the lower standards by careful [11] training. From this place I returned to Kandy to sleep.

Of course, the reader understands perfectly well that the block of educational [about which I am writing is not, properly speaking, an activity of the Theosophical Society as such, but merely an undertaking by the Ceylon Branches, which are composed of Buddhists, to conduct the educational campaign which I suggested to them in 1880, when H. P. B. and I and the Committee of the Bombay Theosophical Society first came to the Island. All the same, it is one of the most important and successful results of our movement as achieved by our Buddhist colleagues: and which as has frequently been explained, is to be classified along with the active movement for the nationalising of Indian education, led by Mrs. Besant and which has culminated in the foundation of the Central Hindu College. My present memoirs are, of course, only my personal recollections of the different phases of official work through which I have passed, and as such are as much autobiographical as officially historical. There was a time when the whole movement centred in the personal activities of the two Founders, but it has now expanded over such a vast field that neither I nor any other of the prominent workers can hope to do more than to record what passes under his own personal observation. With [12] this parenthetical remark let me pass on to my next station in the Ceylon school-inspecting tour under notice.

I went on to Gompola by the next morning’s train and found a school building unnecessarily big, which had been erected by the late Muhandiram at a cost of several thousand rupees. This was the same enthusiastic gentleman who, in 1880, when H. P. B. and I visited this place, removed the horses from our carriage, got ropes and helped drag us in the carriage from the station to his house. There was a large and interesting meeting at their school-house and much enthusiasm shown at the conclusion of my remarks. In the afternoon I went on to Nawalapitiya, a well-known Kandyan village, the centre of a rich planting district. Our school-house was in a lovely situation on a hill. It was started four months before my visit under such popular auspices that it had pretty well emptied the Christian school of its pupils. On Thursday the 14th (May) I took train for Hatton, a mountain town, the railway station for Adam’s Peak. We were here in a grand hilly country with beautiful landscapes on all sides. Our local school of sixty pupils was founded by the lamented C. F. Powell, who made so deep an impression within his short connection with our Headquarters, on both the Sinhalese and South Indian Hindus. The local Committee informed me with [13] pride that not a single Buddhist boy was now in the Christian school. The founders and supporters of the Buddhist school were low-country men, and I am glad to say that, at that stage of the movement in Ceylon, the Buddhist educational work in the Kandyan district was almost entirely done by the same class of persons. The fact is, that under the Kandyan kings, the Feudal system prevailed to such an extent that the nation was divided into, practically, the two classes of nobles and slaves; education was not at all general, even among the nobility; the monasteries were endowed by the Crown and a sufficient support being guaranteed in their revenues from the lands granted them by the Crown, the Bhikkus were lazy and there was very little religious spirit existing in the “Mountain Kingdom”.

At the same time, an insufferable pride prevailed among the upper class, and I have often been shocked to see the contemptuous way in which they treated the usually excellent merchants and others who came from the low country to do business in that part of the Island. It got so at last that I expected no help whatever from the Kandyan chiefs, and I always felt uneasy to receive from or make visits to them in company with the Colombo and Galle people whose earnestness had gained all my esteem and for whom I felt great friendship. I [14] remember the case of one individual of the Willala caste, i.e., the land-holder or cultivator class, who held an office under the British Government. He occupied a spacious ancestral bungalow and always made a great show of courtesy in receiving me. On the occasion in question I was accompanied on my visit by the President and one or two other officers of one of our largest Ceylon Branches. I was received with distinction and they were put off with a short nod each. My American blood grew hot at that (for I hadn’t the smallest respect for the man’s character) and I had to put myself under powerful restraint to prevent my catching him by the coat collar and flinging him across the room. But, of course, I have met with individuals of the old Kandyan nobility who won my friendly regards by their gentlemanly behavior all around. One of these was the veteran Adigar above spoken of. Our College, formerly High School, at Kandy is now large and prosperous and there is much activity here and there throughout the Kandyan country, but, viewing the Ceylon movement as a whole, one cannot in justice deny that more than 90 per cent. of the credit for the successful direction of the movement which has gathered some thirty thousand Buddhist children under Buddhist school teachers in Buddhist schools, is due to our colleagues in the Maritime Provinces. [15] Returning to Kandy I visited the schools in the suburban villages of Peredeniya and Ampitiya, two in each place. At the latter village I raised a subscription towards building a girls’ school-house and then visited our boys’ and girls’ schools in the town of Kandy—all in one day. My programme took me the next day to Kadunnawa to see a girls’ school in the morning, after which there was a lecture in a Temple Preaching Hall (Banamaduwa); in the afternoon to Gardaladeniya where we had a mixed school. At Rambukkana we were treated to a specimen of barbaric pomp in a long procession headed by two huge elephants, and after them a company of a dozen male devil-dancers, dressed in fantastic costume, with frightful masks and a network of beaded bands crossing their chests. As we moved through the woods the sounds of the barbaric music, the squeak, roll, and clatter, all combined to make a cacophony bad enough to drive all the wood elves and hamadryads out of their sylvan retreats. From that place I went on to Curunegala, where the old Muhandiram had built for us a large L-shaped school-house; then on to Veyangoda and to the neighboring village of Pattallagedera, where the children of the boys’ and girls’ schools were got together to hear me. After that another girls’ school was opened. A ride by bullock cart without springs is not a joy for ever, but I had one of five [16] miles on the next morning to open a boys’ school, and then by train back to Colombo, thus closing my Northern tour.

My third visit to the Leper Colony at Hendala, near Colombo, was made on Wednesday, May 20th. As I have described the dreadful spectacle of a colony of these poor victims of one of the greatest pests of humanity, I shall not repeat myself now. By request I gave them the Pancha Sila and a lecture showing the operation of the Law of Karma in their case. One cannot but feel compassion for these human outcasts and a prompting to do something, however little, to give them momentary pleasure, but really it is one of the most distressing of imaginable experiences and I am not at all anxious to repeat the visit.

On the afternoon of that day I presided at a meeting at Ananda College, gave out the prizes and made a long address. I was followed by the Hon. Mr. Ramanathan, the then recognised leader of the Hindu community, and by a Dr. Pinto. After this I attended a meeting of the Maha-Bodhi Society, at which I read a paper on the situation of affairs and offered my resignation of the position of Honorary General Adviser, for the reason that, as I explained, Mr. Dharmapala did not seem disposed to take my advice when given. Since that time I have had no responsibility whatever for the management of that [17] Society, nor done anything to secure the considerable success which Dharmapala has achieved with the help of his friends.

Visits to Nedimale and Kirulapane schools followed the next day, and on the following one to Moritumulle and Indepette. The school at this latter place had an interesting history. The local school of the Government had been turned over to the Wesleyans by a sympathetic head of the Education Department. This was regarded as an injustice by our people, and, on their behalf a vigorous protest was sent in by Mr. Buultjens, our then Manager of Buddhist Schools, but the Government turned a deaf ear to us. Thereupon, a public meeting was called, and resolutions adopted to build a school-house of their own and remove their children to it. When I addressed the meeting on the occasion of my visit I had 123 boys and girls before me, of whom 105 gave me, as Guru, betel and tobacco leaves, 4,200 of the former and 105 of the latter. The next day at Colombo, the Buddhist Defence Committee referred to me for decision a question as to the Buddhist Registrarship which they wanted laid before the Secretary of State for the Colonies. At an adjourned meeting I gave them drafts of such papers as they were to sign and send on to the Colonial Office.

[18] This was my last official act during the present Ceylon tour, as on the morrow, the 25th May, I embarked for Marseilles on the Messageries steamer “Saghalien”.




FROM Colombo until we got under the lee of Cape Guardafui the weather was rough and the sea very uneasy. We had a large Siamese Royal party on board, comprising H. R. H. Prince Bhanurangsi, Commander-in-Chief of the Siamese Army and brother of the King, two of the King’s sons, three little princes, and Prince Bhanurangsi’s staff. One of the little chaps who spoke English quite well, and was a sweet little fellow, hung around me a good deal and it was he who made the list of personages in the party and a pencil sketch of himself which I have pasted in my Diary. All who have made the voyage in question know what an unspeakable relief it is to get away from the buffetings of the monsoon and come into the smooth water at the mouth of the Red Sea, when one can write and walk the deck without running the risk of being flung against the bulwarks. We reached Aden on [20] the 1st of June and thence crossed over to Djibouti. I have good reason to remember the date because in that same night I learned by telepathy of the death of my dear sister, Mrs. Mitchell, and noted it in the Diary: the sequel will be told presently.

Some of us passengers went ashore at Djibouti and found it a sandy desolation, baking under a fierce sun, with a few wretched shops—where I could not even buy a boot lace that I wanted—and a poor apology for a hotel restaurant, the food and cooking at which made us sorry that we had not stayed aboard the ship. Towering above the shanties above mentioned was the residence of the Governor, a great barn-like building, with no architectural pretentions whatever, and the verandahs closed in by lattice-work for lack of trees, to temper the heat. The only happy ones in our party were the stamp-collectors, who bought liberally the stamps of the French Government that could be had at the post office and, which sales it almost seemed to me, were the only source of revenue.

The passage up the Red Sea was smooth and pleasant; we reached Suez and entered the Canal at 5 p.m. on the 6th of June. At Port Said, the next day, we were detained only a few hours for coaling and then got out on to the Mediterranean, where we found delightfully cool weather and a calm sea awaiting us. In Mr. and Mrs. John Campbell, [21] of Soorabaya, Dutch East Indies, I made two charming acquaintances. The husband was Scotch, of course, the lady Dutch; and I know no more delightful persons to meet than educated Dutch ladies. The weather being so fine, we had the opportunity of thoroughly enjoying the passage through the Straits of Messina and the view of the ever picturesque volcano, Stromboli. On the 11th we ran into the mistral, that cold and dreaded wind-current from the North, which gives the people along the Mediterranean so much discomfort. As it took us abeam it made the ship pitch like mad and it was very disagreeable on deck.

On the 12th—eighteen days from Colombo—we reached Marseilles, but were incontinently ordered into Quarantine at that distressful, rock-cut naval basin of Frioul because, forsooth, cholera was bad in Egypt when we passed through the Canal. We were released the next day and crossed over to our moorings in the splendid basin of Marseilles. I had instructed my correspondents in Western countries to address me, poste-restante at Marseilles, and among the letters which awaited me was one from a nephew giving particulars about my sister’s death. It occurred at the time when I got the warning aboard ship between Aden and Djibouti. There was great sympathy between us and this was not the first incarnation in which we had been [22] associated together. Her daughter has told me since how, at the last hour, she lay muttering to herself about me; and of course nothing could be more natural than that she should come to tell me of her departure.

Commandant Courmes and Dr. Pascal, who was then living at Toulon, met me on arrival and the former took me to see Baron Spedalieri and afterwards to Toulon by train. It was a group of earnest seekers after Truth who had gathered around Courmes to form a local Branch of our Society, and I passed the next few days with them very agreeably. Though there was nothing Theosophical about it, yet the incident I am about to relate was interesting to me from the artistic point of view. Commandant Courmes and I had gone to hear the music of a fine military band; the streets were full of people, all dressed, of course, in the Western fashion, and as we stood on the curb chatting together there passed an Oriental, a Mussalman, dressed in his national garb. As he passed between us and a brilliantly lighted shop window on the other side of the street, he made such a vivid contrast with the throng of people about him that I keep the impression to this day. The crowd, all dressed in dark colors and with their clothes cut in our ungainly fashion without a single line of grace or a single bit of color to relieve the monotony, represented the audiences that [23] confront a public speaker in Western countries, whereas he, this stray follower of Islam, in his Eastern garb, so artistic and so radiant, recalled to my mind the crowds of Asiatics among whom I had been living for so many years. Shway Yeo (the Hon. Mr. Scott), the writer on Burma, says that a Burmese audience, clad in their bright silken cloths and white jackets look like “a bed of tulips moved by a breeze.” How many times I have wished that Western friends whom I knew to be possessed of a cultivated feeling for Art, could travel with me throughout the East and see what picturesque multitudes gather in front of a speaker and in their mass appeal to his artistic imagination!

I have stated above that one important business that had been confided to me was that of consulting the leading authorities of Paris and London upon the subject of Zoroastrian research. On Tuesday, June 23rd, I returned a call made by the Rev. Dr. Mills, the Orientalist, one of the gentlemen to whom Dr. Jivanji had given me letters, and we had a long friendly talk on the subject of Zend literature and the Parsi religion. Dr. Mills I found to be an American, a New Yorker, a graduate of my own University and a member of my own College society, so that we had many points of sympathy in common. He was not at all hopeful about the possibility of discovering other fragments of the sacred writings [24] than those which the Parsis had saved out of the wreck of their country and religion, after the Muhammadan conquest of Persia and the flight of the historical band of faithful Zoroastrians to India.

Pending my forming relations with the other correspondents of Dr. Jivanji, two bits of occult experience, of which one was both interesting and important, and the other a comedy, came in my way. The former was a visit to the famous Madame Mongruel, the Seeress whose name is now familiar to all of our members, the other an interview with Mlle. Couëdon, a young woman who was then greatly talked about as the pretended mouthpiece of the Angel Gabriel who, through her, as alleged, was predicting all sorts of dire calamities for unhappy France. She and her family had been so pestered with visitors as to have become very reluctant to admit fresh acquaintances, but an exception was made in my favor, thanks to a card of introduction given me by an editor of the Gaulois. I found the young woman living with her parents in a small flat in the Rue de Paradis—surely an appropriate name under the circumstances. There was nothing at all extraordinary about her appearance, she seemed as little like an angelic agent as any other girl in Paris. Motioning me to a chair, she took another one opposite, shut her eyes and presently began her inspired utterances. There was [25] something comical about them, for the final syllables of all the lines of her verses—she spoke nothing but rhyme—were alliterative; over and over and over again she would make these terminal words rhyme with each other. I could not get myself impressed with the idea that she was speaking for any entity, hierarchical or otherwise, save her comely little self: and certainly, on reading my notes of her predictions, after the lapse of so many years, I cannot say that my faith in her as a prophetess is enhanced. She told me, or rather Gabriel is supposed to have told me, that the Theosophical Society would break up soon; that I should retire after being betrayed by some colleagues; and that I should die suddenly and prematurely, at a time not specified!

The visit to Madame Mongruel was a much more important affair. Up to the 22nd of June, 1896, I had no knowledge whatever of her existence, but on the day in question, as I was correcting proof at the Hotel Gibraltar, the card was brought me of M. Desormeaux, of the editorial staff of the Gaulois who, on being admitted, told me that he wished to make an experiment in the interests of the public and came to ask me to help him in the capacity of an expert. It appeared that some months before that date a caravan of exploration, under the direction of the Marquis de Mores, a well-known explorer, [26] had started from Tunisian territory for the interior of that part of Africa, some said with a political object in view. At the time of our interview a rumor of his assassination was current in Paris, but not generally believed for there were no definite facts to support it: M. Desormeaux himself, an old acquaintance of the Marquis, did not believe him dead. It had occurred to him to try to find among the noted clairvoyants of Paris at least one who could give some definite information on the subject. Naturally, I was glad to accede to his invitation and so, taking a cab, we began our quest. My guide visited the house of a famous clairvoyant whose name came first on his list, but she was not at home. He then ordered the coachman to drive us to No.6 Chaussée d’Antin, where Madame Jeanne Mongruel lived. What we got from her can be read at length in the article entitled “A French Seeress,” in The Theosophist for December, 1896, but as the séance was one of the most important in the modern history of clairvoyance, and as this book will have a multitude of readers who may never see our magazine, I think it is important to take it over into this narrative so as to make sure of its preservation in convenient form for reference. For the benefit of the general public, then, I will say that Madame Mongruel had been known in Paris half a century for her predictions that Prince Louis Bounaparte, [27] then an exile in London, would one day return, gain the supreme power and be crowned Emperor of the French. Many other accurate prophecies were recorded to her credit, and so M. Desormeaux’s hope that she might be able to tell him something about Mores was not very unreasonable. Instead of telling the story in my own language, the better plan will be to quote a verbatim translation of the article of its editorial representative which appeared in the Gaulois of June 23, 1896, to which the reader is referred. It says:

“Madame Mongruel lives at No.6 Chausée d’Antin on the fourth floor. Last evening, at 9 o’clock, Colonel Olcott and I rang at the door of the apartment. A little maid with a lively expression of countenance opened and showed us into a drawing-room where her mistress received us. [A personal description of myself then follows.—O.] I have with me a certain article which had belonged to the Marquis de Mores,[1] but I wish it clearly understood in this connection, that the name of the Marquis was never pronounced, either by Colonel Olcott or myself throughout the sitting. Madame Mongruel had the idea that we came to consult her about the case of [28] Mlle. Couëdon.[2] I left her under this illusion, whilst seeming to mildly deny it.

“In an armchair Madame Mongruel seats herself; facing her, is Colonel Olcott. The usual mesmeric passes are made and the subject falls asleep.[3] I place the article that had belonged to the Marquis in her hand and Madame Mongruel at once begins speaking and gives me the moving consultation which I transcribe accurately from my notes:

“‘How strange this is! About him I see very well, very distinctly, three beings. What are their names?... Ah! how queer; Alen Senemenek... Very curious, this, but they are not living; they belong to the other world: they are very far away and yet at the same time are about you. With their cups in their hands, they drink together. Yet it is very puzzling. What in the world does it mean? These three men show me in the far distance a man stretched out, wounded, dead!’ [29] “‘By whom wounded? was asked. ‘Strange,’ she muttered, ‘these are not Frenchman, they are blacks, men of color. Ah! There is one man there, not a Frenchman, he speaks English; who is this man? He has had a terrific wound between his eyes; another in the chest. He has a wound made by a cutting weapon; not a poniard, but a sort of lance (sagaie), a curious arm, very slim and sharp.’

“‘Where are you?’ was asked. ‘In the desert. How very hot it is! But there is one man who seems to me to be of the body-guard; it is as though he were selected to bring about the final catastrophe, but he is not the only one to strike. Another began it; there is a frightful conspiracy, and this is an ambuscade.’

“‘But he (the leader of the expedition) is a brave, valiant, audacious fellow, of an honest nature, but with a strange sort of brain. He is led, urged on in a most singular way. A strange influence seems to drag him on; he acts as if under the influence of a superior will which is not of our plane. It has forced him forward and yet not protected him. Around him lying are black men, and I see one person give the fatal signal; he is white, tall and young.’

“‘Why is he (the Marquis being meant) killed?’

“‘Why is he killed?... It is very strange: his boldness ought to have made them all fall [30] back. He was doomed to die. There was a conspiracy. These three beings (above mentioned) are black chiefs. I see the party entering into a gorge, between two small hills; a man is in there in ambush. The fatal blow was given from there... I see five, six, seven wounds (on the body of the Marquis, she means). Beside him are men lying prostrate, blacks whom he has killed; they were in front, but there are also some who fell with him; I see five, five whites. There is a hole like an oven, that is the place where he seems to be kept (the Marquis). The face has turned black, but the body has kept its color; the wounds seem red: it is something frightful to look at. He fell forward with his face to the ground, it was the blow in the chest that caused it. Besides this, there are several other wounds;...

“‘What a handsome forehead! With his brave air, rash, like one inspired, he moves forward with the self-possession of a conqueror; he believes that he will attain his object; he is as though sustained by a star; he has faith in himself, he marches forward without fear. Even when struck, he does not believe that he will die.’

“‘What a fine nature! uncommon, daring, admirably organised. What a brave heart! and what a noble mission! But the surprise was well organised.

[31] It occurred when passing out of the gorge. At first there was a fair fight; but when they passed out of the narrow passage, he fell into the ambush.’

“‘What is his name?’ asked Colonel Olcott. The clairvoyant murmured Mor. Mor. Mor. Mor. ‘Ah! it is queer,’ said she, ‘but it is his mouth which speaks.’

“At this moment, could it have been an illusion? I hear the voice of Mores and turn pale, ‘What is the matter?’ asked the Colonel of me. ‘Nothing,’ said I. Madame Mongruel continued.

“Mor, Mor.

“‘I hear this sonorous vibration,’ said she, ‘I cannot fix it. It is a being stooping over him who cries out. I thought it was his own voice but it is not. I see him stagger....

“‘O! two black men are about him, they are hacking him but he is already dead. It is a traitor.’

“‘What is his name?’

“‘I do not dare to tell, I am afraid.’

“‘Fear nothing, we will protect you,’ said the Colonel.

“‘Yes it was a seeming friend; he travelled with him; only I do not see this man as now living; he was also killed, but it was he who pronounced the name. It is shocking! He was beside him, he gave the signal by a gunshot in the air and [32] the other struck at the moment when he came out of the pass. That blow was given by a powerful hand.’

“‘What a horrible combat! What atrocious butchery! Oh! (shuddering), it is frightful. Where he is now is not a tomb nor a mausoleum. But they have shoved him into some place shaped like a furnace. The earth is of the color of pottery, reddish and very hard; the body is still in tact.’

“‘What is there in his hand?’

“‘The hand is large. The middle finger very long, the mount of Venus prominent, the line of life broken off very young, before the fortieth year.[4]

“‘It is hard for me to see it. One hand is clenched, the other holds a weapon, the thumb is short and large at the end, the little finger is small and thin for a hand of that size. The ring-finger of the right hand is wounded; cut by a steel blade. I do not see the thumb. At the place where he was wounded in the chest I see a lady’s portrait, pierced by the blow of the lance; it is still on the corpse. It has not been taken away...; she is (now) about 30 years of age.[5] [33] “‘But the other cries: Mores!

“‘There is in his mouth atone as if this cry were uttered with ferocious joy, as if to say bravo! Mores has fallen. It is a cry of dreadful hatred...

“‘He who killed him was not a native of that country, he was of the crowd of people who assassinated him... The man who was at his side had a hatred which does not seem to have been personal; the conspiracy was not on his private account[6]... The first shot was fired (in the air) as a signal and then the weapon was hurled from the ambuscade. He who wished to assassinate was the second to fall. There are some who get away, I would like to find them but I can do no more, I am tired. I see one in particular with very brown hair, whitish skin, of the Italian or Spanish type, his great suppleness of body enables him to escape.

“‘He (the Marquis) was struck by two enemies, one very tall, I mean one who has a high aim, the [34] other very contemptible, a wretch, pursuing a personal vengeance.

“‘Ah! it is frightful—horrible. Wake me, I beseech you! I can do no more.’

“‘Colonel Olcott makes the transverse passes, awakens Madame Mongruel, who is then stupefied to learn that we have been questioning her about the Marquis de Mores,... What credence should be given in this case I should be very loth to say. When the details of the assassination of the Marquis de Mores become known, it will be easy to compare them with this consultation. It will then be time to pronounce the verdict.”

The time of corroboration came soon enough. On the tenth day after this account appeared in the Gaulois, the Figaro printed a long telegram from its correspondent at Tunis announcing the arrival of a caravan at Douz, which had been sent out to search for the lost explorer, bringing the corpses of the Marquis de Mores and his interpreter, Abd-el-Hack. From this account I take the following particulars corroborative of the clairvoyant revelations of Madame Mongruel at the séance of the 22nd June: 1. the Marquis was not living but dead when we consulted her; 2. eight Tunisian servants of the Marquis were killed with him in the massacre at El Ouatia; 3. the bodies were covered with numerous wounds, especially that of the Marquis, whose chest [35] was literally riddled with lance wounds; 4. the natives who lifted him from the sand said that “the white man was a brave who had embraced death face to face”; 5. the bodies were in a state of remarkable preservation; 6. add to this that she gave us his name without either of us having pronounced it; and 7. that the heat in the desert at the time was intense




IN the foregoing narrative are all the features of an undoubted case of clairvoyant perception. Bear in mind that, at the time of the séance with Madame Mongruel, nothing whatever of a definite character was known in Europe as to the fate of the ill-starred Marquis de Mores; nor did anything appear in any paper before the 3rd of July, when the Tunisian telegram was printed in the Figaro: add to this that M. Desormeaux did not believe that there had been a tragedy, and that I, for my part, had neither known of the existence of the Marquis nor cared what might or might not have happened to him. There is no ground, therefore, for any theory of thought-transference between the Seeress and ourselves. Yet her perceptions of the event that had transpired out in the African Desert were as clear as though she had seen them reflected in one of the mirrors that hung in her consulting-room. The sash [37] which had been worn by the lost man was efficacious in putting her sur la piste—on the trail. If this is not an instructive fact for the student of clairvoyance, and if it does not make easier of comprehension the revelations that we have been having lately in Theosophical books, then I am mistaken.

What a curious coincidence it is that the two Napoleons who have occupied the throne of France should have had their future grandeur prophesied by clairvoyants, the Great Napoleon by Mlle. Le Normand, the Little one by Madame Mongruel. As regards the Le Normand prophecies the reader will do well, if he can, to read the article in The Theosophist for December, 1896. One point is made in that article, on the authority of Delaage, in his Sommeil Magnetique (Paris, 1857); it relates to the question of the continuous, or infallible, lucidity of clairvoyants. He says: “Those ignorant mesmerisers who fancy that they create clairvoyance in their lucid subjects are entirely mistaken; no power in the world can make clairvoyant a subject who has not the congenital predisposition for it: all that the magnetiser does is to help remove from the inner eye some of the obstacles to clear sight offered by the activity of the bodily senses... There does not exist in Paris a serious magnetiser who dare say that he has met with a single subject who [38] has continuous lucidity.” Furthermore our author affirms that the number of lucid somnambules is not very great, and often the faculty appears at very rare intervals; moreover, that, most frequently, the failure of a clairvoyant to satisfy consultants is due to this fact, viz., that the poor visionary cannot throw herself or himself at will into the condition of lucidity.

Remember that this super-physical state is due to a very delicate and exceptional condition of the nerves of the brain which the slightest cause is sufficient to upset. How many times have I been pained to see the mental tortures inflicted upon, these psychics by ignorant and brutal, though perhaps well-disposed, visitors. Let us suppose that the consultant wishes information about the writer of a certain letter which may have been handled by a dozen different persons, each of whom has impregnated the document with his own aura, some possibly so coarse and strong as to drown out for the moment that of the writer of the letter. If the consultant be ill-bred, he may put insulting questions and show insulting suspicions, provoked by his own ignorance; another, carried away by a blind enthusiasm, may cause his thought-pictures to rush past the clairvoyant’s vision like a scud of clouds swept before a tempest. A third may so strongly desire that the Seeress’ revelation may [39] confirm his wishes as to obsess, take possession of and mould the thought of the sleeper. A fourth may be a man who comes fresh from a scene of debauchery, and the libidinous pictures floating around him may horrify the virtuous sensitive and make her loathe his presence. Finally, not to enumerate the many causes operative of a destruction of clairvoyant vision, the enquirer may be one of those conceited and prejudiced committee men, who have figured so often in the history of psychical research and come with smiling features and outward courtesy, but underneath having the determination to prove the lucid victim a dishonest trickster, to confuse and trip her up, and to make white as black as his suspicious nature wishes it to be.

On the day of the Mongruel interview Dr. Baraduc had me to his house to dinner and M. Jules Bois and two other gentlemen to meet me. On the following day I was honored with a visit from that most interesting savant, Colonel De Rochas. My introductory visit to M. Menant, of the Institute, occurred on the 25th of June. This venerable man, whose fame as an Orientalist extended throughout the whole world of scholarship, received me with every possible courtesy, expressed his warm interest in the Parsi community of Bombay, and invited his gifted wife and still more gifted daughter to take part in the conversation. Like Dr. Mills, he was [40] sceptical as to the possibility of recovering lost Zoroastrian scriptures; at the same time admitting that there was just a remote possibility of some being found in libraries in Muhammadan countries not yet examined by Western Zendic students: the chance, however, he thought remote. In the letter which he addressed me under date of August 24th, 1896, he says: “If there is still something more needed it is rather, as I have told you verbally, in purely archreological discoveries that one might, perhaps, meet with new documents. In pursuance of this idea I have put you in relations with M. Blanc, who has a special knowledge of the Central Asian provinces, where explorations might throw great light upon this important problem of Zoroastrian history.”

Still, in spite of the scepticism which I have met everywhere among the savants on this subject, I have a sort of vague belief that, if the Bombay Parsis should really begin in earnest a search for their missing religious treasures, some of great importance will be found; perhaps even in India, in some temple or mosque library, or in the possession of some family to whom the books or manuscripts may have descended from an ancestor concerned in the pillage of the Persian Parsis.

Members of our Society are now to be found in almost all social classes and walks of life, so that [41] it need not surprise us to learn that one evening while in Paris I had the opportunity of seeing one of my colleagues playing in the matchless dramatic company of the Comédie Française, and another one as a Député in the Chambre des Députés, where he had figured largely as the author of a very important Bill. This gentleman and another Député spent hours with me one evening at my hotel discussing Theosophy, in which they showed an eager interest.

On Saturday, the 27th, I called by invitation on Colonel De Rochas at his Laboratory at the Ecole Polytechnique, to see him make, in the presence of a number of men of science, a lot of hypnotic experiments on two subjects, females. He showed us the different stages of Hypnosis defined by Charcot, and other phenomena, among them externalisation of sensitiveness and projection of the double. In this condition the bodies of the sensitives did not respond to any external influence; sight, hearing, taste, and feeling were all paralysed, but the normal sensitiveness, abnormally intensified, existed outside the body in the enwrapping aura. If he thrust a pin into the air at a measured distance from the sleeper’s body there would be an instantaneous cry of pain, and the sensitive would quickly carry her hand to that part of the body which seemed to be in auric communication with the [42] punctured spot in space. Both sensitives being plunged in hypnotic sleep, the one could point out exactly where the double of the other, projected from the body, was located, and the Colonel by pinching or pricking that spot, would cause a reflex action in the body. This suggested to me an experiment. The Colonel had been proving the paralysis of the olfactory nerves by holding to the nose of the sleeper an uncorked vial of concentrated spirits of ammonia. I took him with me outside the room and, after closing the door, suggested that he should try the experiment of holding the pungent fluid to the point in space where the other clairvoyant should say that the nose of the subject under experiment, or rather of her double, was situated. If he could then get her to make the motion of inhaling, possibly we might find that there would be a reaction upon the physical olfactory nerves, which would be a new and interesting proof of the projection of the double. He declared that the idea was a capital one, returned to the room, and made the experiment, which to our gratification and the surprise of all present was entirely successful.

At that time there happened to be in Paris the Hon. Alexander Aksakof, State Councillor of H. M. the Emperor of Russia, whose name is known throughout the whole world of psychical research as one of the ablest and most honorable of investigators [43] and advocates of Modern Spiritualism. My Eddy book, People from the Other World, which appeared first with illustrations in the N. Y. Daily Graphic, attracted his attention to such an extent that he paid H.P.B. to translate it into Russian for him to bring out. This transaction led to a friendly correspondence between us, but I had never met him personally until now during my Paris visit. I found him rather unfriendly to my dear colleague, so I profited by the opportunity to use my best endeavors to remove from his mind some impressions which I felt sure were entirely unjust. For many years M. Aksakof edited and published (in Germany, for he could not bring it out in Russia) the extensively circulated magazine, Psychiche Studien, and was the author of several books, almost the latest of which was one, Partial Dematerialisation of a Medium, an account by eye-witnesses of a wonderful phenomenon that occurred at Helsingfors, to Mrs. D’Esperance, the medium. If the reader can get the chance to go through it, it will be well worth his while, for the phenomenon described was one of the most astonishing, from the scientific point of view, in the history of spiritualistic wonders. Mrs. D’Esperance, seated on a chair in front of a screen, in a lighted room and in the presence of several reputable witnesses, suddenly found that her lower limbs had been completely dematerialised from the hips downward, [44] and her dress hung over the front edge of the chair-seat. This was the first intimation she had had of any change in her physical condition, although she was in possession of her full consciousness and the room was well lighted. Her fright lest she should have been crippled for life was perfectly natural, as was that of the company present, who were allowed to approach and satisfy themselves of the fact of the dissolution of the limbs. Before she had time to provoke a catastrophe by giving way to the impulse of terror, the limbs were restored to their normal condition and she was able to spring to her feet and walk about. M. Aksakof, in describing the séance, cites the account given in my Eddy book of the entire dissolution of the body of Mrs. Compton, an American medium, which, I believe, had been the first phenomenon of the kind on record; though as for this I will not venture to be positive.

On the same day I met Père Bernard, the Dominican Friar of whom I have spoken elsewhere, and in the afternoon called again at M. Menant’s where I met M. Blanc, the Central Asian explorer, and a very long and interesting discussion ensued between us two and our venerable host.

Among my numerous visitors on the following day was M. Aksakof, and I spent the afternoon most agreeably with M. Blanc. He took me to the Musée Guimet to show me some Parsi bronzes that [45] he had found when excavating in Bactria, and I also saw the very fine collection of life-size and correctly-dressed Parsi figures which had been given to the Musée by Mlle. Menant, than whom the Parsis have no more enthusiastic friend. On the 30th I bade good-bye to Dr. Baraduc, wrote letters, and listened to a debate in the Corps Legislatif in which our Theosophical colleague spoke on a Revenue Bill. This was my first experience in that historical Chamber, and I naturally made a mental comparison between the debate and what I had seen in our American legislative bodies. Things went on rather tamely, but now and again there was an outbreak of excitement showing what the Chamber might be when roused. I dined with the Rev. Dr. Mills that evening, and enjoyed myself much in talking about our common Alma Mater and the various people we knew. The next day I crossed over to London and found at the station to meet me, Leadbeater, Mead, Dr. Hübbe, Keightley and others. Keightley took me to his house and I had the agreeable opportunity of paying my respects to the venerable mother to whose heart he is as dear as the apple of her eye.



THE next evening I presided at the Blavatsky Lodge where Mrs. Besant gave a superb lecture on “Evolution as Seen by Occultists”. There was a reception given at our headquarters on Friday; the 3rd (July), to delegates who had come to the Convention. The Convention met the next morning and everything passed off quietly, my Address being delivered and the Agenda being all disposed of. A tricky letter from the Judge party was handed in but, seeing that it was but a thinly-veiled repetition of the attempt to put us in a false position, I simply laid it upon the table. In the evening there was a public meeting at Queen’s Hall at which addresses were made by Messrs. Mead and Keightley, Mrs. Besant and myself. The Convention finished its business the next day, after suggesting certain revisions of the T.S. Rules. There was a garden-party at Headquarters on the afternoon of the 6th, and on the 8th I went with Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Faulding, whose guest I had now become, to a meeting of the [47] London Lodge, at Mr. Sinnett’s house, at which he lectured on the subject of “Alchemy,” showing us that there was a great deal more in the teachings and writings of the Alchemists than a mere search after the gold-making mystery. After the meeting he took us into his laboratory and showed us, in many cases for the first time, experiments with the Röntgen Rays.

A General Council meeting was held on the 9th at which the various suggestions from Sections, Branches, and individuals for a revision of the Society’s Rules were patiently examined and carefully considered in the light of their bearing on the peculiar circumstances of the whole Society. When several amendments touched the same clause, the various improvements were incorporated in the form finally adopted. Only one important recommendation was rejected—that of removing the President and Vice-President of the Society for cause shown. On mature consideration, and in view of the circumstances attending the Judge secession, it was decided that no Rule could be of use if such an emergency arose. If a majority, or even a strong minority, desired to dispossess one of these officers, while he retained the confidence of a large number of members, a split in the Society would result, let the Rule be what it might. It was therefore thought better to leave the Society free, under [48] the powers vested in the General Council, to deal with any serious case if unfavorable circumstances should arise. At the meeting in question the following members were present, viz., the President, the Vice-President, the General Secretaries of the European and Indian Sections, Mr. C. W. Leadbeater, as proxy (under specific instructions) for the General Secretary of the Scandinavian Section, and Mrs. Besant as proxy for the General Secretary of the American Section. The Australasian Section’s views were represented in the official Report of the General Secretary, and the New Zealand Section had been so recently chartered that it had not had time to submit its wishes for the consideration of the General Council. In publishing, for the information of the members of the Society, the text of the revised Rules, in an Executive Notice of date, London, 9th July, 18961 I made the following explanatory remarks:

“The undersigned takes this opportunity of correcting the mistaken idea, which prevails in some


As Revised in General Council, July 9, 1896


1.      The title of this Society, which was formed at New York, United States of America, on the 17th of November, 1875, is the “Theosophical Society” [49] quarters, that the T.S. Rules and the wording of its “Declared Objects” are substantially what they

2.      The objects of the Theosophical Society are: I. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour.

II. To encourage study of comparative religion, philosophy and science.

III. To investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man.

3.      The Theosophical Society has no concern with politics, caste rules, and social observances. It is unsectarian, and demands no assent to any formula of belief as a qualification of membership.


4.      Every application for membership must be made on an authorized form, and must be endorsed by two members of the Society and signed by the applicant; but no person under age shall be admitted without the consent of their guardians.

5.      Admission to membership may be obtained through the President of a Branch, the General Secretary of a Section, or the Recording Secretary; and a certificate of membership shall be issued to the member, bearing the signature of the President-Founder and the seal of the Society, and countersigned by either the General Secretary of the Section or the Recording Secretary of the T.S., according as the applicant resides within a sectionalized or non-sectionalized territory.


6.      The Society shall have a President, a Vice-President, a Recording Secretary, and a Treasurer.

7.      The President-Founder, Colonel H. S. Olcott, holds the office of President of the Theosophical Society for life, and has the right of nominating his successor, subject to the ratification of the Society.

8.      The term of the presidency is seven years (subject to the exception named in Rule 7).

9.      The President shall nominate the Vice-President subject to election by the Society. The Vice-President’s term of office shall expire upon the election of a new President.

10.  The appointments to the offices of the Recording Secretary and the Treasurer shall be vested in the President.

[50] have been from the commencement and therefore entitled to some special immunity from change. So

11.  The President shall be the custodian of all the archives and records of the Society, and shall be one of the Trustees and administrators for property of all kinds, of which the Society as a whole is possessed.

12.  The President shall have the power to make provisional appointments to fill all vacancies that occur in the offices of the Society, and shall have discretionary powers in all matters not specifically provided for in these Rules.

13.  On the death or resignation of the President, the Vice-President shall perform the presidential duties until a successor takes office.


14.  Any seven members may apply to be chartered as a Branch, the application to be forwarded to the President through the Secretary of the nearest Section.

15.  The President shall have authority to grant or refuse applications for charters, which, if issued, must bear his signature and the seal of the Society, and be recorded at the Headquarters of the Society.

16.  A Section may be formed by the President of the Society, upon the application of seven or more chartered Branches.

17.  All Charters of Sections or Branches, and all certificates of membership, derive their authority from the President, and may be cancelled by the same authority.

18.  Each Branch and Section shall have the power of making its own Rules, provided they do not conflict with the general rules of the Society, and the Rules shall become valid unless their confirmation be refused by the President.

19.  Every Section must appoint a General Secretary who shall be the channel of communication between the President and the Section.

20.  The General Secretary of each Section shall forward to the President, annually not later than the 1st day of November, a report of the work of his Section up to that date, and at any time furnish any further information the President may desire.


21.  The General control and administration of the Society is vested in a General Council, consisting of the President, VicePresident and the General Secretaries.

[51] far is this from true, that the objects have been re-stated and the Rules altered several times, as the

22.  No person can hold two offices in the General Council.


23.  Six months before the expiration of a President’s term of office his successor shall be nominated by the General Council, and the nomination shall be sent out by the Vice-President to the General Secretaries and Recording Secretary. Each General Secretary shall take the votes of his Section according to its rules, and the Recording Secretary shall take those of the remaining members of the Society. A majority of two-thirds on the recorded votes shall be necessary for election.


24.  The Headquarters of the Society are established at Adyar, Madras, India.

25.  The Headquarters and all other property of the Society, including the Adyar Library, the permanent and other Funds, are vested in the Trustees, for the time being, of the Theosophical Society, appointed or acting under a Deed of Trust, dated the 14th day of December, 1892, and recorded in the Chingleput District Office, Madras, India.


27.  The fees payable to the General Treasury by Branches not comprised within the limits of any Section are as follow: For Charter £1: for each certificate of Membership 5s.; for the Annual Subscription of each member, 5s.; or equivalents.

28.  Unattached Members not belonging to any Section or Branch shall pay the usual 5s. Entrance Fee and an annual Subscription of £1 to the General Treasury.

29.  Each Section shall pay into the General Treasury one-fourth of the total amount received by it from annual dues and entrance fees.

30.  The Treasurer’s accounts shall be yearly certified as correct, by qualified auditors appointed by the President.


32.  The Annual General Meeting of the Society shall be held at Adyar and Benares alternately, in the month of December. [52] growth of the Society and its altered conditions rendered the same necessary. The version now adopted is, apparently, the best and most comprehensive that we have had for years, and in the expression of the Objects, the line traced out in the minds of the Founders is strictly followed. The form given to the second Object has been adopted to meet an almost general view that all religions, etc., deserve study, as being based on the same general principles. In this, in her Isis Unveiled Madame Blavatsky led the way, which is now traced out for all future students of Theosophy and sympathisers with our work.”

33.  In practical working these Rules have proved to be good and no important modifications have been found necessary. In some minor matters the President-Founder has used the “discretionary powers in all matters not specifically provided for in these Rules,” and in a few instances the votes

34.  The President sba1l also have the power to convene special meetings at discretion.


35.  The Rules of the Society remain in force until amended by the General Council.


(True Copy)



Secretary to the Meeting of Council.

[53] of members of Council have been taken through the medium of circulars sent around to them from Headquarters. This, however, is a very dilatory process, the time required for collecting the votes being ordinarily as much as six months, and even at the present writing all the General Secretaries have not yet voted upon some questions propounded by the General Secretary of the French Section a year ago.

The next few days were occupied with matters of minor importance, except that on the evening of the 9th, Swami Vivekananda lectured at the Blavatsky Lodge on the subject of “Bhakti,” and Mrs. Besant spoke at the same place on the evening of the 12th on “Karma”. It has always struck me as one of the most wonderful facts of our movement that the reading public of, we may say, the whole world, has been made acquainted with this profoundly important philosophical and ethical teaching. In my opinion it has done more to strengthen our movement and recommend it to thoughtful persons than anything else, for it is the enunciation of the grand truth that human experiences are the outcome of human actions, and that a law of universal and inflexible justice rules throughout the universe.




ON the 17th of the month (July) I presented the letter of Dr. Jivanji to Prof. W. M. Flinders Petrie of University College, together with a memorandum from myself summarizing the points which it was desirable that the Parsi community of Bombay should be informed upon. As my latest advices are to the effect that this idea of [will before long take a practical shape and these preliminary enquiries will then acquire some historical importance, I think it best to print the correspondence between the Secretary of the Parsi Panchayet, Prof. Flinders Petrie and myself. It is as follows:

(From Ervad Jivanji J. Modi, to Prof.W. M. Flinders Petrie) [55]

BOMBAY, 29th April, 1896.


University College, London.SIR,

You know that the regions of Central Asia were once either inhabited by the ancient Zoroastrians or were under their direct or indirect influence. So the Parsis or the modern Zoroastrians, being the descendents of those ancient Zoroastrians, take an interest in these regions. They would welcome any information obtained in these regions that would throw some light on their ancient literature and on the manners, customs and history of their ancient Fatherland of Iran.

I was directed by the Trustees of the Parsi Panchayet to request the different Asiatic Societies of Europe to be good enough to bring the above-mentioned matter to the notice of their Oriental scholars travelling through, and taking interest in, Central Asia.

Now I write this to you as a well-known Archæologist and organiser of exploration parties, to enlist your sympathy in the above matter. If you, or your brother explorers, scholars, or travellers, will in the course of your explorations pay some attention to the above matter, and will put yourself in literary communication in English with us, your [56] contributions on these subjects will be very gratefully received. The Trustees will be glad to patronise any publications in English treating of the researches in these regions from an Iranian point of view.

This will be kindly handed to you by Colonel Olcott, who takes a great interest in our religion and in the past and present history of our community. He is of opinion that there is still a good deal to be done in Central Asia in archæological and literary researches from our Iranian point of view. We shall be glad if you will kindly exchange your views with this good-hearted gentleman on the subject and make us any definite, practical suggestion.

Yours Faithfully,


(From H. S. Olcott, to the same)


The Secretary of the Parsi Central Committee (Panchayet) of Bombay wants practical advice as to what can be done—

(a)    Towards proving the antiquity of the Zoroastrian religion;

(b)   Its relationship with other religions;

(c)    Recovering any fragments of its lost Scriptures.

(d)   Presumably, the only available methods are:—

1. Excavations. [57]

2. Search in old libraries of Oriental countries.

3. Search in Western libraries. Professor Flinders Petrie is respectfully asked—

I. To indicate where excavations should begin.

II. Whether he can say in which countries and libraries search should be begun.

III. Whether he has reason to believe that such search would be fruitful.

IV. If he will kindly say what sums should be annually provided for each of the two departments of research.

V. Whether he can recommend any pupil of his own whom he thinks conspicuously competent to take charge of either the one or the other of the departments of research.

VI. What salary such person would expect. Professor Petrie’s own

Egyptian experience fits him admirably to give the required information, and his help will be highly valued by the Secretary of the Panchayet and his Colleagues.


LONDON, 15th July, 1896.

(From Professor W. M. Flinders Petrie, to


LONDON, 25th, July 1896. DEAR SIR, In reply to your request for the practical details of what seems most promising for research in early Persia, I would say—

1. Excavation is certain to yield results in any country which held a great civilization, if properly carried out.

2. The cost of the whole work of one explorer might be reasonably put at about £1,000 a year. Everything included, £ 1,500, should be plenty. More than this cannot be spent by one man, with proper supervision.

3. The localities I can say nothing about, they should be best settled by a preliminary study of Persian history and a visit to the country working on other excavations. The general considerations are to avoid places which have been occupied in late times, and to trust to extensive clearance in suitable sites. Three-fourths of my best results come from wide clearances, and not from following special clues.

4. Whoever goes for such work should spend some months on practical excavations for antiquities first, so as to learn the methods and indications. I will gladly have such a student with me in Egypt.

The best practical course would be to get the Indian Government to move for permission from the Shah, [59] after the country has been examined, to send out a trained Englishman who knows the East, and is practised in excavating (one student of mine might be suitable), and might well be associated with some energetic young Parsi who was trained in literature and well known in the Indian community, and who should form a close link between Bombay and the work.

For the literary research one suitable person might be Professor Ross, who is just appointed as the best Persian scholar available for this College. He is young, active and fond of travelling; and is familiar with Persian, Arabic, Russian and with Oriental ways. He could not have leave long enough for excavation, but for literary work that can be done within a fixed time, he might do well. I do not know him personally, as he has not yet entered on his work here.

Yours truly,


(From Professor W. M. Flinders Petrie, to the Secretary, Parsi Panchayet)



I need hardly say how gladly I should do anything I could to forward research in the Iranian [60] regions; and what satisfaction it is to see the able descendents of so noble a race turning their attention to research in their history and origins.

My own work, however, lies so entirely in Egypt, I see in that country so very much more than I can ever hope to explore, that it is hopeless for me to think of taking an active part in the work in other lands. There is however one line in which I might perhaps assist you. If you should ever intend to excavate any ancient sites of Persian cities, it would be a great pleasure to me to receive at my work in Egypt any students who may wish to undertake such work, and to give them such training in the methods of accurate research and record in excavation, as might increase the value and certainty of any exploration that they might undertake. Beyond this I fear that my good will is all that I can offer to such research.

Yours very truly,


On the day after my interview with Professor Flinders Petrie I went to the British Museum and handed over to Dr. Garnett one of those wonderful pictures of Buddha painted by a Japanese priest on single grains of raw rice, of which I have preserved three specimens for the Adyar Library. They are really great curiosities, for the paintings [61] are so minute that very few persons can see them without the help of a magnifying glass. The wonder is that my friend the Japanese priest painted them on the rice-grains with the naked eye, using a camel’s-hair pencil and Indian ink. One of the paintings that I kept has on it a picture of the Buddha with his two favorite disciples at his right and left hand, and in front of him a group of five disciples seated on the ground and listening to his discourse. Fancy all this clearly depicted on a single grain of rice and you may be ready to suggest a modification of Pope’s couplet:

“Why has not man a microscopic eye?

“For this plain reason, man is not a fly.”

Among the visits to the country that I made was one to Margate, Ramsgate and Herne Bay to see Theosophical friends and to hold conversation meetings. While at Margate some years before, Mr. Clough, Superintendent of the School of Fine Arts, showed me a remarkable stone image that had been confided to him for sale by some North Sea fishermen who had fished it up from the bottom of the ocean in their nets. It was made of grey sandstone and represented a woman’s head which, upon close examination, was found to embody a number of small heads, some full-length figures and some reptilian forms. Of course no one had the slightest clue to its identity, but as it seemed to be [62] rather ancient and to be an attempt to depict a number of elemental spirits of sorts, I bought it to put among our curios in the Adyar Library. It being inconvenient for me to bring it out to India, I left it in charge of Miss Ward, the Manager of the T.P.S., and there I presume it is to this day.

On my return to London I had the honor of making the acquaintance of Miss Ada Goodrich Freer, the famous “Miss X” of the Society for Psychical Research, and one of the most cultured and agreeable ladies I ever met. Possessed of certain psychical gifts herself, which she keeps always under subordination to her strong intellect, she has been an eager student of psychical phenomena and a very active member of the Society in question. I passed a delightful day with her, discussing various branches of occult science.

Up to the 30th of July I had been the guest of those most hospitable friends, Mr. and Mrs. Faulding, but on the date in question removed to our headquarters, 19, Avenue Road, where I was given the room of one of the inmates who was temporarily absent. On the 1st of August I went to the British Museum again and discussed Zoroastrianism with Mr. Ellis and Dr. Bendall of the Oriental Department. I gave the Museum another oriental curiosity in the form of a copy of that tiny book containing manuscript extracts from the Granth [63] Sahib, the sacred scripture of the Sikhs, which was given me on the occasion of one of my visits to the Golden Temple at Amritsar. These little books, in size no larger than a postage stamp, and said to be “the smallest book in the world,” are regarded by the Sikhs as very precious and are worn, suspended from the neck in an ornamental silver receptacle, as talismans. At a subsequent visit to the Museum I have seen my miniature gift attached by drawing-pins to a card the size of a quarto volume and deposited, I think, in the King’s Gallery.

At the time in question Mrs. Besant was giving a course of thirteen lectures on different Theosophical subjects, and on the evening of Sunday, August 2nd (my birthday) I presided at the last one of the series. On the 4th Mrs. Besant and I went to see Dr. Carter Blake, the learned specialist in Zoology, whose name figured so extensively in our movement at the time of the formation of our first European Branch, the British Theosophical Society. We found him lying abed with a paralytic stroke, a melancholy sight. But although a Jesuit and scarcely able to speak he showed a great interest in all things concerning our Society.

I went to Herne Bay on the 5th to make a visit to our colleague, Mr. F. J. Johnson, and during the three days that I spent there was kept busy seeing people and holding conversation meetings. [64] Returning to London, I went on the evening of the 9th with friends to Exeter Hall where there was a Salvation Army meeting, presided over by General Booth. I was glad of the opportunity to see this marvellous man at his work and study his method of “conversion”. It presented no mystery whatever to the student of hypnotism: it was from first to last an hypnotic séance at which the brass band played a conspicuous part. I think I have mentioned this elsewhere but it will bear repetition for it furnishes the key to the whole subject of the results of “revival meetings”. People who are naturally sensitive go there, steep themselves in the psychical emanations of the place, gradually succumb to the powerful influence, little by little are worked up to the crisis known among Continental psychologists as an hysteric explosion, and then, according to their temperaments, more or less extravagantly shout, sing, pass into convulsions, are taken out to the special room provided for such cases, and there enroll their names as postulants; and after they have become somewhat quieted they are re-conducted into the meeting and take their places in front of the platform. However it may be elsewhere, I can affirm that the rhythmic playing of the Exeter Hall band was identical in character with that of other musical soloists or bands whose object is to lift the hearer, or at any rate the participant, [65] up to the condition of hypnosis. It is late in the day for us to begin saying that sound-vibrations, as well as color-vibrations, powerfully affect not only man but animals; that by both, the emotions of sublimity, hatred, love and fear may be excited; everyone knows the specific effects of a military march played by a regimental band, of dance music played by an orchestra, and of the sublime notes of the Gregorian Chant when played on the organ. According to temperament again, listeners are either mildly or powerfully affected, sometimes driven to extreme degrees of excitement; and, lastly, veteran investigators of mediumistic phenomena know that from the first the company attending a circle are asked to sing so as to “harmonise the conditions”. The snake-charmer of India, with his tom-tom and pipe, draws the serpent out of his hole and makes him balance on his coil, and sway to the rhythm of the music; and then there are those wonderful Aissouas, of Tunis and Algeria, who are thrown into a state of hypnosis by monotonous beating on their huge tambourines, in which state they can stand unharmed on braziers of burning coals, chew up and swallow lamp-chimneys and tumblers, and inflict upon themselves the most cruel wounds, which do not bleed, and instantly close when the Sheikh of the company lays his powerfully mesmeric hand upon them. In [66] truth, I might devote many chapters to illustrations of this subject but the only object of this passing notice is to call attention to the fact that the mystery of religious revivals and conversions is to be found explained in the demonstrations of hypnotic science. On the evening in question I saw more than sixty persons “saved”.

By one of those ever-recurring “coincidences”, on the day when the above was being written there came to my hand a leading Indian paper containing an article entitled “Study in Ecstasy”, describing a recent monster Congress of Salvationists at London. An episode of the Congress was an hypnotic interlude called, “Two days with God”. The reporter says of the second day’s climax:

“The three meetings of yesterday were marked by the irrepressible fervour common to all the warriors, black, white, and yellow, who march under the ‘Blood and Fire’ banner.”

General Booth unwearied and indomitable, presided at the International Congress Hall. It was impossible to detect in the keen face, the lithe elastic figure, a trace of fatigue. He stood on the platform, behind him in serried ranks soldiers and bandsmen representing half Europe and Asia, before him a hall packed to overflowing with enthusiasts who hung on his words. [67] At first the general led the assembly in fiery appeals for salvation. Then turning to the band he signalled the music, and a well-known melody burst forth. The audience caught the air, and a hymn was sung with full-throated energy by the multi-colored throng.

The general was not satisfied. “Clap hands” he cried, and again the verse was sung to an accompanying fusillade of hand-claps.

Again the verse was called for, and again hundreds of lusty lungs filled the vast hall with sound, while those whose tongues could not compass the English words beat time with hands and feet and added to the volume of “glories” and “hallelujahs”.

A burly Australian told the story of his conversion. The listening soldiers broke in ever and anon with cries of “Praise the Lord”, “It’s true”, “Ibelieve it”. Each nation, after its kind, showed its joy in the recital.

The blacks swayed to and fro in ecstasy, the soberer Teutons beamed, the United States delegates laughed aloud, and one and all at the close sent up a thunderclap of “I’m saved”.

The indefatigable general is here and there. Now he lays an arm around the speaker’s shoulder; now he leads a pæan of triumph; now he nods to the drummer to bang his hardest. [68] Does anybody wish to know what is the “Power” behind this mystic frenzy? Let them ask the nearest physician who has studied Hysteria or consult the work of any recognized authority.

I went the next day to see a magnificent collection, 365 in number, of water-color paintings illustrative of the life of Christ, by that fine French artist, Tissot. To make these he had travelled much in the Holy Land and made his sketches on the spot; which one could see plainly enough in the minute accuracy of his work both as regards the people and their environment. If the old proverb “All paths lead to Rome” be true, it is equally so that the resident of London has the opportunity of seeing, one time or another, almost everything that travellers go to search for in distant countries; I was going to except landscapes, but even those are, as in the case of the present collection, depicted so faithfully that one need not leave home to get an idea as to what distant countries look like.

My business in London being finished I left it on the 14th (August) for Paris via Boulogne, a very cheap and pleasant method of crossing. The Fauldings and I had a smooth passage and fine weather. Boulogne was very full of travellers and we got the last two rooms at the Hotel Louvre. In the evening we visited the Casino and looked on at [69] the gambling. This is something for which I never had the least taste; I never played for even a penny stake in my life, and standing back, as on this occasion, and seeing the fierce eagerness with which people play the games of chance, it almost seemed as though they were a company of lunatics. The next day we went to the Cathedral to attend the High Mass and hear the music, and then to an old château where we visited the dungeons and saw the terrible oubliettes underground. On the following day, Sunday, I left for Paris and that evening dined with M. Jules Bois, the author. My Spanish friend, Xifré, was in Paris at that time, at the house of his cousin, Mme. Savalle, at Nanterre, a suburb of the capital. Of course, I spent the greater part of my time with him, there being a strong tie of affection between us. We went together to call on M. Burnouf, the Orientalist, whose great love for Sanskrit literature and the services he has rendered to make it known in France, are well understood.

The so-called “Crusade of American Theosophists around the World”, headed by Mrs. Tingley, the self-styled “Leader of the Theosophical Movement”, were in Paris at the time. One of their sympathisers sent me a copy of their handbill with a written note asking me to attend the meeting. This I did not do as I did not care to have my name circulated about America as a friend, perhaps a [70] follower, of the female successor to Mr. Judge but I sent Xifré, and two other gentlemen, MM. Bailly and Mesnard, to attend the meeting and report the facts to me. Mrs. Tingley’s handbill was worded as follows:



The Crusade, which started from New York in June last, having reached Paris will meet the public in the

PETITE SALE, Hotel Continental,

Entree Rue Rouget-De-Lisle,

On Thursday Evening, 20th August 1896, at 8.30 o’clock.

When the members will give addresses on Brotherhood, Toleration, Rebirth, and kindred theosophical subjects.

The Crusade consists of:

Mr. E. T. Hargrove, President of the Theosophical Society in America.

Mr. Claude Falls Wright, President of the New York Theosophical Society, and Secretary to the late Madame Blavatsky, and to William Q.Judge.

Mr. H. T. Patterson, President of the Brooklyn Theosophical Society.

Mrs. C. F. Wright, Lecturer to the New England States Theosophical Societies. [71] Mr. F. M. Pierce, Representative of the School for the Revival of the Lost Mysteries of Antiquity; and Mrs. KATHARINE A. TINGLEY,

Leader of the Theosophical Movement.



Addresses in French and in English. Musical Selections.”


The Hotel Continental where this meeting was held is one of the most expensive in Paris, the charges for rooms are enormous; it is chiefly patronised by Americans and Englishmen. The Crusaders must have paid a pretty figure for their meeting-hall. My representatives reported that a few people in evening dress sauntered in from the dining room, stayed awhile and then sauntered out again. At the time when the attendance was largest there were about forty persons in the room, including the Crusaders: at the close there were seven in the audience. Mrs. Tingley’s organ, however, reported the meeting as follows:

“The result of the work in Paris was the formation of the French division of the Theosophical Society in Europe on August 21st, at 8.30 p.m., in a large parlor at the Hotel St. Petersburg. Public meetings at the same hotel, on the [72] evenings of the 16th, 18th, and 19th, and a larger gathering at the Hotel Continental on the evening of the 20th, led up to this farewell meeting on the 21st.”

Comments are superfluous.





MY present visit in Paris, covering a period of seventeen days, was devoted to Theosophical business and to the consultations with learned men above mentioned on the subject of Zoroastrianism. At the Bibliothéque Nationale, in the absence of M. Feré, Director of the Oriental Manuscript Department, my talks about the Parsi sacred literature were held with his junior, M. E. Blochet, to whom reference has been made above.

There was in Paris at the time a smooth-speaking young Bengali Babu who claimed to have been a pupil of the respected Sivanath Sastri, the erudite and respected leader of one of the three divisions of the Brahmo Samaj which were caused by an excited controversy which had resulted from the marriage of Keshub Chandra Sen’s daughter to the young [74] Maharaja of Cooch Behar at an immature age and in violation of the terms of the Brahmo Marriage Act, which he, himself, had persuaded the Government of India to pass. The young Bengali in question came and made a piteous appeal for my help because of his alleged impecuniosity, offering his services as a teacher of Sanskrit for any pupils that I might be able to find. Believing his statements, and always anxious to give a helping hand to stray Indians encountered in foreign countries, I introduced him to Senor Xifré, M. Gaillard, Jules Bois and others; the latter gentleman interviewing him for one of the Paris papers with which he was connected. Many of our Western colleagues are so imbued with a sentimental love for India, and have formed such exalted notions of the noble character of the Hindu, that they eagerly stretch out the welcoming hand to members of the race whom they may meet. Among our French friends were a number of this class and I had very little difficulty in arranging for this Bengali gentleman’s comfort and profit at Paris. I am very sorry to say, however, that he did not wear well on close acquaintance, became entangled discreditably with a French girl and ultimately cast her off to bear her shame as best she might, borrowed money from our Theosophists, and took himself off to fresh fields of exploitation. I am pained to say that of the [75] travelling Indians who have been in Europe and America only a minority have deserved the kind treatment so generously given out to them. As to our Theosophists they need not run the least risk of being swindled if they would only demand of the Indian visitor a certificate from myself or the General Secretary of the Indian Section that they are to be trusted.

I left Paris on the 3rd of September for Margate via Boulogne, reached the former place at 7 and Herne Bay at 8 that same evening; my host was again Mr. F. J. Johnson. In that part of Kent along the coast there were even then quite a number of highly intelligent persons interested in Theosophy, and at Mr. Johnson’s bidding a number of these came to see me to talk about it. I remember among them a charming literary lady, the mother of some pretty children, who had passed through sad domestic experiences, had reached almost the point of despair, and who put to me numberless questions about the Eastern teachings. She seemed comforted by my explanations and I hoped that I had aided her in regaining the courage to struggle against her hard lot. But alas! the clouds had gathered too thickly about her to allow rays of light and hope to penetrate into her troubled mind, and with inexpressible sorrow I heard some time afterward that she had taken her own life. [76] On the 14th (September) I left Herne Bay and my hospitable friend Johnson and came up to London and was put up at the Avenue Road headquarters. On the evening of the 17th I presided at a lecture at the Blavatsky Lodge by Mr. Virchand R. Gandhi, the Jain representative at the Chicago Parliament of Religions. On the 19th I again left London for the Continent, this time for Amsterdam and without the intention of returning. The train started at 8-30 p.m. from the Liverpool Street Station for Harwich, where we embarked on the boat which makes the transit to the Hook of Holland. Mr. Leadbeater, Mr. Mead and some others were at the station to see me off. At Amsterdam the next day my time was fully occupied with receiving visitors, and in the evening there was a largely attended conversation meeting. We were all gratified the next day to see Mr. A. M. Glass, of the European Section staff, on his way home from a health-seeking visit to Germany. Mr. Glass’ modesty is so great that, although a large share of the burden of Sectional work has always been thrown upon him, yet his name is seldom mentioned in our prints. I, myself, have always held him in great esteem and regarded him as one of the most useful workers among my colleagues. On the evening of the 21st I lectured to the Amsterdam Branch on “The [77] History of our Society.” On the same day I arranged with Mr. Fricke the preliminaries for the formation of a Dutch Section.

Naturally enough, my report of the successful search on the astral plane for the Marquis de Mores, by Mme. Mongruel, excited great wonder at Amsterdam, as elsewhere. Mr. Stark, F.T.S., having had no practical experience whatever in this direction, determined to accompany me to Paris to test her powers. Accordingly he joined me when I left the next morning for that city at 8 o’clock. After a pleasant journey of ten and a half hours we arrived there and as I wished to leave no possible ground for suspicion of any understanding between Mme. Mongruel and myself, I left him at the station to find his way alone and went to my hotel. In due time he joined me there and his report was most enthusiastic. She had answered all his questions correctly, but a test prepared by his wife without his knowledge completely won his confidence. When he was leaving his house at Amsterdam Mrs. Stark handed him a small packet and told him to give that to Mme. Mongruel and see what she would say. He put it in his pocket and thought no more of it until his séance with the seeress was proceeding. At the moment of a break in the conversation he executed his wife’s commission. Taking the packet in her hand she said: “What a charming [78] little girl!” A remark which caused Mr. Stark much amusement, for his wife was certainly not young enough to be called a little girl. But the clairvoyant went on to describe accurately his little daughter, whom he had left suffering from some temporary illness involving, if I remember rightly, an ulcerated sore throat and pain in the head. This physical derangement was accurately diagnosed by the sleeper and he was told that he need not worry about it for it would pass away within the next day or two. Mr. Stark returned the packet to his pocket without opening it, after making a pencil note on the cover as to what had been said, as he preferred to let his wife open the packet herself in his presence and so be able to know that he, himself, had not said anything to Mme. Mongruel that would influence her remarks. When he got back to Amsterdam and handed over the packet, Mrs. Stark told him that it contained a small lock of the sick child’s hair, which she had given him to serve as a test of the Seeress’ lucidity. Needless to say they were both very much pleased with the result. Mr. Stark and I visited some of our Theosophical colleagues and went out to Nanterre to breakfast with Xifré at Mme. Savalle’s.

I called on Mme. Mongruel alone every day that I was in Paris, and on two occasions put her into the mesmeric sleep and asked her to tell me things that [79] I wanted to know. Of her own accord, without my giving her the slightest clue she said: “You seem to be connected with a very large Society; nothing to do with business, but a sort of philanthropic and religious organisation. It seems as though it were divided into two parties or camps and that certain persons were determined to break it up, from interested motives. I think that a man and a woman are the moving spirits in this, the former actuated by vanity and ambition, the other resenting a supposed slight, which you never intended.” She then went on to give me an accurate description of Mr. Judge and a certain lady, whom I certainly had no recollection of ever having offended, but who was at the time in close relations with the leader of secession. “But you need not give yourself the least anxiety,” she went on; “I see this hostile force breaking up and dissolving away like a morning mist, and after a time you will find yourself stronger and more respected than ever.” She then, to my surprise, told me that a certain woman in our Society had the intention of bequeathing me a large sum of money, and that she had ordered her lawyer to draw up her will to that effect; that the lawyer had advised her not to dispose of her whole property to me, for family reasons. The Seeress then held my hand and seemed to be looking into my physical condition because she said presently: “How strong [80] you are; it seems as though you were built to last a hundred years. But have you no trouble with your feet? There seems a tendency of the blood to decompose in that quarter. Do you not have pains?” I told her that she was right as there was an inherited tendency to gout and that this was the only physical derangement from which I suffered. She then advised me to follow a certain diet and take certain remedies. The next day, when again mesmerised, she reiterated energetically her prophecies about the success of our Society and the giving to me of the legacy. Both séances were interesting, because she certainly had not read in my mind thoughts which would have furnished a basis for her predictions.

On Saturday the 26th (September) I packed my trunks and left by the “Rapide” for Marseilles, reaching there the next morning. Commandant Courmes and Baron Spedalieri met me at the station and the Baron took us to his house, gave us a splendid lunch and saw me on board the Messageries steamer, Ernest Simons, which sailed for Colombo at 4 p.m. Captain Maubeuge, the Commander, was an officer of the Navy assigned, like many British Naval officers, to a merchant vessel in time of peace; he was an old friend of Commandant Courmes, who gave me such an introduction to him as to make him show me every courtesy during [81] the voyage. A tempest had raged in the Mediterranean for several days previously, but on the day of our sailing the sea was calm and the sun smiling. The Captain talked to me a good deal about our Society, Buddhism and H.P.B., upon whom he had once called at Bombay and preserved very vivid remembrances of the interview. He showed himself to be deeply interested in the problems of karma and reincarnation, declaring his belief in the truth of the latter. The fine weather stayed with us to Port Said, to Suez, down the Red Sea to Djibouti and thence on to Colombo, where we disembarked on the 17th day after leaving Marseilles. I spent the time in calling on different friends until the afternoon when there was a T. S. meeting at Higgins’ school, for the admission of a Mr. Faber into membership. After dinner I went to our headquarters in Maliban Street and was escorted on board the Eridan, the connecting coasting steamer of the Messageries Company, which plies between Colombo and Calcutta.

In looking over the things in my cabin I found that I had left something on board the “Ernest Simons,” and as she was moored not a hundred yards away from us and was announced to sail at 10-30 that night, giving me a leeway of an hour and a half, I asked my escort, Mr. C. P. Goonewardene, Secretary of our Colombo Branch, to take our boat [82] and go to the other steamer and bring me the missing object while I got my things to rights in the cabin. As he could not speak French I gave him a brief message in writing to the steward who had waited upon me, asking him to send me the lost article by the hand of my friend. I expected the latter back in fifteen or twenty minutes, but time passed on and he did not come. Meanwhile other friends came aboard to say good-bye and I was kept talking in the saloon so that time slipped by without my noticing it. Suddenly a steward came and told me that a boatman wanted to see me. He turned out to be the one, in charge of the boat that had brought Goonewardene and myself from shore and he said that the Ernest Simons had just sailed and carried off Mr. Goonewardene! He, the boatman, had clung to the gangway waiting for his fare until the ship’s quartermaster threatened to throw him into the water unless he let go the ship; as for the gentleman whom he had brought, he knew nothing; the boatman had finally to jump into the water because the ship had started.

One may imagine what my feelings were when I reflected that Goonewardene had come off with me just as he was in his office, without a change of clothing or, probably, the money for his travelling expenses: besides which he was an interpreter in one of the courts and the next day would be reported [83] as absent without leave. My only consolation was that he was sailing in the ship of which my friend, Capt. Maubeuge, was the commander, and I felt sure that when he came to know of the circumstances he would make everything right for his unwilling passenger. I, however, cabled to the President of our Branch at Singapore--the steamer’s next port of call--to supply Goonewardene with whatever he might need and look to me for payment. I also wrote an official letter to the proper authorities at Colombo explaining the facts and asking the favor of Mr. Goonewardene’s being granted leave of absence until he could return by the next boat from Singapore. My friend, however, had a hard time of it, thanks to French red tape. Although a gentleman, he was put in the third class and on arrival at Singapore locked up in a cabin until the money for his passage was forthcoming. This was not long delayed, for my correspondent, acting on the notice by cable, came aboard, paid the passage money, took our colleague to his house, and sent him back by the next homeward-bound French steamer.

We carried the fine weather with us all the way up to Madras, which we reached on the 18th (Oct.) and I found Adyar as lovely as ever. Literary work occupied my time during the next few days, and as I had made up my mind to answer all the sophisms [84] of the Judgeites about our Society’s history by compiling a narrative from the papers in my possession, I enlisted the help of Dr. English and my other associates in the house to rummage through the boxes of archives.

On the 27th I received from Bangkok a case of books for the Adyar Library containing the thirty-nine volumes of the Buddhist Tripitika in Siamese character, which had been sent me by His Majesty the King of Siam through his relative, Prince Chandra Dat. This edition had been prepared by command of His Majesty as a memorial of the completion of the twenty-fifth year of his reign, and each volume was stamped with the royal arms and contained the King’s portrait. As we had already complete collections of the Tripitikas in the Sinhalese and Japanese languages, this present made our collection very valuable.

At this same time the Tingley Crusaders reached Bombay on their voyage around the world and opened their proposed Indian campaign with a public meeting at the Town Hall of Bombay. In the report of this event and in the handbill which was distributed at Bombay, we see the same display of boastfulness and recklessness of statement which has been noticed in the remarks upon their doings at Paris. The handbill states that they are travelling around the world on behalf of the Theosophical [85] Movement. “Which was begun in America by Madame H. P. Blavatsky, continued by William Q. Judge and is now under the leadership of Mrs. Katharine A. Tingley.” The purpose of the visit to India “is to organise a Theosophical Society in this country on the original lines laid down by the Founders of the Movement”. The members of the party are as announced in the Paris handbill, with the amplification that Mrs. Tingley now styles herself “Leader of the entire Theosophical Movement throughout the world.” Considering that we, leaders, had lived and worked, at Bombay four years, and that our names were familiar in Hindu households throughout the whole Continent, this vain-glorious announcement naturally provoked the mirth of the country, and the scheme to organise Theosophical Societies on an improved pattern, fell flat. The Crusaders had their journey for their pains and there remains not a trace of their passage through the country.

The Times of India, for 30th October, 1896 said:

“The above visitors to Bombay, who are stated to be travelling round the world, occupied the platform at a meeting held at the Town Hall last night, but although seating accommodation had been provided for some five hundred of the general public only about seventy-five persons, principally Parsis, attended the meeting.” [86] Mrs. Tingley, with an eye to the shortcomings of the Brahmins, as it would seem, said:

“Spiritual pride was one of the greatest barriers to enlightenment and the idea that some one form of religion was the oldest or the most profound in some cases blinded people to facts. The speaker did not believe that India was the source of the world’s religions, though she said that some teacher or other might flatter the Indians with that view in order to gather them into a special fold. The occult learning that India once shared in common with other nations, did not originate here and does not exist to any extent in India proper today. There was no religion now existing that had remained pure and undefiled and she urged the Hindus to seek beneath the mere external form of their religion for the deeper and grander truths underlying it. The same thing should be done by the Mohammedan and the Parsi. The first step to take was the practice of unselfishness. Work for the world should be done, for such work was of far greater importance than the mere cultivation of the intellect.”

Mr. E. J. Hargrove thought:

“the time had arrived for the West to take the lead in the higher evolution of humanity. Old souls were incarnating in America; old forces were coming up. The Theosophical Society had been founded [87] in New York and with the impetus generated there, the movement had since spread over the entire world. The time had arrived for a new impetus to be given the movement from the same source. The present leader of the Theosophical movement, Mrs. Tingley, seemed to him like one of these old souls, grown wise in past incarnations, who had returned to carry on the work begun by Madame H. P. Blavatsky and furthered by Mr. W. Q. Judge. Mrs. Tingley’s occult powers were not only of a most remarkable and unusual character, but her brilliant leadership since Mr. Judge’s death, had more than justified her appointment to this post of grave responsibility.”

Mr. Claude Falls Wright allowed his fancy to spread its wings after the following fashion:

“When the American Theosophists went back to their own country they were to lay the foundation stone of a great School for the revival of the lost Mysteries of Antiquity. In this school would be demonstrated the workings of nature and the spiritual laws of life. The temple mysteries of the ancients would there be revived. This revival would only now take place because Western humanity had reached a point where interest was taken in the higher science. A great mystic, Mr. Wright said, had been born into the world, capable of leading humanity to an understanding of these mysteries, [88] and the work begun by Madame Blavatsky and continued by William Q. Judge and other great souls was to find its blossoming in this great School under this great mystic: he referred to Mrs. Katharine A. Tingley. In time he hoped a branch would be started in India, when things were less disturbed than now.”

Something went wrong before the tour was finished, for Mr. Wright and his wife left Mrs. Tingley on the way home, Mrs. Cleather (another Crusader) shortly after, Mr. Hargrove likewise, and the promised School of the Ancient Mysteries has never, so far as is known, taken root or turned out a single adept or Mahatma.




WE have seen that the passage of the Tingley crusaders left no trace behind it; in fact, since the date of our narrative (November, 1896), I do not remember to have read in an Eastern paper even the slightest allusion to her work or her society. If I am not mistaken, the same blight has fallen upon her movement in America, its whole vitality having been concentrated at Point Loma, where her palatial buildings have been erected amid lovely surroundings. Remembering that the Judge secession was based upon a platform of historical falsification and misrepresentation of individuals, one could hardly feel surprised that it should exhaust its impetus after a brief period.

As remarked in the last chapter, I felt it incumbent upon me to undertake a task until then neglected, in compiling from the heterogeneous mass of papers in my possession, a detailed history of the rise and progress of the Society, with its [90] several changes of organisation during the quarter-century which was closing at the time of Mrs. Tingley’s visit to India. This narrative was included in my Annual Address to the Convention of 1896 and will be found in the report published in The Theosophist for January, 1897; a small edition of it was issued in pamphlet form in advance of the meeting of Convention, with the title A Historical Retrospect, 1875—1896. It is shown in the above Retrospect that the history of our Society divided itself naturally into periods, as follow;—

(a) From the informal social gathering at which its formation was proposed, to the departure of the two chief founders from New York to Bombay;

(b) From their arrival in India, throughout the spread of its influence in Asiatic and Australasian countries;

(c) From the visit of the two founders to Europe, throughout the development of the movement in European countries;

(d) In America, from the departure of the founders for India, to the formation of the Board of Control;

(e) From the latter event, to the replacement of the Board by the American Section of the Theosophical Society;


(f) From the latter event, to its disruption in April, 1895;

(g) From the latter, event, to the present time (December, 1896).

The reason for the postponement of the writing of our history to this late date is not far to seek: H. P. B. and I had been so busy in making history that we had had no time for the writing of it. The field was thus left clear for the sowing of Mr. Judge’s crop of fables, and under the zealous tillage of himself, his colleagues and successors, the soil had become choked with weeds. Further delay would have been inexcusable, so the narrative in question was prepared, and so thoroughly that it is doubtful if any subsequent additions can or will ever be made. The ignorance about the evolution of the Society up to the present time among our members is, I fear it must be said, appalling; I do not suppose that one out of a hundred of those who have joined us within the past five years have any distinct notion on the subject, and not one in twenty have read any of H. P. B.’s writings. All the more reason why I should collect, so far as may be, the materials which will prove useful hereafter to the person who shall write that compendious history of the Theosophical movement of which my present work is but a forerunner. [92] With the valuable help of Dr. and Miss English and others in the house, the materials for the pamphlet were got together after long search and on the 7th December I began writing it out. Within a few days it was finished and sent in to the printer. The drafting of my Annual Address and other office work occupied my time pretty thoroughly throughout the second half of December. The first delegates to the Convention arrived on the 19th, from which time onward they swarmed in from all the four quarters after the usual fashion. About this time 2 Russian gentleman interested in the compilation of a Hindustani grammar and vocabulary, a Mr. Alexander Vigornitsky, brought me a letter of introduction from M. Blanc, the French explorer of Central Asia, in which he asked me to aid his friend as far as might be, in the attainment of his object. What I did was to give him my visiting-card with a few words of commendation written upon it and a printed list of our Indian Branches, telling him that he had only to present himself to any of the local representatives of our Branches, ask for what he wanted and take with confidence what might be told him. Just before the meeting of Convention he returned to Adyar and told me that my little visiting card had, he believed, been more efficacious for him than if he [93] had had a gilded passport from a reigning king; that neither M. Blanc nor himself had had a conception of the importance of the Theosophical Society as a means of binding together the peoples of India in a great bond of sympathy and brotherhood.

The statistical returns which were read to the Convention showed a year of prosperity despite the cataclysm in America. Charters had been issued for 20 new Branches and at the close of the twelve-month we had on our Register 428 living Branches, as against 408 at the close of 1895. Of these 7 were Indian; 6 European; 3 American; 2 Australasian; 1 Scandinavian and 1 New Zealand. Miss Edger, as General Secretary of the last-named Section, made her first Annual Report. The Rules of the T. S. were carefully revised on July 9th at a Special Meeting of the General Council held at London; and these have been left unchanged up to the present time of writing (1905), excepting the slight modifications which the Incorporation of the Society made necessary. The death of Mr. W. Q. Judge on the 21st of April, less than one year after his secession, was the most striking event of 1896, in our history, but its consequences have been far less important than had been anticipated; in fact, one may fairly describe the latter circumstance as a dismal failure from the [94] point of view of the conspirators who engineered it. For their intention was to wreck the Society, cast out its surviving founder and Mrs. Besant, and on its ruins erect their new Society with Mr. Judge as its Hierophant Ruler, the sole successor to H. P. B. and to her “twin,” as well.

Among the interesting facts given in the President’s Annual Report for 1896, are the statistics of our literary activity from 1883 to that date. During this period the Society and its individual members had published 473 books, 53 periodicals and 240 pamphlets. These not taking into account the publications in Eastern vernacular, the statistics of which were not in my possession.

Among the interesting letters received by me in connection with that year’s Convention was one from the venerable high priest Sumangala, which, in view of the nonsensical attempt recently begun by a conceited young man to falsify the history of the educational movement in Ceylon, may well be admitted into my narrative at this point:—

TO COLONEL H. S. OLCOTT, President, T. S.


Whereas, I learn that the Annual Convention of the Theosophical Society for 1896 is to sit at [95] Adyar this December, I have much pleasure in expressing, on behalf of the Buddhists of this Island, their gratitude to you in particular and to the T. S. in general, for inaugurating and encouraging the spread of education, secular and religious, among the Buddhist boys and girls in Ceylon, and for securing for the Buddhist that toleration and freedom from persecution which they did not enjoy before your first arrival in 1880.


Pradana Nayaka Thera and December 2nd, 1896. High Priest of Adam’s Peak.

In the course of my reading at that time I came across a highly interesting story in the Phrenological Journal for November, about a Negro whose skull had been fractured in the battle of Bull Run, in 1861, and who had remained without intelligence until 1881, when his skull was trepanned and his consciousness was restored. His first question was: “Which side licked, yesterday?” The intervening twenty years had been a total blank: his body had functioned but his brain consciousness on the physical plane had been arrested. This is an almost parallel case to that of the groom, made classical by its use in the works of several materialistic physiologists, where the unfortunate man while cleaning a horse had [96] had his skull fractured by a kick of its hoof, had remained without consciousness until after a trepanning, when his first conscious action was to complete a sentence which he had been speaking at the time of the accident. The argument of the physiologists was briefly this: Consciousness is a function of the brain; an accident suspends it; a fatal one destroys it; therefore there is no consciousness in any entity apart from the brain. The insufficiency of this reasoning has been proved countless times by the experimenters with mesmerism and clairvoyance; but still in spite of fact and experience the old fallacious logic is still clung to by that class of persons who seem to resent as almost a personal affront the attempt to destroy scientific superstructures built upon foundations of ignorance and vanity. So much violence and bitterness do they sometimes display, that in seeking to find some term expressive of their mental condition, I invented the word “Psychophobia” and respectfully commend it to students of psychology. No victim of dog-bite shows more terror at the sight of water than does one of these ultramaterialists when asked to consider some new and extremely convincing phenomenon which goes to show’ the separability of man’s astral body from his physical, and his power to carry his consciousness to whatever distance he may have projected [97] himself by the power of his will: one would think that he thought that a new thought would bite him!

The last whiff of perfume from the truthful Tingley crusaders was wafted to us about the middle of December from Colombo, where they held a meeting at Floral Hall on the 12th December, at 5 P.M. In the advertisement the public is assured that there would be nothing to pay for the intellectual symposium; they would have the “Addresses Free”; and for fear that, under a misapprehension as to the character of the party they might absent themselves and so lose the unique chance of seeing and hearing the “Leader of the Entire Theosophical Movement throughout the World,” they announced that “The Members of the Tour wish it to be distinctly understood that they have no connection with that organisation to which MRS. ANNIE BESANT is attached and of which COLONEL OLCOTT is President.” This is really very kind on the part of our gifted enemy, as it saves me the necessity of taking any further trouble to prove that neither I nor the Society has any responsibility for the harlequinade that gave the crusaders an agreeable outing at the expense of their confiding colleagues.

As above noted, the stream of delegates flowed in as usual and on the 27th the Convention opened at its appointed time with more than the usual [98] number of representatives of Branches. Among the pleasant incidents of the opening was the receipt of a long cablegram from the General Secretary of the Australasian Section and an equally cordial greeting from the New Zealand Section. These cables and telegrams and letters and official reports and attendances of delegates in person combine to make one realize how world-wide our movement has become. A feature of the twenty-first Anniversary was the appearance on the scene of Dr. Arthur Richardson, late of University College, Bristol, who had resigned the chair which he had occupied twelve years to come out to India and work with us without money and without price. He gave us some lectures on “Fire,” “Science and the Invisible,” and other subjects, to the great profit of his hearers. The great feature of that year’s Convention (the Twenty-first) was the course of lectures given by Mrs. Besant on Four Great Religions, a most scholarly, striking and convincing intellectual effort. So eloquent was she in her expositions of the several world faiths, so clearly did she make her points, and so ingeniously weave around them the golden web of a common parentage, that one would have thought that a learned Pandit, Mobed, Bhikshu or Bishop was in his turn expounding the mysteries of his own ancestral religion. These admirable discourses were soon [99] after published, and together with her subsequent series, entitled The Religious Problem in India, are invaluable helps to students of Comparative Religion, to find the common. basis upon which all human creeds have been built. It is only fair to quote what she herself says about the plan pursued in the treatment of her subject. In the Foreword (Introduction) to her Four Great Religions she thus sketches her dominant idea:

“The general principles underlying these lectures are the following:

“Each religion is looked at in the light of occult knowledge, both as regards its history and its teachings. While not despising the conclusions arrived at by the patient and admirable work of European scholars, I have unhesitatingly flung them aside where they conflict with important facts preserved in occult history, whether in those imperishable records where all the past is still to be found in living pictures, or in ancient documents carefully stored up by Initiates and not wholly inaccessible. Especially is this the case with regard to the ages of Hinduism and Zoroastrianism, touching which modern scholarship is ludicrously astray. That scholarship, however, will regard the occult view as being, in its turn, grotesquely wrong. Be it so. Occultism can wait to be justified by discoveries, as so many of its [100] much-ridiculed statements as to antiquity have already been; the earth is a faithful guardian, and as the archæologist uncovers the cities buried in her bosom many an unexpected witness will be found to justify the antiquity that is claimed.

“Secondly, each religion is treated as coming from the one great Brotherhood, which is the steward and custodian of spiritual knowledge. Each is treated as an expression, by some member or messenger of that Brotherhood, of the eternal spiritual truths, an expression suited to the needs of the time at which it was made, and of the dawning civilisation that it was intended to mould and to guide in its evolution. Each religion has its own mission in the world, is suited to the nations to whom it is given, and to the type of civilization it is to permeate, bringing it into line with the general evolution of the human family. The failure to see this leads to unjust criticism, for an ideally perfect religion would not be suitable to imperfect and partially evolved men, and environment must always be considered by the Wise when They plant a new slip of the ancient tree of wisdom.

“Thirdly, an attempt is made to distinguish the essential from the non-essential in each religion, and to treat chiefly the former. For every religion in the course of time suffers from accretions due [101] to ignorance—not to wisdom, to blindness—not to vision. Within the brief compass of these lectures, it was not possible to distinguish in detail, nor to point out all the numerous non-essentials. But the following test may be used by anyone who desires to guide himself practically in discriminating between the permanent and the transitory elements in any religion. Is it ancient, to be found in the ancient Scriptures? Has it the authority of the Founder of the religion, or of the Sages to whom the formulation of the particular religion is due? Is it universal, found under some form in all religions? As regards spiritual truths, anyone of these tests is sufficient. As to smaller matters, matters of rites and ceremonies, observances and customs, the use or disuse of any particular practice, we may ask as to each: Is it laid down or recommended in the ancient Scriptures, by the Founder or His immediate disciples? Can its usefulness be explained or verified by those in whom occult training has developed the inner faculties which make the invisible world a region they know by their own experience? If a custom be of modern growth, with only a century, or two or three centuries, behind it; if it be local, not found in any ancient Scripture, nor justified by occult knowledge; then—however helpful it may be found by any individual in his [102] spiritual life—it should not be imposed on any member of a particular religion as binding on him as a part of that religion, nor should a man be looked at askance for non-compliance with it. This fact especially needs enforcement in India, where customs that are entirely local, or very modern, are apt to be identified with Hinduism in the minds of their followers, and any Hindus who do not accept them are looked upon as somewhat inferior, even as unorthodox. Such customs, even if much valued and found useful by their adherents, should not be considered as generally binding, and should fall into the class of non-essentials. It has been well said that while in things essential there should be unity, in things non-essential there should be liberty, and in all things there should be charity. Were that wise rule followed by each, we should hear less of the religious antagonisms and sectarian disputes that bring shame on the very word ‘religion’. That which ought to unite has been the ever-springing source of division, until many have impatiently shaken off all religion as being man’s worst enemy, the introducer everywhere of strife and hatred.”

The audiences at Mrs. Besant’s lectures are always enthusiastic but on these four mornings they were unusually so: the crowds were tremendous, the Hall crowded to suffocation, and the applause was constant and tumultuous. [103] As we pass in review all the various religious systems that have been taught to humanity, including the four treated by Mrs. Besant in this course of lectures, the thoughtful mind is struck with the fact that the vulgar, or popular, aspect of each is essentially what we might call the “geocentric”, i.e., that they deal only with this planet and its inhabitants; the view of the Problem of Existence is narrow, circumscribed and insufficient to give one the smallest grasp of the great scheme of cosmic evolution. In Buddhism alone—the popular form, I mean, not the esoteric—we are taught in so many words that “there are whole Sakawalas or systems of worlds, of various kinds, higher and lower, and also that the inhabitants of each world correspond in development with itself.”[7]

There is nothing geocentric in such a teaching as that, it is essentially cosmical. Other religions, as interpreted by the occultist, contain the same root idea, but without the help of such an interpreter the idea lies hidden and the religion is seen only in its geocentric aspect. The supreme majesty of The Secret Doctrine lies in the fact that it makes our world and the planetary system to which it belongs the type of the general cosmical scheme; and that its expositions of that scheme are scientific, reasonable and axiomatic; that it embodies the [104]. principles of perfect justice, perfect equilibrium and—with the keys of Karma and Reincarnation—perfect comprehensibility; hence the legacy that has been bequeathed, to posterity by H. P. Blavatsky in reviving that ancient teaching is rich beyond compute.[8] This teaching allows our awakened intelligence to soar as high as we respectively can with our developed powers, and to get at least glimpses of our kinship with all beings who inhabit the orbs of space. It was the glimmering perception of this teaching that was to come that induced the Founders of the Theosophical Society to make the corner-stone of the movement the idea of the essential brotherhood of mankind. As we have said numberless times, it never entered into our heads to imagine that there could be any perfect brotherhood of men of various races and environments on the physical plane; that was but a dream of Utopia: but we did know that, on the super-physical plane, sex, color, nationality, prejudice and religious animosities did not exist. We knew that the disturbing factors above enumerated are but the temporary obstacles begotten of physical existence, whose power would be completely lost if men could [105] be persuaded to identify themselves with that indwelling divine entity or Higher Self, which when it mounts to its own plane, looks down upon the dash and turmoil of human society, as the soaring eagle “from his mansion in the sun” distinguishes, like multitudes of crawling ants that are moving over the earth below, within their respective barriers of limitation, the nations who fight each other for possession of its surface.




AT the Convention of 1896, the closing scenes and adjournment of which have just been noticed, Mrs. Besant brought up a matter of real importance to which no allusion has yet been made. The Official Report says:

“Mrs. Besant laid before the Convention a scheme set on foot by a Svami who for the last 13 years had been travelling over Northern India endeavoring to collect manuscripts in Sanskrit and other vernaculars for custody in the Adyar Library. In commending the scheme, she pointed out the danger which existed of such valuable books being lost and destroyed; she stated that the Svami had succeeded in cataloguing a vast number of manuscripts, giving name, author, summary of contents, and particulars of where such manuscripts were to be found. She further emphasised the necessity for taking immediate steps to assist in this direction, pointing out to [107] what great extent it would facilitate the execution of the second Object of the Theosophical Society. She expressed the wish that Adyar should be made into a centre of Eastern knowledge as also of real literary scholarship; and she hoped that each member would do his best to further the scheme.”

I am very sorry to say that for a number of years I have heard nothing whatever about this Indian ascetic-scholar and the progress of his extremely valuable work. If anyone else does know, I should be grateful for any information they might be willing to convey to me. For it has always seemed to me that one of the noblest ideals of our Society would be to create at Adyar an Oriental library that would rank with the best in the world at this time and bear comparison with some of those of the past. Neither of us Founders ever made or tried to make Adyar a school of mystical study or yogic development: it was not in accord with the temperament of either of us two; Adyar was made and always will be a throbbing centre of vital force to circulate throughout all the ramifications of the Theosophical movement, keeping it in strong healthy action; thus doing for the physical body of the Society what the nerve-fluid engendered in the brain and spinal cord does for the whole body of a man when pumped through the nerves to the extremities by the pulsations of the principle of life. The true ashram [108] and yogic centre of this and all other world-moving activities is where the White Lodge has its stations for developing and distributing throughout our globe and its inhabitants the currents of evolutionary Divine Force. And then we must not forget that a spiritual centre is not of necessity at Benares or Jerusalum, at Lhassa or Medina, at Rome or Hardwar or any other locality which men consider the holiest: at all these places one sees too often exhibited the vilest phase of human nature, enough to putrefy the atmosphere and poison the soil, spiritually speaking. The Holy of Holies is in the heart of the perfect man, and such an one as that carries with him wherever he goes the benign influence which one would hope to find at these various sanctuaries of the different religions.

Since Tibet has been invaded and Lhassa more or less ransacked without the finding of a single Mahatma, caged or loose, the Western press and some of their Indian copyists have been making sport of the poor Theosophists for their gullibility and implying that their leaders had been guilty of deception in affirming that the headquarters of the Elder Brothers was in Tibet: we have had the same nonsense before in the books of Knight and other travellers.[9] [109] Of course it was sheer nonsense for these marauders and travellers to imagine for one moment that Mahatmas were kept on show, like the beasts at the Zoo, for the inspection of the public: nor was there one chance in ten thousand that if they had met a Mahatma they would have been able to recognise him. It might be as well for our sceptical critics to take the first Bible that comes in their way and read and ponder upon what is said in St. Luke XXIV, 16 and 31; this “holding” and “opening” of eyes is practised now as successfully as it was in ancient times, even at Salpétrière and Nancy. The fact is—as I was told many years ago—the headquarters of the White Lodge is shifted from place to place according to the exigencies of occult management; it used to be in Arabia Petræa but two years before the British came to possess themselves of Egypt it was removed to Tibet, not to Lhassa but to another place. When H. P. B. and I were preparing to come to India, arrangements were in progress for the removal of the White Lodge from Tibet to another retreat where there was the minimum of chance of their being disturbed by any of these movings of pawns across the political chequer-board. The inaccuracy of the editors who have been talking about Lhassa as the “Mecca of [110] Theosophy” will be apparent from what has been said above.

I make this digression purposely to enter my protest against a wretched tendency that I have now and again noticed to speak of Adyar as though it should be first and foremost a sort of sacred School of the Prophets, in ignorance of its real relation to the movement.

It goes without saying that I would be delighted beyond measure to have some really holy man of developed spiritual powers settling here and carrying on a school of spiritual instruction: I would give him every needed facility for carrying on his work and for his comfort and that of his disciples; but with my temperament—that of an executive officer and practical manager—it would be only shallow hypocrisy in me if I were to set myself up to figure in such a capacity; as much so as it would be ridiculous for such an ascetic to undertake to relieve me for a month or a week of my Presidential duties. All of us have our tasks assigned us in the Society, and it will be a glorious day when we can all realize the fact and not keep interfering in our neighbor’s business in the childish notion that we are equally clever in all kinds of human activity.

Now there is nothing to prevent the idea of Mrs. Besant, as noted in the above quotation, [111] from being carried out and Adyar made “a centre of Eastern knowledge and real literary scholarship”, nor ought there to be any reason why each member should not “do his best to further the scheme.” We have made a great stride in that direction already by the completion of the Adyar Library, the gathering together of a highly valuable collection of Oriental works, and, thanks to the generosity of Senor Fuente and others, the creation of a fund for its upkeep. But, as Mr. Mead says in the May (1905) Theosophical Review: “Money will do the Adyar Library no good till it has men to make it of use.” What we now need is a Director of known scholarship and other qualifications, and more books—always more books. In this respect every member of the Society who will take to heart Mrs. Besant’s expressed wish can help.

Mrs. Besant did what she could at the time to bring the Svami’s scheme to fruition. In the Supplement to The Theosophist for April, 1897, will be found an editorial acknowledgment of the issue by her of a leaflet bearing the title of The Sanskrit Pustakonnati Sabha, explaining the project. She says that, having the consent and approval of the President of the T. S., the Adyar Library will be the chief centre for MSS. thus collected, but “branch offices will be established [112] in the Punjab and in the N. W. P., at which MSS. will be temporarily stored, and at which the work of cataloguing will be carried on. A learned and devoted Svami has, for the past thirteen years, been engaged in the preparation of a complete catalogue of valuable MSS., containing full information concerning each. It was at the request of this Svami that Mrs. Besant consented to take the outer charge of this scheme, and she will be thankful for assistance from friends willing to aid in collecting or copying rare manuscripts or sending particulars concerning them.” For the details of Mrs. Besant’s leaflet, readers may refer to the Supplement in question.

Our story now brings us across the threshold of the year 1897, in some respects an eventful one in our history. Her work at Adyar being finished, Mrs. Besant sailed for Calcutta on the 4th January in a P. and O. steamer. On the same day I wrote to the Health Officer of Bombay, Dr. T. S. Weir, offering my services without pay to help him in any way desired, whether in office or hospital or otherwise, in fighting the Bubonic Plague which had shortly before that made its first appearance and nevertheless up to that time 1,700 people had died of it and it seemed to be growing worse: one local paper said “Bombay [113]is now a hell.” In Dr. Weir’s answer, received on the 27th of the same month, January, he says: “The present outbreak is, I believe, over, and the incidence of the cases has been so scattered that there has been very little opportunity for segregation or treatment. If there is another outbreak you might do useful work in opening a Theosophical hospital. All who have come here are astonished that the mortality has been so low and they apprehend that there may be a further stage in the disease. At any rate our measures have been successful to a degree that we could not have expected.

Thanking you very much for your sympathy, etc.”

Having done what I conceived my duty in making the offer, I took no further steps; a policy to which I was strongly urged by numerous protests sent in by colleagues in different parts of the world, who maintained that I had no right to jeopardise a life that was pledged to the Society’s work in any side schemes of philanthropy. Dr. Weir’s letter shows very clearly how feeble a conception of the appalling possibilities of this scourge of the race was held at the time by men of science. By an interesting coincidence I read in my morning paper of today (June 7th, 1905) a quotation from the Bombay Times of India to [114] the effect that: “last year over a million people died of plague in India; and if the average of the statistics for the first four months of this year is maintained, there is every reason to fear that two million people will be destroyed by plague before the year closes. These are appalling figures. They signify an amount of suffering and misery and human agony, of decimated families and ruined homes and bereaved lives, the full significance of which it is difficult to grasp.”

At about this time my distinguished scientific friend, Colonel de Rochas, Administrator of the Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, sent me for The Theosophist a copy of the official report of the scientific observation on the mediumship of Eusapia Paladino, the Italian medium for physical phenomena, which I had translated and published in the issue of the magazine for May, 1897. I quote the following paragraph for its significance to those of our readers who are familiar with the science of yoga: “At the end of 7 or 8 minutes keeping the hands on the table, Eusapia lifts hers and holds them outstretched over the table at a distance of about 10 centimetres from the same, and it follows, with a tilting motion, the hands of Eusapia, who makes us notice that she neither touches it with her hands, legs or feet. She asks Mr. Lefranc to lean on the uplifted part so [115] that he may realize what force is needed to press it down.”

Of the six siddhis enumerated by Patanjali are two, Laghima and Garima, dealing with the weight of bodies; by the exercise of the former power a body may be deprived of its weight and made “as light as a thistle-down,” in the latter its weight is so abnormally increased that not even a Sandow could lift a small bamboo stand from the floor: in short the yogi who has developed Laghima and Garima is able to modify as he pleases the gravity of any given object. In the experiment with Eusapia at Choisy-Yvrac, under notice, the medium causes the table to tilt without being touched by her and she asks Mr. Lefranc to satisfy himself what measure of force was being used. A lady clairvoyant, Mme. Agullana, who was present said that: “at the beginning of the séance, when the table was raised she saw a luminous ball projected by the spirit under the table and lifting it.” However this may be, the statement is interesting from a scientific point of view. The reader may remember my description[10] of the experiments made by Madame Blavatsky and myself to test the Laghima power of a woman medium named Mrs. Young, at New York. H. P. B. and I were commissioned by a committee of the professors of [116] the St. Petersburgh University to find a medium who would be able to produce spiritualistic phenomena under test conditions: an order to that effect having been given by H. I. M. the late Czar. Mrs. Young had the strange power of making her “spirits” raise and move a heavy piano as though it were without weight. Sitting at it and playing, she would cause it to rise and fall on its outer legs, keeping time to her music. Or she would go to one end of the piano and cause the instrument to be lifted and lowered by the invisible agent by merely laying her hand lightly upon it; she would permit as many of those present as chose to put their own hand under the piano-case and, lightly laying her own hand against theirs, make the “spirit” lift the instrument. All of us who tried the experiment testified that neither we nor she put out the least muscular force to accomplish this phenomenon. The second time that H. P. B. and I went to her I took in my pocket an uncooked hen’s egg which, at my request, she held in the palm of her hand against the under side of the piano-case and caused the invisibles to raise it: to complete the test she allowed me to hold it in my own hand, placed her hand against the back of mine, told the piano to rise, and it did so. I doubt if there is to be found in history a more convincing proof of the correctness of Patanjali’s assertion of the existence of this [117] Laghima power. I can certify at any rate that there was not a feather-weight of pressure exerted by me or by the medium in the experiment: the heavy piano was like thistle-down.

To return to the plague. The late Tookaram Tatya and Mr. P. D. Khan, who happily still survives, had an idea that they could cure the fell disease by the help of the psychopathic process, i.e., by mesmeric passes and the giving out of mesmerised water, but on the 12th of January of the year under review Dr. Richardson wrote me that they had abandoned their attempt and that most of our members had fled from Bombay. In fact, at the time everybody was leaving the city who could get away, a panic prevailing. Eight subsequent years of familiarity with the destroying pestilence have so inured the Bombay people to its presence that when I revisited the city three months ago I was perfectly amazed to see how unconcernedly the whole population was going about its business as though such a thing as plague did not exist.

On the 16th of January our Russian literary friend, Mr. Vigornitsky bade us good-bye to return to Russia. I was very much gratified to receive by the incoming foreign mail of the next day a letter from my old friend, the late Mr. Charles A.Dana, who was editorial manager of the old N. Y. Tribune before the outbreak of the civil war (1859—60) [118] when I held the position of Agricultural Editor, and who was Assistant Secretary of War, under the late Edwin M. Stanton, during a part of the term of my Special Commissionership of that Department. His letter brought back with a rush those closed chapters of my life, when the Theosophical movement was not yet thought of and to which my mind had not reverted for many years. The fact is, and I feel it more and more every time I go on Western tours, I have become so absorbed by India and identified with her life and aspirations that it comes as a sort of shock when I meet very old acquaintances in distant countries.

On the 21st of January Mr. P. D. Khan wrote me that the Bombay Health Officer had accepted Dr. Richardson’s offer of service in connection with the plague: evidently Dr. Weir’s opinion as to the plague’s having already been got under subjection had already changed. Since the subject is up it may as well be stated that although our dear Dr. Richardson helped combat the pestilence a full half year, even handling the patients and having them die in his arms, he did not fall a victim. He was one of “God’s good men” and his karma preserved him to do all the work that he has for the Central Hindu College. With the valuable help of my friend Mrs. Salzer, I was able to issue at about this time an English translation of Commandant [119] Courmes’ Questionnaire Theosophique, a useful book for beginners, and especially useful in France, where the general public are too much occupied in the pursuit of worldly things to devote close attention to religious and philosophical books.

It will be remembered that as a practical outcome of the Chicago Parliament of Religions, a wealthy lady of Chicago, a Mrs. Haskell, created a fund the income of which was to be devoted to the sending biennially to India of one of the ablest lecturers on Christianity, in the hope that by giving discourses in the principal Indian cities an interest in the religion might be created among the class of educated Brahmins who had resisted all the attempts of the ordinary missionary to draw them away from their ancestral faith. Although she probably did not know it, this was exactly the motive behind the creation of the special missions of clever University graduates sent out by Oxford and Cambridge, with but indifferent results. Her choice for the first missioner was no less a person than the famous Rev. John Henry Barrows, the organizer and chief personage connected with that wonderful religious congress, the Parliament of Religions, at which for the first time in history the representatives of all the world’s faiths had the opportunity given them of a free platform from which they could expound the foundations of their [120] creeds. Naturally enough, the name of this gentleman had been made familiar to educated Hindus by the reports of the Chicago Parliament and it was a judicious move on Mrs. Haskell’s part to send him out to introduce the subject of her Foundation in this country. Prior to his arrival at Madras, the missionary friends who were managing his tour addressed themselves to leading representatives of the different religious communities to get them to form an eclectic Reception Committee. I being the only prominent Buddhist at Madras was offered and accepted a place on the committee. The members severally represented the Hindu, Parsi, Mohammedan, Buddhist, Brahmo and Protestant Christian communities, European and Indian. In due course Dr. Barrows arrived and gave six lectures on Christianity and its comparison with other faiths, which were universally recognized as very scholarly and eloquent, but distinctly adapted to the Western rather than to the Eastern mind. As a newspaper report says: “They were listened to by the best Indians of the different sects and races with respectful attention throughout, and the demeanour of the audiences was an all-sufficient proof of the grateful regard felt for Dr. Barrows personally, for his eclectic hospitality to the spokesmen of Oriental faiths, at the renowned Chicago Parliament.” As Dr. Barrows had rendered our [121] Society efficient help towards the holding of a Theosophical Congress at Chicago, I felt personally and officially indebted to him and as he made our relations at Adyar entirely cordial, I invited him with Mrs. Barrows, the Rev. Mr. Kellett and several other missionary gentlemen and ladies, to breakfast. At the close of his sixth and last lecture, the vote of thanks and words of farewell were offered by myself at the request of my colleagues on the Committee. Of course no reasonable man would have expected from either myself or any other representative of an Eastern religion to give to the lectures that unreserved concurrence that would have been the proper thing in the case of a Christian speaker. In my remarks I aimed at giving voice to the affectionate sentiment that had been aroused in the Eastern heart by Mrs. Haskell’s generous act, at the same time trying to point out the practical difficulties that lay in the way of the fruition of her scheme. After his return to his home Dr. Barrows published an interesting travel-book called A World-Pilgrimage, edited by his sweet and sympathetic wife, a copy of which was kindly sent me. In his bright account[11] of his Madras visit he says: “After my closing lecture, Colonel Olcott, the Founder and President of the Theosophical Society, moved, by appointment of [122] the Reception Committee the vote of thanks. His words were hearty and generous; but in the middle of his address he turned aside to make a strong attack on the sins of Christendom and particularly on the English government in India. He asserted that Christianity could make little progress while the British army immoralities, the collection of revenue from the demoralising liquor and opium traffics, and the taxation of starving peasants to build Christian cathedrals continued. In my closing remarks I endeavoured to take the sting out of these assertions by saying that these and other sins of Christendom were quite as familiar to us as to non-Christians. We reprobated them, denounced them as un-Christian, and fought them wherever they appeared; and I reminded my hearers that the most potent voice heard in India during the last winter, calling upon the British government to amend its ways, was the voice of a Christian Englishman, Mr. W. S. Caine.”

I confess to a feeling of sadness when reading these lines, for they showed me that Dr. Barrows had either misunderstood my remarks or had trusted to a treacherous memory instead of to the verbatim report which appeared the next day in the Madras papers. As my feelings for the distinguished gentleman were always very friendly, as our relations were cordial and as, now that he is dead and [123] gone, I send a loving thought after him and to his devoted wife who survives him, I think it no more than right that those of my readers who have also seen Dr. Barrows’ book should have the chance to see exactly what I did say. I therefore quote as follows: “President-Founder of the Theosophical Society said that the Barrows’ Reception Committee being composed of the representatives of several sects, his colleagues had asked him as the representative of the Theosophical Society, which was eclectic and not sectarian in its character, to offer thanks to the Rev. Dr. Barrows for his scholarly and brilliant discourses. More especially, thanks were due to him in connection with the Parliament of Religions which was an event unique in the history of the world. This placed the people of the Orient under peculiar obligations to him personally and it was the sense of that which made us joyfully serve on the Committee, all being alike benefited by the great coming together at Chicago at his call. To him the Orientals owed it that the representatives of Buddhism, Brahminism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Brahmoism, etc., were able to explain and expound their several views to the world; to him that Chakravarti, Vivekananda, Dharmapala, Gandhi, Mozumdar, Nagarcar and the Japanese Buddhists wereenabled to speak on behalf of different nations and cults, and that they were [124] able to travel throughout the United States, as some of them were still doing. Not by force of arms, as the Roman Cæsars used to get together at Rome and load with chains the fearsome idols of conquered nations, but by a word of love and brotherhood he had gathered together the priests and missionaries of all the ancient Eastern faiths, and caused them to be respectfully listened to by monster audiences. He, the speaker, as President of the Theosophical Society, was under special obligations to Dr. Barrows, for he had made it possible for us to hold a Theosophical Congress which was one of the greatest successes of the Parliament. India had proved her gratitude by the respectful attention paid to Dr. Barrows in all the places of his tour. Though they might not agree with Dr. Barrows in his religious opinions, still they would all bear testimony to the fact of his conscientious, courageous yet kind manner of expression to them of the merits of his religion, and from the standpoint of that faith he had done his best to persuade the people here to accept it as the world-wide religion. Mrs. Haskell could not have chosen a better messenger than Dr. Barrows nor one half so good for her purpose, for he had won their gratitude in advance. As to the possible results of his mission no prophecy could be ventured upon. He had sown his seed and the harvest was beyond any man’s control. As the [125] spokesman of the Eastern people some wished him (Colonel Olcott) to say that, despite Mrs. Haskell’s personal anxiety for their spiritual welfare, they were not likely to exchange their ancient faiths for any other which was not better, and they were waiting for the evidence that such an one existed. He asked Dr. Barrows to give Mrs. Haskell an idea of the serious obstacles that her lecturers would inevitably meet in the carrying on of her benevolent design. The Indians loved and respected her for her unselfish piety and generous endeavours to spread her religion. That it was not their religion did not matter at all; she believed in it and every pious Oriental would respect her for it. But she must not expect to accomplish the impossible. Christianity was shown to India under certain most repugnant aspects; for instance, in the increase of drunkenness and crime, as shown in the increase of the revenue from spirits, from 57 lacs[12] in 1870, to 139 lacs in 1896; in the bestial immorality of the army, neglect of which had just been denounced in Parliament as a “national sin”; in the compulsory support of the Ecclesiastical Establishment, at a cost of Rs. 1,16,000 per mensem, althougn it is the open and avowed foe of all their religions; and finally, in the inconsistent and too often wicked lives led by many so-called Christians. Besides [126] these, there were various other obstacles, all familiar to every old missionary, and Mrs. Haskell ought not to be left in ignorance of their existence, lest her noble heart should be filled with grief for the failure of her agents in India. Addressing Dr. Barrows, Colonel Olcott said: ‘And now farewell, our noble American brother. By your bold defence of your religion you have increased instead of lessened the respect of the Madras public, for you have shown the sincerity of your convictions, and have spoken out as plainly as our messengers did at your Parliament of Religions. Farewell you, who have come so far and spoken so well. The heart of India, grateful for your past kindnesses, will warm on thinking of you, and the people send after you their wishes for your health and happiness.’ A thunder of applause, which followed the speaker as he resumed his seat, testified most clearly that he had voiced the feelings of the Indian community towards Dr. Barrows. That gentleman then rose and with evident emotion, thanked Col. Olcott on behalf of Mrs. Haskell, the University of Chicago and himself, for his ‘noble and generous’ remarks, and the Madras public for their close attention to his lectures. He said that he should never forget the kindness he had received at Madras and throughout India, and bade the audience farewell.” [127] Just in time for notice, the Bengalee for June 14th (1905) came to hand with the following citation on a recent optimistic speech of Lord Radstock, which closely resembles my presentation of the case in 1897:

“SPEAKING at the recent meeting of the Christian Literature Society for India, held at Exeter Hall, Lord Radstock, speaking with the experience begotten of five proselytizing expeditions to India, said that ‘there was among the educated natives very little opposition to Christ or the Christian ideal.’ In fact that ideal was largely permeating the whole of India. Lord Radstock did not however say whether in the course of his repeated visits to India, he had found anything from which he could draw the inference that the Christian ideal also permeated as ‘largely’ these of his lordship’s own countrymen, who are out here to make money. Did his lordship find the average Anglo-Indian a model Christian, especially in his dealings with the natives of the country? It is quite true that the educated Indian has no hostility to Christianity, far less to its Founder who, he honestly believes, must have drawn his inspiration from some Indian ascetic. But it is no less true that with all his regard and veneration for the character of the ‘Carpenter of Nazareth,’ the educated Indian never had less inclination to become a convert to Christianity than [128] he has at the present time. Our missionary friends are very much mistaken if they are laying the flattering unction to their souls that the disappearance of hostility to Christianity will prove the prelude to the acceptance of Christianity by our educated countrymen.”

On the 31st of January I began work on a new edition of the Buddhist Catechism—the 33rd, and the last extended revision of the work that I have made: it is the one in which I divide the matter into five general categories. This work involved a good deal of careful consideration and it was not until the last week in March that I was able to get it out of the hands of the printers. Simultaneously I had to work on the English edition of Commandant Courmes Questionnaire and some other French translations.

The Swami Vivekananda, who had recently returned after a long absence in America and England, received an enthusiastic popular welcome. If I remember aright I was also a member of his committee and was disposed to aid the Hindus in every way in showing appreciation of what he had done to make the name of India honored abroad. But he had got it into his head that I had been inimical and even malicious towards him, and—considering the position I occupied among his countrymen—most indiscreetly launched out in his [129] public lecture against myself, the Society, and Mrs. Besant, speaking of her most disrespectfully and unappreciatively. It was a great mistake and excusable only on the score of his comparative youth and inexperience in public affairs; it certainly did him harm and called forth many expressions of sympathy for us. However, he too has gone prematurely to his account in the other world and nothing more need be said: Karma can take care of its own affairs without our help.




A FEW days after the events above narrated there arrived at Adyar a gentleman whose connection with us was brought about in the most singular way. His name was Augustus F. K. He was of mixed Norwegian and Scotch parentage and his father was a wealthy owner of sugar and other estates and a sugar factory on Kauai, one of the Sandwich[13] Islands. The son had been educated at Harvard and on his return from college had been put in charge of one of the paternal estates. He was of a very thoughtful mind, deeply interested in the religious problem, over which he had long and deeply brooded. His intellectual strivings had carried him far along the right path, but still, with all his desire and earnestness he could not get beyond a certain point; the nature of the Universe, the origin of things, and the explanation of existing social problems, puzzled him and brought him to a full stop. In this mood of mind, riding on his horse over the plantation one day, he [131] said to himself, “Where can I get this puzzle solved, how can I learn the truth?” The answer came in a most unexpected and phenomenal way. Glancing up at the sky, he saw the word “India” as if it were written in space. He rubbed his eyes, shut them to see whether it was an illusion, opened them again and saw the word still imprinted on the sky. He did not at once connect this with his self-question, but was rather inclined to ascribe it to some mental disturbance. After a time the letters faded out and the day’s business went on as usual. But the word “India” seemed to haunt him; he saw it in the embers of the wood fire at night, among the leaves of the trees, sometimes on the ground. The repetition of this experience at last forced him to recognise that some powerful intelligence or other, whether subjective or objective, was indicating to him that in India he could get the reading of his puzzles. So after a while he managed so to arrange his affairs as to leave him free to absent himself from home, and he took his passage for India by a mail steamer. When the ship was some days at sea the impression came to him that before reaching Hong Kong he would find out where to go in India and whom to seek.

As usual on those Pacific boats, there were several missionaries China-bound among K.’s fellow-passengers. According to the custom of their class they [132] spent their time on shipboard in theological discussions and the singing of hymns. One pleasant evening they drew out my friend on the subject of religion and he gave them his views, which were not at all satisfactory to their orthodox proclivities. When, finally, they went below, a man who had been sitting quietly listening without taking part in the discussion—in short, the Purser—came over to K. and said: “I see you are a Theosophist.”

“A Theosophist,” he replied, “what is that? I hardly know what you mean?”

“Why,” said the Purser, “those views that you have been expressing are pure Theosophy.”

“I don’t know what you may call them,” answered K. “but they are the conclusions to which I have arrived by independent thinking and without taking them out of books. As for Theosophy, I have read nothing or almost nothing about it.”

“Since you are going to India,” continued the Purser, “I suppose you are bound for Madras to see Colonel Olcott.”

“No, I know nothing about him; I am just going to India to gratify a notion of mine and without any definite plan.”

“Well, if you want to learn about Theosophy you must go and talk with the Colonel; he is the man who can tell you all you want to know. He crossed [133] the Pacific once with me in this ship, and if you like I will give you a letter of introduction.”

This strange fulfilment of his subjective premonition impressed K. so that he took the letter and in due time reached Madras. He went to a hotel but did not make his presence known until the second day after, for with hereditary caution he did not care to expose his private thoughts and aspirations to a stranger who might prove to be an undesirable acquaintance and guide. Meanwhile, he enquired of the hotel people, who spoke well of me, and of a fellow-guest, an influential civilian, who told him that he need not hesitate to call on me, for I bore a good character and was on the Government House list. Thereupon the visitor from Hawaii took a carriage, came to Adyar and sent up his card. I received him down in the main hall and we began a very interesting conversation. As we sat together on the bench, I received, subjectively, a message to the effect that this young man had been sent to me for a purpose. So at the end of the interview I invited him to fetch his luggage from the hotel and become my guest for any time, longer or shorter, as he might choose: I would make him free of the library and give him as much time as I could spare to clearing up the difficulties that were troubling his mind. He accepted the invitation, came, and was with us about a year; [134] during which time he became thoroughly acquainted with our Theosophical literature and an ardent member of the Society. At the end of the time specified he was recalled by cable in consequence of his father’s death. This was one of the most interesting cases within my experience. This young man had gone along the Path step by step, thinking out the whole occult scheme of evolution as far as he could go without the help of the one and only key, the one with two wards—Karma and Reincarnation: when this idea was once grasped he was in possession of the means of solving every mental doubt and difficulty.

It is most interesting to look back and see how some of our staunchest and most useful workers have been brought, often by unconsidered trifles or seeming accidents, into the Theosophical movement. To begin at the beginning, it was my unpremeditated purchase of a copy of the Banner of Light which took me to Chittenden, brought H. P. B. and myself into contact, and led to the formation of our Society; it was the sending of a book to Mrs. Besant for review that brought her ultimately out of the camp of Materialism into that of Theosophy. The lesson to learn is that the Watchers who concern themselves with human affairs and special movements among men know how to turn the future worker into the path that leads to our door. [135] There is a certain class of people who are so afraid of over-stepping the narrow boundaries of scientific orthodoxy that they at once try to explain away such facts as the above by the childish theory of “curious coincidences”. If anybody wishes to know how sarcastically H. P. B. could write upon this theme let them refer to Isis Unveiled[14]. She says: “In Mr. Proctor’s book, astronomers seem especially doomed by Providence to encounter all kinds of curious ‘coincidences,’ for he gives us many cases out of the ‘multitude’ and even of the ‘thousands’ of facts (sic). To this list we may add the army of Egyptologists and archæologists who of late have been the chosen pets of the capricious Dame Chance, who, moreover, generally selects ‘well-to-do Arabs’ and other Eastern gentlemen to play the part of benevolent genii to Oriental scholars in difficulties. Professor Ebers is one of the latest favoured ones. It is a well-known fact, that whenever Champollion needed important links he fell in with them in the most various and unexpected ways.” Defending the theory that the Universe is governed by law, she quotes Voltaire’s saying: “I have consumed forty years of my pilgrimage... seeking the philosopher’s stone called truth... I still remain in ignorance... all that I have been able to [136] obtain... is this: Chance is a word void of sense. The world is arranged according to mathematical law.” A couplet which she puts at the head of this chapter reflects as perfectly as possible her temperament:

Who dares think one thing and another tell

My heart detests him as the gates of hell!


As stated in the previous chapter, there was a good deal of excitement in Madras at this time over Vivekananda, on his return to India after a prolonged absence in America and England. I am very sorry that I cannot put my hand upon a copy of the Hindu for 8th February, 1897, which contained a splendid criticism upon the bad taste of Vivekananda in coarsely attacking Mrs. Besant and our Society: as I said, previously, he hurt himself far more than he did us. He seems to have found that out for, on reaching Calcutta, in the course of a superb speech, referring to his venerated guru, Ramakrishna, he said:

“If there has been anything achieved by me, by thoughts, or words, or deeds; if from my lips has ever fallen one word that has helped anyone in the world, I lay no claim to it, it was his. But if there have been curses falling from my lips, if there has been hatred coming out of me, it was all mine, and not his. All that has been weak has been mine, and all that has been life-giving, strengthening, pure [137] and holy, has been his inspiration, his words, and he himself.”

This change of sentiment led me to address a letter to the Indian public through the Hindu of March 7th, in which I said:

“If he keeps his feet on the golden carpet of love that is spread in his superb Calcutta address, he will have the goodwill and help of every Theosophist.”

On the 11th March, the then Governor of Madras, Sir Arthur E. Havelock, with an aide-de-camp and some European friends, visited our pioneer Pariah school. In an address signed by P. Armogam Pillay, Manager; P. Krishnaswamy, Headmaster; T. Satchuthanunthum, Assistant Master; and T. Tiruvady Pillay, Committee Manager, it was stated that the school was opened in June, 1894; that in the first year of its recognition by Government, 1895, fourteen pupils were presented for Result Grant examination, of whom twelve passed creditably; that in 1896, out of twenty-four children examined, twenty-three passed. His Excellency and friends expressed themselves as highly pleased with what they saw, and on the following day the Governor sent to the Manager and Head Master the following letter:

To the Manager and Head Master, Olcott Free School. [138] Gentlemen,—In regard to my visit of yesterday to the Olcott Free School, and the Report on its principles and working which was then read to me, I wish to say that I listened to that Report with interest, and that I considered the scheme of training an excellent one, likely, if carried out, to produce most useful results. I will add that Colonel Olcott’s effort to benefit this class is worthy of praise and should elicit the sympathy of everyone interested in its improvement.

I am,

Government House, Gentlemen,

Guindy, Yours faithfully,

12th March, 1897. (Signed) A. E. HAVELOCK.

As I had no Private Secretary at that time I had to work double tides in preparing matter for The Theosophist, writing “Diary Leaves,” working on the revision of the Buddhist Catechism and disposing of my heavy correspondence. Among the articles written was one entitled “The Coming Calamities,” provoked by the pessimistic prophecies of Mlle. Couëdon, A pseudonymous writer in L’Initiation for February, 1897, proved by an assemblage of facts that from twenty to thirty seers and seeresses, chiefly modern, have prophesied the most direful woes to France, Europe in general, the Papacy and, in fact, to the whole globe. Crops are to fail; famine rage; plague—imported from Asia— [139] sweep away half the population within the brief space of forty to fifty days; a fell disease that science cannot even diagnose, let alone cure, to affect men, animals, even plants; France was to be again invaded, debased, trampled down and dishonored, yet revive under the leadership of a Bourbon prince, whose personal description is given, even to unimportant details, such as his lameness in one foot; Paris is to be overwhelmed, her splendid monuments and public buildings are to be upset and made piles of dust and crumbled fragments; the river Seine is to run red with blood, shed by fratricidal hands, and the Père Mectou, one of the prophets, as pessimistic as the creator of the solitary New Zealander in devastated London, says that fathers will point out to their children the site of once splendid Paris and say: “Here stood a great city which God destroyed because of its crimes.” To add to the dread horrors of the doomed gay capital there is to be a pall of darkness enwrapping it for three consecutive days, a darkness that “no artificial illuminant shall be able to overcome; and a reign of sulphur, or poisonous sulphurous acid gas which shall stifle the wicked: the good having been warned in advance to flee from the dies irœ.” Now the coincidence and concurrence of these numerous prophecies is a fact to strike the attention of even the cursory student of mysticism and history. For [140] the very calamities prefigured by our modern psychics were anticipated, even to minute details, by Nostradamus in the sixteenth century. The facts are too striking to be explained away as accidental, and, as I say in my article: “it looks as if one idea—whether true or false, time will prove—had been put into the heads of prophets and prophetesses or into their hands or mouths, that France and her joy-provoking capital, Paris, would be crushed and the population slain by war, plague, pestilence, atmospheric meteors and famine, at about the close of the Nineteenth Century... What makes these modern prophecies more interesting to a Hindu is their perfect agreement with those in the Puranas as to be expected at this end of the first 5000 years cycle of Kali Yuga.” I might have been tempted to pass these by but for the radical change which has been wrought in the equilibrium of the European political world by the marvellous triumphs of Japan on sea and land, the mutterings of coming battle between Germany and France, and the desperate haste shown in the new military arrangement in India in view of the possible contingency of a Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Then we have the secession of Norway from Sweden, the bloody revolution ready to break out in Russia, the other which may wrest Hungary from Austria on the death of the ruling sovereign, and other [141] faithful portents of national and international disturbance.

As above noticed, the terrestrial calamities foreseen by the prophets were to be accompanied by atmospheric cataclysms and portents, e.g., the pall of darkness for three consecutive days, the rain of sulphur, and the evolution of poisonous gases which should stifle the wicked. As for this latter, we need go back no further than the eruption of Mount Pélè which was accompanied by an outpouring of stifling gas which destroyed, virtually, the whole population of Saint Pierre.

But besides seismic and other disturbances, many great catastrophes to nations and cities and ruling sovereigns have been accompanied by most extraordinary heavenly portents. Nostradamus predicted that the French catastrophes—those of the French revolution—would be ushered in by a comet, and their subsidence by the appearance of a sort of Star of Bethlehem. Similar predictions were made by the Prince Höhenlohe, in 1830, and the Curé de Malétable has put on record some prophecies of supplementary catastrophes, as has also our latest Cassandra, Mlle. Couedon. If we are to believe the author of that quaint work, Curiositës Infernales, the war waged by the French for the conquest of Naples was preceded by a celestial disturbance hardly ever equalled: “Three suns appeared at [142] night in the sky of Apulia, surrounded by clouds, horrible lightnings and thunderings.” In the territory of Arezza multitudes of spectres of armed men on horseback, with a deafening clamor of trumpets and drums, thronged the heavens. The Milanese horrors were preceded by a fall of twelve hundred great hailstones of the color of rusted iron, extremely hard and smelling of sulphur, one of them weighed sixty pounds, another twice as much. When Cardinal Ximenes was starting on the campaign against the Moors of Barbary a cross shone in the sky over the village of Vaiona, where he was, and was a presage of victory; on his embarking on the sea the cross showed itself over the African coast. Arluno states (in his Histoire de Milan) that a little before the capture of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, clashings of arms, sounds of drums and blasts of trumpets sounded around the castle; fire-balls dashed against the walls, and spectral dogs and other animals rushed barking and crying through the rooms and suddenly disappeared. Before the invasions of Xerxes and Attila the inhabitants of the doomed countries saw horrible and awe-inspiring meteors. The fall of Jerusalem is said to have been presaged by apparitional bodies of soldiers in the air, marching towards each other as if to join battle. Appianus, Pliny and other classical writers have recorded the strange portents [143] that went before the civil and foreign wars; the armour hung in the Lacedæmonian temples clanged of itself, the doors of the temple of Hercules, at Thebes, opened of themselves and the arms suspended on the inner walls were found in the morning flung to the floor, as Cicero tells us. Coming forward in time, in the reign of Theodosius a blazing star attached to a sword was seen in the heaven. So we might go on almost ad infinitum repeating these tales, more or less credible, of signs, portents and wonders which have heralded in great national disasters and international conflicts, while of the personal warnings above mentioned there are an incalculable number. Yet the student of Occult Science will see no proof of supernaturalism in any of these. One and all are produced by the elemental spirits, or forces, attached to the nation or the individual, and provoked by some Adept or other high mystic who has the interest of the one, or some friend or relative who has that of the other at heart.

Strange as may seem to us these ominous marshallings of troops in the air, these fightings of battles, these clangors of arms and armor and other signs of military conflict, the apparition of unexpected and quasi inexplicable comets, hailstorms, volleys of thunder and terrific lightning, the throwing of fire-balls against fortresses and the rush of [144] howling, barking and screaming phantom animals through castle corridors, it is not surprising that researchers of the class of our contemporary writers on psychical phenomena should try to brush away all the mass of cumulative testimony as to these phenomena by the easy process of contemptuous denial. But then, the day of these blinded word-weavers is past, and their mock sun is setting behind the clouds of matter which have been engendered by the vapors of their mental speculations. When the thoughtful public were struggling to break through the meshes of the net of dogma cast over them by interested theologians, the strong, muscular hand of Materialism stretched out towards them by modern science was grasped eagerly in the hope that it might lift them out of the mire of their doubts on to the firm ground of demonstrable truth. But the scientists overdid their part, and a thousand failures to account for the simplest psychical phenomena destroyed their influence and forced the once-submissive reading public to resort to original experiment, backed up by the reading of the works of mystics and mystical students of our own and preceding generations. Thus it has come about, through that ancient teaching, that the forces of nature manifesting in its several component kingdoms can be identified, classified, brought into relations with us, and made [145] subject to the developed will-power of students who have been under the teaching of Adepts or Masters of Wisdom. The mystic, therefore, would be inclined to accept as true the testimony of a cloud of witnesses of various generations, to the real occurrence of phenomena like those above recorded. Have we not in this very chapter, had the unimpeachable testimony of our educated colleague, Mr. K., to the fact that the answer to his yearning soul-cry for help to discover the truth, came in the form of a written message in the sky, the glowing embers, the tree-foliage and the sand of the soil? How much more difficult would it be then for the same presumed Intelligence that gave him this message to have marshalled the tribes of the sylphs to form themselves into a sky-built picture of moving troops, or prancing horses, or even of our Adyar headquarters, with the concomitants of the Hall where I should receive him and a simulacrum of myself figured as I would be, sitting before him on the occasion of his visit? Finally, if the reader will take the trouble to refer to The Theosophist,[15] he will see that our honorable and respected colleague, Dr. English, writes in connection with this question of celestial portents: “The late Mrs. English was a natural clairvoyant and throughout her whole life had psychical experiences, [146] often of a prophetic character. About a year before the outbreak of the American civil war she saw appear in the sky, one morning in broad daylight and distinctly outlined, a spectral troop of cavalry in rapid march, moving in a southerly direction.”

Is it not more than probable that the occurrence of these premonitory warnings in the form of phenomena, terrestrial and atmospheric, gave rise to the folk-lore proverb: “Coming events cast their shadows before?” And did Campbell, who embodies it in his famous poem, Lochiel’s Warning, know that these portents could be read by one who had developed the psychical faculty? For his couplet runs thus:

‘Tis the sunset of life gives me mystical lore,

And coming events cast their shadows before.

For, in the name of common sense, how could an impersonal, as set non-existing occurrence, unembodied, hence incapable of casting a shadow, nevertheless make the physical impression upon the physical plane before itself—the event—had occurred? But this old saw becomes quite intelligible to those of us who know of the existence of the astral plane and of the possibilities within reach of an advanced ego to create and make visible to ordinary sight all these pictures and phenomena which are above classified as portents.




IT is rather a coincidence that Dr. Maxwell’s great work on metaphysical phenomena should have come to me for review just when the course of my historical narrative should have brought me to the consideration of the official report of Eusapia’s séances at Choisy-Yvrac (at which Dr. Maxwell, himself, took a prominent part) sent me for publication by Colonel de Rochas. Whereas Dr. Maxwell’s narrative gives a general view of the incidents, that of the Colonel puts us in possession of all the details. Some of these are very interesting, among them those which corroborate the statements as to the transfer of sensitiveness from the psychic’s body to measured points in space around her. To make my meaning clear I will explain that the psychic being at the time mesmerically reduced to insensibility to external influences—touch, smell, hearing, taste—at this very time these faculties are found to [148] be transferred to what one might call an astral enlargement of the body, and while the sleeper can neither feel a pin-prick or a touch, nor hear a pistol-shot, nor smell acrid ammonia, nor taste the sweetness, bitterness, salinity, acidity or pungency of any substance, yet if one pinches or pricks the air at measured distances from the body (the measurement determined by a course of experiments) then the psychic immediately cries out and shows that repercussion upon her physical body has taken place.

The points made by Colonel de Rochas at the first séance, in the presence of M. et Mme. Maxwell, Comte de Gramont, Baron de Watteville and Colonel de Rochas, were the following:

(1)   Eusapia is suggestionable (i.e., can receive hypnotic suggestion). As soon as the state of credulity is reached, hallucinations of sight, smell and hearing are caused with the greatest ease and she then presents the common phenomena of insensibility of the skin.

(2) A few passes on one of her hands create the externalisation of sensitiveness at the distance of three or four centimetres from the skin; but when Colonel de Rochas continues his passes and withdraws his hand in order to test the sensitiveness at greater distances, his hand is followed by Eusapia’s, which is attracted by it. If one prevents the hand [149] of Eusapia from following Colonel de Rochas’, one can recognise the existence of a second sensitive stratum in the air, perceptible at about ten centimetres from the skin. One may consequently say that the externalised sensation in this subject transforms itself into movement.

  (3) Colonel de Rochas puts Eusapia to (mesmeric) sleep to see how, in her case, the fluidic body is formed, the existence of which he has noticed in other subjects. After two or three minutes of passes on the head and chest, Eusapia, asleep, declares that she sees appear at her right side a kind of phantom, and we notice that it is in the place of this phantom by her indicated, that all her sensitiveness is localised. She makes signs of pain when we pinch the air where the phantom is, but shows no reaction when her skin or any other points of space are pinched.

At the sixth séance held with Eusapia the phenomenon of the levitation of the table occurred under circumstances which entirely support the statement of Dr. Maxwell about it in his book. The official report says:

“The medium, who has not been magnetised again, remains somnolent and perfectly dumb. The table lifts itself first on the side of the medium, resting on the two opposite feet. Then it twice lifts its four feet and remains suspended in the air. [150] All hands, including Eusapia’s, are removed from the table which nevertheless remains suspended. Several persons try to make it fall by pushing on it, but without success—they meet with much elastic resistance; after a few seconds it falls of itself, with a crash.”

It is a great pity that all intelligent persons who have read the S. P. R. report on Eusapia’s phenomena at Cambridge could not read this official report of séances at Choisy-Yvrac by one of the most respected scientific men of France. If any doubts had lingered in their minds as to the futility of the Cambridge observations and of Mr. Hodgson’s theory of Eusapia’s frauds, they would surely be dispelled. It will be found, translated into English, in the numbers of The Theosophist for April and May, 1897.

A long letter received on the 20th March from the ex-royal Prince of Siam, formerly Prisdamchoonsai, but now the Buddhist bhikshu, Jinawarawansa, of Ceylon, opened up a subject of gravest importance. The life of this scion of the Royal house of Siam has had at least one episode of a most romantic character. When diplomatic relations were established with the Treaty Powers, his cousin, the King, sent him as his first ambassador to Europe. His credentials accredited him in that capacity to Great Britain, France, Germany and other countries [151] and he spent a number of years on these missions. While in England he connected himself in his personal capacity with one of the great engineering firms, passed through their works and perfected himself in the profession of engineer. Returning, at last, to Siam, a combination of circumstances led to his retirement from the world and his entrance into the Buddhist Sangha of Ceylon as a yellow-robed bhikshu. According to the rule of Ordination (upasampada) he was brought into the presence of a Council of senior monks, clothed in all his ambassadorial state—gold-laced uniform, silk stockings, varnished pumps, dress sword, plumed helmet, and all his jewelled orders pinned to his breast. His sponsors presented him as a postulant whom they could recommend, and he, corroborating this when questioned by the presiding monk, received the desired consent, returned to the anteroom, was stripped of all his finery, had his head and face shaved, his shoes and stockings removed, and was clothed in the simple underrobe of the order and reconducted before the Council. Here he was put through the usual catechism, and answering satisfactorily, was accepted into the Order. Thereupon he made the usual obeisances, was invested with the yellow robe and other appanages of his calling, received the name of “Jinawarawansa”, and entered upon his new career.[152] Recollecting that this ceremony is 2500 years old, does the reader now see whence the Roman Catholic ceremonies of Consecration and Ordination were derived? And is it not amusing to read how the Church tried to minimise the effect of Huc and Gabet’s discovery that the ceremonies, holidays, feasts, usages and paraphernalia peculiar to their worship had been used in Tibet by the Buddhist priests for many centuries, by saying that the Devil, foreseeing the arrival of Christianity, had tried to forestall its influence by setting up a mock system of worship?

The friendship between Jinawarawansa and myself has been cordial ever since the time when he first addressed me upon the grave subject above alluded to, and which I shall now explain.

It is known to all who have studied Buddhism that it is nominally divided into two schools, the Northern and the Southern: the countries covered by the former are China, Tibet, Mongolia and Japan; those belonging to the other group are Ceylon, Burma, Siam, Chittagong and Cambodia. Between these latter nations there is very little if any difference as to forms of belief. In all these countries, in times past, there has been for each a Superior Council, composed of the senior monks, to whom all questions of monastic discipline and the punishment of offenders were referred for settlement; [153] if this Superior Council failed in its duty, appeal would lie to the Sovereign, whose opinion was law and who had the power to inflict any punishment, even that of death, upon the offenders. This was the state of things in Ceylon before the advent of her several European conquerors, the Portuguese, Dutch and English. When the last vestige of Sinhalese Royalty was destroyed at Kandy, in the treaty made between the British General and the revolting Kandyan nobles, it was stipulated actually that the religion of Buddha, its temples and priests, should be protected and kept sacred. Inferentially, of course, the implication was that the British Sovereign, when mounting the throne of the King of Kandy, put himself in his place and assumed his obligations towards the state religion: that the Superior Ecclesiastical Board, or Committee, should be kept up, and the King would dispose of cases of ecclesiastical discipline coming to him on appeal. All went smoothly until some clamorous bigots, organizing through Exeter Hall, a campaign of public intolerance, forced a weak-kneed government to throw over its religious responsibilities in Ceylon, which included the administration of the large landed estates of the Buddhist Sangha, and to fling them all into the laps of the ordained priests, who by their ordination are not allowed to have anything to do with money or money values. Naturally this brought [154] on something like moral chaos; the priests were placed at the mercy of their lay adherents, corruption spread among the latter, the moral tone of the priesthood was sadly lowered, the mandates of the superior priests lost their weight, and it actually grew so bad that monks who had been convicted of debauchery, embezzlement, the coining of false money, and other crimes, for which they had been, sent to prison, defiantly resumed the yellow robe after their release and there was no hope of redress. When I first went to Ceylon in 1880 the High Priests of the two Royal temples at Kandy, the Asgiriya and the Malwatte, complained to me bitterly of this state of things and of their official impotence to restore order and discipline. It was to try and find a remedy that the “Prince-priest” wrote me in 1897.

Naturally, he came out of the garish splendor of Courts into the Buddhist monastery in the hope of finding the spirit of brotherly unity and religious calm, the very things to soothe his world-beaten spirit; this is exactly what I had looked forward to finding when I became a Buddhist at New York and was laying my plans to emigrate to the East. But the Prince-priest, like myself, found himself in an atmosphere of personal bickerings, childish sectarian squabbles, ignorance of the world about them, and incapacity to fit themselves to the ideals which [155] the Lord Buddha had depicted for the government of his Sangha. My way out of the difficulty was through a comprehensive system of mixed secular and religious education for the young, and the gradual evolution of a public opinion as to the duties and ideals of the priesthood which would focus itself upon the inmates of the pansalas and compel them to reform. Jinawarawansa, coming out of the kingly order, and accustomed to see things settled by the force majeure of the Royal will, entertained the hope that he might get the leading priests of the Siam, Amarapoora and Ramanya sects to agree to a coalition into a single “United Sect” which should embrace the whole Buddhist community of Ceylon. Then he proposed to similarly arrange for one ecclesiastical coalition for Burma, and that these two national bodies should then coalesce with the whole national body of the Siamese priesthood: making, as will be seen, a vast international tripartite Sangha, tria juncta in uno. The Supreme Council would be composed of the elder priests, ranking in order of seniority of ordination, who should regulate the government of the three national Sanghas: over all, as religious patron and final source of ecclesiastical authority, would be the King of Siam, the sole remaining Buddhist monarch.

This was a great scheme and one which seemed to me practical, but one which, at the same time, [156] would involve an enormous amount of working up of details. The Prince-priest wished to seize the occasion of his cousin, the King of Siam’s impending visit to Colombo en route for Europe, to bring the thing to a head. With his natural impetuosity he threw himself into the business with zeal and enthusiasm; wrote to the leading priests of Ceylon and their chief lay supporters, got pledges from many, but soon ran against that awful inertia which pervades all Asiatic countries (Japan now excepted) and bars progress. The personal factor everywhere obtruded itself, and the poor fellow, finding himself at a standstill with the King’s visit near at hand, despairingly appealed to me as “the only man who could awaken the slumbering Sinhalese”: he prayed me to come at once and see to the organization of a Reception Committee and the drafting of an Address. Of course, the grandeur of the scheme and its apparent practicability were visible at a glance, and an urgent invitation to come, reaching me on the 23rd March from our Buddhist Standing Committee at Colombo, I closed up my office business and, on the 24th, sailed for that place on the French steamer, arriving on the 27th.

Besides attending to the business of the reception of the King of Siam, I had to go over the Sinhalese version of the new edition of the Buddhist Catechism with the High Priest, get his assent to the alterations [157] that I had made in the text, and a fresh certificate recommending it for use in Buddhist schools. This was finally accomplished, but not without some sparring with that critical gentleman, Hiyayentaduwe, Assistant Principal of Sumangala’s College at Maligakhanda.

The Buddhist General Committee met at the College on the 29th to discuss details of the reception. They elected me a member of the General Committee and also of the Executive Committee. At a meeting on the following day they accepted my views about the reception and we agreed upon the details. The King had sent on in advance one of his high officials, the Marquis Phya Maha Yotha, with his Private Secretary, Luano Sunthorn Kosa, to arrange with the local Committee about the details of the Royal visit. With these two and the Prince-priest I had frequent consultations, among others on the subject of the Committee’s Address of Welcome to His Majesty. The Executive Committee deputed me to draw it up, and at their meeting on April 1st unanimously accepted my draft; at the same time authorizing me to have made in silk two copies of the Buddhist flag which, as will be seen on reading the Address, we asked His Majesty to consent to have adopted and protected as the Buddhist flag in Siam, common to all Buddhist nations and quite devoid of political significance. For, as the reader [158] must have perceived, the scheme of Prince Prisdan and myself implied no political connection, whatever, between the three separate nations which we wished to unite in the bonds of international religious relationship.

Following is the address in question:


The undersigned, a General Committee representing the Buddhist priests and laymen of Ceylon, and duly chosen at a public meeting at Colombo, respectfully offer to Your Majesty a heartfelt and joyful welcome to this ancient cradle-land of Buddhism, made holy by the touch of the lotus feet of the TATHAGATA and by the residence of many holy Arahats in different centuries. We offer our homage to the last independent reigning Buddhist sovereign and pray Your Majesty to grant the blessing of your sympathy and kind aid in the work for the revival and purification of Buddhism in this Island, which we have been carrying on these past thirty-five years with encouraging success.

All Buddhist nations honour Your Majesty for your memorable and most praiseworthy work, of publishing the Tripitakas in thirty-nine bound volumes; thus protecting the Siamese version from every evil chance and accident, and giving the best proof of your interest in Pali literature. The Sinhalese have had the further striking proofs of Your [159] Majesty’s kindness, in your gifts for religious education and the restoration of an ancient Dagoba at Anuradhapura.

From Ceylon the Arya-Dharma of the BUDDHA was extended to Siam and Burma, and in our time of political upheaval and religious distress Siam repaid her debt of gratitude by sending us her most learned and pious bhikshus to help to restore our religion and revive the courage and the efforts of our scattered priesthood. At another time we received like sisterly aid from Burma. So our three nations are linked together by the strongest and purest of international ties—that of a common religious interest. They are, in fact, three sisters who have kept pure the primitive teachings of BUDDHA, as finally fixed and defined by the Vaisali Council of the Emperor Dharmasoka. But, while through political changes, Ceylon and Burma have been deprived of the Royal Protectors of their Sanghas, Siam is still in possession of this inestimable blessing; while their Sangharajas have lost their proper authority over their Sanghas, happier Siam has still her Ecclesiastical Council in unweakened authority, and with the help of her Gracious Sovereign, can enforce discipline and guard the people against the evils of scepticism and disunion. The visit of Your Most Gracious Majesty would be forever memorable in Ceylon history if it should result in a unification of the Buddhists of [160] the three sister nations under one international Ecclesiastical Council with Your Majesty’s august patronage and protection. This would be a far more noble monument to your memory than any that could be built by us. The General Committee, your humble memorialists, speaking on behalf of the Sinhalese Buddhists, pray Your Majesty to give this serious questien the consideration which its importance deserves, and to earn the eternal gratitude of our people by co-operating with our best bhikshus and dayakyas in perfecting a plan for its realisation. We are founding many schools for the education of our children under Buddhistic auspices, publishing books and journals, and encouraging the spread and deepening of the religious spirit among us. But without the loving help and sympathy of our co-religionists of Siam and Burma, we find the way obstructed by many difficulties that might be removed if the three nations were closely united in the common work.

As humble gifts, we offer Your Majesty two copies of this flag, the proper Universal Symbol of Buddhism, as its colors are the six bright rays—the Buddharansi—which streamed from the Body of the TATHAGATA with extreme splendour when he became BUDDHA and when he passed into Parinirvana. As the Cross is the common symbol for all Christians, so this Flag of the Six Rays, will [161] serve as the non-political, most appropriate symbol of all Buddhist schools, sects and nations. Beginning in Ceylon, it has spread to Japan and Burma, where it is flown on temples and houses on the day of Vesâkha Punnâmi, and is carried in religious processions with other religious flags and with the royal insignia. We pray Your Majesty to graciously consent to its adoption and protection in Siam as the Buddhist flag, so that the three nations may, on the days of religious observance and national holiday, march and worship under the same emblem of the Founder of their religion.

It is our desire and intention to further keep alive the memory of Your Majesty’s first visit to Ceylon, by founding and endowing an Orphanage for parentless Buddhist children and, with permission, calling it by Your Majesty’s Royal name.

Invoking upon Your Most Gracious Majesty the blessing of the Tri-Ratna, and a long, a happy, and a glorious reign;

We are, Sire, Your Most Gracious Majesty’s co-religionists and obedient, humble servants.

The Ceylon authorities had received orders from the Home Government to show His Majesty every courtesy and so the task of the Buddhist Committee was comparatively easy. The authorities had the spacious landing jetty splendidly decorated with flags and greenery, and also the inclined pathway [162] which mounted up to the street level. At this point was erected a spacious pandal (shed) where the Buddhist Committee as laymen, were to receive the King while distinguished priests would also be present and welcome him by reciting the well known Jayamangala Gâtha. Naturally, these preparations involved a good deal of running about, committee meetings, and visits to the Government officials and the Siamese Ambassador and Siamese Consul. At last all preparations were completed and we were ready for our distinguished visitor.

The Royal yacht cast anchor in the harbor at daybreak on the 20th April, receiving the customary salute. His Majesty landed at ten o’clock, was greeted by the highest officials, and escorted up the inclined way to the Buddhist pavilion where the Committee offered their respects. I was posted just at the head of the inclined way and made him my best bow. He stopped, looked inquiringly at me and asked my name. When I mentioned it his face suddenly lighted up and he said in a most friendly tone: “Are you that man? Oh, I know you very well as a friend of Buddhism. I am glad to see you.” He then extended his hand and gave mine a warm grasp. With his permission I then presented the members of the Committee and introduced him to Sumangala and the other High Priests. He then went to [163] a small altar which had been prepared at the request of his Ambassador, and made reverence to the image of the Buddha; lighting some small yellow wax candles and sticks of incense, which he received from the hands of one of his suite. Having lighted the candles and incense-sticks he then, with folded hands in the usual way, recited a Pali sloka (or Gâtha, as it is called in Buddhism). He took from me a garland on behalf of the Committee, which in their name I put over his neck, while the Hon’ble Mr. Ramanathan, on behalf of the Hindu community, showered flowers and rice over him; he listened and replied to two addresses, received the tilak and a garland from Mr. Coomara Swamy, the Brahman of the Hindu temple, and acknowledged the cheers of the multitude, evidently most sincerely friendly. He then drove to Queen’s House under escort, where he gave audience; his time being mostly taken up by deputations of monks from many different temples.

The next morning he left Colombo for Kandy to pay a visit to the temple and see the Tooth Relic. At the station he gave me another proof of his goodwill by crossing over to where I stood and shaking me cordially by the hand. The Kandy visit had very unfortunate results, for the treatment he received in the tower where [164] this world-famed object is kept, under the protection of four locks, of which the keys are kept by the Government Agent—the Devanilami, a Kandyan noble, who is the hereditary custodian of the precious object—and by the High Priests of the two Royal monasteries at Kandy, above referred to, was most unpleasant. In Volume II of Old Diary Leaves,[16] give a full account of the Relic and its most romantic history, so I need not repeat the details; suffice it to say that it is about the size of an alligator’s tooth and bears no resemblance whatever to any tooth that ever grew in the jaw of an animal or man. It is slightly curved, about two inches in length and nearly one in breadth at the base and rounded at the extremity. An exact duplicate of it, painted to resemble the original and mounted on a gold wire which springs from the heart of a silver lotus flower, which came into my possession several years ago under very peculiar circumstances, may be seen in the curiocase in the Adyar Library. Dr. Gerson Da Cunha tells the whole story about the Tooth,[17] and the destruction of the original by the Archbishop of Goa, under the mandate of the local representatives of the Holy Inquisition, who forbade the Viceroy, [165] D. Constantia de Braganca, to accept a fabulously great sum—no less than 400,000 cruzados—a coin worth 2s.9d.—offered by the King of Pegu as its ransom. The story is that they ordered it to be destroyed. So the Archbishop, in their presence and that of the high officers of State, pulverized it in a mortar, threw the powder into a lighted brazier kept ready, and then the ashes and charcoal together were scattered into the running river, in sight of a multitude “who were crowding the verandas and windows which looked upon the water.” Dr. Da Cunha is very sarcastic in his reflections upon this act of vandalism. He says: “If there ever was a point where the two extremes met it was this. The burning of a tooth for the glory of the Almighty was the point of contact between the sublime and the ridiculous.”

Bigoted and ignorant Buddhists account for the size of the alleged tooth by saying that in the days of the Buddha “human beings were giants and their teeth kept pace, so to speak, with their larger stature.” Which, of course, is all nonsense. It is asserted that the present object of adoration was made out of a piece of deer’s horn by King Vikrama Bahu, in 1566, to replace the original, burnt by the Portuguese in 1560. Other Buddhists believe that this is really a substitute only, that the real tooth is concealed in a sure place, and that a substitute [166] was what fell into the hands of the Portuguese. However, visitors to our Library can see for themselves what the Kandyan relic really looks like and form their own opinions. It will be remembered that as a mark of the very highest respect the tooth was shown to H.P.B. and myself during our visit to Kandy in 1880. His Majesty, the King of Siam, was naturally anxious to see so far-famed a Buddhist relic, and when he was admitted to the room in the Dalada Maligawa, wanted to take the Relic in his hands, but two Kandyan aristocrats, with the worst possible taste and ignorant fatuity, protested, although the King’s brother, Prince Damrong, and even the Christian Czarewitch (the present Czar) had been allowed to handle it on the occasion of their visits to Kandy. The King was naturally indignant at so palpable an affront and left the temple; he returned the presents that had been made to him by different High Priests and came back to Colombo.

Of course the Committee met him at the Railway Station, where he once more greeted me with entire cordiality. He disappointed two great crowds that had gathered according to programme at the Maligakanda and Kuppyavatte temples, bade farewell to the Government officials, and re-embarked on the Royal yacht, which sailed that day. With the rest of the Buddhist Committee I saw him off [167] at the jetty. As we were aligned at the opposite side of the platform, not wishing to thrust ourselves forward, as soon as he caught sight of me he crossed over, gave me a parting handshake, and desired me to express his thanks to the Buddhist community for the pleasure which he had derived from their kind, popular welcome.

One incident which occurred during our brief intercourse gave me real pleasure. Learning that his Private Secretary, Phrayah Srisdi, was buying watches, scarf-pins, rings and other articles of jewellery, to be given as presents to those who had been active in organizing his welcome, I went to Queen’s House and informed that gentleman that I should not accept any such souvenir, as my interest in His Majesty was not caused by his being a King, but because he was the only remaining Buddhist sovereign: I had received all the benefit I could have desired in having been able to testify my respect on the occasion. “But,” said the Secretary, “if His Majesty wishes to make you such a present what would you do?” I told him that if it was forced upon me in such a way that I could not, without breach of good-manners refuse, I should certainly give it away to somebody after His Majesty’s departure. It is more than likely that he told this to the King, for on that day, before leaving Queen’s House for the jetty, he sent me a [168] full-length photographic portrait of himself in full uniform, signed with his name and with my name and the date written beneath. It hangs on the wall in my private office. In it he appears as a well-formed, refined and soldierly-looking man, with a high-bred face and an expression of calm dignity. He stands there with his hands leaning upon his sword and his breast covered with jewelled orders.

When the news of the Kandyan incident got to Colombo and spread among the masses, there was an outburst of indignation against the stupid Kandyan aristocrats who had thus spoilt the harmony of His Majesty’s visit. There was no possibility whatever of mistaking the genuineness of this feeling. The Committee at once organized a sub-committee, consisting of Mr. H. Don Carolis, Dr. Perera, of Perak, and myself, to go to Kandy, investigate the facts, and report to a public meeting which was called for Sunday the 2nd April at Maligakanda. We went there, took all available testimony, and fastened the responsibility upon the real culprit, the late Mr. T. B. Panabokke. At the mass meeting, the Committee, in submitting their report, made the following points:

1.      That Mr. Panabokke and no one else is guilty of the offensive remark at the Dalada Maligawa on the 21st instant, which so vexed His Majesty and caused him to change his benevolent [169] intentions with respect to gifts to our temples and Bhikshus.

2.      That his refusal to allow His Majesty to hold the Relic and take away the ancient book to have it copied, were unauthorised by either the High Priests or his colleagues of the Special Committee of three who were clothed with the official functions of the Diwa Nilame for that occasion, and that he alone is responsible for all the unpleasant consequences which have ensued.

3.      That his statement to the District Judge that he was but interpreting the wishes of the High Priests is contradicted by their signed declarations to the contrary, as well as by that of his fellow committee-man, Mr. Nugawela Ratemahatmeya.

(Signed) H. S. Olcott, D. B. Perera, and H. Don Carolis (Hevavitarana, Muhandiram).

The CHAIRMAN and Vice-Chairman addressed the meeting on the subjects to be considered. Mr. Dullewe Adigar made a long speech during which he strongly condemned the action of Mr. Panabokke in refusing the King his wish. He stated that the Tooth Relic had been handled both by Christians and Buddhists high in authority, and the only Buddhist King now living should have been allowed his wish. He submitted that the Buddhist community should condemn the action and submit the true state of affairs to His Majesty [170] the King. At the end of his speech he moved the following resolution: “Whereas the Buddhist community of Ceylon have been deeply pained by certain acts of disrespect offered to His Majesty the King of Siam, while visiting the Dalada Maligawa on the 21st April, and whereas an inquiry made into the facts by the Executive Committee charged by the Buddhist community to organise the reception of His Majesty on his arrival at Colombo, has resulted in proving beyond question that the responsibility for the said acts rests on Mr. T. B. Panabokke, President, Provincial Committee, Central Province, under the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance, and upon no one else; now, therefore, be it resolved that the Buddhists of Ceylon protest against and condemn his conduct as discourteous, uncalled for, and wholly unwarranted.”

MR. SIMAN FERNNDO seconded the resolution. He also made a few remarks condemning the action of Mr. Panabokke. The resolution was then put and was unanimously adopted. After a resolution warmly thanking the Executive Committee for their efficient services, the following resolution was, on motion of Mr. A. Perera and seconded by Mr. D. C. Pedris, unanimously and enthusiastically adopted: “That this mass meeting of the Buddhists of Ceylon do instruct their Chairman and Secretary [171] to forward copies of these resolutions and reports relating to the Tooth Relic incident to His Majesty, the King of Siam, through the proper channel, for his information, with the prayer that he will hold the Buddhists of Ceylon entirely innocent of blame in the matter and accept their unanimous declaration of personal respect and affection for himself and his royal house and of their love for the Siamese people, their co-religionists.”

Thus an incident, inexcusable in itself, toppled over the house of cards which Prince Prisdan and I had so carefully constructed in the matter of the proposed international brotherly union of three Buddhist nations, and which we had hoped to be able to bring about. Of course it did not affect the main question in the least but only the King’s momentary attitude towards the subject. When he parted with me on the jetty he said that he would give the question full consideration, at the same time adding, however, that it would be a very hard thing to accomplish. I ventured to call his attention to the fact that quite as difficult a thing had been successfully carried through in the foundation and happy culmination of the educational movement in Ceylon and that I was persuaded that it was possible to realize our scheme for international Buddhistic unity.




THE King of Siam sailed away in his Royal yacht on the 22nd April, as above noted; but my connection with royalties was not yet ended: though His Majesty of Siam had gone I was now brought into close relations with an important representative of a far more powerful sovereign, the Czar of Russia.

When the Czarewitch made the tour of the world in the year 1891 he was accompanied by Prince Hespere Oukhtomsky, Gentleman of the Chamber of His Majesty the Emperor (Czar), who acted in the capacity of his Private Secretary. The Prince is one of the most highly educated men of Russia and a paramount authority on the subject of Lamaic philosophy. His family is one of the oldest and traces itself back to the time when it ruled over the whole Empire. His collection of books, images, pictures and the apparatus of religious worship [173] of the Northern Buddhists enjoys the reputation of being one of the richest and finest in the world. His studies, pursued for many years, have created in him a deep interest in the subject of Buddhism, and this community of taste drew us together in correspondence. His museum has since been acquired by the Russian Government, and later, in the year 1900, Brockhaus, of Leipzig, published a descriptive catalogue, which I mention because of an Introduction by Prince Oukhtomsky, himself, in which he speaks hopefully of the prospects of a friendly mutual understanding being created between the representatives of Northern and Southern Buddhism, as an outcome of my successful attempt to get them to unite in accepting the Fourteen Fundamental Propositions common to both divisions of the Buddhistic cult. The author of this learned monograph is Herr Alfred Grunwedel, Dr. Phil., and it is entitled: Mythologie des Buddhismus in Tibet under Mongolei.

Although it is out of the strict chronological sequence, I might as well quote a few sentences from the translation of the Introduction, kindly made for me by my friend Herr J. Van Manen, F. T. S., of Amsterdam, to show the kindly feeling of the Prince for myself. He says: “The illustrious [sic] American, Colonel Olcott, as President of the Theosophical Society, has for years energetically followed [174] the plan of finding the links of the spiritual chain which binds together the countries in which Buddha is honoured as a God [sic]. He travelled over Asia, made himself acquainted with the leading native Priests, and then composed a kind of creed for the Buddhists of the whole world. All things unessential and conventional, all things narrowly national and purely casual therein, were put aside.... In Japan, Burma, Chittagong and Ceylon, Colonel Olcott’s platform of the Fourteen Fundamental Propositions has already been accepted. It remains to be seen how far Colonel Olcott’s efforts in connection with the solidification of the spiritual ties between the Buddhist peoples in Indo-China, in Central China, in Korea, and in Tibet will work. As far as I could find out in conversation with the Indo-Chinese Laos they are Buddhists, but probably stand nearer to Lamaism than to the Sinhalese or Siamese-Burmese form.” The Prince goes on to say: “The connection of the followers of Sakyamuni in Ceylon with their fellow-religionists in the Far East has been existing since the most ancient times. The relation existed not only by sea but also by land. Many Sinhalese went on pilgrimage across the Himalayas to China... The middle-ages strengthened this consciousness of the inner oneness between the countries, politically strange to each other, in which the worship of Buddha flourished. What holds good for [175] Tibet also holds good for Mongolia, for our Buriats and Kalmuks; the ideas of the convinced co-workers of the deceased Madame Blavatsky find sympathy and attention also there. The moment is now not distant when the Buddhist world in its manifold subdivisions will wake from its dream and link itself together as one organic whole.”

Undoubtedly there was intercourse between the Indian Buddhists and the people of different countries; in fact, we know that the missionary parties sent out by the Emperor Asoka went to fourteen Indian nations outside the boundaries of India and to five Greek kings; it also appears from Sinhalese records that five of Asoka’s monks carried the religion to the five divisions of China. But I need not dwell upon these details as all the facts are given in the latest (40th) edition of the Buddhist Catechism. The international relations between Northern and Southern Buddhists have not been kept up and for this very reason the Buddhists of Japan sent their now historical committee to invite me to come to that country and explain the foundations of the religion; moreover, the High Priest Sumangala, in the Samskrit letter of credence which he sent by me to the Japanese High Priests, specially mentions the fact of the non-intercourse between the North and the South and the great necessity for its establishment. I cannot leave the subject without entering [176] my protest against the Prince’s statement that the Buddha is “honoured as a God”, for he is not by those who know the bases of their religion.

The foregoing is but preliminary to the meeting between the Prince and myself, at Colombo, on the 23rd April, 1897, and will show the absolutely non-political character of our mutual relations. He was almost as deeply interested in the study of Buddhism as I, myself, and our meeting at Colombo on this occasion was the result of a request of his to that effect in a letter received by me from him some weeks before. As fortune would have it, my presence at Colombo in connection with the visit of His Majesty, the King of Siam, made it very easy for me to comply with his request. He arrived on a German mail steamer, in company with Prince Wolkonsky and two other gentlemen of his suite. As no hour was fixed for the arrival of the steamer, there was, naturally, no exact appointment for our meeting, so I just sent a note by the pilot-boat asking him to be pleased to wait on board until I should arrive; this he did, but his associates went ashore with the Russian Consul. His greeting to me was most cordial and at once prepossessed me in his favor. He had all that high-bred courtesy, ease of manner, and social polish which is so marked among the Russian nobility. He told me that he was on his way to China as a special [177] ambassador to the Emperor, with an autograph letter from his master and numberless cases of costly presents down in the steamer’s hold. It being none of my business, of course, I asked him no further questions as to the object of his mission, but proceeded to arrange for our getting ashore.

Among the boats that encircled the ship were those curious dug-out canoes with outriggers, that are peculiar to Ceylon. I pointed to one and asked him if he had ever had the experience of riding in such a craft, and whether he would like, for the joke of it, to discard my boat and take one of these to the jetty. He said he should be delighted with the novelty of the-experience, one that would never have fallen in his way but for my happy suggestion. So we called the canoe, got in, and with great precautions adjusted the disposition of our feet to suit the exigencies of the small space left for that purpose in the hollowing out of the log. There being no keel nor centreboard, the outrigger is indispensable to prevent the upsetting of the craft. When the small sail is full, one of the crew has to sit out on the outrigger to counterbalance its pull; in a strong breeze two men are needed, and that is what is called a “two-man breeze”. As neither of us had sailed in such a contrivance before, we were equally delighted with the experience, and laughed like boys all the way to the jetty. As the steamer [178] was only to remain at Colombo until the next morning there was no time to waste; so I spent the whole day with the Prince, taking him to the Kotahena Temple, to see Prince Jinawarawansa, to Mrs. Higgins’ Musæus, and the Sanghamitta Girls’ schools, and to call on the High Priest, Sumangala, with whom the Prince had a most interesting conference, through a Sinhalese interpreter. In the middle of the day we took train to Mount Lavinia where we had one of those delicious fish dinners for which the local hotel is so famous. Towards evening I accompanied him to the ship and was introduced to his travelling companions. The meeting with Prince Wolkonsky was particularly gratifying to me because H. P. B. and I, in 1884, at Lady Caithness’ palace at Nice, got intimately acquainted with his aunt, a most charming lady, who was one of the distinguished party who joined our Society during our stay there and who were deeply interested in Theosophy. She was one of the three ladies mentioned in], Volume III, p. 85, whom at H. P. B.’s request I psychopathically cured of serious diseases: one having the stubborn remnant of a stroke of hemiplegia of twelve years standing, which impeded the free use of her left hand and left foot: within a half-hour I freed both limbs from their bonds. The second, a Countess and a cousin of [179] H. P. B.’s, whom she had not met from childhood, was extremely deaf but within fifteen minutes I made her able to hear ordinary conversation, and she came back from a concert later in the evening enchanted beyond measure with her restored sense of hearing. The third lady I relieved from some minor spinal trouble.

At parting, Prince Oukhtomsky expressed to me his great delight with all that he had heard and seen during the day, and carried away with him several unique images and other Buddhistic curios, given him by Sumangala and by the Prince-priest, Jinawarawansa. He was so pleased with the Musæus and Sanghamitta Girls’ Schools that he made them generous donations, while to me he gave his photograph and, the most valuable thing he had to offer, his friendship.

If I am not mistaken, it was his intention to revisit the Buddhist Lamaseries of Mongolia before [from his Chinese mission; at any rate, he gave me a cordial invitation to make the grand tour with him and personally discuss with the chief priests, the resemblances and differences between Northern and Southern Buddhism. He has translated into the Russian language my Fourteen Fundamental Propositions, and assures me that they have all been approved by the Mongolian and Tibetan Buddhist scholars; their only objection [180] having been to Proposition IV which says: “The fourth Teacher in the present, Kalpa was Sakya Muni or Gautama Buddha, who was born in a royal family in India about 2,500 years ago. He is an historical personage and his name was Siddartha Gautama.”

They have an idea that Sakya Muni figured on earth many thousand years before the sixth century B. C.: a belief that I cannot understand, since all the Buddhist scriptures about which I know anything agree as to the correct date. In mentioning this discrepancy elsewhere, I have tentatively offered the suggestion that they may possibly have confused the date of Buddha Gautama with that of his next immediate predecessor in the Buddhist tradition.

If he was pleased with our day’s outing, I am sure that I was, for the making of so distinguished an acquaintance was one of the greatest intellectual treats that I have enjoyed.

While I was at Colombo the Spiritualist author and lecturer, Dr. Peebles, arrived there on one of his round-the-world tours, and as we were old acquaintances, I put him in the way of seeing some things which would not normally come under the notice of globe-trotters. Among other incidents was a visit to an interior village, named Walpolla, in the jungle back of the village of Rambakkana, where it had been arranged that I [181] should lecture to delegates from several villages of very low caste people, something like the Indian Pariahs. Although there is no caste in Buddhism, yet, all the same, the Indian dynasties who have ruled Ceylon have left behind them marked social distinctions, and in the hill country the Kandyan aristocracy have treated the laboring classes with as much harshness and injustice as though they had been their slaves. The people in the district to which I was going had been taught next to nothing about Buddhism, and since they were made by the aristocrats to feel themselves the vilest of the vile, they fell a natural prey to proselyting agents of the Salvation Army, who told them that if they would drop this accursed Buddhism and come into Christianity, they would be free men and could look anybody in the face. It was to open their eyes to the truth that I was asked to go to this obscure hamlet in the heart of the forest.

Accordingly I left Colombo on the sixteenth of April, in the early morning, with my old colleague and friend, C. P. Goonewardene, as interpreter, a Buddhist priest to hold the service, and the indefatigable Bob Appu, my old servant, for Rakwana: Dr. Peebles, coming from Kandy, met us there and went on with us. The poor people had sent as transport one big elephant, one half-grown one, and an ox-cart, without springs and apparently [182] constructed with a view to pulverizing the bones of unfortunate travellers. As Dr. Peebles had never had an elephant ride except as a boy at the circus, he gleefully accepted my benevolent offer to let him ride the big beast; without howdah or pad, be it said. Although experience had prepared me for the terrors of the ox-cart, I preferred to face them rather than the risk of being swept off the big elephant’s back by a bough of some one of the many trees of the forest that we would have to pass under. This, however, I did not mention to Dr. Peebles, for I thought that it might do him good if his pride should have a fall. He having mounted by a short ladder to the back of the kneeling elephant, and been nearly flung off when the beast rose to its feet, we entered the forest. Dr. Peebles had on, I remember, white trousers, and although his legs were long they were not long enough to bestraddle the elephant’s broad back; so, perforce, they stuck out straight athwartship, and I was nearly convulsed with laughter to see him clutching at the back of the guide who sat in front of him, and trying to balance himself so as to adjust himself to the elephant’s stride. As to myself, there was not a bone in my body that did not feel as if it had been passed through a threshing-machine. When we reached our destination it was as much as Dr. Peebles could do to get down to terra firma, [183] and then his white “continuations”, after serving as a clean towel to wipe the elephant’s dusty back, were more like a crash roller that has hung all day in a machine-shop for the use of the men, than anything else that I can recall. As for his body he said that he felt as if “there would have been two of him if we had gone much farther!” A large audience had assembled to hear my lecture, which I gave after the Buddhist priest with us had given the Pancha Sila (the Five precepts). It was a beautiful landscape that spread out before us, one of broad stretches of emerald green fields, majestic forests, and encircling hills. I placed my back towards the wall of the monastic building that stood there and the people sat cross-legged on the ground in many hundreds. Of course the theme of my discourse was an indignant protest against the treatment which these hard-working peasants have received from the Kandyan higher classes on account of caste. I gave them to understand as distinctly as possible that, not only was Buddhism free of caste distinctions but that the Lord Buddha, himself, had denounced it as an unnatural and unwarrantable social injustice. I quoted to them things that he had said in various sermons, or sutras, among others, those known as the Vâsala and Brahmajála, wherein he says that it is not birth that makes a man a Brahman or a Pariah, but the [184] actions of the person. “By deeds,” says he in the Vâsala Sutra, “one becomes an outcaste, by deeds one becomes a Brahman.” I illustrated the principle also by telling them the story of Prakriti, a girl of the Matanja, or Pariah, or Chandala caste, from whom Ananda, the great disciple of the Buddha, took water at a roadside well. Passing along in the heat of the day and feeling thirsty, he asked the girl to give him water to drink. She said that she dare not do it because she was of such a low caste that he, a high-caste man, would become contaminated by taking water from her hands. But Ananda replied: “I asked not for caste but for water, my sister”; and the Matanja girl’s heart was glad and she gave him to drink. The Buddha blest her for it. I told them, moreover, that in that very sermon, the Vâsala Sutra, the Buddha told the Brahmana Aggikabharadvája, who had sought to insult him by calling him an outcaste, that a certain chandala of the Sopaka caste, had become a Buddhist monk and attained to such a glorious renown “as was very difficult to obtain”, and many Kshattriyas and Brahmanas had rendered their personal services to him; whereas there were many Brahmanas born in the highest families who “are continually caught in sinful deeds and are to be blamed in this world, while in the coming (world) hell (awaits them); birth [185] does not save them from hell nor from blame.” I then called up the acknowledged headman of the outcastes and, through the interpreter, asked him to bring me a drink of water. I took it, held it up before the people, and said: “I drink this water as a Buddhist who protests against the falsehoods that have been spread among you about our religion. “

There were no more conversions made by the Salvation Army in that village, and I never saw an audience in Ceylon hang more attentively upon the lips of a public speaker than they did upon those of the Buddhist priest who had come with me and who preached to them after I had done. At their request he stopped with them some days and held religious services day and night.

It goes without saying that the carrying on of a great educational movement like ours in Ceylon and the supervision and management of some three hundred schools and three colleges involves no end of labor and large pecuniary expenses. The Sinhalese, as I have explained before, are poor and might well be excused for not denying themselves, as they have been doing since the movement began in 1880; yet they have gone on making constant sacrifices of luxuries, and sometimes even of comforts, to contribute towards the maintenance of the movement, while without pay or hope of any [186] material benefit whatever, they have given ungrudgingly their best services in time and labor. The costs of the movement have been met in different ways; largely by the profits earned by our successful Sinhalese semi-weekly journal, the Sandaresa; some money has come from proceeds of annual fancy fairs; much from Government Grant-in-aid; the rest by individual subscriptions. During this visit of 1897 it occurred to me that a more than ample revenue could be derived by the voluntary imposition upon themselves of a monthly tax of one cent (one hundredth of a rupee, or one-sixth of a penny, or one-twelfth of an American cent) per capita for each man, woman and child of the Sinhalese Buddhist population. With the Sandaresa circulating throughout the whole Island and the petty postal employees and villagers all friendly, it seemed to me possible to organize an agency system for the collection and forwarding to the Central Committee at Colombo of this tax, so as to have a stream of money constantly coming in; much more than would be required to put a Buddhist school in every Ceylon village. The plan commended itself to my principal colleagues, and some small show of a beginning was made; but the novelty of the scheme rather dampened popular enthusiasm, and it soon became self-evident that it could never succeed [187] unless I, myself, or someone equally in their confidence, should remain in the Island and organize the movement. This I had to refuse, as I had already refused the similar request of the Japanese in 1889, that I should take up residence in their country and develop a great Buddhist movement under the auspices of our Society. Well, at any rate, I have thrown out the suggestion and perhaps it may be taken up by my successor.




ALL business being finished satisfactorily, I left Ceylon on the 3rd of May and reached home on the 5th. Dr. Peebles was there and my Hawaiian friend, to whom I was able to give striking proof of the reality of Madame Mongruel’s clairvoyant powers. Sometime previously, wishing to get information as to the causes of his father’s illness, he had given me a scrap of his writing to send to the great seeress as an experiment to test her psychical gifts. A letter from her, returning the specimen with a diagnosis, was awaiting me at Adyar on my return. K. was perfectly astonished at her revelations, the genuineness of which he unreservedly endorsed and which struck him as being the more wonderful because there was no indication whatever either in his father’s writing or in what I wrote her about it, to give her any clue even as to his sex. The next evening, when we were all sitting out in the moonlight on the terrace I got the hoary [189] “Pilgrim” Peebles, to show the company how they used to dance and prance around at Spiritualistic séances when Indian “guides” controlled mediums. Those who have only known him as a combative sage and propagandist of Spiritualism would have surely shared our merriment at seeing him bouncing about in quasi-elephantine gambols more or less resembling the original.

The next afternoon I presided at the formal opening of the new building erected by our printers, Messrs. Thompson & Co. On the 8th the masons began building in our Convention Hall pilasters to support the steel girders that were to bear the new roof that had been planned. In the afternoon the sixth anniversary of White Lotus Day was celebrated, speeches being made by Dr. Peebles, Dr. English, Mr. Knudsen, myself and others. This being the hot season, the thermometer was standing at 106° F. and perforce I was driven to working out of doors under shelter. It seems that to avoid the excessive heat, I did what many Government officials and judges of the Court do, I worked from day-break on for three or four hours, rested in the heat of the day, and resumed work in the evening. On the 9th—this may be another surprise for the friends of Dr. Peebles—he took from me, at his own request, the Five Precepts which make a man a Buddhist, and which, under a commission from [190] Sumangala and the Kandyan High Priests, I am empowered to administer to such as wish to enter into Buddhism.

The state of our movement in Australasia since the death of the beloved General Secretary, Mr. Staples, did not suit me and I felt a strong impulse to go there and look over the ground; Miss Edger was making a tour among the Australasian Branches and I thought that my presence might help her. I, therefore, made up my mind to go, without waiting to get the views of my local colleagues. Accordingly, after writing two or three chapters of O. D. L. and arranging matters in general, I left for Colombo via Tuticorin and got there on the 16th May; on the 18th I sailed for Townsville in the SS. Duke of Westminster, the Captain of which proved to be one of the best sailors and most agreeable of men that I ever sailed under. Besides myself there were only four passengers, of whom one was a most charming, little boy baby. The South-East trades were blowing at the time and made the ship roll continually: but at least we were kept cool, which was a blessed relief after our thermometrical torment of the Indian Hot Season.

On the 25th, after having skirted the west coast of Sumatra, we were entering the Staits of Sunda, Bound for Batavia. On our way, on a smooth sea [191] and with brilliant sky overhead, we passed the site of Krakatoa which, in August, 1883, had been the locality of the most fearful volcanic explosion ‘in history’. As I stood on the deck looking at the sun-gilt, tranquil water and the three fragments of what had been a volcanic cone, from which leaped out a seismic force so resistless and appalling that it caused the death of, some say 50,000, some 100,000 human beings, it was hard to believe that any such catastrophe had occurred at this smiling spot.

The following rude diagram shows the position of the three remaining fragments of the island, and the asterisk the point of explosion. Though the Captain and passengers told me about the tragedy, I could not create in my mind an adequate picture of this appalling catastrophe. The water was too smooth, the golden light of the sun on it too brilliant, the surroundings too lovely to allow me to make the mental picture. So now, eight years later, the scene comes up before my memory all brilliant and lovely, not as it was on that day in August, 1883, when the pent-up forces down in the bosom of the ocean-bed tore away the superincumbent masses of rock and made for themselves a passage into the outer air. In view of the details of the event, the press of the whole world occupied itself off and on [192] for several years in recording the facts so far as they could be arrived at, and in 1889 a report of a committee appointed by the British Royal Society to investigate the eruption and the subsequent phenomena, came as near to describing the tragical incidents as was possible. The reader who may not have access to a file of the Royal Society’s Transactions will find extracts in the Encyclopædia Britannica (Art. Geology, XXVIII). It says:

“On 26th August, a succession of paroxysmal explosions began which lasted till the morning of the 28th, but of which the four most violent took place on the morning of the 27th. The whole of the northern and lower portion of the island of Krakatoa, lying within the original crater ring of prehistoric times, was blown away; the northern part of the cone of Rakata almost entirely disappeared, leaving a vertical cliff which laid bare the inner structure of that volcano. Instead of the volcanic island which had previously existed, and rose from 300 to 1,400 feet above the sea, there was now left a submarine cavity the bottom of which is here and there more than 1,000 feet below the sea-level.

* * * * *

“So much was the sea filled up that a number of new islands rose above its level. But a vast body of the fine dust was carried far and wide by ærial currents, while the floating pumice was transported [193] for many hundreds of miles on the surface of the ocean. At Batavia, 100 miles from the centre of eruption, the sky was darkened by the quantity of ashes borne across it, and lamps had to be used in the houses at mid-day. The darkness even reached as far as Bandong, a distance of nearly 150 miles. It was computed that the column of stones, dust, and ashes projected from the volcano shot up into the air for a height of seventeen miles or more. The finer particles coming into the higher layers of the atmosphere were diffused over a large part of the surface of the earth, and showed their presence by the brilliant sunset glows to which they gave rise. It was computed that within the tropics they were at first borne along by air-currents at the rate of about seventy-three miles an hour from east to west until within a period of six weeks they were diffused over nearly the whole space between the latitudes 30° N. and 45° S. Eventually they spread northwards and southwards and were carried over North and South America, Europe, Asia, South Africa, and Australasia. In the Old World they spread from the north of Scandinavia to the Cape of Good Hope.

“The actual sounds of the volcanic explosions were heard over a vast area of the earth’s surface, especially towards the west. Thus they were noticed at Rodriguez, nearly 3,000 English miles away, at Bangkok in Siam (1,413 miles), in the [194] Philippine Islands (about 1,450 miles), in Ceylon (2,058 miles), and in West and South Australia (from 1,300 to 2,250 miles). On no other occasion have sound-waves ever been perceived at anything like the extreme distances to which the detonations of Krakatoa reached.

“Not less manifest and far more serious were the effects of the successive explosions of the volcano upon the waters of the ocean. A succession of waves were generated which appear to have been of two kinds, long waves with periods of more than an hour, and shorter but higher waves, with irregular and much briefer intervals. The greatest disturbance, probably resulting from a combination of both kinds of waves, reached a height of about 50 feet. The destruction caused by the rush of such a body of sea-water along the coasts and low islands was enormous. All vessels lying in harbour or near the shore were stranded, the towns, villages, and settlements close to the sea were either at once, or by successive inundations, entirely destroyed, and more than 36,000 human beings perished. The sea-waves travelled to vast distances from the centre of propagation. The long wave reached Cape Horn (7,818 geographical miles) and possibly the English channel (11,040 miles). The shorter waves reached Ceylon and perhaps Mauritius (2,900 miles).” [195] Fancy what must have been the sensations of the onlookers. Another account (New National Encyclopædia, Vol. II, Art. Krakatoa) amplifies the story as follows: “The sky presented the most terrible appearance, fierce flashes of lightning penetrating the dense masses of cloud over the island, clouds of black matter were rushing across the sky, rapidly recurring detonations like discharges of artillery, with a crackling noise in the atmosphere, were heard continuously, and large pieces of pumice, quite warm, rained down at a distance of ten miles. At a point 76 miles from Krakatoa the height of the black cloud projected from the volcano was estimated at 17 miles. At 40 miles distance this cloud looked like an immense wall with bursts of forked lightning at times like large serpents rushing through the air. Balls of fire (corpogants) rested on ships’ mastheads and on the extremities of the yard-arms. During the night the intense darkness was relieved by a ‘peculiar pinky flame’ which seemed to come from clouds and touch the ship, chains of fire seemed to be ascending from the volcano to the sky.”

The same Encyclopædia dwells upon one very beautiful effect of this explosion, the exquisite new tints that were infused into the sunrises and sunsets. It says: [196] “The autumn of 1883 and the succeeding few months were noteworthy for the occurrence of brilliant phenomena in the western sky in every part of the globe, but especially in the Indian ocean and the South Pacific. Shortly after sunset a vivid red glow suffused the entire western sky, remaining for upwards of an hour, when it would slowly fade away. This strange sight was first noticed in India, where, it is said, the sun assumed a distinct greenish tinge on nearing the horizon. In the latitudes of N. Am. these red sunsets were of almost nightly occurrence for several months.”

All of us at Adyar can bear testimony to the greenish afterglow and to its great beauty as a new element in the color scheme. The delicacy of the tint was indescribable, it was, as it were, a sublimation of the hue of the emerald, such as one finds in rising to supramundane planes; to belong to what Mr. Leadbeater describes as a “higher octave of colour,” and reports of similar observations in nearly all parts of the world found their way into print. But now, if there had been standing beside me on the deck of the ship on that sunbright twenty-fifth day of May, 1897, a person with developed clairvoyant or psychometric sensitiveness, he would not have seen, as I did, a smooth pavement of seawater lying there between the remaining fragments of Krakatoa which still showed themselves above the [197] surface, and all traces of the eruption covered over with a sort of golden carpet of sunlight, but he would have seen and felt in the akashic records the eruption still going on; to him, the Titanic submarine forces would be still smashing the volcanic cone into bits and flinging them up into the air and then, later, scooping out in the bowels of the rock a basin so deep that a plummet with a line of two hundred fathoms would not touch bottom; to him, the explosions, louder than ten thousand cannon belching at once, would be heard sending out their waves of sound to travel a distance of 3,000 miles; to him, there would have been no sunlit or smiling water, but the black pall of darkness hiding the face of Nature to a distance of 150 miles. And what he would be seeing would be seen with equal vividness a thousand or ten thousand or uncountable thousands of years later, for, as Denton tells us, in his classical work, The Soul of Things, which, certainly, every Theosophist who would learn about the Astral Plane ought to read: “incredible as it may appear, all forces that operate upon bodies leave their impress upon them just as indelibly as the radiant forces. Or in other words, what we call insensible matter receives the impression of whatever force is applied to it, treasures it up and can impart it to a sufficiently sensitive individual.” In [198] another place he says: “This I have frequently observed in psychometric examinations; so that the examiner can frequently see what occurs millions of years ago better than if he had been on the spot at the time.” In his three volumes he gives numerous reports of psychometric observation of volcanic explosions which occurred far back in the night of time. Here is onewhere the psychometer says: “I see a volcano in the water, and lots of hilly islands. One has sunk down. There is a little lake in the middle and a round island like a ring. The lava flows into the water; and the steam rushes up in clouds. I can barely see the fire. There is quite a high mountain in the water. It makes an awful noise,—worse than any thunder... Great red-hot rocks come down with a terrible splash.” And these akashic pictures came before a boy-psychometer’s interior vision when he placed a fragment of calciferous sandstone against his forehead, without the least knowledge as to what the hard fragment was: and this rock, remember, belongs to the lowest level of the Lower Silurian Era, that is to say, to a geological period millions of years back in time.[18]

But we have said enough about Krakatoa and its tragical memories, as we are due to arrive at Batavia in the morning and must be getting ready to go ashore.




I WONDER how many people who have been to Amsterdam or known any of our dear Dutch colleagues, are aware that when the league between the States of the Netherlands was established on the 16th of May, 1795, the name “Batavian Republic” was given to the new organization and that it was derived from that of the Batavi, an ancient German people who inhabited a part of the present Holland, who were brave, particularly strong in cavalry, who fought and afterwards faithfully served the Romans. This is interesting to us because we can now see where our modern Dutchman derived some of the conspicuous traits of his character. It was therefore from the old country that the conquerors of Java and founders of Batavia, capital city of all their East Indian empire, took the name [200] that they gave to the city at which, at the end of our last chapter, we were getting ready to disembark.

The traveller is struck on arriving by the view of the great and roomy port, the superb anchorage, the numerous public buildings, palaces, naval stores, military hospital, theatre, the Society of Arts and Sciences, the different schools and the bustle of a huge commerce. The private houses, with their gardens and shade trees, their wide verandas and air of domestic comfort give an unmistakable oriental appearance to the town. The hotel at which I stopped on the 26th May, 1897[19], and which bears the appropriate title, Hôtel des Indes, offered a very agreeable contrast with our cramped quarters on shipboard. At the back of the house stretched a vast veranda paved with large marble tiles which gave an air of coolness that was most refreshing; in the compound near the house was a monster banyan tree, one of the largest I ever saw, whose umbrageous shade was peopled by a multitude of birds whose twitterings and love-calls made music [201] throughout the whole day. Under its shade an army of Chinese and Javanese pedlars spread their enticing wares on the ground and used all the arts of cajolery to secure our custom. The spacious grounds were carpeted with green lawns and shade trees lined the walks. To the right and left stretched lines of guest-chambers giving on to brick-paved verandas, while now and again gallant little Timoor ponies came dashing up to the doors with their curious cabs filled with passengers. The spirited little beasts reminded me of the Shan ponies of Burma and it was a pleasure for any lover of horses to see them. I cannot say that the vehicles they drew were equally enticing, for the passengers had to sit back-to-back in jaunting-car fashion, all the time nursing the idea that they might be pitched out on the road when the ponies dashed around corners. I had the pleasure of making the personal acquaintance of the brother of Mrs. Campbell, F. T. S., of Soerabaya, who was good enough to show me some of the sights and see me safely aboard the steam launch that was to take us back to the ship. The ducking we got in transit is not a pleasant thing to recall, for it served as a sort of offset to the pleasant experiences of the day ashore.

We sailed the next morning for Semarang, our next Javan port of call and the port of the province of that name and lying about 280 miles east of [202] Batavia. A fellow-passenger, well acquainted with the history of Java, told me that in the island there were about twenty-five millions of natives and but about five thousand Dutch. From his account it would appear that the first Dutch Governor must have been a terrible despot who obtained his ends by the unflinching use of cruelty. He offset his national stubbornness against the soft, sensual mildness of the Javanese. A story was told me to this effect. A broad, well-graded carriage road, necessary for military purposes, was wanted between two distant points. The chiefs were assembled and the situation explained to them. With oriental inertness they declared it impossible, for reasons stated. Thereupon the Governor, rising from his chair and looking at them with a Medusa-like countenance, said: “This carriage road is wanted within one month; it can be made; it shall be made; if it is not ready by the time specified I shall hang the chiefs.” He did hang them. The road was then finished in a hurry.

We reached Semarang the next morning and anchored in the roads all that day and the following night. We then moved on to Soerabaya and anchored at the mouth of the river, distant twenty-one miles from the town, which we could not visit, much to my regret, for I had anticipated the delight of seeing my friends, the Campbells. At 4 p.m. the [203] same day we weighed anchor and sailed for Thursday Island, a stretch of six full days. On the morning after leaving Soerabaya we passed the Peak of Lombok, on the island known to outsiders under the same name but by the natives called Sassak: it is one of the Lesser Sunda islands, in the East Indian Archipelago. Since I passed that way the island has been placed under the direct government of the Dutch, the people being, however, left in the undisturbed exercise of their own laws, religions, customs and institutions.

The peak we saw is one of the southern chain of mountains which traverse the island; that is, I suppose so, for I was told that it was not more than 4,000 feet high, whereas the real Peak of Lombok towers to a height of 11,810 feet and is one of the highest volcanoes in the Archipelago. With the accompaniment of fine weather, varied on the sixth day by head winds which made us ship water at the bow and sent sheets of spray dashing across the upper deck, we reached Thursday Island, that surviving link between us and the sunken Lemuria, on the afternoon of the fifth of June. The ship came to an anchor four miles from the town and none of the passengers went ashore. By the courtesy of the Company’s local agent I was enabled to telegraph my coming arrival to our Queensland Branches and the Sydney Headquarters; [204] this being their first intimation of my intended tour of observation. On Sunday, the 6th (June) we went through the Albany Pass of Torres Straits, seeing the pearling fleet at work on their fishing grounds.

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica this fishery has, for over twenty-five years, given a magnificent return on the capital invested. Pearls of great value are occasionally obtained, and the shells realize from £100 to 150 per ton in London. As an instance of the value of this industry, it may be stated that in 1898, £100,000 worth of shells were exported to London, bringing in a revenue of £1,100 to Government, the shells having been to a great extent collected off the shallow reefs; diving is now prosecuted in deep water of twenty-five fathoms, causing frequent and fatal accidents to divers engaged. This is not to be wondered at since in the waters throng voracious fishes, such as sharks of all varieties, gigantic sword-fish and sawfish, and immense stinging rays.

As the well-informed reader knows, this sheet of water stretches between New Guinea and Australia and is so crowded with islets and reefs as to make its navigation very dangerous. It was discovered in 1606 by the Portuguese navigator, Luis de Torres, whose name it bears. Moving on towards Cooktown we encountered strong headwinds and [205] were not at all sorry to reach the shelter of the Cooktown harbor on the 8th. After discharging some cargo we started again, reached Cairns, discharged cargo and resumed our voyage early that afternoon. The Company’s agent, who came aboard, got himself introduced to me and in conversation expressed his interest in Theosophy. The next day we reached Townsville at 5-30 p.m.--the end of my projected sea trip. I disembarked, went to the Criterion Hotel and, with the old journalistic instinct, paid a visit to the editor of the Bulletin to get his opinion about the chances of my having an audience at a lecture on Theosophy. It will be remembered that none of our people had been forewarned of my visit and so, of course, no preparations whatever had been made for my reception: moreover, our movement had not spread so far north. My editorial friend gave me so discouraging a forecast that I had serious doubts as to the advisability of my beginning a lecturing campaign at that point, and this opinion being strengthened by a jeweller who was himself very interested, I gave up the idea, took my luggage back to the ship, slept aboard and booked my passage for Rockhampton, which port we reached on the 13th, after passing on the way Bowen and Mackay. To reach Rockhampton we had to ascend the river forty-five miles. My telegram from Thursday Island [206] having been misread, Mr. Will. Irwin, President of our local Branch, did not meet me, so I took a cab to his house and was given a most cordial welcome by himself, his wife and two daughters.

The next day was devoted to visits to our members and others. Coming from tropical Madras I found the temperature cold and the air biting at 47° F. As Miss Edger was making a tour just then in Queensland, it was manifestly the best course for us to meet and arrange the combining of the two tours in one, so we exchanged telegrams and appointed a meeting at Rockhampton. She arrived on the 17th June at 10 p.m. and was met at the landing by some of our leading members and myself. The projected agreement was made between us the next day, and the campaign was opened that evening with a lecture by myself on “TheTheosophical Society, Its Aims and Its Success.” We held a joint reception and question meeting the next evening at the house of Mr. Greenish, President of the Branch. On the 20th Miss Edger lectured at the School of Arts on “Reincarnation”, doing, as she always does, full justice to the subject. The 21st was a holiday to celebrate the Queen’s Record Reign Jubilee, and at 10-30 p.m. we two embarked on the steamer Burwah for Maryborough. We reached that place after a most comfortable voyage, [207] at midnight on the 22nd and put up at the Custom House Hotel. The next day, however, we accepted a most cordial invitation to become the guests of Mr. and Mrs. F. J. Charlton, who did everything in their power to make us comfortable and happy.

On the 24th Miss Edger and I left by train for Bundaberg and reached there in three hours: Miss Edger becoming the guest of our colleague, Mrs. Nicoll, a kind, liberal woman, and I, of Mr. J. E. Turner, a wealthy drygoods merchant, who was as well provided with children as with the means to support them. A drive to the famous Mon Repos sugar works and plantation, which we found thoroughly well-appointed and successful, occupied a good part of the next day. There was a lecture at the theatre on the 27th evening by myself on the “History of the Theosophical Society”, and the next day, returning to Maryborough, the same lecture was given at the Town Hall. On Tuesday, the 29th, I presided at a lecture by Miss Edger in defence of Theosophy against an ill-natured attack on it by a local Presbyterian clergyman, who evidently believed there would not be room in heaven for his party and ours.

Miss Edger having been relieved of the responsibility of the General Secretaryship of our New Zealand Section and being free to work where she might choose, it occurred to me that it would be a [208] great advantage to the Australasian Section if the Executive Committee should induce her to take the appointment of Travelling Inspector of Branches, and at a meeting of the Maryborough Branch on the evening of the 30th June the matter was broached and a unanimous vote of approval recorded. Not every one who has the privilege of Miss Edger’s acquaintance is aware of her claim to our respect by reason of her brilliant scholarship. Her sister was the first and she the second lady to take the degree of B.A. at the New Zealand University. Miss Edger won a Junior Scholarship (Latin, Mathematics, History and French) in 1878; a Senior Scholarship (Mathematics) in 1879; another one (English) in 1880; graduated B.A. in 1880, and M.A. in Arts, with Honors (Latin Language and English Literature) in 1881.

On the 2nd July she and I left by train for Brisbane, reached there at 6 p.m. and were given a reception by the local Branch. My old friend, Mr. Justice Paul, with whom I have been on cordial terms since my tour of 1891, made me an honorary member of the Johnsonian Club, at which I was enabled to make the acquaintance of all the cleverest men in. town. Old readers of this magazine[20] will recall the circumstances of my visit [209] to Australia in 1891 to inquire into the facts relating to the bequest to myself as P. T. S. of his whole estate by the late Carl H. Hartmann, of Toowoomba; of my refusal to accept the legacy because of its injustice to the family of the deceased; and of my appointment of Mr. Justice Paul as my personal attorney, with instructions to transfer the property to the natural heirs as soon as they could agree in the choice of somebody who should act for them collectively to take title and dispose of the estate according to their wishes. In previous allusions to this case I have mentioned the fact that owing to legal impediments I was not able to strip myself of the property until after the lapse of nearly six years: in fact, the transfer had only been made a short while before my present visit of 1897. The full particulars I learned on visiting the office of Mr. Macpherson, and he and Judge Paul sent to my hotel the subjoined notes, which have their place in a candid narrative of this sort, which aims to exhibit to the reader not only the details of the Society’s history but also the motives which actuate its responsible officers. I venture to say that there are few large societies like ours which would applaud and warmly endorse the action of their President which deprived them of a legacy of [210] £5,000 because it connoted injustice. The notes of Judge Paul and Mr. Macpherson were worded as follows:

BRISBANE, 6th July 1897. COL. H. S. OLCOTT,

President, Theosophical Society. DEAR SIR,

I have great pleasure in informing you that by your directions (contained in a Power of Attorney made about three years ago), in conjunction with Mr. P. Macpherson, your Solicitor, I have transferred all the real and personal property to Herman Hartmann, one of the sons and the nominee of the family of the late Carl H. Hartmann, of Toowoomba, Queensland, who had disposed by will of the whole of his property to you as President of the Theosophical Society.

Mr. Herman Hartmann expressed to me his heartfelt thanks and stated that he was very glad that his father had not left his property to a church.

Yours faithfully,

(Sd.) GEO. W. PAUL.


[211]BRISBANE, 6th July 1897,


President, Theosophical Society.



Referring to His Honor Judge Paul’s note to you of to-day, I have to explain that the delay which occurred in carrying your wishes into effect arose entirely through legal technicalities.

Pardon my expressing to you my admiration of your conduct in this matter and to say that it has been at once generous and just.

I am,

Faithfully yours,


During the next few days Miss Edger and I were occupied with visits and receptions and each of us lectured at different times to good audiences. On the ninth of the month a man named Buckmaster, formerly of the 4th U. S. Dragoons, came and showed me papers to prove that his aunt had left a legacy of £18,000 to the Roman Catholic Church and that the priests did not give the heirs a penny although they were in want. This and another case [212] which was made public at about that time, in which the trustees of a Presbyterian Church had refused to give to the pauper sister of the testator who had left to them her whole property, even a pittance to save her from the Poorhouse, aroused public attention and restored our Society to the good opinion of the public and caused me to be received with great cordiality by my audiences during the remainder of the tour. The Sydney Bulletin, one of the most bitingly sarcastic of contemporary journals, had published a caricature in its issue of May 18th, 1891, an enlargement of which is in my possession. In this I was represented as sailing away on the steamer, while a black-clad clergyman was standing on the beach frantically waving his hand and shouting “Hi! I say, you have left something behind!” At the same time he points to a Hindu idol standing near-by on the beach, with the word “Theosophy” inscribed on its pedestal. This old friendly feeling towards us was now reawakened by the outcome of the Hartmann case. After a busy fortnight at Brisbane, Miss Edger left me on the 6th to go to Toowoomba by rail to keep a lecturing appointment, and I sailed for Sydney in the Warrage, one of the excellently appointed and comfortable coasting steamers that ply between the Australian, Tasmanian and New Zealand ports.




I REACHED Sydney at noon on the 15th and was met at the landing by Miss Edger and the leading members of the Sydney Branch and of the Australasian Section and taken to our spacious headquarters in Margaret street, where I had a cordial welcome from members who could not get to the wharf. I was put up by Mr. Scott at his boarding-house and both Miss Edger and I lectured that same evening in Protestant Hall to a full audience. The next day there was a levee at our headquarters and in the evening she lectured on “Reincarnation” and I on “Spiritualism and Theosophy”: there was again a large audience and much interest shown. On the posters and in the advertisements there was an announcement which was quite a novelty to me and I asked an explanation. It was: “Admission by silver coin”, which meant, I was told, that persons on entering the Hall were [214] expected to put, in a plate kept there for that purpose, any sum they liked as a contribution towards the expenses, but with the understanding that it should not be less than a three-penny bit, the smallest silver coin. This was an improvement on the old system of taking up a collection before the adjournment of the meeting. Of course, in both cases individuals would show their generosity or parsimony by the denomination of the coins contributed. I noticed that in some rare cases a coin of gold would be dropped into the plate.

At Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and some other places they have the excellent custom of providing a luncheon at the local headquarters for the benefit of subscribers whose place of business being too far away from their homes to permit of their going to their houses for their midday refreshment, are in the habit of lunching at some restaurant. It occurred to some bright, practical mind, presumably a lady’s, that the most active workers of a Branch or Section might just as well lunch together at the headquarters, and thus have daily the chance of keeping up friendly relations and talking about current Society affairs. So it was agreed that each of those who were willing to come into the arrangement should contribute daily what they were accustomed to spend, and give it over to one of the lady members who were willing to take the management [215] in weekly turns, and leave her to give the best lunch she could for the money. In the course of my tour I found the plan working most successfully, and I highly recommend it for adoption in all large towns where such a plan would be practicable. The reader may perhaps recollect the frequent testimony I have borne to a somewhat similar plan that has been pursued at our Colombo headquarters for many years past. The best workers are in the habit of stopping there on their way home from office and chatting for a half-hour or an hour about the Society business, as it comes up day by day. The disposal of it at Society meetings is a later affair.

A large meeting of the Sydney T. S. was held on the 17th (July), at which a resolution in favor of the appointment of Miss Edger as Branch Inspector was passed. Miss Edger and I attended a crowded meeting of the Sydney T. S. the next afternoon and in the evening we lectured together in Leigh House Ballroom—she on “Christianity” and I on “The Life of Buddha”. We held a levee the next day for three hours and in the evening, before a large audience, who applauded much, she discoursed on: “How we can help the world”; and I on a subject that was frequently repeated throughout my tour, viz., “The Divine Art of Healing”; in which I discussed more or less cursorily the different systems of healing [216] practised in ancient and modern times and their several underlying theories. On the night of the 20th Miss Edger and I took train for Melbourne and reached there at about noon the next day.

One of the first visitors who called to see me at our headquarters was Mr. W. H. Terry, the veteran editor of that influential Spiritualist organ, The Harbinger of Light. It is one of the oldest and best of the publications of its class and has made the name of Mr. Terry known throughout the world of Spiritualism. In the very last number that has reached me at Adyar (for September, 1905) I see that Mr. Terry is retiring from public life and that he is succeeded in the editorial chair by Mrs. Charles Bright, also a well-known Spiritualistic leader. Soon after the arrival in India of H. P. B. and myself Mr. Terry accepted membership and even office in the Theosophical Society, but later broke the connection without, however, interruption of the relations between us two. I was glad to make his personal acquaintance on the occasion of my present visit to Melbourne.

For many years past Melbourne has been an active centre of the Spiritualistic movement and many public mediums, good, bad and indifferent, support themselves by their vocation. On the 23rd of the month under review, Miss Hinge, a charming little New Zealand lassie and Private Secretary to [217] Mr. Terry, was kind enough to take me to see a somewhat famous medium who lived in one of the suburbs of the town; but instead of receiving communications from the denizens of the other world we had the bad luck to find her drunk and when she heard my name, she became maudlin, so we left her in a hurry.

The first lectures of Miss Edger and myself were given on the evening of the 24th in Masonic Hall, with Mr. H. W. Hunt, President of our Branch, in the chair. The next day we lunched at the house of the Hon’ble Alfred Deakin, then an F. T. S., and now Prime Minister of the Australian Commonwealth. On the 26th I lunched with Mabel Scott, daughter of Mrs. Annie Besant, now married to a son of the late renowned dramatic critic, Clement Scott, of London. At the time of my visit Mr. Scott, Jr., was a Senate reporter in the Victoria Parliament. I had known his wife as a young girl in London but found her now developing into a staid housekeeper, very proud of her baby and of the clothes that she had been making for her. On the wall of her sitting-room hung a great many photographs of her idolized mother. Among my callers on that day were James Miller, whose acquaintance I had made during my Japan tour of 1889, and Cavalier James Smith, a highly gifted editor and author, who has been for many years writing [218] on Spiritualism in the Harbinger and who claims to have had intercourse through his medium with Jesus, Buddha and all the other deceased world-teachers and saviours, from the remotest time down to our day.

Of the four public lectures given by me in Melbourne three were on psychical subjects and practically all the great Melbourne mediums attended them. On the 28th Miss Edger and I were taken separately to see a wonderful psychometrist, Mrs. Laidlaw, a Scottish woman. She is a palmist and certainly has a great gift in that line. I was a perfect stranger to her, even as to my name, but she very clearly read in my hand a great deal of my personal history. Knowing nothing about Miss Edger, and seeing her, in a separate sitting, she told her that she would soon make a short voyage which would be successful in the fulfilment of its objects, and that, later, she would make a very long one, in the company of the white-haired gentleman who had recently visited her (myself); that during this predicted journey she would travel through far-distant countries in the tropics and that she would gain much renown by public lectures; that all the signs were favorable for her having a brilliant career in the large Society to which she was attached. When in my sitting she was reading my palm, she told me that I should by all means [219] take with me to India the young woman whom she saw in relation with me, as she was a person of noble character and her tour in the country where I lived would be a great success. In my Diary entry of that date I find a note to the effect that Mrs. Laidlaw told me that thenceforth I should never want for money, as much would be bequeathed to me: also that I should live twenty years more which, the year being 1897, would give me a lease of life until 1917. This strangely corroborates the prediction of the late Madame Mongruel, and substantially those of the different horoscopes that have been cast for me at different times. If Mrs. Laidlaw’s prophecy should come true that would make me die at the age of eight-five. This, I should say, is not far from the mark, and it is for that reason only that I am putting this prediction on record at the present time: for, so far as I am concerned, it is a matter of smaller importance in which year I may have to transfer my activities to the other plane, since I shall be working as much for the Society then as I am at present. But the Masters have all that in Their keeping and I am satisfied to go or stay as may be necessary for the carrying out of Their plans.

On the 29th I attended a joint meeting of both of our Melbourne Branches and “improved the occasion” to give them some very plain talk on the [220] subject of Brotherhood, the ideal so constantly preached but too frequently not practised among us. I have no patience with those outside critics who expect us to live fully up to our lofty ideal of tolerance and eclecticism, making no allowance whatever for human infirmities (save in their own cases) and condemn us out of hand because we are no better than the average man. Not one of us who has a share in leading the Theosophical movement has ever made the pretence that we were any better than our neighbors, any wiser, any stronger morally, and it certainly shows a perverted nature to hold us guilty because we have not been able, with all our strivings, as yet to make ourselves saints or adepts. We are like the heterogeneous soldiers of an army of varying moral strength who follow a great leader and the banner of an Ideal which is calculated to appeal to all that is best in the heart and mind of a human being. So then, as I have often said and written, I am never surprised or discouraged when dissensions between individuals or groups break out within our Society, and instead of opposing I am rather inclined to favor the separation of a large Branch into two or more when there seems a prospect that such a separation will make for the restoration of peace and harmony. Old members will recollect how I dealt with the case of the unrest that prevailed in our London [221] Lodge in the year 1884 because of the different opinions held by the late Dr. Anna Kingsford and her friends, and Mr. Sinnett and his party, who were tenaciously loyal to the Indian Teachers and teachings. A struggle which threatened the disruption of the Branch was imminent but the danger was averted when Mrs. Kingsford was persuaded to retire from the London Lodge and form a Branch of her own, in which she could have full sway for the giving out of her opinions about the supreme perfection of the Egyptian teachings.

My plain talk to the people at Melbourne was provoked by the existence of more or less unfriendly feelings between the two groups who had formed separate Branches. My own conviction is that these dissensions are almost inexcusable when we come to think of the heavy responsibility resting upon us as a Society which professes to be co-working with the WHITE LODGE for the revival of ancient learning, the purification of religions and the elevation of the race. It always makes me wonder if these quarrelsome persons who let themselves be carried away by sometimes the most contemptible of motives, have ever for one moment realized what Eyes are watching them and what spiritual insight is searching the innermost recesses of their hearts. What have we, as Theosophists, to do with wars and insurrections and political animosities and [222] commercial strife; what with race hatreds and color lines and mutually contradictory theologies? The influence of the Society upon us individually has been strong, as is plainly shown by the exhibitions of mutual goodwill and brotherliness at the meetings of Branches, Federations, Conventions and International Congresses. This is something to be proud of and thankful for since it gives great promise of the future; but while we are waiting for the consummation of our collective desires we ought to keep constant watch and ward over our lower natures and make it possible for our colleagues to live and work with us in harmony.

On the 30th I became the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Roughton Hogg, two of the finest characters and most useful members in our Society, who have now been for some years residents of London and have taken an active part in the management of our affairs in the metropolis. On that same day I met at Mr. Terry’s office Mr. Bowles, the Christian Scientist, and dined at the house of Mr. Stirling, F.T.S., the Government Geologist. The next day Miss Edger and I were taken by Miss Hinge to a séance at the house of Cavalier James Smith and received through his medium, discourses alleged to come from Pythagoras and Jesus Christ. The latter blessed me; an incident which I respectfully commend to the [223] notice of all Popes, Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and other clergy. It may interest some of these gentry to learn that many years ago I received in due form through his Cardinal Master of Ceremonies, Cardinal Cataldi, the blessing of the late Pope Pio Nono: which nevertheless has not interfered with the foundation and success of the Theosophical Society, in spite of his having had the reputation of having the malocchio.

Miss Edger and I were holding daily levees and giving lectures to good audiences. At the levee on the 3rd (August) there was a natural seeress who, although an ignorant woman, gave Miss Edger a wonderfully accurate psychical reading. Like Mrs. Laidlaw, she too prophesied for her a brilliant career in the Society. I see in my entry of the 5th, in speaking of a reception given at Mr. and Mrs. Hogg’s house, the remark—”These social functions are more useful than public meetings”: an opinion to which I hold after many years of experience. The fact is that a lecturer talks more or less over the heads of his audience, stirring them up perhaps and implanting in their minds ideas which may take root and produce good harvests later on; but it is not so sure of results as when the inquirer can sit down with the teacher and get answers to the questions that spring up in his mind. Where the putting of questions after a lecture is allowed, I [224] have found that it has taken me quite as long to answer them as it did to give the lecture, and that, while occasionally there are some utterly absurd interrogatories as, for instance, that of a person at Chicago who asked me to please tell them “Why Madame Blavatsky was born a foreigner”, yet the majority are worthy of thoughtful attention and courteous reply. I know that some lecturers show impatience, and sometimes rudeness, but I am always glad to be questioned and never afraid to say that I do not know, if I really do not. One time in Europe I got credit for great candor when, in answering the question: “When the Second Logos evolved from the first Logos, was it of His own will or because it was in the nature of things?” I replied that, having no personal acquaintance with the Logos, I could not answer the question, more-ever that I was perhaps the only man in the Society who dared say, when necessary, “I do not know”! These speculations commend themselves to a certain type of mind but I, as a practical man, cannot help feeling vexed when I see colleagues wasting their lives in that sort of kite-flying while the world around them is weltering in ignorance which they do nothing practical to dispel or to make their neighbors wiser and happier.

The 7th August was our last day in Melbourne. In the morning I went with Mr. and Mrs. Hogg to [225] consult a woman who styled herself a “Futurist”, but apparently got nothing of sufficient importance to be noted in my diary. A visit to the Museum and a lunch with friends filled up our day and in the afternoon Miss Edger and I embarked for Hobart, Tasmania, on the coasting-steamer Moonawan, many friends coming to see us off.

Over a calm sea and in fine weather we sailed until the second morning after, when we reached Hobart. It was a bright, bracing, sunny day and the picture of the town and harbor that was spread out before us was one of the prettiest I have ever seen. On landing we were most heartily welcomed by our members, who took me to the Imperial Hotel and Miss Edger to the house of Mr. Leo Sussmann, President of the Branch. Tasmania, as every student of geography knows, was discovered in the middle of the seventeenth century by the Dutch sailor, Abel Janssen Tasman, who circumnavigated the Australian continent and discovered the great island in the Southern Pacific Ocean which called Van Dieman’s Land, in honor of his patron, the then Governor of the Dutch possessions in the East Indies; but which, in 1803, was given his own name by the British expedition under Bowen, dispatched from Sydney to form a settlement on the island, until then absolutely neglected by white men. With a few soldiers and convicts, Bowen finally [226] fixed on the spot where Hobart Town now stands. From 1817 commenced a rapid increase in the number of free (i.e., not convict) settlers who received grants of land in proportion to the capital which they brought into the colony: In 1825 Tasmania was declared independent of New South Wales; since 1854 authority has been invested in a Parliament, consisting of a Governor as Queen’s representative and two elective Houses—the Legislative Council of fifteen and the Assembly of thirty-two members. The total population is about a quarter of a million only.




A LITTLE back of Hobart Town rises a hill called Mount Wellington which, though less than 4,500 feet in height, was at the time of our visit covered with snow and formed a superb background in photographs taken of the town from the deck of a ship. Altogether I think that Hobart deserves to be classed as one of the prettiest spots in the world. The twelve days of our visit were well filled with Society work, such as levees, private visits, conversation meetings, public lectures, and visits to charming localities under the friendly guidance of Miss Octavia Sussmann and other friends. At its meeting on the evening of 10th August, the Branch adopted my scheme for employing Miss Edger as Branch Inspector. She gave some excellent lectures, notably one on the rather hackneyed subject of “Karma and Reincarnation”.

I availed myself of the chance of a meeting of the principal Masonic Lodge to “work my way in” [228] and assist in the work. It was extremely interesting to me as being so unlike what we have in America, but I must confess that I came away impressed with its puerile character as compared with Theosophy. Although it was thirty-four years since I had sat in a Masonic Lodge I felt that I should not care to repeat the experience during an equal space of time. One might say that the spirit of Theosophy, especially in its aspect of brotherhood and religious tolerance, was there, but buried out of sight in the husks of formalism and a species of theatrical display. Our readers may remember[21] that at New York, when the Society had dwindled into a very small affair, H. P. B. and I had some talk with Masonic friends about making the Theosophic teachings a framework for a new Masonic degree, but that we abandoned it as impracticable.

Among the interesting persons whom we met was a young Englishman, a university graduate, who had got about him a group of ladies and another of gentlemen who were pursuing under his direction a course of reading accompanied by profitable discussions on high themes. I was greatly pleased to see the generous enthusiasm which he put into his work and the intellectual and spiritual results obtained. During the whole of our visit we had no idle nor wearisome time; we made a number of [229] warm friendships and were sorry to have to leave Hobart, which we did at 5 p.m. on the 20th August, in the Union Company’s steamer Talune for Dunedin. During the next three days we experienced the delights of a rolling ship which flung us about under the impulse of a swell from the eastward, but on the fourth day we reached “The Bluffs”, a port of call about 150 miles from Dunedin. It was a splendid sunny day with that crispness in the air which gives us people of the temperate zone such a feeling of buoyant health. At the other side of the harbor, some fifty miles away, stretched a range of hills completely covered with snow, which stood out in brilliant splendor against a clear azure sky. In the afternoon we resumed our journey and the next day got to Port Chalmers, the seaport of Dunedin and an hour’s ride from the town. Messrs. George Richardson, A. W. Maurais, and Pearmain came aboard and with outstretched hands gave us a cordial welcome. Among our active workers in Australasia Mr. Maurais has always held a conspicuous place, his connection with a newspaper having enabled him to keep the subject of Theosophy well before the public. The other two gentlemen of the committee have also rendered most valuable services, and Mr. Richardson by the strength and purity of his character has lent [230] dignity, to the office of President of the local Branch.

The next day I walked about town and made acquaintances. The streets are very hilly and there are many fine buildings. In the evening, I lectured on Spiritualism to a large audience, Mr. Richardson being in the chair. It was Miss Edger’s turn the next evening to lecture, and her subject, “What Theosophy can teach us”, was well handled. The next night was spent at Mr. Pearmain’s house at Sawyer’s Bay, a suburb particularly hard to reach on a rainy night when one has to tramp over the sleepers of the railway track to avoid making a long detour. I returned to town the next day and at 6-30 p.m. addressed a crowded audience on the subject of “Healing”. An amusing feature of the occasion was that after I had spoken an hour the audience made me go on for another one, thus dividing a long discourse into two shifts. We had to hold two levees a day to give a fair chance to all who wanted to talk with us. There was a Branch meeting on the evening of the 30th and on the next evening a “sociable” was given us at the “Tailoress’s Union Hall”, a title which I think must be unique. It certainly is suggestive of the existence among one class of colonial women workers of a spirit of self-helpfulness and organizing faculty. On the evening of the 1st of September Miss Edger [231] and I dined at the house of one of our members whose daughter was so beautiful that I asked her father to give me her photograph: it was what some of the French writers call a “cameo face”, that is, one that seems made on purpose to be cut as a cameo in shell or stone. As the young lady has the greater beauty of being a good Theosophist I think she will not mind this passing note by an art-lover to her artistic form.

We sailed for Christchurch, September 3rd, on the steamer Te Anau, and had a rough time of it. We met a heavy swell outside the harbor and were tossed about all night; the weather was cold and rainy and everyone on board was miserably uncomfortable. At 11 a.m. on the 4th we reached Christchurch, or rather Lyttleton, its harbor, some miles from town, where we were met and welcomed on behalf of the Branch by Mr. Rhodes and Mrs. Richmond, a lady who is known in India and Great Britain as well as in the colonies as an instructive platform speaker. I was the guest of Mrs. Fletcher, who made my stay most pleasant. At that time there flourished in that town the notorious bigamist and confidence-man, the “Rev.” A. B. Worthington, a native of one of the Western States of America, gifted with great oratorical powers, a handsome person, persuasive in conversation, unscrupulous to the last degree; a man fit to [232] teach high things but morally perverted; a woman-hunter whose career embraced a series of seven bigamous marriages in America and the pecuniary ruin of various wealthy ladies, whose money he got from them by lavish promises of mystical initiation and the acquisition of psychical powers. Just before my arrival he had made a great scandal in Christchurch by the seduction of a tall and handsome lady with whom he went through a bigamous marriage ceremony, but whose eyes were opened and heart broken by the discovery of still another liaison.

I was taken to see a fine church that he had built with the money of local dupes; a well-planned edifice with a spacious auditorium and a large round-fronted speaker’s platform that recalled the one in Henry Ward Beecher’s church at Brooklyn. His sermons, congregational talks and esoteric instructions to a select group of hypnotized men and budding prophetesses, were framed on Theosophical lines and he availed himself without compunction of the best things he could find in the books of Mrs. Besant and others of our writers. His villainy having been exposed by a male dupe, he fled the place, took refuge in another colonial town and with matchless effrontery began the same game over again. On the 10th of September the poor lady, the victim above mentioned and who had adopted [233] the name “Sister Magdala”, came to see me and excited my warm sympathies by her tale of woe. I can see her now standing before me, with her large eyes swimming with tears and her tall, graceful figure shaken with grief. I tried to give her some comfort and she brightened up for the time being, but alas! misery was her karmic inheritance for this life and since the interview in question she has committed suicide. The case of this man Worthington furnishes a romantic chapter for the history of the rogues of both sexes who have utilized the Theosophical teachings, sometimes as members and sometimes as non-members, for the promotion of vile personal ends. Worthington’s is a sad case, however looked at, for, as said above, he was possessed of talents and, but for the perversion of his lower nature as regards women and money, for each of which he had an equal hunger—although he wanted money only to squander it—he might have been one of the most useful as well as eloquent religious teachers of the day. He taught a gilded Theosophy with surpassing eloquence, and when his crises came and he was sent to prison for terms of years (as he was, and is now) his followers had no natural rallying centre save in the Theosophical Society. Of the character of “Sister Magdala” before and after her relations with Worthington, I am not well enough [234] informed to speak, save that undoubtedly she was Worthington’s victim, completely under the glamor which he could throw over people whom he wished to victimize. Whether she consciously helped him to deceive others is a matter which no one can decide in the case of any hysteric or hypnotic sensitive; the medical authorities are still divided in opinion as to moral responsibility, and the Courts of law as well.

On the 9th September I visited the fine Museum, where I saw a Maori house made of natural size and pattern, a large number of Maori curiosities, and reconstructed skeletons of the gigantic ostrich-shaped Moa (Dinornis) which stood about 14 feet high and had thigh bones stouter than those of a horse.

My dear friend Mrs. Aiken, of the Christchurch Branch, told me a curious story about a picture in this gallery, which illustrates what we would call the recollection of a past birth, but which the cautious scientist has recently christened “regressive memory”. A lady was visiting the gallery with her little boy when, pointing to a certain landscape, he said: “Oh, Mother, I painted that picture!” The mother was about to pass it over as a mere jest, but when she told the child that the picture had been painted a great many years before he was born, he replied: “I can’t help that, Mamma, but I know I painted it. At first I intended it for a [235] sunset, but I changed my mind and on the other side of the canvas painted a sunrise.” The Mother, being a Theosophist, at least by conviction, was immediately struck with the possible importance of the fact, so she persuaded the Superintendent of the Museum to have the picture taken down for examination and, sure enough, there was found on the back of the canvas the unfinished sketch that the child had spoken of. The story was told me in good faith and, if my memory serves, the incident was known generally by the members of our local Branch.

The women of Christchurch impressed me as being more than usually intelligent and self-resolute. I attended a meeting of them with Miss Edger (at Mrs. Aiken’s house) which we both addressed. I was particularly charmed with a Mrs. Ada Wells, the recognized leader of the Women’s Suffrage movement, who is credited with having been the chief agent in getting the suffrage bill enacted. In the evening Miss Edger lectured on “Christianity” and I on “Buddhism”, our farewell addresses in Christchurch, for the next day we embarked at Lyttleton for Wellington on the. steamer Roturunda, where we arrived at 10 o’clock the next morning. My hosts there were Mr. and Mrs. Ellison. In the afternoon there was a conversation meeting in our Branch hall, and in the evening a lecture on [236] “Re-birth of the Soul”: the audience was large and attentive and there was much applause. During our stay at this place I made agreeable acquaintances among our members, some of whom were very earnest. Miss Edger was stopping at another house but both of us had many visits from inquirers and my two lectures were well attended. On the evening of the 16th (September) there was a Branch meeting at which a resolution approving of the appointment of Miss Edger as Inspector of Branches was adopted. The next day I had the curious experience of having my right hand molded at the request of a local palmist who seemed to think that the lines were exceptional enough to warrant her going to his trouble and expense.

On the 18th we left by train for Pahiatua, a small interior place where we had some very intelligent Branch members. It was my good fortune to be the guest of a very musical family, all the adult members of which played on instruments and some had fine voices. Such an episode as that is a most charming interlude when one is travelling over long distances by sea and land, with one’s time constantly occupied with public functions. On the 21st we left by carriage for Woodville, the district where Mr. E. T. Sturdy lived when he first wrote me to inquire about Theosophy. In the evening there was a Branch [237] meeting and the resolution adopted about Miss Edger’s inspectorship. The next day I had a séance with a cranky medium who pretended to be controlled by H. P. B.! In proof of this she was obliging enough to give me what was supposed to be the signature of my dear old chum, written in lead pencil on a scrap of paper, but all the Bertillons and Netherclifts in the world would never have the audacity to trace any resemblance between that scrawl and H. P. B.’s signature. After giving one lecture on “Reincarnation” on the 22nd, I left Woodville with my companion on the 23rd for Wellington, which we reached at 9 p.m., after a seven hours’ ride by train.

The weather was terribly gusty and rainy, the beginning of a great rain-storm. The 24th, Friday, was our appointed day of departure but the gale was so powerful and the light made so obscure by torrential rains that, instead of leaving at 1 a.m. the boat, the Richmond, did not begin her voyage for Nelson (N.Z.) until midnight, and lay at anchor in the lower bay until 2 p.m. The morning broke clear, the sky was bright, the gale had blown itself out and we had smooth water until we reached Nelson at 5 p.m., calling en route at Picton, a pretty land-locked harbor. We were put up by Mrs. Saxon, a married daughter of our old friend Mrs. Pickett. I lectured that evening on [238] “Spiritualism” and on the following one on “Healing”. On the third day Miss Edger and I sailed for Auckland in the SS. Mahinapua. On the 28th we stopped all day at a place called New Plymouth and at 10 p.m. resumed the voyage. Fortunately we had a calm sea and the wee steamer did not roll much, although we had expected it.

We reached Auckland on the 29th at 10-30 a.m. Mr. and Mrs. Draffin, Dr. Sanders, President, Auckland T. S., Mr. F. Davidson, Assistant General Secretary, Mrs. Hemus, Miss Edger’s sister, and other friends met us. The Draffins took me to their house and Miss Edger went to her sister’s. In the evening there was a reception given us at the Branch rooms, which had been tastefully decorated with foliage and flowers, mainly lilies.

One would never think when walking through the streets that Auckland had been settled as late as 1840, for it has what a Highland friend of mine calls “an elderly, settled look”. The climate is warmer than it is in the South Island, the temperature ranging from about 60° to 80° F., which to us Indians is almost overcoat weather, but in comparison with Christchurch and Dunedin it is almost tropical; in fact the South Island people scornfully say that the Aucklanders have the way of lying on their backs until the ripe peaches drop into their mouths. This reproach—evidently unwarranted [239] and due perhaps to a little jealousy of Auckland’s beautiful surroundings and to its greater size—is exactly like that applied to the Jamaica Negroes, who are contemptuously said by the Whites to be so lazy that, lying under a banana tree, they are too lazy to get up to pluck one, but pull it down with their prehensile toes. So far as I saw during my New Zealand tour, the scanty population are as active and eager in the pursuit of wealth as the average Britons whom one meets in other parts of the Empire. I have pasted in my diary a printed list of my engagements during my stay at Auckland, from Sep. 29th to Oct. 12th. It includes a reception, three Branch meetings, four “At Homes”, three lectures, and a picnic to Lake Takapuma, leaving not an idle day. At a joint meeting of the two Auckland Branches my suggestion with regard to Miss Edger’s inspectorship was unanimously approved.

In Auckland as, indeed, throughout the colonies, there is a good deal of psychism and search after phenomena, mediumistic and otherwise. One of our own members, in fact, one of the oldest in New Zealand, since deceased, was Mr. James Cox, who had such a reputation as a psychometrist, principally by way of diagnosing disease, that he made a good living by practising the profession. He was constantly going between Auckland and Sydney to see [240] patients. Rarely, he would use his power for the finding of lost property and persons. The three most noted men in our Auckland centre were Dr. Sanders, Mr. Draffin and Mr. Samuel Stuart, whose contributions to The Theosophist have made his name familiar in the many countries in which the magazine has readers. Of the talented lady members the only ones of whom I permit myself to speak are Miss Edger, her sisters, and Mrs. Draffin, who has suddenly blossomed out as an eloquent platform speaker after having passed through a very severe illness. I received so many kindnesses and so much brotherly courtesy during my fortnight’s Auckland visit that I always think of it with gratitude and pleasure. The visit came to an end on the 12th October when Miss Edger and I sailed for Sydney in the SS. Waihora. There were many friends to see us off, despite the blowing of a heavy westerly gale against which it was difficult to keep one’s footing on the wharf. Among them was Mrs. Stuart, a dear white-haired old lady of seventy old years, since deceased.




THE 13th, 14th and 15th of October were occupied in the sea voyage from Auckland to Sydney, which town we reached at midnight on the 16th. There was a Council meeting on the afternoon on the 17th and in the evening I lectured at our Hall on “The Common Sense of Theosophy” to a crowded audience.

Our faces being now turned towards India we had to economize time at the different stations visited. On the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st there were receptions, some public, others for the benefit of inquirers; I gave two more lectures, on the evenings of the 20th and 21st, and on the 22nd left by train for Bathurst, in fulfilment of the promise made to Mr. H. Wiedersehen when last in Sydney. The weather at Bathurst was very fine and I profited by it to walk about and see the town. I lectured in the evening, had a bit of supper afterwards to [242] fortify my strength and, at 10 p.m., left in a buggy for Rockleigh, a thirty-five mile stretch, got there at 1 a.m. behind a pair of those wonderful Australian horses which we know in India as “Walers” (derived from New South Wales) and which in their own climate are gifted with marvellous endurance. In the hot climate of India they are liable to sunstroke and heat apoplexy and have to be coddled with pith sun-bonnets and carefully handled, but in the colonies they sometimes make a journey of a hundred miles a day. In the present case they covered the ground between Bathurst and Rockleigh in a steady trot at the rate of about twelve miles an hour. The driver told me that the price paid for the team had been £30.

After breakfast the next morning I was driven to Mount David, a gold-mining camp, reached there at noon and was put up at the house of the Superintendent, Mr. Wiedersehen. He had a room cleared for me and at 3 p.m. I gave a Theosophical lecture to an audience of sixty, virtually the whole population of the camp. The weather was so fine and the air was so perfumed with the balmy odors of the forest trees that I felt very happy and entered with zest into the exposition of Theosophy to those rough-clad miners. At the close there was much friendly handshaking and exchange of courtesies. The result was that on that same evening I formed [243] the Mount David Branch T. S. My new friends very kindly showed me the next day the mine and the battery of stamps at work. At 1 p.m. I left by carriage for Bathurst on my return journey, stopped there at the hotel until 10 p.m. when I took train for Sydney, which I reached at 6 o’clock the next morning. I found Miss Edger at the house of Mrs. Page; we lunched at the headquarters and spent the rest of the day there. The same thing happened the next day, but in the evening there was a farewell public meeting at Protestant Hall where a good audience listened to Miss Edger’s lecture on “The Building of a World”. I presided and dosed with a farewell speech. Mrs. Moore-Jones, a fine artist and a sweet, sympathetic woman, but sadly crippled, gave Miss Edger and myself a reception at her studio. In the evening we attended a medical lecture to the ladies’ class for the Civil Ambulance Brigade, at which I presided and, by request, addressed the class at the close of the lesson. There was a conference the next morning between us and the Matron of the nursing staff of the brigade. I paid a visit to Mrs. Moore-Jones, lunched at our rooms, received visitors, and with Miss Edger dined at Dr. Le Freemann’s and in the evening attended a farewell meeting of the Sydney T. S. at which there were speeches by Mr. George Peell, the assiduous [244] and excellent President of the Sydney Branch, since unhappily deceased, Miss Edger, Mr. Kolleström, Dr. Stordeur, Ph.D., a German mystic and an F. T. S., myself and others. Our pleasant and profitable visit to Sydney ended on the 30th. Messrs. Scott and Wilson accompanied us to the Orient Steamer, Oruba, in which we were to sail for Colombo via Melbourne. There were many friends to see us off, many sweet flowers given us and many affectionate words of farewell.

The weather was very cold at sea, the ship very large, the table very plain and the service only passable. We reached Melbourne on the morning, of the 1st November, lunched at the Society’s rooms, and I made a farewell call on my friend Mr. Terry. In the evening I left by train for Adelaide, Mr. Knox, having sent me the money for the railway ticket so that I might visit the Branch and give a lecture. Miss Edger remained on board the ship. I had a very cold night and broken sleep on the train, but all troubles eventually come to an end and I reached Adelaide at 10 the next morning. Mr. Knox, President of the Branch and a most useful member, and other friends met me. I lunched in town and in the afternoon Mr. Knox drove me to “Burnside”, his country seat, where Mrs. Knox gave me a most gracious welcome. The next morning at a reception at the Society’s rooms in [245] town I had the pleasure of meeting two charming French lady members, sisters, and both artists, by names Mme. Mouchette and Mlle. Lion, who attended the Convention at Benares in 1904 and made the tour of India. There being many Spiritualists in Adelaide my first lecture was, by request, on the subject of “Spiritualism and Theosophy”, the one on the following evening on “Healing”, and that on the 5th (November) on “The Theosophical Society and Theosophy”,—my last in Australia. During the tour throughout the colonies of Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand, I had given sixty-three lectures and addresses.

Miss Edger arrived on the Oruba on the 8th November and in the evening of the same day, lectured at the Society’s rooms on “The Building of a World”. On the next evening, her last in Australia she discussed the question of “How to help the WorId”. The next morning we took the train for Port Adelaide and embarked on the Oruba, which sailed at 1-30 p.m.

A run of three days brought us to Albany, our last Australian port, from which it is a voyage of eleven days to Colombo. I had there the pleasure of making the personal acquaintance of that good man, Wilton Hack, who had driven six hundred miles, from the mining town of Coolgardie to Albany to see me: a proof of devotion to the Society hard to [246] beat. Among other amusements to relieve the tedium of the voyage there was a fancy dress ball on the evening of the 27th November which Miss Lilian Edger, M.A., etc., attended in the character of “Night”. Her black dress besprinkled with stars and a crescent moon on her head, together with the excitement of the ball made her look very well from the human point of view if not from that of the university graduate. I confess that I was very pleased with her dissipation for it showed that there was the usual quota of human nature beneath the shell of collegiate enamel.

We reached Colombo on the 24th, glad enough to get ashore. Miss Edger was taken to Mrs. Higgins’ school and I to Sanghamitta School. I lunched that day with the Marquis Mahayotha of Siam and in the afternoon received many visitors, among them the Prince-Priest Jinawarawansa. In the evening there was a meeting of Hope Lodge T. S. at the Musæus School, at which I admitted a Mr. Sinclair, a member of a Highland regiment then garrisoned at Colombo, whose brother, Mr. G. Sinclair of Ibis Lodge T. S., Melbourne, made the exquisitely engrossed address of the Australasian Section to me on my 70th birthday, which has been so admired by all visitors to my office at Adyar. On the next day my enemy the gout attacked me, but with the aid of a pair of crutches I was able to get through [247] the routine of my daily engagements. Our people were all pleased with Miss Edger so far as they could see her, and she with them. We embarked on the steamer Coromandel for Madras on the first of December. After a stretch of fine weather we landed at the latter port at nine o’clock on the fifth of the month. Miss Edger and I received garlands and addresses on disembarking, and then we had a hot drive to Adyar along the Beach road. Naturally enough, Miss Edger was charmed with the appearance of Adyar and with her welcome.

During the next few days the state of my gouty feet prevented my getting about much, even on crutches, but after a few days the trouble disappeared and I had my hands full of work. Wishing to make Miss Edger known to the leaders of the Indian community of Madras, I arranged a reception for her at Adyar, and on the 19th of the month, in the tastefully decorated hall, several hundred leading men headed by our respected Judge, Sir S. Subramania Aiyar, gave her a most cordial welcome. To my introductory speech she responded so admirably as to win the suffrages of her own audience.

It will be remembered that Mrs. Besant was at that time making a long and most important tour in the United States and that it would be impossible [248] for her to return to address the Adyar Convention and, until I met Miss Edger in Australia, no possible substitute was suggested to my mind. But when I saw her qualifications as a lecturer on Theosophical subjects exemplified in her discourses throughout my Australasian tour, I determined to persuade her, if possible, to return with me to India and give the Convention lectures. When we came to discuss suitable topics I told her that what was preeminently necessary now was to drive home upon the minds of our members the fact that they could have no chance of spiritual progress unless they put into practice the rules of life which had been so splendidly defined by Mrs. Besant and others of our speakers: I therefore begged her to accept that idea as a guide for her discourses, which she very readily acceded to. She chose the general title of Theosophy Applied and in her four lectures applied its teachings to Religion, to the Home, to Society, and to the State. Having reported to the General Secretary of the Indian Section the scheme and having received his concurrence, I accordingly got Miss Edger to resign her position of General Secretary of the New Zealand Section, got Dr. Sanders elected in her place, made all necessary arrangements and brought her to India as temporary substitute for Mrs. Besant. With this explanation made, my narrative may proceed. [249] On the second day after the reception we had the extreme pleasure of welcoming as a delegate Dr. Arthur Richardson, that most respected colleague who came on from Bombay where he had been fighting the plague during the preceding half-year, exposing his life daily in the hospitals and working without remuneration. The delegates to the Convention now began pouring in, a group from Ceylon being composed of Mrs. Higgins, Miss Gmeiner, Miss Rodda, Mr. Peter d’Abrew and the Prince-Priest Jinawarawansa. Mr. K. Narayanaswami Iyer and Mr. J. Srinivasa Row, of Gooty, whose services at every Convention, in the matter of the feeding of the delegates, are invaluable, also arrived. On the 25th, Babu Upendranath Basu, General Secretary of the Indian Section, and Mr. A. Mahadeva Sastri, Director of the Mysore Government Oriental Library, and many other delegates came and crowded our house. In the evening Miss Edger held a conversation meeting and answered questions.

The first of her course of four lectures was given at 8 a.m. on the 27th, the title being “Theosophy applied to Religion”. The note in my diary is that “all liked her plain, clear exposition of the practical application of Theosophy to religion”, and the Hindu of the 28th contained one of those admirable critiques for which that influential journal has [250] always been noted. My commentaries on each of the discourses are equally favorable, and at the close of the fourth, Judge Sir S. Subramania Aiyar, on behalf of the Indian public, gave a terse and eloquent expression of thanks. She was enthusiastically applauded at the close of each of the lectures and the language used by a Tasmanian paper about one of her lectures at Hobart is thoroughly applicable to the effect of those at Adyar: “... As Miss Edger proceeded, her audience was drawn nearer to her and she seemed to communicate to them some of her own depth of earnestness when she strove to impress on their minds that, as religion was of the greatest moment to everyone, they should strive to make their religion purer and broader, and that this was what Theosophy sought to do. Theosophy was not opposed to the churches but it tried to remove narrow dogmatism. Theosophy was the very essence of every spiritual religion. With a clear and well modulated voice and wonderfully sustained earnestness, she impressed her hearers with the sincerity of her convictions as she went on to show how Theosophy had sought to give birth to a true Brotherhood of man, the teaching of social righteousness and the rooting out of social evils.” This “drawing nearer” of her audiences to herself was clearly manifested in her Adyar lectures. Perhaps one reason was that she was more didactic [251] than oratorical; she aimed to instruct, not to dazzle, in which, she showed good judgment, for we must never forget that our Indian audiences are not being addressed in their own vernaculars, in which they would understand any possible synonyms, used by the lecturer and every subtle handling of phrases; whereas if they are listening to an English discourse it goes without saying that the subtler sense of many words must escape them. As an orator Miss Edger could never be compared with Mrs. Besant—how many could?—but one of the most eminent of our educated Madrassis said that every one of her audience had understood what she said.

The attendance at the Convention that year (the 22nd) was large, and a feeling of buoyancy, and perfect confidence in the future of the Society pervaded the meetings. The reports from all our Sections were optimistic and the centering of these various lines of thought among us created a most harmonious atmosphere. From the President’s Address the following few points are summarized:

The educational movement in Ceylon was very encouraging; 105 schools, with some 17,000 children, had been established. My [covered a distance of about 17,000 miles and had resulted in creating strong personal ties of friendship between the members in Queensland, New South [252] Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, New Zealand and South Australia, and myself: previously I had been to them only a name and a title. And now, in this connection, let me mention a curious coincidence which I had forgotten to include in my narrative of the tour. I made it, as mentioned, at my own initiative, without consultation with anybody and because I was much dissatisfied with the state of things Theosophical out there—the result of secret machinations of the conspirators before the Secession. Of course there had been no fund set aside for the expenses, so I had advanced the money myself. During the tour there had been gifts from private individuals, from Branches, and the novel “silver coin collection at the door”. As usual on my return, I regulated my accounts with the Treasurer of the Society, and we found that my expenses (including Miss Edger’s) had been covered, all but five shillings. By the next mail or the following one there came from Dr. Sanders, General Secretary of the New Zealand Section, a Postal Money Order for five shillings, the delayed payment of a subscription of that amount by some friend in that colony! What sort of a “coincidence” would the reader call this?

One need not be surprised to find a sort of spirit of restlessness and combativeness showing itself occasionally in Branches whose members have [253] acquired but a faint conception of the federal character of our Society and the enormous moral strength which it derives from the cultivation of a brotherly spirit among its members, a spirit which obliterates political, sectarian and racial antagonisms. Though the two Colonial Sections were, as a rule, on the best of terms with Headquarters, yet I found, in a very few instances, the signs of incipient antagonism which, if not removed at the very outset, might, in the course of time, create evil results. As the imperative necessity for the general understanding of the constitution of our Society is evident, it will be well for me to quote from the Presidential Address to the 22nd Annual Convention the follow ing remarks:

“I was sorry to see a tendency in certain very few Branches towards the assertion of a corporate importance and autonomy which, if carried far, might resemble that which bore such bitter fruits in the American Section two years ago. This heresy of individual sovereignty was the cause of the great Slaveholders’ Rebellion of 1861-5, in America. No world-covering, practical movement can possibly be carried on without perfect loyalty to the principle of federal combination of autonomous units for the common good. Our Theosophical Society is, I think, as perfect an example of a maximum of centralised moral strength with a [254] minimum of invasion of local independence as the world can show. Until I formed distant Branches into autonomous Sections, all was drifting into confusion because there were not hours enough in a day nor working strength enough in my body to keep me (unaided, almost, as I was) in touch with them. The Sections of Australia and New Zealand are but organised Central Committees, which act for all their Branches, derive their power from them, and serve as their agency to keep alive the bond between them and the President-Founder, the Society’s central executive. I hope that this view may become clear to every Branch throughout the world, and that it may realise that it is but one out of four hundredsimilar groups of students, and that no one Section is of any more importance to me than any other, but is equally important as any other in the whole Society. A Section cannot do its whole duty to the Society or the Branches which compose it, unless every Branch and every member loyally and unreservedly supports its lawful measures. As Sections are parts of the Society, so Branches are parts of the Sections, and any disunity between a Branch and its Section is as deplorable and dangerous as disunity between a Section and the Headquarters. We need go no farther than the Judge Secession for proof of this.”[22]

[255] One day, riding in a tramcar in Auckland, a Salvation Army man sitting next to me showed me a subscription list and asked me to contribute something to their Self-denial Week Fund, at the same time explaining to me this admirable plan of General Booth’s to raise money. When writing my Address this fact recurred to me and I ventured to make to the Convention the following suggestions:


“I feel it my duty to call your attention to the splendid example of self-denial for a religious and philanthropic cause, which is shown the world by the Sa1vation Army. While I was in New Zealand the ‘Self-denia1 Week’ of the Army occurred, and the astounding fact is that the sum of £25,000 was put into its treasury as the result of this self-sacrifice. What can we, Theosophists, show of this sort that is worth mentioning, by comparison? Here are we who profess to be spreading the most noble of all truths throughout the world and to teach the highest morality and purest altruism. Who among us has practised the self-denial of these eccentric religious sensationalists; what have we to boast of in this direction? I solemnly adjure you, my brethren, to begin this year to earn the respect of your own consciences by setting aside some fixed percentage [256] of your respective incomes as a great fund for the benefit of the Society. Why should we not select the week in which our White Lotus Day occurs to do this generous thing that H.P.B. would have approved, and that Annie Besant and Constance Wachtmeister habitually practise? This should be a general, not a Sectional fund, and should be kept at Headquarters, for distribution as the exigencies of our work in the Sections and otherwise throughout the world shall demand. The cutting off of our mere luxuries for one week of each year would give us enough for all our pressing needs.”

There were other important matters worth recalling in the Report for that year, but as we have reached the limits of my space they may be put over until the next chapter.




WE resume our notice of the Convention of 1897 which was begun in the last chapter. The tone of the Annual Report is that of a breezy optimism, as will appear from the following extract from the Presidential Address: “Never before, since the Society’s foundation, have its prospects been brighter, its sky more unclouded. Storms may come again, may we may be sure they will, and fresh obstacles present themselves, but one such exciting and exhilarating year as 1897 braces up one’s courage to stand the worst shocks and surmount the most obstructive difficulties that can be found in our forward path. It is not merely from one quarter that good fortune is flowing towards this centre, but from all sides; not only from America but from Europe, India and the Australasian colonies come to us the proofs that our Theosophical movement [258] rides on the crest of a wave of spiritual influx that is circulating around the globe.”

One of the most important events of the year as affecting the interests of the whole Society was the long tour made by Mrs. Besant, accompanied by the Countess Wachtmeister, throughout the United States. At the outset, in New York, the leaders of the Secession party were engaged in a campaign of slander and hatred against Mrs. Besant for the part she took in the exposure of Judge’s guilt; baseless slanders were circulated against her, her motives calumniated, and all she had done, out of the abundance of her sisterly love for him and his Section, was absolutely forgotten and her benevolence repaid by criminal ingratitude. For a time during the tour her audiences were small and her expenses exceeded her receipts. But the power behind her was irresistible, and perfect success crowned the latter half of her tour. Here is what Mr. Fullerton said in his Official Report of that year:

“The great event of the year has been the she months’ tour of Mrs. Annie Besant. Of course no estimate is possible of the thousands to whom came, directly or indirectly, a knowledge of Theosophy through her public lectures, receptions, and interviews, with the widespread newspaper notices thereof, or of the countless thought-forces set in [259] motion by labors of such length. Nor is it possible to gauge the instruction, the cheer, the enlightenment, the inspiration given by her in private intercourse, nor yet the gratitude felt by those thus helped. As a mere matter of numerical statistics it may be stated that Mrs. Annie Besant formed twenty-three new branches, and that her recommendatory signature appears on two hundred and twenty-one applications for membership.

“One element of indescribable value in the results of Mrs. Besant’s tour is the rescue of Theosophy from popular opprobrium as a system of clap-trap, cheap marvel, and sensationalism, and its restoration to its real plane of dignified religious philosophy. The general contempt brought upon Theosophy by recent travesties of it has been greatly abated through her magnificent expositions of it. At this time Mrs. Besant’s portrayal of the real Ancient Wisdom has an importance exceptionally great, one which will be more and more discerned as years unroll. That her tour was enjoined and supervised can readily be perceived by all familiar with its bearings.”

Mr. Fullerton speaks appreciatively of the long-continued labors of the Countess Wachtmeister, who, from May of 1896 up to the time of his writing, had formed fourteen new Branches, travelled over a large part of the [260] North and West and was to do a tour through the South during the coming winter. Anything that can be said in praise of the self-sacrificing labors of this patrician lady would be well deserved, for since she joined the Society and helped and consoled H. P. B. in Europe, she has thrown herself with tireless energy into the helping on of the movement: her time, her strength and her money have been ungrudgingly given, and despite her age and growing infirmities she has travelled over many countries of the world.

Three important systems of Sectional work were devised and aided by Mrs. Besant,—a committee from each group of arranged States, with a correspondent in each State, for giving information as to hopeful points and for labor therein; a committee to whom questions as to doctrine or duty or truth might be sent for consideration and response; a Lending Library plan, by which Branches might enjoy for a time the use of standard works: moreover, under Mrs. Besant’s auspices, a committee was appointed by that year’s Convention to issue successive Outlines of Branch Study, and the Chicago Branch published a carefully analysed Syllabus, very helpful to Branches and private students, and as an aid to propaganda a member of the Section contributed 50,000 copies of Mrs. Besant’s pamphlet, What Theosophy Is. [261] The European Section reports among its important events of 1897, the publication of Vol. III of The Secret Doctrine, Mrs. Besant’s The Ancient Wisdom and Mr. Leadbeater’s manual on The Devachanic Plane; H. P. B.’s magazine, Lucifer, changed its name to The Theosophical Review, increased in size and improved in form. A very comprehensive programme of visits to Branches and of public lectures was carried through within the Section and Mrs. Cooper-Oakley visited France, Italy, Germany, Austria and Russia, while Mr. Mead travelled through Sweden and Holland.

“The newly-formed Dutch Section made a most encouraging report for the fraction of a year which had transpired from the date of the granting of its charter; May 14th, to the date of the report; Mr. Fricke also introduced a brief historical retrospect. It appears that when the first charter was issued to a Dutch Branch in 1891 there were only three of the members who understood English and no Theosophical literature in the Dutch language had as yet appeared. But at the time of the General Secretary’s Report in 1897, all the Lodges, with one exception, possessed Lending Libraries containing all Dutch publications and the standard English Theosophical works; all of them held weekly meetings and devoted at least one evening in the month to public lectures; study classes and [262] question meetings for the benefit of inquirers were being held as well as classes in English and Sanskrit, mathematics in the Amsterdam Lodge and in the other Amsterdam Lodge, the Vahana, a weekly class for theoretical and practical geometry. The change in public sentiment towards us is also noted: at the beginning the newspapers would have nothing to do with our members and refused all articles sent in, but things had already so changed at the date of the Report that editors were not only willingly accepting articles on our subjects but also were giving very fair reports of our public lectures. Sectarians had begun to write against us, especially the Roman Catholic papers which had been devoting much time and space to attempts to prove our ideas fallacious. In short, the prospects of the Netherlands Section were bright and encouraging.

The phenomenal growth of our Society during the year 1897 had no parallel in our previous history. Sixty-four new Branches were added to the list and distributed as follows: Indian Section fifteen, European Section eight, American Section thirty-seven, Scandinavian Section one, Australasian Section two, New Zealand Section one. Deducting Branches seceded we had 402 living charters and recognized Centres remaining. It was in that year that the Dutch Branches were grouped into the Netherlands Section, making the seventh of the grand divisions [263] of our Society, the sequence of their ages being: 1. The American, 2. The European, 3. The Indian, 4. The Australasian, 5. The Scandinavian, 6. The New Zealand, 7. The Netherlands. I am glad that, in noticing the organization of the Netherlands Section, I recorded the following prophecy: “Once let them become convinced of the merits of the Theosophical teaching, there is no sacrifice they are not capable of making, no obstacles they will not try to surmount to put our movement on a sure footing. In this, they resemble the Scotch.” The outcome of the movement in Holland bears out this prophecy to the very letter: as for Scotland, she is not yet awakened; her tremendous latent strength in this direction will be developed in the future.

The General Secretary of the Indian Section, Babu Upendranath Basu carried an optimistic tone throughout his report. There is a record of great activity on the part of all the workers. New members had been admitted into 49 Branches, 15 new charters had been issued, 6 old Branches revived and 355 members had joined the Section. The Reports of the Australasian and New Zealand Sections, of course, make much mention of the joint tour of Miss Edger and myself and notice the encouraging fact that the sale of our literature is constantly increasing. A very healthy state of things was reported by the General [264] Secretary of the Scandinavian Section, which to me is always a most interesting item in our yearly report of activities. How impressive is a fact like the following: “A new Lodge was founded on the 16th October under the name of Bäfrast, in Lulea, a Swedish town, situated in the Polar regions. It already has sixteen members, with Mr. S. R. Sven-Nilson as President.” The Report of Mr. Buültjens, General Manager of Buddhist Schools (Ceylon), shows that at the close of 1897 there were in the Colombo Circuit 13,910 children under instruction in 64 schools; the number in the Galle Circuit is not given, but in the Kandy Circuit there were 2,884.

As usual the Anniversary of the Society was publicly celebrated on the 28th December at Victoria Public Hall, Madras: the usual crowd were present and the usual enthusiasm prevailed. The addresses of the year were by the President-Founder, Dr. A. Richardson, H. R. H. the Prince-Priest Jinawarawansa, Mr. Roshan Lal of Allahabad, Mr. Harry Banbery, Mr. Knudsen of Hawaii, and Miss Edger. The Prince’s address was in the form of an Open Letter, which was read for him by myself, and from which it will be worth while to copy some extracts as showing how the views of a royal Prince, ex-diplomatist and man of the world, can change when he turns his back on [265] the worldly career and takes up the life of a religious mendicant. Such an act of renunciation as this naturally appealed in a striking degree to the imaginations of the Indian audience in the history of whose ancestors are found many similar instances. The Prince said:

“I am extremely reluctant to come on the platform at this meeting, as requested and give my views on questions engaging the attention of the Theosophists.

“In my present retired life, which is that of a Buddhist Monk who is yet in his first stage of the priesthood—that of learning and acquiring knowledge and experience,—to take the position of a speaker on a public platform would not be consistent with my aims, or the rules of my order, and certainly contrary to my naturally retiring disposition.

“I would, therefore, crave your kind indulgence to allow me to remain as an attentive listener and receive the teaching and suggestions of those more ripened in experience and who are qualified to teach on subjects so abstract and philosophical as well as practical. As a listener and a student I shall fulfil the desire I have so long indulged in, to come to India and learn her ancient wisdom.

* * * * *

“I confess, my dear Colonel, I shudder to reflect on the modern calamities of which we have already [266] had the experience, and the possibility of a European war is more frightful still, amidst religious activity and societies for all kinds of works for the alleviation of the sufferings of humanity.

“Is it not anomalous, that such should be the state of things in the world of to-day?

“The truth is, I venture to suggest, that men have become too learned and knowledge is a drug in the market.

“The beauties of morals and religion are taught and acquired as any other knowledge is taught and acquired, and for the same object, but neither the teacher nor the learner practises them after they have learnt. Hence knowledgebecomes a dangerous weapon, as very clearly pointed out by Miss Edger this morning.

“If Theosophy would undertake, in addition to the work of bringing men together into one Universal Brotherhood, the duty of leading men by example and practice, and training them instead of merely teaching them in religious truth, by their exemplary life, so that they might be either true Christians or Hindus, or Buddhists, etc., whatever be their religion, and not hypocrites as they now appear to be, it would be conferring the greatest of all the boons of the century. The one work that is needed now, I believe, is example and practice and not mere theories. [267] “Personally, and as far as I have yet learnt, I think that all the elements necessary for the basis of a Universal Religion are found in Buddhism. For there you find the Truth that no man can deny and no science can disprove. In its purest form as originally taught by its “Finder” (Buddha was not a founder but a finder, so was Christ, etc.) there is no superstition or dogma. It is therefore the re1igion of nobody, the religion for everybody, and to regard it as of Buddha alone and call it Buddhism is extremely misleading. Buddha was a finder of truth concerning existence and eternity. This religion of truth is always here in the Universe and it is found out by anyone who seeks it and brings it to light when the world has need of it in the course of its eternal evolution, for its spiritual requirement.

“The key-note to Buddhism, and its idea of salvation, which is purely philosophical, is that it is neither ‘you’ nor ‘I’ nor anybody else that suffers misery or enjoys happiness or attains to Nirvâna. It is the ‘Pancakkhandha’ or the five component elements of being that does this.

“The secret of misery and happiness is to be found in selfhood and where there is self there can be no truth, for self is an illusion.The moment one forgets one’s self, pleasure and pain and all other sensations disappear, and the Truth of Buddhism is seen, and Nirvâna gained. [268] “As thought is the seat of the delusion of self, it is in thought that either happiness or misery is found. Hence the whole of the Buddhist metaphysic or psychological science is summed up in these four words of very deep meanings and capable of great expansion: Cittam, Cetasikam, Rûpam Nibbânam, or Thought, Perception, Sight,and Nirvâna.

“From this, deep and earnest contemplation on the Four Noble Truths brings the conviction as a sequence, that misery or happiness depends on thought and conception; right thought and conception bring happiness; erroneous thought and conception bring misery; for the one makes you see things in the cosmos as they really are in their abstract truth, and the other as they appear to be in relative truth.

“Hence Nirvâna depends upon the three elements of Thought, Conception and Sight.

“The whole of their religion, as you have already stated in your Catechism, is summed up in the celebrated verse:

To cease from all wrong doing,

To get virtue,

To cleanse one’s own heart—

This is the religion of Buddha.

“And a more beautiful doctrine and a greater truth has never been told in any religion in the world... [269] “This reminds me again that we are really spiritually retrograding, and need radical reform in our educational methods for bringing up our children and for the Buddhists of Ceylon in providing them with education based on the plan of bringing up the Buddhists in their own religion. This system, before your time, practically did not exist, and the universal praise that has been bestowed on you by the Sinhalese for the blessings which they now enjoy, must be a source of pleasure and happiness to you.

“May you and your Society, such as I to-day conceive it to be, be protected by the Triple Gem which is Truth, and be successful in all right efforts.”




A NEW section of our historical panorama unrolls itself to view—the year 1898.

Miss Edger’s lectures were so highly appreciated that the Hindu (1st January of 1898) contained a very strong leading article recognizing us as a worldwide Society with such a growing influence that it may in time rally around it all the Indian nations. This forecast may very well be realized in the course of time if nothing unforeseen should happen to destroy the Society’s vitality, but its well-wishers need to be often reminded of the fact, so forcibly stated by Herbert Spencer, that great sociological changes are never sudden, but are gradually worked out. The fact is that many of our colleagues allow themselves to be carried away by blind enthusiasm, and while they should be assiduously working to reform and develop their own characters, are grouped together to manufacture idols out of [271] favorite personalities to set up in their private temples to be worshipped.

On the second of January we had a visit from a yogi who looked thirty but was said to be two hundred years old—a preposterous claim, I should say. On the same day Miss Edger lectured in Victoria Town Hall, Madras, to a large audience, on “The Secret of Death”.

Mrs. Besant being in America, and Miss Edger having been brought to India by me to, in some measure, replace her, had, as before stated, won great success both in her South Indian tour and at the Convention. A much longer tour which should carry her from Madras via Calcutta as far as Rawalpindi had also been arranged and was entered upon on the 9th January by sailing for Calcutta on the French steamer Dupleix, under the escort of the President-Founder. Some of the faithful ones, among them T. V. Charlu,V. C. Seshachari and S. V. Rangaswami Iyengar, saw us off at the pier, leaving with us baskets of fruit and some money towards Miss Edger’s travelling expenses. We availed of the opportunity afforded by our sea travel to prepare printers’ copy—she, the manuscript of her lectures and I,]—whenever the sea was complacent enough.

We reached Calcutta at 4 p.m. on the 12th; Miss Edger went to Dr. and Mrs. Salzer as their [272] guest, and I to an old German friend, Herr Boltze. The experiences of the next few days indicated very clearly that we were going to have a very busy time of it on this tour. Our rooms were crowded with visitors, we had conversation meetings at the Society’s room, which lasted sometimes four or five hours at a stretch, and both Miss Edger and I had lectures to give, almost invariably to large audiences. The accession of another educated lady as a Theosophical lecturer, especially one who had taken the highest university degrees in Arts and who was, presumably, able to meet any sceptical graduates of the Indian universities on equal terms, naturally created a great public interest. Moreover, the very favorable criticisms on her Adyar lectures, circulating through the Indian Press, bespoke her a wide fame and popularity. The notes in my diary show that her audiences were “deeply interested” and “enthusiastic”, etc. Her first Calcutta lecture was given on the 14th January; the second, the next day; on the next she held a long conversation meeting and attended with me on the same evening a meeting of the Bengal T. S.: her third and last lecture was given at the Star Theatre to an overcrowded house.

The thing that most moved and held the attention of her audiences was not her oratory, for in that she [273] was not to be compared with Mrs. Besant, but the tone of candor and unpretentious earnestness with which she elaborated her themes, and the common-sense way in which she showed how the ideas of Theosophy ought to enter into the lives and control the conduct of people. I think that, from all I heard during the several tours that I made with her in 1897 in Australia, New Zealand and Southern and Northern India, her addresses made as lasting an impression upon her hearers as those of any other speaker who has stood upon our platform. Take, for instance, the following extract from a lecture upon the application of Theosophy to the home and note how clear is her exposition and how original her use of the idea that the relationship of children to each other and to their parents is not a matter of this one incarnation, but that all individuals of the family group have had similar kinship with many other families in the past, and that this helps us to conceive of the impressive truth that, after all, mankind compose one great family. Her language is as follows:

“The thought arises that we have a certain very important responsibility towards those in our own homes; we have some responsibility, it is true, towards every brother and sister, the whole world over, but during this life our responsibility is greatest to those of our own home. Could we look back [274] through our past lives, we should see that there are very many with whom we have been associated by the closest ties; we should see that we have had not one father nor one mother, but many; sometimes one, sometimes another. This seems to me to be a beautiful illustration of the universal brotherhood which we are trying to attain, for the recognition of it is the first step towards a realisation that we must not allow our sympathies to be confined to those who belong to our family of this incarnation. We recognise that the true relationship is that of the soul, which includes all those with whom we have been associated, life after life. In this life we are brought into outward kinship with but a limited number of those to whom we are bound by the wider kinship of the soul; in another incarnation we may be brought into relationship with some of the same souls, or with others; and thus in each life there is a widening, an expansion of our ties of family. It might at first sight be thought that this view would lead us to undervalue these ties and to neglect our duties to our present group; but this can never be so if, at the same time, we remember that our relatives of to-day are those with whom we are just now most closely associated. We shall rather think that this is a soul to which I have been attracted because there is a spiritual tie between us. But there is just as [275] strong a tie between this same soul and many others, and we have been drawn closely together on the lower plane for this life that we may be stronger and better able to work in harmony for the good of humanity. We must, therefore, let our love strengthen us to work for others, and strive to bring nearer the time when all may be united in one spiritual family, where there is ‘neither marrying nor giving in marriage.’”

On the 19th January we embarked on a river steamboat for Midnapore. We changed boats at Ulubaria and proceeded on to Dinan, where we entered the river Rupnarayan. We got stuck at low tide, went on with the flood, and passed the night. No meals being supplied to passengers, we ate biscuits and fruit.

We reached Midnapore at 8 a.m. on the 20th, were met at the river bank by our local colleagues and taken to the Travellers’ Bungalow. Throughout the day there was a great flux of visitors, and numberless questions to answer. In a large hall in a private house Miss Edger lectured that evening on “An Outline of Theosophy”, a subject which she always treats with great clearness. There was a Branch meeting the next morning at 7-30, admissions to membership and many visitors of the general public. The lecture that day was on “A Practical View of Theosophy”, a theme which I am [276] never tired of recommending for treatment to our public speakers. The fact is that if we could have nine out of ten of their discourses devoted to this paramount question, we should get enough of theoretical Theosophy out of the tenth lecture to supply our wants, in our present incarnation. At 10-30 that evening we started on our return trip for Calcutta, slept on board and had our servants prepare meals for us. We reached Calcutta at 3 p.m., dined with the kind Salzers and took the train for the north late that evening.

The next morning we got to Bankipore and were most kindly received at the station by the members of the local Branch. The case of Bankipore is a good illustration of the way in which our movement goes on under Indian conditions. As previously explained, the preponderating number of our Indian members are Government employees who are shifted from stations according to established rules at the pleasure of the chiefs of their respective Bureaux and Departments. So long as a good strong man is at the head of a local Branch, so long it prospers. Regular meetings are held, activities abound and the name of the Branch bulks largely in the Annual Report of the General Secretary of the Section. When this natural leader is transferred to another post and his successor is, possibly, a less masterful or less interested [277] member, or perhaps a non-member, the local group is like a flock of sheep without a shepherd, it becomes “dormant” and remains obscure until either a better man is sent by Government to the place, or the interest of the new incumbent is aroused by the visit of one of our Branch Inspectors. Thus we see, in looking back through the series of our Annual Reports, how our Indian Branches rise, flourish for awhile, go into eclipse, and resume activity and re-awaken in that neighborhood or district a popular interest in Theosophy. On page 6 of the Annual Report for the year 1905, it will be seen that thirteen of these dormant Branches were revived, twenty-nine new Branches were formed and two were dissolved, thus leaving 207 active Branches and 100 dormant. Between 1900 and 1905, both inclusive, 64 “dormant” Branches were restored to the active list. In the case of Bankipore, for many years we have had at the head of the Branch one of the most intelligent, best educated and devoted men of India, Babu Purnendu Narayana Sinha,[23] the Government Pleader, whose contributions[24] to literature are well known throughout India. Hence the Branch is always active, always prosperous and at no station [278] do our travelling lecturers, like Mrs. Besant. Miss Edger, Mr. Leadbeater and myself, receive a warmer or more ungrudging aid. On the occasion of the present visit there were meetings of the Branch, an E. S. T. talk with Miss Edger, and lectures by us both; she speaking on her usual subjects and I addressing the public in the interest of the religious education of Indian boys, a subject always dear to my heart. It may be remembered, that to promote this cause, I started in the year 1895, a little monthly periodical called the Arya Bala Bodhini, which was a success, and if I had had the time to give to it, could easily have been worked up to a very large circulation. I see, for instance, that I got for it during the tour under notice thirty, fifty and even many more subscribers at our different stations. When the Hindu College was established and there was need for such a publication, I turned the Bodhini over to Mrs. Besant and after a time she re-named it the Central Hindu College Magazine. Its present circulation is creeping up to 15,000, a great thing for India, where periodicals count their subscribers by the single thousand, but which I am sure could be increased to 100,000 if there were a competent man to occupy himself especially with this interest.

While at Bankipore I took Miss Edger to hear those weird echoes in the Ghol Gurh, the [279] empty, monster grain-bin built by Warren Hastings for the storing of food-stuffs in time of impending famine. I have described these echoes before but the acoustic phenomenon is so impressive that one never tires of speaking of it. Let the reader fancy what his sensations would be if, when, pronouncing a word even in a moderate tone, he should hear it repeated to him from the air all about him and from the ground beneath his feet: he might well be pardoned for thinking for the moment that he was in the midst of an unseen host of mocking demons. And yet I doubt if one traveller out of every thousand visiting India has ever stopped at Bankipore to enjoy this sensation.

We left Bankipore for Muzaffarpûr on the afternoon of the 25th January and arrived there after a twenty-four hours’ ride in the train. As usual we were met at the station by our members who put us up at the “India Club”, its members having agreed to close the club during the three days of our stay. This was a brand new experience for me as, notwithstanding my eighteen years of Indian travel, I never received such an act of courtesy before. Miss Edger lectured on the following two days, the subject of the second lecture being “The Theosophic Life”; my notes say that she treated it “eloquently and admirably”. I followed her, with a talk to the elders, of their [280] duty to their children, and the dear little chaps came and clustered around me to get my advice about the making and management of a Boys’ Association. By the train of 5-23 p.m. we left for Benares. We were put up at the headquarters and I availed of the chance to go about and see some of my old friends,—Pramada Dasa Mitra, Mokshada Dasa Mitra, Pandit Adityaram Bhattacharya and others. Upendra Babu took us for a morning sail along the river face to see the bathing multitudes and I tried to find Majji, but she was not at home at the time, to my regret, because I wanted Miss Edger to see this famous woman who called on H.P.B. when we first visited the Sacred City, and who told Damodar and myself a secret about the Guru of H.P.B. which I had reason to suppose was known only to her and myself.

On the afternoon of the 30th January Miss Edger lectured at the Town Hall to a large audience, very acceptably, on the subject of “Man, his Nature and Evolution”. That night she got a great fright. She was suddenly roused from a deep sleep by a wild human cry close to her window. She told me that she thought it either a madman or a drunken person frenzied with excitement. Bathed in a cold perspiration she lay quivering on the bed until the shriek was repeated at a distance and she knew that [281] the supposed marauder was going away and that her life was probably out of immediate danger. The next morning she anxiously asked me to explain the mystery and was not a little mortified on finding that it was nothing but the cry of a Chowkidar, or night-watchman, although the horrible noise he made to inform his employers that he was wide awake and making his rounds was enough to warrant a new-comer to rush out and hit him over the head with a club.

There were other lectures and conversation meetings, and on the night of the 2nd February, the eve of our departure, Upendra Babu, Bhavani Shankar, Miss Edger and I, sailed along the river to see the city by moonlight. It was certainly one of the weirdest experiences of my life. Benares seemed transformed into a spectral city behind a veil of smoky haze. Its ghâts with numberless boats tethered at their feet; the columnar bastions, the Hindu and Mahomedan temples and mosques with their pyramidal towers, their domes and minarets, the immense flights of steps to give the bathers access to the river, the lights twinkling out of the gloomy fronts of the buildings, the sound of Indian music, the shrill voices of belated gossips, here and there a devotee making his ablutions in preparation for the evening worship, big boats propelled by oars, with Indian singing parties on [282] board gliding over the smooth Ganges, and over, in, and through the panorama the thin curtain of a hazy moonlight that gave a character of unreality to the grandiose picture.

The next morning we bade good-bye to all and left Benares for Allahabad.




ALL this ground that we were now going over was embalmed in my heart because of the associations which connected it with the memory of H. P. B. Together we had visited these towns, together had first made the acquaintance of many of the very friends who now came together to welcome Miss Edger to the field of her Indian work. For instance, one of those who met us at the Allahabad railway station was Dr. Avinas Chandra Banerji,[25] who treated her in 1879 with so much devotion and intelligence when she lay tossing about in fever at the house of our friends, the Sinnetts. He was very young in the profession then, but the conduct of no graybeard Æsculapius could have been more discreet. He won her affectionate regard and my friendship and gratitude at the same time. Then another was Rai Pyari Lal, [284] that old Government official who, since joining our Society in the year 1887, has been one of the most conspicuous workers in that part of India. Dr. Avinas took Miss Edger and myself to the huge and handsomely furnished house of Kumar Pârmânand, the living representative of an important family and one who had gained a large personal influence by his personal abilities.

At 6-30 p.m. of that same day Miss Edger lectured at Mayo Hall to a large and sympathetic audience which included many Europeans. She lectured the next day at the Kyastha Pathasala, or school, on “The Theosophic Life”. On the following morning I called on my old friend, Pandit Aditya Ram Battacharya, the Sanskrit Professor in the local College, and got his consent to be President of the Allahabad Branch when the pending reorganization was completed. At 3 p.m. we left for Cawnpore, arrived there at 7, and were received by Rai Kishen Lal, Dr. Mohindra Nath Ganguli, Babu Devipada Roy, all old, tried and trusted friends and others, who gave us that whole-hearted hospitality which the Hindus, as a matter of religious necessity, keep in store for all guests, especially those whom they love.

The next day, February 6th, we visited the Mutiny Massacre well and cemetery, which H. P. B. and I had visited together nineteen years earlier. [285] There was a meeting of the Branch that day at which a committee was appointed to begin a movement for female education, and in the evening my companion lectured on “Religion, its Aim and Object”. On the evening of the 7th, a large crowd gathered to hear her lecture and received it with enthusiasm. Later, there was a Branch meeting and one admission to membership. On the 8th, we called on Dr. Ganguli’s mother, a most lovable old lady, after which I formed the Cawnpore Hindu Boys’ Association. We left the station at 10-30 a.m. for Barabanki and were received by my staunch old friend Pandit Parmeshri Dâs, who put us up at his big house. Miss Edger’s lecture that evening on “Man, his Nature and Evolution” was particularly fine, and the one of the next day, given without interpretation, to an audience of thirty persons—all the English-knowing ones of the place—was also very good. At 8-30 p.m. we left for Bareilly.

We reached our destination at six o’clock the next morning, were received by Messrs. Cheda Lal, Bishen Lal and others, and received gracious hospitality from Babu Preo Nath Banerji, the gentleman by whom Mrs. Besant, Countess Wachtmeister and I were entertained in 1894. Miss Edger lectured that evening to a good audience in spite of a pouring rain. There were many visits from [286] inquirers the next day and a concluding lecture, after which, nearly at midnight, we left for Agra, travelling all night and changing trains three times; an incident not at all conducive to peaceful slumber or bracing to the health. However, Miss Edger, though in appearance a delicate little woman, bore the fatigues of all this long tour remarkably well.”

At Agra we were put up at the Metropole Hotel kept by a Frenchman. Miss Edger had her first view of that world-wonder, the Taj, an experience that leaves in the mind of everybody possessed of even a grain of intelligence, an imperishable reminiscence. Miss Edger’s lecture that evening was given to a crowded and enthusiastic audience: I retain the adjective despite tautology, because it exactly expresses the temper of her hearers.

We left for Aligarh the next morning (February 13th) and got there at 2-15 p.m. I gratified my unregenerate taste by going to a great Horse Show that was in progress, where I had a chance to see a large number of the spirited and well-formed animals, many of the best Cabul blood, which recalled to my mind some of the meetings of a similiar character that I had attended many years before in my own country; but the Aligarh crowd were so picturesque in their multifarious costumes, their lissome figures and their bronze complexion, [287] as to make this show infinitely more interesting than those one sees in Western countries. Miss Edger lectured that evening at the Government High School on “The Necessity for Religion”, in the presence of the Principal, Mr. Casaubon, a very old acquaintance of mine, whom H. P. B. once tried with all her might, but fruitlessly, to convert from Agnosticism. At the Conversation meeting the next morning, Miss Edger, laying aside all her Colonial habits and prejudices, sat on the floor, Indian fashion, amid her interrogators. This was then to her a great novelty, but during the subsequent eight years she has become so accustomed to it, I should think that on revisiting other lands she would almost have to learn over again the uses of tables and chairs.

We left after midnight on the 14th for Kapurthala, travelled all the rest of the night, and reached our destination at 2 p.m. the next day. Babu Hari Chand, Judicial Assistant, met us with the Rajah’s carriage at Kartarpur station, distant seven miles from the Capital. At 6 p.m., by what would be called in a European state, “special command”, Miss Edger lectured to the Maharajah and his court, and apparently to their great satisfaction, to judge from the applause and the nice little speech of thanks made by His Highness at the close. We were put up in the palatial guest-house where [288] Mrs. Besant, the Countess and I stopped in 1894. A clever French artist was there and he and I talked together upon congenial themes until a late hour; after which I read the proof-sheets of Mr. Bilimoria’s interesting book on Zoroastrianism and Theosophy. Before we left for Lahore the next day in a heavy rain, the Maharajah gave Miss Edger a present of a pair of Kashmir shawls and to myself a cash donation for the Theosophical Society. We reached Lahore the same day and were warmly received by our dear friend, Dr. Balkissen Kaul, F.T.S., for years past one of the most prominent figures in our Indian movement. We dined that day at the house of Sirdar Amrao Singh. The Sirdar is a wealthy Sikh noble, typically brave, courteous and intelligent, who is also a pillar of strength in our Lahore Branch. We had visitors all day on the 17th and at 4 p.m. my companion and I were taken by Pandit Gopinath to a meeting of his orthodox Indian Society, the Sanâtana Dharma Sabha, where we made short speeches: the day was wound up by an interesting meeting of the Lahore Branch. Pandit Gopinath’s Society is, or was at the time, for I have not heard from it since, an intensely, not to say aggressively orthodox Hindu body, perpetually at strife with the heterodox Arya Samaj, of the late Swami Dayânand Saraswati. In the old times, when all was peace between the [289] Swamiji and ourselves, I had been on rather intimate terms with the leaders of the Lahore Arya Samaj, and I was glad of the opportunity now offered to meet the members of the rival religious Society, for I wanted to give one more proof that no feeling of sectarianism has ever animated the Society or its Founders.

On the 18th February we had calls from influential Sikhs, Sirdar Gurumuk Singh, Professor at the Oriental College, and another gentleman who was Sessions Judge at Sialkote. I suggested to them the advisability of compiling a Catechism of Guru Nanak’s religion, and at their request put the suggestion into the form of a letter which they agreed to lay before a council of Sikhs which was to meet at Amritsar on the following day. After receiving the visits of many other inquirers we went again to the Sanâtana Dharma Sabha to receive addresses that had been prepared, and at 5-30 p.m. Miss Edger gave a clear and improving lecture on “The Building of a World”. Despite a heavy downpour of rain her audience was large, yet not so large as that on the following evening when, as appears from my notes, two thousand persons listened to her.

On that same day (19th February) I had a visit from a young man of whose life and exploits Mr. Stead made a whole chapter in Borderland for [290] April, 1897. The stories told about him alone and in connection with the famous Mr. Jacob (Marion Crawford’s Mr. Isaacs) were so extraordinary as to cause them to be copied and commented upon very widely throughout the world. His name was Balmukund Jhingan, variously styled “pandit”, “professor” and “doctor”; but that is neither here nor there; our chiropodists now call themselves professors, and mere tyros in psychopathic healing advertise themselves as doctors. Having read Mr. Stead’s article I was naturally interested in seeing the man to whom was ascribed the possession of strong psychic powers. Mr. Kanhaiyalal, a brother of Pandit Gopinath and an editor of the Lahore Urdu paper, Akhbar-i-Am, writing to Mr. Stead said: “I assure you the Professor, my intimate friend, has far more wonderful things to show to the favoured few; such as raising himself from the ground and remaining suspended in the air without any support, making his body so stiff as not a heavy hammer can hurt it or break his skull. Perhaps it will be a news to you, that when he makes his stick stand in the air without support, he himself and the stick lose their shadows, that is, no shadow is cast at day, before the sun, or at night before a lamp.” The bad English is given as written. The writer says, apropos of the shadows, “this is not noticed by [291] ordinary spectators. After seeing the young man, about whom I could not detect even the flavor of magical power, I should not have been surprised if Mr. Kanhaiyalal had used the word “extraordinary” instead of the one which appeared in his sentence. Certainly, he either could not or would not show me any proof of his occult powers. In the course of the article in question the writer gives an alleged list of Jhingan’s accomplishment: “He can produce, apparently from nothing, all sorts of things such as flowers, vegetables, betel leaves, coins, etc., etc. He can make a stick, or a paper, or a book, or a burning lamp stand in the air without any support, apparently by mere force of will. Not only this, but he can order it to lean towards this point or that. He can pass knives through the body without injury, and the cut is healed at once. He can remove small articles such as rings, coins, etc., held in your hand, by his mysterious power and order them to come out from where you please. Once he removed a large bottle from under the cover of a handkerchief to another room.” Kanhaiyalal tells how the alleged magician recovered a lost watch for Pandit Bishambar Nath Mota. That gentleman with others were chatting together one evening in the bookshop of the writer’s family when Mr. Jhingan came along and [292] upon being asked by Kanhaiyalal’s father whether he would do some tamasha for the amusement of the company, he consented and it was agreed between the people present that he should try to recover for Bishambar Nath his watch, which had been missing for several weeks. The narrative is curious enough to be quoted as follows: “He washed his hands, for which water was brought by my younger brother, Balkrishna, and then asked for a little quantity of rice. It was given him and he read some words on it. He then asked that a glass full of water be brought before him to receive the lost watch. It was brought and kept before him at a distance of six or seven yards, and he never touched it nor even came near it. He then threw away the enchanted rice about himself, and the glass full of water. He then brought both his hands to his mouth as if to blow through them. He shut his eyes, and after awhile opened them, and told the audience that the watch had come. He asked the owner to go to the glass and see if his watch was there—and lo! the watch was there.”

In my thirty years experience in India I have never found one person who had the reputation of being a real wonder-worker of the better sort who would show me phenomena, while on the other hand they have almost invariably [293] spoken slightingly of them as objects to be searched after and have directed attention to the real object of Yoga, the development and evolution of the Higher Self. In cases, therefore, like the one under notice, the readiness of Jhingan, alleged by his friend Kanhaiyalal to step into a house when passing and forthwith display phenomena makes it appear to me that one of two things must be true—that he produced his effects by prestidigitation or by the practice of black magic and the employment of elementals. However, as said above, he gave me no chance to form an opinion upon his alleged powers.

On the day of his visit I visited the respected parents of Pandit Gopinath, who received me with great friendliness. I mention the circumstance partly because it gave me the chance to see how a Lahore family houses itself during the hot season. Their living apartments are excavated in the clayey soil and during the hottest days the temperature of the rooms is more or less agreeable. It is really living in deepened cellars under the ordinary brick dwelling-house.

During our visit at Lahore, Miss Edger was kept busy with her daily lectures, E.S.T. meetings and two Conversation meetings every day. A final Branch meeting was held on the 20th February, a number of new members were admitted, and [294] Miss Edger showed the Branch how to work a “Secret Doctrine Class”. We slept in the Waiting Rooms at the station and left at 2 a.m. the next morning for Rawalpindi. This extreme northern-most point of our tour was reached at 2-30 p.m. on the 21st. Many friends, including several Sikh nobles and Mr. Dhunjibhoy, a rich Parsi, welcomed us. In the evening Miss Edger lectured on “The Necessity for Religion”, to an audience of two thousand people, standing in a summer-house porch and talking into a huge Shamianah, or canvas-roofed shelter raised on poles and tastefully decorated. Later, there was a Branch meeting. We were now at a point 2,000 miles distant from Adyar, which gives the non-Indian reader an idea of the extent of the Theosophical movement in this country.

At 5 p.m., the next day, I formally opened the “Annie Besant Samskrit School” at the request of Lala Jiva Râm, its founder, who was fired to do this charity by Mrs. Besant’s lectures of the previous year. Miss Edger’s lecture on that same day was given to a rather big audience. There was a Branch meeting in the evening with admission of members, and at midnight, turning our faces southward, we left for Amritsar. A twelve hours’ rail journey brought us to that place; we were garlanded at the station and after being settled in some small rooms which had been provided for us, went to see the [295] world-renowned Golden Temple, where we were shown the jewels (said to be worth three lacs of rupees) and the swords of the Sikh Gurus and Princes, and were treated with great honor. We saw two boys baptized in Sikh fashion and were presented with Cloths for pagris, turbans.

Of all the races of India the Sikhs are the most picturesque and, as a whole, the handsomest. The race evolution dates back only to the latter half of the fifteenth century and was originally composed of two warlike tribes—the Jâtas and Khatris, who were blended together into a religious sect, the union being additionally cemented by the tie of military discipline. Their founder, who was one of the greatest men in Indian history in several respects, was one, Nânak, an excellent and successful preacher, who taught what might be called a reformed and monotheistic Hinduism. He was born in 1469 at Talwandi on the Râdi in the Punjab and, possessed of great natural dignity himself, and being surrounded by a number of followers of striking personal appearance and great military ardor, he was able to infuse into the inchoate nation the qualities of heroic bravery and enthusiastic sense of duty which, being transmitted in a marvellous way from generation to generation, have made the name of Sikh a synonym of all that goes to make up the true warrior. Taking it all in all, the story of the [296] evolution of what is now the Sikh nation is one of the most romantic in history. Among the members of the Theosophical Society there are none for whom I have a stronger personal regard than the members of this fighting race.

Nânak lived seventy years and has been succeeded by a long line of “Gurus”. The word Sikh is translated as “disciple”. The teachings of the Gurus were compiled near the close of the sixteenth century by Guru Râm Dâs into a volume that is known as the Adi Granth, a valuable literary work, a very fine copy of which has recently been presented to the Adyar Library by Captain and Mrs. Ganpat Rai. At the Golden Temple the sacred book is daily read from, for the benefit of the people, by the priest on duty. It lies upon a great cushion on the floor of the Golden Temple itself; a beautiful structure which rises from the centre of the large square tank called “Amritsar” (the pool of immortality), dug by Râm Dâs on a piece of land given to him by the Mogul Empero Akbar the Great. From the ceiling of the temple-room, in which the Adi Granth is kept, hang great glass globes of golden and other colors, and, as I noticed that some of them were missing, Miss Edger and I sent four, handsome golden-hued globes with our compliments to Colonel Jwala Singh, the manager of the Temple. He had hardly received them before he sent [297] me a brotherly letter of thanks, with presents of a red and gold sâri, a white pagri and some karahprasad, a sweetened flour mass which is considered sacred, like the wafer of the Catholics, and which I was informed was a great compliment. In an article in the Encyclopædia Britannica the following interesting facts are given: “As Sikhs they acquired a distinctive appearance by giving up the Hindu practice of shaving the head and face. They were forbidden the use of tobacco; and their discipline in other things prepared them for being indeed the soldiers they looked. Govind Râi adopted the designation ‘Singh’ (lion), and this became the distinctive addition to the names of all Sikhs. He called the whole body the ‘Khalsa’, or free, and he devised a rite of initiation called the pahal. He compiled a supplement to the ‘Granth’, containing instructions suited to the altered condition of the Sikh people.”

On the 25th we bade farewell to our kind hosts and other friends, Hindus and Sikhs, and resumed our journey.




THE tedium of the night journey between Amritsar and Lucknow, the capital of Oudh, and our next halting-place, was enlivened by the congenial company of the Sirdar Umrao Singh, of Lahore, his wife and children, for whom a carriage had been reserved and who hospitably made us share it. On reaching Lucknow at about 1 p.m., our dear and respected old colleague, Judge Narain Das, F.T.S., whose zeal for the Society is not diminished by the advance of age or the demands made upon him by his public duties, met us with several other members, including Mr. Ross Scott, C.S., whose friendship for H. P. B. and myself dates back to the voyage of the Speke Hall on which we three were fellow passengers. At that time he was a comparatively young civilian, full of enthusiasm and courage, as befitted his Irish nationality. His charming qualities gained the [299] affection of us both, and the prospect of now meeting him at Lucknow where he was District Judge was extremely pleasant. He sent me a note to say that he could not meet us as he was holding court at the time. At 4 p.m., however, we went to his house where he was very nice to us, keeping us for dinner, at which we met two ladies and a gentleman of the station and Mr. Campbell of the British Museum, our fellow passenger from Colombo to Madras, who was also Judge Scott’s guest.

The Judge drove us the next day to see the city’s sights, including the Gardens, the historical Residency of tragical Mutiny fame, etc. A Branch meeting with a reception to outsiders was held at the house of Rai Narain Das Bahadur, and at 4-30 p.m. Miss Edger gave one of her good lectures. Our fleeting visit to Lucknow was brought to an end the next morning at 6 o’clock when we left for Allahabad, which we reached at 3-40 p.m., having stopped an hour and a half at Cawnpore to see our friends. Miss Edger lectured before the Literary Society of Mayo College that evening on the subject of “Female Education”. Our host this time was the same as before, Kumar Parmânand. Many friends, including Mr. Roshan Lal, his wife and sister-in-law, Rai Iswari Prasad, Pandit Aditya Ram, etc., came to see us. At 6-30 p.m. we attended and addressed a meeting at the Kyastha Pathasala [300] and registered thirty-seven names for a class to study Theosophical works and Hindu Philosophy. The next day (March 2nd) I had a touching interview with Babu Cally Kissen, one of the millionaires of the great Tagore family of Bengal, whom I found with his health almost broken up, but, in feeling, the same generous, kind-hearted man as before. In the North Indian Famine of 1897, he remitted the rents of his ryots or agricultural tenants, and paid the Government tax out of his own pocket—a huge charity. At 11-40 p.m. we left for jubbulpore and arrived there at 6-30 a.m. the next morning. Among the friends who met us were Babu Kalicharan Bose, the loyal T.S. veteran and a philanthropist to the bottom of his heart, and our dear Bhavani Shankar, now a seasoned worker and an able Branch Inspector, whose connection with us began far back in the old Breach Candy days at Bombay, when he was a handsome youth with Hyperian curls, but who now at the present time of writing (1906) has become transformed into a handsome old graybeard, known throughout India and respected for his valuable services. The place where our quarters were given us was a draughty, windowless, upper storey suite of rooms which we found extremely uncomfortable but attached no blame therefore to our good hosts who had done the best they could under the circumstances. [301] Lucknow is a great centre of business activity but not conspicuous for spirituality. It is the pivotal point of the railway system of Oudh and Rohilkund, with extensive machine shops, warehouses and other appanages of railway traffic. There are long established industrial specialities, such as the weaving of gold and silver brocades, plain and printed muslins and calicoes, embroideries, glasswork, including colored bangles in enormous quantities and clay molding, among others of those dainty little figures, costumed and painted like life, which represent many of the persons of all castes and classes whom one sees when going about in India. One would say that Lucknow was a great intellectual centre, for it possesses one hundred and forty printing presses, a paper mill employing 550 hands, and three English and thirty vernacular newspapers. But over the former capital of the Kings of Oudh hangs—if one looks at it from the standpoint of the higher planes—the dark cloud of the aura of the sensual and self-seeking character of the ruling class which made it, up to the time of the British conquest, a cess-pool of animality. There are, of course, some holy men to be found who shine amid this moral gloom, but they are few in number and do not increase.

We slept so cold that night that the next morning I bought some cotton cloth and nailed it across the [302] open windows of our respective rooms. Our present visit to Jubbulpore included one pleasing incident, the exchange of mutual explanations between an old F.T.S., a Sub-Judge and a man of influence, and myself, and the removal from his mind of an imaginary grievance for which he had kept a grudge against me since 1888 and held himself aloof from our work. Needless to say we both felt glad when the matter was set right. Miss Edger lectured that evening on the subject of religion, in the same open courtyard of a house where I lectured in 1887 and raised a fund of Rs. 2,000 for the support of a Samskrit school. The next day we visited a Hindu Orphanage, founded by Babu Kalicharan Bose, as a Theosophical Society’s Famine work. They had thirty-five boys and girls learning weaving, carpentering and other industries. Upon inquiry, I found that they made substantial frames of jungle-wood for Charpâis (Hindu beds), for the extravagant sum of three annas, or about six cents American currency; cotton towels they made at six pies, or one cent, cotton dress cloth at 2¾ annas a yard, sleeping carpets at two annas four pies, or about five cents; at such prices house furnishing would be a very easy affair. The fact is that the absolute requirements of the teeming millions of India are so modest as to offer but small inducements to our Western manufacturers of the thousand and one [303] articles of furniture, household fittings and other things that we regard as absolute necessaries of life. This is what I reported to the American Government in 1879, when I was acting for it as a Special Commissioner to report what legislation and other steps would be necessary to promote an increase of trade relations between the United States and Eastern countries. After submitting to the inevitable photograph we left for Poona at 8 p.m., passed all night in the train, missed connection at Manmad, were kept there waiting five hours for the next train, got to Dhond at 1-30 a.m. and to Poona at 5 on the morning of the 6th March.

Poona, it will be remembered, is the place where our old and respected colleague, Judge N. D. Khandalwala, Khan Bahadur, has been so long officiating in his judicial capacity with much distinction. He is one of the soundest advisers and most enlightened leaders in our movement in the Orient; a Parsi, universally respected by his co-religionists and by the Bombay Government. He met us at the station, took us to the Napier Hotel and at 9 a.m. gave us a reception at his house at which the most influential gentlemen of the Parsi and Hindu community were presented to Miss Edger. At 5-30 p.m. she lectured to a crowded audience. Monday, the 7th, was a busy day; Judge Khandalwala drove us out in the morning, [304] then there was a Branch meeting, then one of the E.S.T., and at 5-30 p.m. Miss Edger discoursed on the subject of “The Path of Progress”, at Albert Edward Hall. Many years ago, as I have elsewhere explained, I broke up the injudicious system formerly prevailing, of allowing the chief members of local Branches to stop with us at the station, as in duty bound, until our train should come along: no consideration whatever was given either to their own comfort or to ours, the one thing to be avoided was the appearance even of want of courtesy towards the guest or guests. Many a night of sleep had I been deprived of by not interrupting this kindly but unpractical custom. Usually my public engagements for the day would be over by 9 or 10 p.m. and if my train was timed to arrive at 2, 3, or 4 in the morning, one can imagine that the weary traveller would feel only gratitude to his kind hosts if they would drop him at the station at a reasonable bedtime and go to their own homes and beds, leaving him or them to be wakened, and put into the train when it came along, after having had, perhaps, some hours of refreshing sleep. At Poona I persuaded our friends to adopt this plan, so at 9-30 they left us at the station and we departed in our train at 2 the next morning, our destination being Bellary. [305] We got to Bellary at 8 p.m. We were met, of course, by the officers of the local Branch, The Hon’ble Rai Bahadur A. Sabhapathy Mudaliar, President; Mr. B. P. Narasimmiah, B.A., Secretary, whose name is so well and favorably known for his translations from Samskrit into English for The Theosophist in former times; with them, Mr. R. Jagannathiah, for many years past an Inspector of Branches in the Indian Section. This gentleman, now so intensely orthodox a Hindu, was as intensely heterodox, a free-thinking Bradlaughite, at Madras when we first came there in 1882. Mr. Sabhapathy was one of the most progressive Hindus I have ever met, public-spirited, practical, yet always patriotic and religiously inclined. The land about Bellary is a rich, deep black soil like that of the Illinois prairies, and well adapted to cotton, which is, I believe, the chief crop of the district. Mr. Sabhapathy, as an extensive landowner, was deeply interested in this culture, imported prairie plows from America and used all his influence to get modifications of the pattern which would bring their manufacture within the capacity of the village blacksmith, adopted by the ryots. He was also a grower of sugar-cane and showed me his mills and batteries. Our kind friends lodged Miss Edger and myself in a huge empty house, known as the “Old Bruce Bungalow”, the oldest one in the [306] Station and dating back a century. When it was at last possible to retire for the night Miss Edger found herself quite fagged out by the heat, railway travel, broken rest and lecturing of the long tour. There were many visitors the next day, and we had to go to the headquarters of Jagannathiah’s pet society, the Sanmarga Sabha, and of our local Branch, receiving addresses of welcome in English, Samskrit and Telugu. In the evening Miss Edger lectured and later, at 9 p.m., gave audiences to inquirers, after which I put pressure on her and got her to go to bed.

As we were to leave for Gooty early the next afternoon, her lecture was given at 7-30 a.m., but in India that means no necessary diminution in the size of the audience, as our experience at our annual Convention abundantly proves. We had visitors up to two o’clock, received presents of fruit and—from Mr. K. Venkatarow, F. T. S.—of money for society purposes, and at 3-44 p.m., left the Station for our next stopping place, Gooty. Before taking leave of Bellary, it is worth stating that from a remote historical period the district has been the scene of many fierce fights between Moslems and Hindus and between the warlike chieftains of the two races among themselves. Strange to say, there is very little historical record of the place before the sixteenth century, at which [307] time the ancient Vijayanagaram dynasty was overthrown by the Mahomedans. Before that its varying fortunes are only recalled in traditions, few of them trustworthy. Within the Mahomedan period the territory of Bellary was split up into a number of small military holdings, held by chiefs called Poligârs; an unruly, perhaps unscrupulous set of predatory soldiers who ruled according to their sweet pleasure and enforced their will by the help of the sword. If I remember correctly, they figured in a not very creditable manner during the operations for the suppression of thuggee and dacoity. By turns, the suzerainty of the country was vested in the Mahomedan conquerors and the Bijapur chief, from whom it was wrested by Sivaji, the founder of the Mahratta power. It was then absorbed by the Nizam-ul-Mulk, the nominal Viceroy of the great Mughul in the Deccan. From him it was snatched by Hyder Ali of Mysore. Tipû Sultân got it from the last-named sovereign; but at the close of the British war with Tipû Sultân in 1792, the territories which now form the Bellary District fell to the share of the Nizam of Hyderabad, by whom it was ceded to the British in 1800, in return for a force of English troops to be stationed at his capital. In 1818 the District of Bellary was constituted as it at present remains; thus [308] bringing it under the sway of that most marvellous thing, rightly called the Pax Britannica.

The above succinct sketch of the political convulsions through which this one agricultural district has passed, I have thought it worth while to insert because it is so typical of the history of all the Indian peninsula. Well, indeed, may the British nation feel proud of this marvellous achievement of administrative genius which has been shown in the welding together of all these hereditarily warring tribes, sects and races into one vast body, administered by the greatest civil service that the world has seen since the time of the Romans. Of course there is a fort at Bellary which afforded shelter by turns to the different warrior chiefs who owned the place. It is built upon a height of 450 feet above the plains, is a quadrangular building on the summit of the rock, with only one way up to it, and deemed impregnable by the Mysore Princes. I mention it for the sake of telling the story of how Hyder Ali treated the French military engineers who helped him to improve the fortifications. They did their best according to his orders; but when he found out that he had made the mistake of fortifying a rock which was dominated by a higher peak, he soothed his pride by hanging the engineers! That was a way they had in the Orient. Do we not all recall the story of the Taj Mahal, that architectural [309] wonder of the world at Agra, which is said to have been built from the plans and under the superintendence of an Italian architect, although Mahomedan tradition has it that it is a copy of a building in paradise, and that the plan of it was given to Shah Jehan. The story runs that when it was finished the selfish and blood-thirsty emperor put out the eyes of the architect so that he might never produce another building to compare with the Taj Mahal in beauty. Returning from our digression, I now take up the thread of the narrative of this memorable Indian tour of Miss Edger.

Our visit to Gooty was a very brief one. We reached there at 7 p.m. on the 10th March, dined well at the excellent restaurant at the Railway station and were then taken in a torch-light procession to the stone building in which the Samskrit school, started and maintained by our local Branch, is housed, received there an address and were then taken to the travellers’ bungalow for quarters. On the 11th there were many inquirers and other visitors and long and friendly conversations with Mr. P. Kesava Pillay and the other admirable workers who have been leading this local group so successfully for so many years. There are three of them specially notable, viz., the one just mentioned, Mr. T. Ramachandra Row and Mr. J. Srinivasa Row. Men like them bring success to any movement with which [310] they may connect themselves.[26] Miss Edger lectured once that day but on the next, the 12th, she lectured at 8 a.m. on the “The Finding of God”, and at 6 p.m. on “The Theosophic Life”. At 8-30 the same evening we left for Cuddapah. Although our train got there at four o’clock the next morning, I found to my regret, a dozen of our members awaiting us. To my friendly protest against their robbing themselves of their night’s rest, they would hardly listen, saying that it was a pleasure for them to be there to meet us at any hour of the night or day we might arrive. They took us to the travellers’ bungalow where we received many visitors and suffered no little from the heat for the thermometer stood above 100°. In fact Cuddapah is one of the hottest places in India as well as one of the most fever-stricken, for the thin soil rests upon the stratum of that slaty alluvial rock from which the celebrated slabs of stone so extensively used for paving floors and side-walks are quarried. Despite all local disadvantages, however, Miss Edger lectured once that evening. [311] The next day, the 14th March, was the last one of this long tour. Miss Edger lectured at 7 a.m. on “The Finding of God”, at 6 p.m. on “The Theosophic Life”, held two conversation meetings in the morning and afternoon, and after the evening lecture, addressed the ladies of some sixty families on “Religion and Female Duty”. Then came kindly farewells, and finally at 10-50 p.m. we left for Madras. Early the next morning we got back to our beautiful Adyar, with almost as much joy as the traveller by caravan in the desert who unloads his weary camels in the oasis and rests on the grass beside the spring under the shade of umbrageous trees.

That the tour was a success throughout, has been already stated: it may be repeated that it was preeminently so throughout the whole sixty-five days that it occupied. It gave our new recruit a comprehensive view of Northern India from Madras to Rawalpindi, brought her into contact with its various races and enabled her to realize, as she never could have done in her New Zealand home, the reality of the network of influence which our movement has woven throughout Bharatavarsha.




ADYAR is for me a place for work and not for play, so, naturally, the first thing I had to do was to dispose of the accumulation of business, the most pressing of which was the writing of the current chapter of], which was begun on the day after my arrival. Among the foreign letters to be disposed of for the mail of the 17th March was one from Mr. Samuel Stuart of Auckland, telling me the story of a monstrous imprudence committed by Mr. Judge when writing to the late Dr. C. Carter Blake, which I mentioned in connection with an analysis of the Judge case. It seems that when writing a bogus Mahatma letter to Dr. Blake, in an imitation of the “K. H. writing”, he signed it by misadventure with his own name instead of the mystical “K. H.” initials. Dr. Blake told the story and showed the letter to Mr. J. B. Wither, President of our Branch at Christchurch, [313] New Zealand, when he was visiting London in 1895. Mr. Wither told it to Mr. Stuart at the Convention of our New Zealand Section at Auckland in 1898. Immediately upon hearing this most important revelation, I wrote to Blake’s most intimate friend in London, asking her to procure from him and send me this most incriminating document; but, unfortunately, Dr. Blake had died in a Jesuit hospital and, he being a Jesuit, his papers were taken over by the Order, who, doubtless, have got it yet. This being taken for granted, we can probably explain their not using it, on the theory that they preferred to keep the piece of evidence in their own hands for future contingencies, as a weapon to be used against the Theosophical Society. If this is true, which, of course, I cannot guarantee, they have postponed the sensation too long, for we did not try to whitewash Mr. Judge, and he seceded, taking along with him every possible responsibility we might have had for his misdeeds. Could any incident have illustrated better than this the importance of a society’s skirts being kept clean by its managers? Supposing that we had condoned Mr. Judge’s acts of deception, the Jesuits could have brought forward at any time the Judge-Blake bogus letter and so brought shame to our faces, whereas our prompt and drastic action rendered the document in question valueless as a weapon against the Society. As to their using it [314] against the Judge party, “the game was not worth the candle”. Nothing more completely vindicates the course we adopted. It may appear to some of the younger members of the Society, looking back from this distance, that there was but the one course open to its leaders at that time, but they do not know what moral courage it required. For let it be remembered that almost one hundred Branches, carrying a membership of many hundreds, followed Mr. Judge out of the Society as a protest against our action, and this loss had to be anticipated and quietly accepted rather than sacrifice the high principle involved.

Since the Convention, H. R. H. Prince Prisdan Chunsi, cousin of the King of Siam, once Ambassador but now transformed into a Buddhist monk, Jinawarawansa, and another monk, had been our guests at Headquarters but were now prepared to return to Ceylon. I had conceived a strong friendly regard for the Prince-Priest by reason of his lack of offensive hauteur and his real instinct of comradeship. Undoubtedly he had been bitterly disappointed—as I have above remarked—in his not having found in Ceylon the ideal bhikku of the Master’s describing. I felt very sorry for him for he had thrown up all the luxury, pomp and influence of his worldly position and instead of sitting down to a banquet of spiritual food had found it a sort [315] of a Barmecide religious feast. However, he was not the man to sit down and mourn over his lot, but the very concatenation of affairs seemed to brace him up to perform his monastic duties as best he could. On the 22nd March, he and Wacissara Bhikku embarked on his steamer and I saw them off.

I had in hand at the time the business of publishing the Theosophical Question Book (Questionnaire Théosophique) of Commandant Courmes, and the preparation of manuscript and the reading of proof was a part of the literary work which had to be attended to. At the same time, by a rather interesting coincidence, I got from London simultaneously from two different publishers, review copies of two important works on Magic: The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts, by A. E. Waite, and The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melim, the Mage, by S. MacGregor Mathers, both wonderfully interesting to the amateur of this literary specialty. Their literary merit was high and almost equal Mr. Waite handles his subject as a transcendentalist who, recognizing that there is “a Magic that is behind Magic”, regards all written ceremonials as either debased and scandalous travesty or trivial and misconstrued application. The object in view was to bring forth from the obscurity of centuries a variety of processes “which would be abominable if it could be supposed that they were to be seriously [316] understood”. Despite his scepticism, however, there is not the least reason for doubt that the methods for Ceremonial Magic were very serious things indeed, backed as they had to be by the power of a concentrated and developed will-power on the part of a practitioner: without that, the most appalling and gruesome ceremony would be like a sharp sword or a loaded rifle standing in the corner of a room without a man to use them either for offence or defence. The phenomena of H.P.B. and other adepts in occult science prove superabundantly that when there is present the dominating will, the ceremonials may be dispensed with. When it is a question of a less developed thaumaturge the consecrated sword, the triangular altar, the prepared lamb-skin, the circle of burning lamps, the lighted incense sticks, the flowers, the solemn invocations would be useless. In the Abra-Melim book the veil is partially raised so as to give the reader a quite sufficient peep into the penetralia of Black Magic. It dates from 1458 A.D. and it purports to have been given by Abraham, the author, to his son, Lamech, and to comprise the Magic taught by God to Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, and other Patriarchs and Prophets. It is alleged to have been known to Eliphas Lévi and Bulwer Lytton, the latter having based his description of the adept sage Mejnour, in Zanoni and his description of the [317] observatory of Sir Philip Derval, in A Strange Story, upon this quaint work. Mr. Mathers believes that this Abraham, of the seventeenth century, was a man of great influence, who doubtless had much to do in the political struggles of the time. His tremendous self-confidence is proved by his many and dangerous journeyings for many years, through wild and savage regions and places most difficult of access, even in our own day, in search of a Teacher of the Sublime Science. Discouraged by no obstacles, he still persevered until he was rewarded by the accomplishment of his heart’s wish: his Guru was found, the teachings were given him. No Hindu or other Asiatic will refuse credence to this narrative on the score of any inherent improbability, for it is but the repetition of the experience of many searchers after the hidden wisdom. His travels ended, he seems to have passed the most of his subsequent life at Wurzburg, a place of H.P.B.’s sojourn before she took up her final residence in London. His elder son, Joseph, “he instructed in the Mysteries of the Holy Qabalah, while to Lamech, the younger, he bequeathed this system of Sacred Magic as a Legacy”. He seems to have utilized his occult knowledge to some purpose, since he admits that by it he got his wife, and a treasure of 3,000,000 golden florins (say about £900,000), by means of some of the magical operations described [318] in the third book of the present treatise. A formidable list is given of the various sovereigns, popes, bishops and nobles before whom he performed marvels, which shows him to have been renowned as an adept in his specialty. In religion he must have been very broad-minded and eclectic, for he insists that this system of magic may be attained by anyone, whether Jew, Christian, Mahomedan or Pagan, and discountenances the changing of one’s religion for another, such a change meaning in those times the absolute renunciation of the essential basis of all religions and the consequent enfeeblement of the necessary prime qualification in the Magician, an absolute faith in his own divine nature and a divine overruling Power. His advice on the manner of using Magical Power when acquired, to the honor of God, the welfare and relief of our neighbor and for the benefit of the whole Animate Creation, is, says Mr. Mathers, worthy of the highest respect. Yet he can scarcely be said to have stuck very closely to the law of White Magic, since he used his acquired power to enrich himself and get a wife—presumably not otherwise a consenting party. In his very learned introduction Mr. Mathers classifies the spirits of the Elements of Nature in the usual way, viz., as mild, good and friendly to man; bad, devilish and malignant; and neither good nor evil per se—monkeyish, [319] tricksy, childish—taking their color or impulse from the persons into whose company they may for the moment be drawn.But it is not pleasant to find enumerated among things possible, the multitudinous feats of sorcery that are banned in India as of the Black Tantra or Jadoo; such as the finding of treasures, the possession of unlimited wealth, the making of tempests, the revival of corpses, the rendering of oneself invisible for evil as well as good purposes, the opening of locked doors, the compelling of spirits to bring one whatever is desired for eating or drinking, the transformation of men into the appearance of animals, the casting of spells, the destruction of buildings, flying through the air, to know others’ secrets, to excite hatred and enmity, quarrels, contentions, combats, battles, loss and damage.

Mr. Mathers’ author, Abra-Melin, the seventeenth century Abraham, the translation of whose book by Mr. Mathers has provoked the foregoing comments, like the majority of these commercial traders in occult secrets, makes his excuses quite after the fatalistic fashion. He excuses himself for giving out these secrets on the ground that God is the Supreme Ruler of all, and that harm can only be done by the misuse of these magical formula if it is His sovereign pleasure: a neat way, it [320] would seem, of shifting the responsibility for the evil consequences of his own indiscretion upon the shoulders of a personal God who, of course, would not have allowed the publication of either the Hebrew original of his work, or the seventeenth century French translation, or Mr. Mathers’ clever rendering of it into most readable English, if he had not been willing that it should have been done! Truly, a soothing salve to a rebuking conscience.

It is very possible that I may be reminded that among the phenomena accredited to H. P. B. by different observers were a number of those which are included in above category as being classified in India under the head of Jadoo, i.e., Black Magic. That is so, but then it makes all the difference in the world whether the phenomena worker—let us say a real yogî or an Adept’s chela—does the things with the object of self-gratification or for the purpose of instructing a third party in the mysteries of Natural Law. Broadly speaking, Black Magic is developed occult power used for selfish purposes; White Magic the same power employed to benefit mankind. The courage of the soldier has been vaunted in the most extravagant terms in both prose and verse since the beginning of history, but those who know by experience tell us that this physical [321] courage is an absurd trifle in comparison with what is needed to face the horrors of the Borderland, when one goes there consciously and for the purpose of reducing its tribes to obedience without guide and helper. The soldier’s peril is less than nothing beside that which the other must encounter, who rushes into the crooked path along which madness and death too often lurk. Only he is safe who can keep ever vivid throughout his whole experience, the consciousness of the power of his spiritual self over all other powers that can and will pit themselves against him, and whose motive is untainted with even the slightest trace of selfishness.

As I have elsewhere said, the personal relations between Mr. F. Max Müller and myself were cordial. At various times I consulted him as to the best way of developing the usefulness of the Adyar Library. At the time to which our narrative has now brought us (April, 1898), I wrote him a letter about the bequest of the late Mr. C. A. White, who had left his estate to myself for its benefit. I frankly told him at that time that I was not in the possession of funds that would enable me to get out from Europe a young German or English scholar who would be capable of taking charge of the Library and developing its literary resources; I only asked him if, when I had realized [322] the White bequest, he would be able to recommend to me one of his pupils of something like the calibre of Dr. Thibaut. His reply was friendly, but I was not in a position to take his help during his lifetime. On April 2nd I wrote, at Mr. Bilimoria’s request, the Introduction to his excellent work, Zoroastrianism in the Light of Theosophy, and on the 4th, ordered at the School of Arts the two bas-relief statues which flank the door of the riverside apartment which was then occupied by the Western Section of the Library.

The Overland Mail of that week brought me a large bundle of newspapers and American newspaper clippings and copies of the Forum, which showed up in a ridiculous light the bitter struggles between the leaders of the secession party created by Mr. Judge and left by him to his abettors. The mantle of Mahâtmaship, a thin and sleazy material, gaudily tinted but without substance, which he had flung over one of them to hide for a twelve-month her sex and her personality, they were now tearing into tatters, apparently hoping each to get a fair-sized remnant. Here they were abusing, warning and deposing each other, recalling, though in a pitifully small way, the comedy that was enacted at Rome, Geneva and Avignon, when there were three popes, and for a period of thirty-eight years they kept Christian Europe scandalized by their [323] contentions. Each hurled at the others anathemas, excommunications and the foulest accusations. The popes of Rome and Geneva were compared by Wyclif to “two dogs snarling over a bone”—a simile which, says the Encyclopædia Britannica, “affords significant proof of the manner in which the popedom had fallen in the estimation of Christendom.” It will be remembered that before H. P. B.’s death she appointed Mrs. Besant her successor as “Outer Head”, that is, visible manager, of the Esoteric Section. Subsequently, misled by certain influences brought to bear upon her by Mr. Judge, in whom she had absolute confidence, she divided the power with him, giving him the direction of the American half of the movement and keeping for herself the rest. To a man of Judge’s ambitious temperament this was but the throwing of a sop to Cerberus, and when his secession plot had matured and nothing short of autocracy would satisfy him, he determined to depose her and to rule alone so that he might use this powerful agency to carry out his plans. In the Path for March, 1895, he published extracts from four of her private letters to himself (!) in two of which, seeing the impending disgrace that was to come upon him, she suggested his resignation of “the outer headship (of E. S. T.) held jointly with myself,” his practical answer to which was the issue [324] in due course of an ukase deposing her from the directorship of the E. S. T., in language so insolent and abusive as to be absolutely inexcusable: the machinery of the E. S. T. was thenceforward employed remorselessly to break her influence and vilify her character. In this connection it will be interesting and profitable to quote the text of letters written to Mr. Judge and Mrs. Besant by an influential member of the American Section under date of January 2nd, 1895:

“My dear JUDGE,

I have received from... a note asking if I recognise your action in turning down Annie Besant, and appointing yourself as sole dictator of the Esoteric School of the T. S. As I do not recognise you as the sole head of this Section, I herewith tender you my resignation from this school.

I hope to have the time within the next two weeks to write you another open letter, touching on a number of points which have come within my observation from the time that I secured the impression of the Persian coin on your watch-chain, up to date. I have kept silent since 1889. But a time has now been reached where every person should speak out, who loves the philosophy which you have so degraded in your effort to re-establish a [325] hierarchy with yourself as the veiled prophet speaking from the Holy of Holies. I know too well the force that is behind you. You are indeed serving your master, but whether consciously or unconsciously, I do not pretend to say. As experience has taught me that your method of warfare is to endeavour to blacken the character of those who take issue with you, and as you are always merciless in your underhanded thrusts, I will say that so far as the power lies in me, I shall give you no quarter and I ask none. This is a fight of Truth against a very old enemy of the human race.”

* * * *


In order to be honest with myself, I am obliged to utterly repudiate the claim made by W. Q. Judge that he is to be acknowledged as the sole head of the Esoteric School. I have held my peace for several years, but I feel now that it is due to a large number of American Theosophists to speak out frankly and plainly. I have no war to make on Judge personally. But I honestly believe that he is dragging down a great many people by Jesuitical means which are little short of diabolical. I do not know as I can help matters, but if a word of warning is of any use, I shall speak it so far as I can. I enclose you [326] a copy of a letter which I sent this morning to Mr. Judge.” A search made among Mr. Judge’s papers a fortnight after his death (21st March, 1896) revealed the fact that he had nominated as his successor, Mrs. K. A. Tingley, an American Spiritualistic medium, entirely unknown to myself and the members in general. He added a condition, it seems, that the secret should be closely kept for one year, from all except those whom he had chosen to open and examine his papers. Dr. Franz Hartmann, a fellow-seceder with Judge, but who at the time of writing had given his “voluntary and prompt resignation from the Presidency of the T. S. in E. (Germany) after my (his) discovery that ‘the spirit of intolerance prevailed therein,’” contributes to the Theosophical Forum[27] the following caustic paragraph about the alleged secret methods, employed in the interests of Mrs. Tingley: “The letters before us, privately written by Mr. B...C..., S...C... and others, in which orders are given as to how the public should be mystified and the members of the T. S. taken by surprise, and in which every doubt about the Mahâtmaship of Mrs. Tingley is put down as a deadly sin against the Holy Ghost, are a masterwork of Jesuitism; but it is none of our business to trouble ourselves [327] about the means which any church organism may use for obtaining power over the minds of the faithful and over their money; I only wish to state that the church of Mrs. Tingley never has been and is not now representing the real Theosophical Society which has been established by H. P. Blavatsky, nor did the real W. Q. Judge ever resemble the caricature which the adherents of Mrs. Tingley have made of him and of which they have created an object of adulation and idolatry.” Another group into which the secessionists had split in revolt against Mrs. Tingley’s autocracy, which called itself the “Temple” and had for its “veiled prophet” another psychic, figuring under the pseudonym of “Blue Star”, published in a circular dated at Syracuse, N. Y., February 1st, 1899, the following indictment: “Before Wm. Q. Judge passed into the silence, he left with the selected Outer Head an injunction and a request. He told her that at a certain time after he was gone she would receive a certain sign, immediately upon the receipt of which, she was to send for the person bearing that sign, and place that one in the Inner Circle of advisers. This person, whom we will refer to by the impersonal name of Blue Star, had strong occult connections with the Lodge of Masters, and would receive directions which would be transmitted to, [328] the O. H. and from her to the different groups. The sign was sent to the O. H. over a year ago, but she refused to accept it, or recognize the person giving it. She disobeyed this injunction as well as the one commanding her to keep secret her connection with the Lodge for one year. Overweening ambition and desire for public recognition is the cornerstone of her failure to keep connection with the Lodge. She organized the Crusade around the world which should not have been attempted until ten years after the death of W. Q. J., when conditions in America, now under preparation, would have made it a great success, instead of the useless expenditure of time, money and force that it really was. She selected the site for the School of Mysteries which is not the place selected by the Lodge. Then she called the Convention at Chicago, where was cut the last strand of the thread which bound her to Masters. Since then she has been working solely on her own responsibility.” A year earlier (February 26th, 1898) Dr. J. D. Buck, later of the “Temple”, backed by twenty-four sympathizers, forming what was called the Amrita Group, had himself notified her thus of his revolt: “I have resigned from that section of the E. S. T. over which you preside. This action was [329] due to you no less than myself. Being no longer in sympathy with your methods, and my confidence in your direction being broken, I could not receive instruction or bestow obedience to any order of yours. You have converted the E. S. into a starchamber, where insinuations and slander against Brothers is indulged in without protest, and where explanation or defence is not permitted. This I regard as not only unbrotherly but as Jesuitical and cowardly. I think such methods demoralising. I deny that they emanate from the Great Lodge and I believe they will rebound on all who participate in them.” A third split, led by Mrs. Tingley’s most trusted lieutenant, Mr. E. T. Hargrove, who was one of a globe-trotting party called the “Crusaders”, sent out (at an expense of $30,000) to advertise their party in all countries where we were known, in the hope of destroying our influence, and who issued a circular on the 1st March, 1898, in which Mr. Hargrove, with a pathos which would be touching if it were not so funny, solemnly notifies his “Purple Mother”: “You have ceased to be the Outer Head of the E.S.T. in the interior and true sense. You will before long cease to be the Outer Head of the school in the exterior sense. The Outer Head to follow you has already been appointed by the [330] Master.” She must have thought this cruel, indeed, as coming from one to whom she had written on September 5th, 1896, signing herself “Purple”: “You are more to me than all in this great world.” We have Congreve’s authority that hell has no fury like a woman scorned, which may explain her saying in a letter of April 11th, 1898, to Mr. Neresheimer, that Messrs. Griscomb, Hargrove and Spencer were a lot of “occult desperadoes”.

The chronological sequence of the secession movement would then be as follows:

May 8th, 1891.—H.P.B. died, after appointing Mrs. Besant her successor: subsequently, influenced by representations made by him, the latter united Mr. Judge with herself in a joint leadership.

July 10th, 1894.—Judicial Committee, on Mr. Judge, sat in London.

November, 1894.—Mr. Judge issues a circular “deposing” Mrs. Besant and assuming sole control.

April 28th, 1895.—Boston Convention: American Section secedes.

June 27th, 1895.—Secession recognized, and Charter of American Section transferred to loyal minority.

A.    P. Sinnett appointed Vice-President to fill vacancy caused by Mr. Judge’s secession.

B.     The pitiful part of this pitiful business is that each of these secession leaders pretends to be acting

[331] under the inspiration and guidance of the Masters, while at the same time doing everything to degrade the name of and bring shame upon the Theosophical movement. The thoughtful reader cannot fail to see that these splits and quarrels were an inevitable sequence to the original Boston secession, secretly engineered by Mr. Judge—the lust of power spreading its contagion from person to person. At present (August, 1906) Mrs. Tingley has been the most successful and, as “She Who Must Be Obeyed”, rules her millionaire and pauper followers as Autocrat at Point Loma.




THE first week in April of the year under review was mainly devoted to a search through my office archives of 1884 for matter for the current number of]. It is recorded in the diary entry for April 9th that up to that time I had examined between four and five hundred letters, not to speak of printed matter. It will be seen from this that the writing of this historical retrospect of mine is not such an easy matter as the tossing off of a newspaper paragraph, but involves a great deal of conscientious hard work. On April 13th, at Messrs. Oakes’ place, there was one of the many large book-auctions that during the course of the year give us the chance of securing valuable books for our library at nominal prices: in the present instance I bought between two and three hundred volumes of choice, freshly bound books, for an average of one rupee a volume. At the lowest estimate the collection was worth £60, though it cost only £14.

[333] On the 14th of April we set the frame of the great carved door of the room that was intended for the Western Section of the Library and was occupied by it until February of last year, when the books were put on the shelves prepared for them in the Fuente Extension of the Library building. In this same month I was busy with the getting of the votes of the General Secretaries of the Sections on my proposal to utilize what was called the “H.P.B. Memorial Fund” for the creation of a Panchama School, to bear that name. My argument was that the money in question was lying idle in the bank with only the slightest probabi1ity of its ever swelling into a capital large enough for its income to pay the cost of publication of special books, the original purpose. To anticipate, it may be stated that my proposition was ultimately accepted and the money in due course turned into the Panchama Education Fund, along with my own Pension Fund.

Among the objects at Adyar which provoke the most admiration in visitors are the splendid specimens of native wood-carving in teakwood in the library doors, and the long, high screen which shuts off and secures the privacy of the portraits of the Masters. From the Viceroy down, it has been hard for them to believe that the price asked by the Madras carvers is so extremely small. For instance, the two leaves of a door measure 9 feet by 5 feet in [334] height and width, with three panels in each leaf, surrounded by carved rosewood moldings, and yet the doors with frames and all complete, cost only about one hundred rupees each, or, say, about £7. When I asked Lord Curzon what he thought such a door would cost at Home, he said “Oh! almost any price”, and could scarcely believe me when I told him the fact. The School of Arts fills large orders every year for these tasteful and artistic carvings received from foreign countries. I am sorry to say that very little patronage is extended to these artisans, these priests of the Beautiful, by wealthy Indians. The same may be said as to modellings in clay and terra-cotta. Govinda Pillai, for example, the modeller of the noble sitting statue of H. P. B., in our Convention Hall, is only Modelling Master at the School of Arts, on a beggarly salary of something like £3 a month, if my memory serves, with no remunerative field open for his talent such as a man of his worth would assuredly find in Europe or America. But his ways are Indian ways, his desires small, and so he plods on, turning out things of beauty which are at least a consolation to himself and a joy to his friends.

While I am touching on the subject of Indian Art, I am confronted by the entry in my diary for May 13th: “The Cuddapah stones supplied for the [335] flooring of the new Western Library room are so inaccurately cut that 300 out of 500 of the smaller size are from a quarter to a half inch too small, while of the larger size one half are so. Then the Library room itself is several inches out of square at the eastern end.” From the standpoint of Indian art, this is the feature which vitiates it completely: accuracy in measurement and proportion is almost impossible to find. Whether it be the building of a temple, a pagoda, a house, a flight of steps, a tank, or any other structure, the chances are that the parts do not match each other. I doubt if in our Headquarters buildings there are two stone steps exactly alike. When we came to measure the Library Building for the erection of the verandahs, we found that our head mason had not aligned the Fuente extension with the main building. Some years ago, as my readers may recollect, I lectured on the Industrial Arts of India, at the Town Hall, Benares. From the bazaar I had brought a considerable number of the artistic bronze articles so largely bought by travellers: no two of the vases had their handles exactly opposite each other, no two of them stood on even bottoms or had covers that fitted accurately, the engraving and repoussé work were scant in details. For my part, I think the evil is almost irremediable, and I think I can understand why: there are no longer [336] the royal patrons of indigenous art that there were in olden times. What people call for now is a showy article at the minimum cost: result, inaccuracy and the commercializing of art. In the happier olden days the Govinda Pillais and other artistic workmen would have been properly recompensed for their talent instead of half starving as they do now on the pittances given them by their employers and their customers. And yet all India is now convulsed over the question of patronizing indigenous industries and even boycotting those of foreign countries. Of course, nothing could be more laudable than the sentiment back of the Swadeshi movement, but from the standpoint of common sense, nothing could be more hopeless than the movement itself, whose promoters are dreaming of upsetting industrial conditions by a popular shout (pace the walls of Jericho) when it will require many years to put Indian industries on a level with those of more strictly commercial nations. Nobody need doubt my sympathy with the present Indian industrial movement, since as far back as 1880 I actually held at Bombay an exposition of Indian Arts and Industries.

On the 15th May the embroidered blue carpets which have since been always used at our Annual Conventions and have been so admired for their artistic effect, were received from our dear [337] Dr. Kaul, of Lahore, who had kindly supervised their preparation.

On the 18th of the month news came to me from Bombay of the death of Mr. Edward Wimbridge five days earlier. He was one of the two English people who accompanied H. P. B. and myself from New York to Bombay, in 1879.

It may be doing a favor to some of my readers if I mention the fact that at the time at which we have arrived I was cured of a painful swelling of the gum and cheek by the application of a remedy known to every low-caste Hindu, though to few if any Europeans, if my own ignorance be taken as a measure. The remedy consists in rubbing into a paste a pollum (about 1 ¼ oz. av.) of ripe tamarind fruit, into which mass a half teaspoonful of salt has been incorporated. This is laid between the gum and the cheek, while on the outside there is applied a fomentation of fresh-plucked margosa leaves. Steep the leaves thoroughly in boiling water, and apply them as a poultice to the cheek. In an attack, for which this margosa decoction is the best remedy I know of, the rule is to steep the margosa leaves in a half pint of water, adding a small piece of saffron and a few peppercorns; boil it down to one-half the quantity of liquid, then strain it and take it in two doses. I have known obstinate cases of fever easily cured in this way and [338] no return of the symptoms. Compilations have been made, from time to time, by western medical men, of these ancient Indian remedies, and I think it would be a good thing if some one who possesses the full confidence of the Indians would bring out a revised and fuller treatise on the subject. At this time the Panchamas (Pariahs) of Madras, through their chief spokesman, Dr. Iyothee Doss, were urging me to help them to organize a league for mutual help and the uplifting of their race. On the 22nd May I wrote to the High Priest, Sumangala, a preliminary letter about the matter and told him to expect some papers from me soon. The Pariah committee called on me that same day and I instructed them as to the form of petition that they could draft to be forwarded through me to the Ceylon Buddhists. The matter was discussed at several meetings between the Committee and myself, and on June 4th the Committee came to Adyar and arranged for a public meeting of the Panchama community, at which to form a Dravidian Buddhist Society. Dharmapala and Guneratne—a Sinhalese priest, who had arrived from Calcutta the day before—took part in the discussion. On the 5th, I received a telegram from Bombay that Tookaram Tatya, our well-known and energetic Bombay Indian colleague, had died during the [339] previous night. It was a great loss to the Society because of the services that he rendered in the practical way of publishing Theosophical literature. He was not one of the first to join us at Bombay on our arrival, for he was of a cautious nature and his intercourse with Europeans had made him believe that they would not come to India without the ulterior design of either benefiting themselves or, by one means or another, trying to pervert Hindus to Christianity. He had seen us often and cross-questioned our principal visitors as to their impressions, but he held back from taking the decisive step of casting in his lot with ours. From an obituary notice, written by me for The Theosophist, for July 1898, I copy the following extract: “At last, after closely watching our actions and weighing our words, he decided to join, and on the 9th April, 1880, while we were still living in the Girgaum quarter of Bombay, he brought me an introductory letter from Mr. Martin Wood, then editor of the Bombay Review. I remember well the incident. I was writing in my small room when he came. Nothing had occurred to make me think him of any more importance than any other of our daily visitors. He seemed a strong, healthy, intelligent and active man, wearing glasses. Mr. Wood jokingly asked me in his note not to ‘let Tookaram too deep in the mysteries of Theosophy for fear he might be drawn [340] off from the local politics, in which he had a large share.’ Seeing him so anxious an enquirer about Eastern Religions and their alleged key in Theosophy, I put aside my work and talked with him two or three hours. At the end of this time, after remaining silent for a few moments, he suddenly dropped on his knees, bowed his head to the ground, placed my naked feet on his head, in the oriental fashion, and asked me to give him my blessing. This was my first experience of the kind and it was very impressive, while giving a shock to my western ideal of personal dignity. I laid my hand on his head and blessed him, of course. He then rose and, for the first time, told me about his suspicions and doubts about us and our Society, and how our conversation had swept away his last lingering opposition. He applied for membership; I let him sign his papers, gave my name as his sponsor, and then introduced him to H.P.B. “The Bombay moral atmosphere was repugnant to us then, partly on account of disagreeable incidents in connection with the two English persons who had come from America with us but turned enemies, and the Bombay Branch T. S. was never much of an active centre while we kept the Headquarters there. We bought the Adyar property in 1882 and removed there at the close of that year. It was after that that Tookaram’s active, energetic and loyal temperament [341] showed itself. To him and the late Rustomji A. Master is primarily due the evolution of the Branch into one of the most active in the Society, their efforts being supplemented by those of others who have come in from time to time. Originally mostly a Hindu, it is now largely a Parsi body, and in its President, Mr. Gostling, its late regretted Vice-President, Mr. Gadiali, and others, it has been of late blessed with excellent administrators. “Tookaram Tatya was a born philanthropist. A self-made man and a keen and successful merchant, he yet had a great desire to do good to his fellowmen. Learning mesmeric healing from me, he began its gratuitous practice at his own cost and opened a free Dispensary for mesmeric and Homœopathic treatment. Probably forty thousand patients have been treated by him and other F. T. S.free of cost. He established a Hindu press at which he published some of the most important classical works in Sanskrit, and a number of works in English. At our Annual Conventions at Adyar he was an almost constant attendant as a delegate from his Branch, and his subscriptions towards our various Funds have been liberal. He was one of the men I selected as Trustees of the Society’s property, under the Chingleput Deed of Trust, both on account of his probity and his unswerving loyalty to our Masters. And now he has gone to his reward. Farewell [342] staunch friend, companion and brother: we shall meet and work together again.” During the same month of May, I received from “An English Theosophist”, a very prominent member of the British Section, but who laid me under an obligation of secrecy as to his name, a draft for Rs. 2,200, towards the Panchama Education Fund, and especially the H.P.B. Memorial Free School. The almost uninterrupted stream of gifts, large and small, towards this object, down to the present time, shows its popularity, while the educational results under Mrs. Courtright’s management have very far exceeded my expectations. On the 8th June I presided at a public meeting of Panchamas, held in the garden of Mr. L. V. Varadarajulu Naidu, in Royapettah, Madras, at which the petition to aid them in their endeavor to found their Buddhist Society and to receive their formal petition to that effect, was to be presented.

I was very much touched on receiving from Mr. Cooper-Oakley in person, on the 13th June, an offer to sub-edit The Theosophist during the illness of Dr. English, then at Ootacamund, suffering from an affection of the eyes which threatened blindness. Since he left Adyar some years previously to accept a professorship in Pachaiyappa College, and, subsequently, the Registrarship of Madras University, we had not been on such terms of familiar [343] intercourse as previously, and I was very much gratified by this act of kindness. It will be remembered that, in 1887, while Mr. Cooper-Oakley was, by H.P.B.’s appointment, acting as Editor of The Theosophist, he published an article by T. Subba Row, on the number of “principles” going to make up a man, he preferring the exoteric classification of five, as opposed to her occult group of seven; step which threw her into a violent rage and was followed shortly after by her establishment of the magazine, Lucifer, now The Theosophical Review. Mr. Cooper-Oakley withdrew from the editorship and I took it over, but kept the name of H.P.B. on the cover several years and until she begged me to substitute my own for hers. Mr. Cooper-Oakley and his friend, Dr. Nield Cook, as well as T. Subba Row, resigned their membership in the Society.

As Miss Edger needed a rest and change of climate, I closed up my office business at Adyar and left with her for Ootacamund on the 14th June. After a very tedious journey, more than half of it passed in bone-pounding, country bullock-carts, we reached “Gulistan” on the 16th about noon; finding, to our great satisfaction, that Dr. English’s ulcerated eye was getting better.

On Sundays, at Ootacamund, the members of our local Branch are in the habit of gathering at my [344] house for Theosophical studies. While up there, Miss Edger took charge of these meetings. Leaving Miss Edger in the safe custody of Dr. and Miss English, I left the station on the 22nd, on my return journey to Madras. I got home on the 24th and found everything right.




THREE days after my return, my friends Mr. and Mrs. Kirkpatrick and their son, coming from Australia and en route for London, paid me a visit for a few days.

The problem of the origin and religious heredity of the Pariahs of Southern India was so important, that I determined to bring the communities into relation with the High Priest Sumangala, so that in case they were proved[28] to have been original Buddhists their communities might be brought into close connection and under surveillance of the Buddhists of Ceylon. Mr. Iyothee Doss, the native physician already mentioned in this narrative, and P. Krishnaswami, a teacher in my first Pariah school were chosen by the Pariah communities to represent them at Colombo, and on the 1st of July I left Madras with these two for Colombo, via [346] Tuticorin and reached our destination on the second day. I presented the delegates to the High Priest, who was delighted to see them and on the same evening brought them before a monster meeting, whose feelings were highly excited by the addresses of the delegates themselves, and of the High Priest, myself and Dharmapala. The remarks of the High Priest were very dignified and noble. He told the delegates to remember that, although they had been degraded to the lowest social level under the caste system of India, at the moment when they became Buddhists all these arbitrary social distinctions were stript off their shoulders; they became free men, entitled to their own self-respect and of whom it was expected by every Buddhist that they would do nothing to lower the dignity of their new condition. Then taking me as their sponsor he gave them the Pancha Sila with great impressiveness. The whole audience listened with the closest attention to the pronunciation of the words and when the fifth Precept was completed, they gave vent to their restrained enthusiasm in a great shout of “Sadhu! Sadhu!” The Sinhalese are an emotional people, easily aroused by anything which touches upon their religion, so that, when they realized that these two black men were the chosen delegates of an outcaste Indian community numbering five millions of people, that it was claimed for them that they had [347] been Buddhists at the time of the emperor Asoka, that they had been mercilessly persecuted and tortured to compel them to become converted, that, yielding to force majeure, the once independent community had been reduced to a state of degradation and slavery, and that, at this moment these delegates and their associate leaders of the Pariahs nourished the hope that with the help of the Sinhalese Buddhists they might recover their religion, build temples and establish monasteries for the support of the Bhikshus who might be sent over to take them under their spiritual charge, the outbreak of enthusiasm at this meeting need surprise nobody.

The next day I sent the delegates under good escort to Kelani Temple and spent the day in town, visiting Mrs. Higgins and Madame Canavarro, and going with Dharmapala to see his Raja Giri estate, where he had made a failure of an attempt to establish a Buddhist college. Our young friend has a marked tendency to fly kites, the strings of which persist in getting broken; he lets them go and they are out of sight. Dharmapala could not see the absurdity of the proposal he made me after the scheme had hopelessly failed, viz., that as I was growing old and had placed the Buddhists under enormous obligations, I should now retire from the management of The Theosophical Society, [348] settle down at Raja Giri and pass my remaining days in dignified retirement. Stript of all covering of fine talk, the idea was simply that I should pull his chestnuts out of the fire—so illogically and impulsively does his mind work.

Before retiring that night I dictated to Mr. Jayatilaka a draft of a reply for the High Priest to make to the Pariah petition, and the next day went over it with Sumangala, got his approval, had the printers set it up and the same evening read the proofs.

That same day Mr. Harry Banbery came down from Kandy to escort us to the Mountain Capital. On Wednesday (the 6th July) we went there, were received at the railway station by a number of friends, among them Mr. Kobbekaduwa, a Kandian noble, whose family had great influence at the time of the native sovereignty before the British occupation. I took the delegates to pay their respects to the Mahâ Nayakas, High Priests of the royal temples of Malwatte and Asgeriya, and the High Priest of the Ramanna Nikaya. In the evening there was a very big and demonstrative meeting to welcome the delegates, and speeches were delivered by Kobbekaduwa, Dr. Iyothee Doss, myself and others. There being no important priest present I gave the Pancha Sila to the assembly and the Pariah delegates had the opportunity for the first time of joining with their new co-religionists in this act of Buddhist worship. [349] On Thursday (the 7th July) we returned to Colombo and in the evening the Buddhist Theosophical Society entertained the delegates and myself at dinner at headquarters. I happened to drop in the afternoon upon a meeting that was being held there and where it was very persistently urged by Dharmapala to eliminate the word “Theosophical” from the title of the Colombo Branch and break its relations with our Society. The young advocate of secession made the protest that our Society was in reality hostile to Buddhism and that the connection between the two was doing harm to the religion. This was the beginning of an agitation that this ambitious young man has been carrying on ever since with the real object of bringing himself into notoriety and weakening the influence of our Society in the Island. At the meeting in question he and his few sympathizers explained to me that they had no desire or intention of altering my personal relations with the Sinhalese people, but should expect me to go on as before as their leader. I exposed their sophistry and repudiated their proposal with scorn, showing them the base ingratitude that underlay the plot, and telling them that, while they were perfectly at liberty to expunge the word “Theosophical” from the title of their Branch, if they did it I should immediately break my relation with them and never answer another appeal for help, [350] whether coming through their High Priest or any other channel: a people so devoid of the sense of gratitude were not worth my while to waste any more time over. Needless to say, nothing more was heard of the proposal at that time.

On the 8th of July our good-byes were said and we sailed for Tuticorin in the B. I. Steamer, Kapurthala. The sea was rough, the delegates very sick and the next morning on our arrival they looked about as miserable as human beings could, yet rejoicing over the success of their mission. On the morning of the 10th I reached Adyar and found awaiting me a copy of my Sorgho and Imphee book on the sugar-canes of China and Africa, which I had written in 1857, which has passed through seven editions and of which I had not seen a copy for many years, until my friend, Mr. Gould, editor of Notes and Queries, had procured me one after inserting a paragraph in his excellent magazine.

The next few days were crowded for me in the way of foreign correspondence and the writing of editorial paragraphs and articles. On the 14th a letter came from Banbery reporting that the Kandian public were enthusiatic over our recent visit and that as one result he had got several new scholars for the Buddhist High School of which he was Principal. [351] A fund, known as the “Olcott Pension Fund”, which had been started some time previously without my consent and which, though most kindly conceived, was, in my case useless, lying idle in bank and earning a small interest. I thought the money would be much better employed by turning it into a fund for the upkeep of the Panchama School, so on the 16th of July I drafted a public notice of its transfer to the credit of the “Olcott Free School” as invested capital for its support.

As it was decided that Miss Edger should make the tour of Southern India I left home for Coimbatore on the 19th and began the work. I was met at Podanur Junction by a committee and was put up in a large empty house that had been kindly loaned for the occasion. At 3-30 p.m. Miss Edger arrived from Ooty with our Parsi friend, Mr. Panday, of Bombay, and Mr. K. Narayanaswamy Iyer, Inspector of our Branches in Southern India. In the evening she held a conversazione at the Coimbatore College Hall, received an address of welcome and was garlanded in the usual poetical Hindu fashion. In the evening she gave her first public lecture at the same place on the subject: “Will Theosophy help the world?” On the next day there was an E. S. T. meeting, another conversazione which lasted from 2 till 5 p.m. and in the evening a lecture on “God in Man and Nature”. [352] On the next morning before 10 a.m. there was another E. S. T. meeting and conversazione: at 2 p.m. I took her to see the old temple at Perûr and examined the many monolithic pillars carved with huge figures of Indian gods and rearing hippogriffs, of which there are so many splendid examples at Madura and the other chief temples of Southern India. The three grand carved portals that we now have at Adyar are of the same pattern.

Miss Edger found, during that night, that travel in India is not without its disagreeable features, for the old house where we lodged was alive with a certain kind of vermin of a most persistent character which feasted on her fresh Australian body to her great dissatisfaction. However she had the moral courage to take things as they came and keep in view the great object of the tour without paying too much attention to these unpleasant details.

At 7-27 the next morning we left for Palghat, our westernmost objective point, where we were nicely received and put up in the very good Government Rest-House. Miss Edger held a conversazione in the afternoon and at 4-30 p.m. lectured to a packed house on “Theosophy in Theory and Practice”.

Palghat is inclosed in a strip of the Western Coast of India, lying between the southern chain of the Ghats and the ocean and is probably more [353] tropical in its character than almost any part of India. The mountain chain fences in moisture-laden breezes of the Ocean with the result that a luxurious vegetation makes the country appear as though it were a strip of the sea-begirt Island of Ceylon. The inhabitants having no part in the feverish activity of the other portions of India, have kept to their ancient customs and beliefs with peculiar tenacity; the folklore is very rich in tales of the interference of the invisible powers with men, practitioners of sorcery abound and some of the worst aspects of black magic, such, for instance, as lycanthropy—the changing of the sorcerer’s astral body into the appearance of wolves and other wild animals—are said to be rife. If the reader will consult my translation of D’Assier’s book L’Humanité Posthume he will find among the replies to the circular of enquiry which I issued to correspondents throughout India, what the inhabitants of this Western Coast have to say on these interesting subjects. It was this Western Coast that in remote historic and prehistoric centuries was visited by the adventurous merchants of Arabia, Egypt and Venice, who made themselves rich by the enormous traffic which they carried on. It was to Cochin, capital of the native state of the same name, that came Albuquerque, the Portuguese admiral, in the year 1503. Of course he built a [354]fortress, and founded the first European colony, which comprised, equally of course, a lot of bigoted Roman Catholic priests who brought a train of disasters in their wake. The doom of the country as an independent kingdom was sealed, for—after the Portuguese—came, on the 6th January, 1663, the Dutch, who proceeded forthwith to strengthen the fort, but consecrated most of their force to the laying of the basis of an active trade in Indian commodities, which enriched the merchants of Amsterdam and Rotterdam and created in them a thirst for Eastern conquest, that is not even now, after the lapse of four centuries, assuaged (e.g., the Dutch East Indian politics). While we are at Palghat and are resting from our railway journey, I may say in parenthesis, that nowhere are the difficulties of my poor friends, the Pariahs, so merciless as in this strip of a physical paradise. The hatred of the caste people is so exaggerated that, if a Pariah is walking on a public road and sees a caste man approaching at a distance, he is obliged to give utterance to a peculiar cry of warning and before the caste man reaches him, must turn off into a field beside the road, turn his back and hold his hands over his mouth, so that by chance not even a whiff of his breath might be wafted in the direction of the other. If a Pariah should ever read Bishop [355] Heber’s “Missionary Hymn”, when he came to the lines: Where every prospect pleases And only man is vile; he might almost be excused for saying, “That means the West Coast”. This however is one of the points which go to make up the picture on the reverse of the medal, and which a casual traveller like Miss Edger is not likely to have forced upon her attention, so we will return to our narrative.

Palghat presented to us a smiling appearance in its tropical aspect, and our pleasure was enhanced by the kind treatment given us by our local friends. I founded here one of those Bala Samajas or Hindu boys’ societies which I made for the purpose of interesting the younger generation in their religion, while at the same time giving them a training in the administration of public affairs. My idea was that the boys should be taught the lesson of self help, and the plan I pursued was to propose at a public meeting, after a lecture on education, that the boys of the town should join together and manage their own affairs, looking to their elders only for encouragement and practical help such as the supply of books, the rent of a meeting place and advice as to the best course to pursue in emergencies. I found no difficulty in enlisting the sympathy of the juvenile public and of their parents and [356] guardians, and I am happy to say that the seed thus sown has since borne a good harvest.

At 4 p.m. on the 25th July Miss Edger gave her final lecture, and at 7-30 p.m. we left by train for Salem. The night was passed in the train and in the morning we reached our destination and were most charmingly received. The Branch with which we now came in contact was one of the most energetic and useful in the Indian Section. Its presiding officer, Mr. T. N. Ramachandra Iyer, B.A., Deputy Collector, was a man of exceptional ability and force of character. He took hold of the Branch with the same energy which he gave to the direction of the affairs of his own bureau, with the result that a nest of capable workers was soon established and the influence of the group spread over a wide area of the country.

It is the custom of India, as my readers know, to present addresses to visitors along with those fragrant garlands of flowers that express the poetical temperament of the people. The Salem Branch on this occasion presented to Miss Edger a nicely-worded address, enclosed in a silver tube highly ornamented on the outside and having at the two extremities figures of Hindu gods.

Our people put up Miss Edger in a bungalow and myself in a tent close by. From 8 to 9 a.m. there was a conversation meeting at our Branch rooms, [357] and at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall, a lecture by Miss Edger on “A Bird’s-Eye View of Theosophy”, to a great crowd. Despite the intense heat I wrote many letters. On the next day, the 27th, we had the same routine, a morning conversation, a reception of visitors at fixed hours and an evening lecture, very much applauded by an audience as large as the capacity of the hall would allow. The routine of the following day was varied by the giving of lectures to Hindu boys by both of us and the forming of a “Boys’ Society”. At 10 p.m. we went to the station, escorted by our friends, dismissed them—not without difficulty, so anxious they seemed to enjoy our company to the last—settled ourselves down in the two waiting rooms for a bit of rest and at 3-30 the next morning took the train for our next station, Karur.




THIS stop of two days at Karur did not differ in its incidents from the previous ones included in the programme of our tour. Receptions, addresses, conversation meetings, public lectures and personal interviews followed each other. It possessed one feature, however, of interest to that class of well-meaning enthusiasts who yearn to come to India and assist in my work. After two busy days we went to the railway station at 10 p.m. on the 30th July, sent away the local committee and tried to get some sleep on the hard benches at the disposal of travellers. How much rest we got might be imagined when it is known that at 1-40 a.m. we took the train for the return journey to Salem. This is an illustration of what one has to go through on a propagandist tour in India, viz., plenty of broken rest, hard sleeping, irregular meals and constant personal contentions with those insect [359] enemies whose invariably successful attacks on us go far towards teaching proud man that a little humility would go far toward lessening his discomforts and increasing his philosophical capacity.

We reached Salem at 6-30 a.m., were photographed in a group, and held two conversation meetings, at the second of which I gave by request some idea of the great interest attached to mediumistic phenomena, for the benefit of materialists present. I have noted in my diary that the two most active branch officers at the time of our visit to Salem were Messrs. T. N. Ramachandra Iyer, B.A., Deputy Collector, and T. S. Lakshmi Narayan Iyer, Inspector of Branches.

On the second day we left for Erode, a large railway junction, where a certain amount of interest caused by the activity of one or two earnest colleagues prevailed. We were put up in the commodious rooms at the station maintained by the railway company for the accommodation of travellers, and later in the day Miss Edger lectured in the school-house very satisfactorily. On that day we witnessed the Hindu festival of Sravanam, when the wearers of the mystical “thread” put off the one they have worn during the last twelvemonth and receive a fresh one from the Brahmin priest, who is supposed to have consecrated it by the very ancient ceremonies which have been handed down [360] to them from remote antiquity. A whole chapter might be written upon this interesting subject but it would needlessly interrupt the course of our narrative. As is well known, the higher three castes, Brahmin, Kshattriya, and Vaisya (the priestly, the princely and the commercial), are entitled to wear this distinction. Naturally it is not given to non-Hindus, pro forma, my own case being exceptional. So occupied with their routine duties were our local members that we had hardly any visitors throughout the day. Miss Edger lectured late in the afternoon, we dined at the house of a very agreeable English official and at 9-46 p.m. took train for Madura, reaching there at 11 a.m. on the 3rd, after a night of broken rest and various discomforts. Not even the fact of the occurrence of my 66th birthday on the 2nd of August helped to relieve the monotony of our second day at Erode.

Madura is one of the great show-places of India and only the most ignorant globe-trotter would pass that way without stopping to visit its wonderful temple, its palace of Tirumal Naik, its lovely tank-reservoir with its island and temple at the centre, and its other objects of interest.

The Society is fortunate in having at this place one of its most active and useful Branches, under the presidency of Mr. P. Narayana Iyer, B.A., B.L., [361] a pleader of the High Court and one of the most devoted, intellectual and self-sacrificing of its members. Naturally, with such a man at the head of local affairs, there could not fail to be constant activity and useful work. Miss Edger lectured on “Theosophy”, in the College hall at 6 p.m., to a large audience. Until 9 o’clock, the next morning was devoted to the reception of visitors, after which we went around to see the sights. Visitors filled up the hours then until noon and at 6-30 p.m. Miss Edger gave her second lecture on “The Secret of Death”. The next day, the 5th August, she and I lectured to boys and I founded a local Bala Samaja. When we visited the temple of Mînakshi, the trustees very kindly displayed for our inspection the valuable collection of jewels belonging to the temple and that are used for the decoration of the idols on occasions of ceremony. It was really a wonderful show, with its great profusion of diamonds, sapphires, rubies, pearls and other gems, some of them made up into little tiaras, shoulder- and breast-plates, gauntlets, bracelets, greaves, and other details of ornament that are put upon idols no bigger than a great doll. But there were also similar decorations appertaining to the larger gods, the whole making up a collection of precious objects whose value could only be comprehended by a skilled jeweller. [362] These idols, when carried in public procession, are seated upon life-sized vâhanas—the bull of Siva, the mouse of Ganesha, the peacock of Sarasvati. These are all wrought in pure silver, at a great cost, of course. I am afraid to quote figures from memory, but if I do not mistake, these silver dolls cost the donors something like 2,00,000 rupees. However, that is a mere detail, the chief point being that their presence in the temple illustrates the lavish generosity which is shown in the making of the adornments of the gods.

A saunter through the Minakshi temple is a rather wearisome experiment, the passage being unlighted, and in gloomy contrast with the brightness of the busy streets outside. At one’s right and left hand stand upon continuous plinths colossal monolithic figures of the gods of the Hindu Pantheon, but half seen on the surrounding obscurity, giving one the impression of being in the company of huge phantoms. But on turning a corner one comes at last to the famous tank, sunlit and shining, which I have described before, and on one wall of which are painted those dreadful scenes of torture and persecution by which the ancestors of the present Pariah[29] community were [363] forcibly converted to Hinduism, two thousand years ago. I have paid my respects to these horrible pictures of religious wickedness in my little pamphlet, “The Poor Pariah”, and very interesting reading it supplies. Our visit to Madura was, of course, a success and was crowned with a final lecture by Miss Edger before a large and appreciative audience, after which came very kind farewell addresses and a wealth of flowers.

Our next station was Trichinopoly, also one of the show-places of India, certainly as well worth visiting as one of the towns of North India that lie in the path of the usual personally-conducted traveller. It always seems to me such a great pity that the South Indian tour, from Ceylon to Madras, should be so neglected, if the real object of the traveller is to get a correct idea of Indian India; for, as often explained, one sees in Northern India, or rather at the places along the beaten track, the vestiges of Mussalman conquest and empire, but, save at Benares and a few other places, almost nothing of the great architectural monuments left behind them by the sovereigns of the different Indian dynasties which have flourished [364] in Bharatakhanda. Nothing in Northern India equals the temples of Madura, Trichinopoly and Tanjore in their peculiar style of architecture.

We reached Trichinopoly at the highly convenient hour of 3-30 a.m. after a night of horrible shaking-up in the train. Our local friends came for us at six and put us into an empty, big bungalow situated at a distance of three miles away. This was rather too much, in view of the necessity of receiving visitors and making lectures. So, later in the day, we were moved to the Town Hall and lodged in rooms on the upper floor, where appliances for comfort were not in the least calculated to foster in us Sybaritic tastes. A large number of students came in the afternoon, well primed with their multifarious questions upon religious and philosophical subjects, some of which were more of the nature of conundrums than searches after fundamental wisdom. To tell the truth, the Indian student has a capacity of planning and executing these mind-traps almost as great as that I have encountered in the course of my European travels.

On the next day I lectured to about 600 boys and helped them to form a Society, with officers of their own choice, while Miss Edger’s rooms were crowded with visitors in the morning and afternoon. In the evening she gave her splendidly reasoned lecture on “Religion and Science”, which was [365] highly appreciated by a huge crowd. No subject is quite so congenial as this to a Theosophic lecturer for, despite the apparent obstacles offered by materialistic critics, it is really not so difficult a task to carry the amateur scientist stage by stage and step by step from his fixed standpoint to the borderland of science and thence move onward along the line of a flawless evolution, the most majestic conceivable in the sweep of its comprehensiveness, until we reach the domain of Hindu philosophical conceptions.

The great mistake made by beginners is to take a violent issue at the start, with a materialist, and make no concessions to his natural inclination to secure firm footing before proceeding on to the next step. After all, what he wants is to be perfectly sure of the ground on which he is to stand, and it always seems to me that in Practical Psychology one has the means, the only means, of giving that rational basis for the evolution of an idea of the Unity of Nature and the Infinitude of the One Principle lying behind. Many times I have seen materialistic enquirers sitting for hours together discussing those problems good temperedly and in the most friendly spirit. It is among the nicest of gifts to be able to find the middle path between the extremes of belief and feeling shown by the materialist, on the one hand, [366] and the spiritualist on the other; and yet the path exists and can always be found, with proper care and by keeping under strict control all impulses and prejudices.

On Monday the 8th of August Miss Edger held three receptions for visitors and lectured on “Christianity and Theosophy”. This was particularly appropriate in Trichinopoly, for nowhere have those active Catholic teachers had greater success in winning over high-caste Hindu boys to their religion than in Trichinopoly. Of course they do not tell the truth either about Christianity or Hinduism, but what can the poor boys, with their adolescent intellects, know about this until they have access to the collection of books that have been written by scholars upon the subject. With many, repentance comes later and if they have not taken the irrevocable step of breaking the rules of their caste, they naturally revert to their ancestral faith and become its devoted students and defenders. But the Pâdres know this as well as we, and their best efforts are directed, at the beginning of one of these “conversions”, to persuade the Brahmin boy to eat with them forbidden food and do other things which under the iron code of Indian religion involve the cutting off of the lad from intercourse with his family and friends. He is to them as though dead or as a person [367] who belongs to another nation, and even the mother who bore him cannot have personal intercourse with him except at the risk of being herself declared outcast. It has always seemed to me the height of folly that the door between Hindu exclusiveness and the outside world has not been kept ajar for the juvenile back-slider to open it to re-enter the orthodox community. For the lack of this, hundreds if not thousands of bright children have been lost to their parents and their community, from sheer inability to retract the fatal step which they have taken in their school days without knowledge of the consequences it involved.

I set Miss Edger going with her lecture and then went to the station and started for Madras where personal business called me.

Reaching home at 8 a.m. the next morning I found the building full of noise and shouting, as the workmen were preparing to make some architectural ahanges in the Convention Hall; it being my plan to make room for increasing crowds at the Convention and, removing the obstructive brick columns, to substitute steel girders for them, raise the roof, and make other improvements. Our dear friend C. Sambiah had that day an escape from death that was extremely narrow. A hole had been cut through the brick terrace of the vestibule roof to admit the passage of heavy timbers that [368] were to be used by the riggers in raising the steel girders. His sight being imperfect he walked right into it and would certainly have been crushed by falling on the girders lying on the floor below if he had not suddenly thrown out his hands so as to reach across the hole and thus support his body till help could come. No one was more surprised than himself at this impulsive action of self-protection and he, and I myself, were more than half persuaded that his valuable life had been saved by one of those Invisible Helpers about whom so much has been said of late. In the afternoon of that day I attended a book-sale and bought a good many volumes for the Library at very cheap prices. The sale was continued the next day and I made further purchases. To save time I dined at the railway station and left by the train for Tanjore to meet Miss Edger and continue our tour. After a comfortable night in the train I reached the place at 4-30 the next morning, found Miss Edger and K. Narayanaswamy at the Rest House, both alive and sound. Miss Edger lectured in the evening to a full audience but with considerable difficulty, for she had caught cold at Trichinopoly and was quite hoarse. Early the next morning I took her to the great temple to see the bull Colossus, a monolithic figure in sitting posture that measures 12 ft. from the ground to the shoulder. This is the one standing [369] beside which I had twice lectured to great Indian audiences. As Miss Edger was too hoarse for public speaking I myself took the lecture to the Hindu boys, formed a Society for them and set them going. We slept at the Travellers’ Bungalow that night, but at 3-30 a.m. had to rouse ourselves up to take the train for Negapatam.

We reached our destination at 7-30 a.m. and were wretchedly accommodated in an unfurnished house. It was a severe test of our good nature but as we were convinced that the committee had meant to show us only kindness we made no complaints. Miss Edger lectured in the evening, despite her sore throat, thus giving a fair example of the indomitable pluck which is one of her characteristics. That day was a trying one under our circumstances. A sudden downpour of rain drove us out of our bedrooms into any shelter we could find, the water pouring in through an hundred holes in the roof. My companion’s cot was removed by the butler and myself to the dining room, or what would have been the dining room if the house had been furnished; the butler’s umbrella served as a fastening to her door, while I slept on a wooden bench, without anything soft under me, in another chamber. When the Secretary of the local Branch came to see us the next morning he was moved to tears on hearing about our discomforts, but the poor fellow [370] could not help it. There were two or three hotels in the neighborhood and some rich Theosophists in town, but they had subscribed the magnificent sum of a rupee each to the cost of our entertainment, so it did not take much time to convince us that whatever gratitude we might feel for our entertainment was due to the poorer members to whom one rupee was not a “negligeable quantity”: and yet when it comes to the hatching of metaphysical conundrums, who would be more glad and ingenious than these one-rupee well-to-do FF.T.S. It is more than likely that the question whether we should or should not have been made comfortable had not entered their minds, and that the reading of this note may be the cause of their first giving a serious thought to the question.

We slept in the carriage at the railway station and the train bore us away at midnight for Kumbakonam.




AS explained before, Kumbakonam has always been a centre of learning in Southern India; in ancient times the influence of its great scholars and teachers was widely spread and the descendants of the men who then gave it renown are now pushing their way to the front as students at the government colleges and universities. Their acquired familiarity with the English language has opened out to them the whole field of contemporaneous philosophical speculation and as, by heredity, these Brahmin lads are natural metaphysicians, it is not at all surprising that this renowned city, this ancient fortress of Eastern knowledge, should now be filled with a generation of college-educated young men of strong materialistic proclivities. Realizing this fact, when I first confronted a monster audience in the town, [372] years before, I carefully shaped my arguments so as to avoid giving any shock to their susceptibility as students of science. Miss Edger followed the same policy in her discourse on the day of our arrival (16th of August) during the tour under review, and the packed and sweltering crowd of her audience appreciated her and applauded her to the echo. Many friends had met us at the station at our arrival, the venerable and always respected Dewan Bahadur R. Raghoonath Row among them, and we were favored with the usual garlands and addresses. The committee put us up at the Rest House where in 1883—15 years previously—I had treated the sick psychopathically and had made some rather sensational cures.

On the next morning we received visitors at the Society’s Hall and Miss Edger received again, from 4 to 6 in the afternoon. At 6-30 she gave her second lecture outdoors, to avoid the discomforts of the previous evening. There was a very large audience and her subject was “Religion and Science”, for the treating of which her brilliant university career and her study of Theosophy had fully prepared her. On the next day she held a levee for visitors, both in the morning and afternoon; in the evening both of us lectured to boys, in the presence of a large crowd of adults, and at 9-30 that night left for Chingleput, another famous South [373] Indian intellectual centre. Addresses, flowers, refreshments, were offered us at the station on arrival; we were then driven to a large empty house hastily fitted up for us, where we found ourselves comfortable. When I say that, of course the word “relatively” is implied, for a Westerner unaccustomed to the hard realities of Indian travel would hardly find himself what he would call comfortable in one-fourth of the places stopped at on tour. We had to take with us a servant to act as courier, cook, valet, and cashier, who had to take charge of the bedding, cooking pot and table service, to look after our luggage, to prepare our sleeping apartments, cook our meals, and wait on us at table; with the help of a cooly locally engaged he had to wash our dishes, get things from the bazaar, keep an account of his cash expenses and, one hour before our departure, take our things to the railway station, buy our tickets, and be ready to accompany us to the next stopping place. If the servant finds the beds infested beyond his capacity to overcome the difficulty, he must then make beds on the floor if nothing better can be done; and if no fireplace is available he must then improvise one with the first two or three stones that he may pick up, and turn out a satisfactory meal as though he had to exercise no ingenuity in the matter. Sometimes for lack of stones he [374] will dig a hole in the ground for each pot and with surprising knack give one a meal that would not discredit a cook working in his kitchen. Thirty years of experience of this sort of thing in India have not lessened my capacity for being surprised at what a faithful servant is capable of doing to carry his master comfortably on a journey.

On the evening of our arrival Miss Edger lectured at the Native High School, on “Theosophy”. At 7 the next morning she again lectured; in the afternoon she held a conversation meeting, and in the evening presided at an anniversary of the Native High School, when Shakespeare was more or less honored by the presentation of A Winter’s Tale, by some of the schoolboys, who did as well as might be expected under the circumstances. The evening’s performance was brought to a close by an admirable speech from Miss Edger, on “Education”, for the benefit of both parents and children.

On the next morning (Sunday the 21st of August) we received a telegram asking us not to visit Bangalore and Mysore on account of the prevalence of plague. A new programme had therefore to be made. In the morning we lectured to boys and formed the usual Boys’ Society; in the afternoon there was a conversation meeting and in the evening my companion discoursed on “God and Man in Nature”. At 6 the next morning I left for Madras [375] and Miss Edger and Mr. Narayanaswami[30] for Conjeeveram.

I reached home at 10 o’clock, found all right at the Headquarters and set myself to work to clear off arrears of correspondence. The next two days were crowded with business and on the evening of the 24th Miss Edger and Mr. Narayanaswami arrived from Conjeeveram at 11 p.m., the programme for the tour being again interrupted. On the 25th Miss Edger felt much debilitated and on the 26th had an attack of fever as the result of overwork and the hardships of travel, and was not able to resume her tour till after 10 days. Meanwhile there was a pressure of work of different sorts, literary and architectural (for the repair and enlargement of buildings) going on.

To protect the lower floor of the Convention Hall and the adjacent rooms from rain during the progress of repairs, we built a great pandal or shelter of 1,200 square feet in area. With the outgoing September number of The Theosophist, went to subscribers, voting papers, so that they might notify me of their choice of the writers of the year who were best entitled to receive respectively the medals of gold and silver offered for the best and next best literary contributions [376] in the volume for 1897-8. The second of September we received the rolls of embossed paper (Lincrusta Walton), which were a present, for covering the ceiling in the Library, the cost of which had been collected by my old friend Miss Edith Ward, among our English members. In the afternoon of that day I presided at a meeting in town, where the “Life and Teachings of Buddha” were discoursed upon by a Mr. Ethiraja Naicker.

The 5th of September is memorable in the history of our Pariah Education Movement by the receipt on that day of a letter from Miss Sarah E. Palmer, B.Sc., of Minnesota, offering her services without any payment, as a teacher of Pariah children. I gratefully accepted the offer.

Miss Edger being convalescent and a new programme arranged, we two, in company with Mr. Narayanaswami, started for Tirupatûr, but as the man who was transporting the luggage dallied on the way, it did not reach the station in time, so I sent the other two ahead and myself waited until the cart arrived, sleeping at the station and then starting on the next morning early. But our troubles were not ended, for some stupid clerk at Jalarpet Junction did not tranship the luggage; it remained there while I went to Tirupatûr, ignorant of the loss. The result was that we got nothing to eat until 8 p.m. and only then because [377] Mr. Narayanaswami drove back to the Junction in a jutka (a small two-wheeled cart) and brought our tiffin basket. Despite these petty troublesMiss Edger gave a magnificent lecture on “Theosophy”, seemingly having quite recovered from her indisposition.

On the 8th our baggage arrived and we were again furnished with food and clothes. At 7 a.m. Miss Edger lectured and in the evening presided at the anniversary of the Young Men’s Literary Society, at which there was a dramatic performance. On the 9th I lectured in the early morning to boys, after which Miss Edger held a conversation meeting at the rooms of our local Branch; at 1 p.m. she gave a lecture and at 4 p.m. we left for our next station, Vaniyambadi. There was no sleep for us in the train, for we reached our destination at 1-12 a.m., rested at the station, and at 7 a.m. were taken to the local Reading Rooms where an address and a handsome silver cup were presented to Miss Edger as tokens of respect. At first we were both accommodated with tents but later Miss Edger was shifted to a room in the Court House.

The following morning we began work, with a lecture to the boys; in the afternoon there was the usual conversation meeting. We visited the local Branch and inspected the grounds selected for the [378] local Society. In the evening Miss Edger lectured very acceptably. On the morning of the 12th a group photograph was taken and there were conversation meetings both in the morning and evening; after the second one Miss Edger gave her farewell lecture, “From Death to Life”: then came the good-bye speech and we left at midnight for Chittoor, but there was a night of broken rest on account of the changing of trains. We reached Chittoor at 5-30 the next morning and had a nice reception. We were put up at the Chittoor Association premises, which the members, with impressive kindness, vacated for us, shifting themselves into tents temporarily—a nice example of altruistic hospitality. In the evening both of us lectured to boys. There was a conversation meeting the next morning and another in the afternoon. Among the questioners was a blatant, coarse-voiced infidel[31] who roared at my companion, until he had driven her into a state of nervous agitation, whereupon I took a hand in, and shut him up summarily. “Another enemy for me”, is the entry in my diary, the judiciousness of which my readers will scarcely deny. In the evening Miss Edger lectured on “The Secret of Death”. From a memorandum made at the time I find that Miss Edger had given [379] during her tour and up to that time, 45 lectures. On the morning of the 15th she held a conversation meeting; at 1 p.m. a private one with Hindu ladies; from 2 to 4 there was another conversation meeting and at 5 she gave her last lecture in the place. We left in the evening for Tiruvallûr, but were detained five wearisome hours at Kâtpâdi and left there only at 3-12 on the morning of the 18th.

Reaching Tiruvallûr at 5-30 a.m. we were affectionately received at the station and taken to a small bungalow in the town, close to the big tank, which is a famous place of pilgrimage. A conversation meeting was held and in the evening Miss Edger lectured, or tried to lecture, in an upstairs room in a long Chattram, or lodging place for pilgrims. The management was bad, there were continual interruptions by talking, at the other end of the room, between people who could not understand English and apparently did not care to know anything about the subject of the lecture. Then there was a downpour of rain which clattered on the iron roof so that it was impossible to hear the lecturer. Perforce she stopped speaking until the worst of the noise was over and then resumed. Two conversation meetings, a lecture to boys by myself at noon and one to adults by Miss Edger in the evening, filled up the day. At 10 p.m. we left for Madras and reached home early the next morning. [380] It goes without saying that plenty of work awaited me and that I had no leisure to devote to lounging or the invention of metaphysical conundrums. I have often wished that a good many of my colleagues in different countries could find in Theosophical work a similar corrective to their profitless word-spinning.

Visitors to Adyar within the past eight years[32] have admired the bas-reliefs in terra-cotta that crown the door of what was then the room of the Western Section of our Library and flank it at the two sides. The one over the door represents Pallas Athene, our classical goddess Minerva, the patroness of learning; the full-length, life-size figures to the right and left of the door are of a symbolical character, and all three are copied from ancient statuaries the engravings of which are at the Madras School of Arts: all were executed in terra-cotta at that School. A few days later I left an order with the Director to repair another bas-relief inserted in the wall above the Minerva plaque, the object of which will, I presume, interest the reader. By a strange coincidence the heraldic crests of the family of H.P.B. and of my own are identical, viz., a cock. Her family name is Hahn (cock) and mine is not at all what it is as now written, but Alcocke, and dates from very ancient Saxon days of England. [381] One of my ancestors, Bishop Alcocke, who was a great favorite with King Henry VII, and governor of his troublesome and luxurious son, Henry VIII, founded Jesus College, Cambridge, and his Coat of Arms, to be seen over the entrance gate of Jesus College, has three cock’s heads, combined with other symbols. So I conceived the idea of putting up this humble memorial of the two families, placing the standing bird of the Hahns in the centre and the three cock’s heads of my family around it in the form of the mystical triangle. It is an interesting coincidence, when one thinks of it, that we two predestined joint workers in Theosophy should be thus heraldically related.

Mrs. Besant having called Miss Edger to Benares to assist in her work, she left us for that place by the mail train on the 30th of September, taking with her our best wishes for her health and happiness. The narrative of our Southern tour, now brought to a close, shows how indefatigably she had lectured, despite her frail body and the unaccustomed impediments of Indian travel, to do her duty by the Society to whose destiny she had linked her own. It is but justice to say that she had won the respect of her South Indian colleagues and the great audiences before which she had propounded her views. We people at Adyar had enjoyed her company and parted from her with regret.

[1] A silken waist-belt. Having been worn by the Marquis it would be saturated with his aura and, therefore, put her on his track, mesmerically speaking.—O.

[2] The young so-called prophetess who claims to be under the inspiration of the Angel Gabriel and has made such direful predictions of the calamities that are to befall France that thousands have been excited and to some extent terrorised by them.—O.

[3] I made no passes but simply took her left hand, pressed my right thumb against her left, closed my eyes, and fixed my mind upon her with “mesmeric intent,” i.e., the will that she should sleep.—O.

[4] He died in his thirty-ninth year.—O.

[5] At a second consultation which I had with the clairvoyant some weeks later, when passing through Paris on my way home, I asked Madame Mongruel, to tell me something more about this lady of the portrait. She told me, when in the clairvoyant state, that it was not his wife but a young person who at the time when it was taken would be perhaps sixteen or eighteen years of age, one for whom he had a pure affection as for an ideal. She was beautiful, pure and of very fair complexion, and dressed in white. The portrait was contained in a box of oxydized metal, apparently silver, and closed hermetically, as if it were not meant to be opened but to be carried as a sort of talisman. I record this fact because, up to the present time, there has been no verification of her statement that the unfortunate nobleman wore such a portrait. Should it be proved later on to be true, it will redound to the credit of our clairvoyant.—O.

[6] Meaning, as she explained, that the massacre had a political motive.—O.


[7] The Buddhist Catechism, Question 144, 37th Edition.

[8] Of course, it must be said that the Spiritualists, from the time of A. J. Davis’ production of his Nature’s Divine Revelations onwards, have taught the occupancy of other worlds besides our Earth by sentient beings, but this sensible doctrine has not yet been taken into the body of Christianity; nor has Spiritualism, as such, been as yet developed into the form of a specific religion.

[9] Vide “The Mahatma Quest” Theosophist, Vol. XVI, pp. 173, 305.

[10] OLD DIARY LEAVES, Vol. I, p. 85.


[11] Loc. cit., Chap. XXXIV.

[12] A lac is 100,000. Ed.

[13] I.e., Hawaii. Ed.

[14] Vol. I, Chap. VIII, p. 268.

[15] Vol. XVIII, p. 417, footnote.

[16] Pp. 182-186

[17] Memoir of The Tooth Relic of Ceylon.—London, Thacker & Co., 1870.

[18] Op. cit., Vol. III, p. 24.

[19] In the Journal of the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (Vol. xxxvi, 1905). Mr. Juan Mencarini says: I have never seen such lavish use of white marble as in Java. The most unpretentious foreigner’s house is paved with this white stone, and elegant columns of the same material support the roofs of the entertaining rooms. In the evenings as one passes in front of these small but dainty-looking palaces, especial1y with open doors and windows splendidly lighted, the effect is superb and cannot easily be forgotten.

[20] The Theosophist in which these chapters originally appeared; vide O. D. L. Vol. IV, Chap. 16.

[21] OLD DIARY LEAVES, Vol. I, p. 468.—ED.

[22] 1239 in 1934. Ed.

[23] General Secretary of the Indian Section, T. S. from 1919 to 1923.—Ed.

[24] Theosophy of the Bhâgavat Purâna; etc.—Ed.

[25] O. D. L., Vol. II, Chap. 20.—Ed.

[26] The late Mr. T. Ramachandra Rao retired as a Judicial Officer and served as Provincial and Joint General Secretary of The Theosophical Society in South India for several years. He was an honorary whole time worker touring all the year round at his own expense and doing good Theosophical propaganda. He acted as General Secretary for India in 1923. The late Mr. Srinivasa Rao, a retired lawyer, also did useful work as a whole time worker, writer and lecturer for many years.—Ed.

[27] New Series. Vol. III, No.7, April, 1898.

[28] They were not.—Ed.

[29] Historically this community was not concerned in this. The forcible conversion to Hinduism cannot by any means apply to the Panchamas (Pariahs), as they were always held to be included in the Hindu community. There are references to the Jains and the Buddhists of Southern India having been so persecuted. The Colonel thought the Pariahs, as their then leaders claimed that they had been originally Buddhists, were the people pictured as persecuted and tortured. But the Colonel himself has later recorded that they were not able to produce evidence of the fact of their having been once Buddhists.—Ed.

[30] Late K. Narayanaswami Aiyar, Joint-General Secretary for India (1907-1908), translator of Thirty Minor Upanishads, etc.—Ed.

[31] The late Mr. N. K. Ramasami Aiya, B.A., B.L., who later on joined our Society and did good work. Ed.

[32] This chapter originally appeared in December, 1906. Ed.