- Geoffrey Hodson
2. A Study in Evidence - Hugh Shearman
3. "There is No Religion Higher Than
Truth" - Rt. Rev. Marijn Brandt
Appreciation of C.W. Leadbeater - Geoffrey Hodson
5. C.W. Leadbeater, A Self-Illumined
Man - Some of His Pupils.
by Geoffrey Hodson
Since I find its title to be in complete harmony with my
own views, I value the opportunity offered to me to contribute
to this booklet. For me C. W. Leadbeater was indeed a self-illumined
man and I feel privileged to participate in this defence,
made on his behalf, concerning the charges levelled against
him - especially the charge of self-delusion.
Two groups of people have been moved to draw attention
to errors in a booklet written by Mr. E. L. Gardner entitled
There Is No Religion Higher Than Truth. One of these
consists of those whom C. W. Leadbeater had accepted, when
younger, as suitable for training in the spiritual life.
The other group comprises present members of the Theosophical
Society who have felt moved to contradict the accusations
made in the booklet.
The members of the first group acted from motives of loyalty,
outrage at the untruthfulness of certain statements contained
in the booklet, and in obedience to an ideal which their
teacher had held up to them, namely "a valiant defence
of those who are unjustly attacked". In their eyes
Mr. Gardner's derogation of their teacher was not only unjust
but also unjustifiable, because made not when the latter
was alive and able to defend himself, if so moved, but after
his death when he could no longer do so.
The members of the second group found in Mr. Gardner's
publication such gross inaccuracies and misquotations from
claimed authorities in support of the charges made that
they published Articles, included in this booklet, in which
these textual errors were exposed.
There Is No Religion Higher Than Truth is concerned
largely with the affirmation made by its author - himself
herein proven inexact - that C. W. Leadbeater was a self-deluded
man, particularly in so far as his relationship with certain
of the Adepts was concerned. In some of his books Mr. Leadbeater
described physical and extra-physical meetings with Masters
of the Wisdom and, when sufficiently prepared, presentations
to Them of those who had become his pupils. In this connection
Mr. Gardner has affirmed that Mr. Leadbeater himself created
the figures of the Adepts, Their homes, surroundings and
actions, by what he termed "unconscious kriyashakti".
He did not, however, support this charge with any evidence
based upon his own capacities for direct research in this
field, and herein he differs greatly from Mr. Leadbeater,
who spent the major part of his life in such re-search.
Thus Mr. Gardner has offered no evidence of personal qualifications
which would justify his denial of the truthfulness of Mr.
Leadbeater's accounts, merely seeking to vindicate his statements
by quotations from theosophical literature. Unfortunately
for his case these quotations are found to be erroneous,
as is pointed out in these pages.
Although not myself privileged to have been a pupil of
C. W. Leadbeater, I met him personally on many occasions
and throughout the fifty-six years of my membership of the
Theosophical Society I have benefited very greatly from
his writings. I therefore feel honoured to have been invited
to add my words to those of the authors of this booklet.
I am also grateful because, after careful consideration
of the views advanced by Mr. Gardner and their rebuttals,
and after conversation with Mr. Gardner himself, I find
myself in complete disagreement with his thesis. Indeed,
I cannot but regret that he chose to publish his charge
of self-delusion against one whose whole life was utterly
and selflessly devoted, as guide and teacher in the pursuit
of truth, to the service of his fellow-men.
My regrets have been intensified by the discovery made
as I travel of the harm which Mr. Gardner's booklet is doing
within the Theosophical Society, especially to those who
are seeking the light of truth in theosophical literature
and lectures, and in the lives lived by its members. Some
of these enquirers were responding favourably to theosophical
ideas, and so were very likely to accept a philosophy of
life which is both logical and an inspiration to noble living.
Unfortunately a number of such students have been turned
away from these sources of knowledge by reading a booklet
by an older Theosophist which makes the charge that one
of the chief exponents of Theosophy in modern days was a
self-deluded man. My own contribution, other than this Introduction,
to a rebuttal of that charge consists of an Appreciation
of C. W. Leadbeater, written in response to many requests.
Truth, it has been said, needs no defenders and by its
very greatness will ultimately prevail. Even so, human agents
eventually prove necessary, and it is surely a fine thing
boldly to step forward as correctors of error and as defenders
of those who are unjustly attacked. In my view grave injustice
has been done to the late C.W. Leadbeater by Mr. Gardner's
misstatements and misquotations. Harm has also resulted
to the Theosophical Society, its members, and its actual
and potential students. These, I understand, are the chief
reasons for the writing and publication of this booklet.
I associate myself with its contents, and trust that it
will be widely read and accepted as a valid refutation of
the accusations which Mr. Gardner has made.
Auckland, New Zealand.
by Hugh Shearman
Some of the matters dealt with in Mr. Gardner's booklet
are in the realm of opinion and are, at least, not questions
which can be examined in terms of evidence. But most of
what he has written is an account of past events, and this
has to be judged by ordinary standards of historical truth
and accuracy. Is his account of these events true or not
true? Is it consistent with evidence from other sources?
Dating the events
"About forty-five years ago", the booklet begins,
"an announcement of the Coming of the World Teacher
was made by Mrs. Annie Besant and Bishop C. W. Leadbeater."
Forty-five years before 1963, the year of the booklet's
publication, brings us to 1918. Mr. Gardner attributed this
announcement, which he says was made then, to the influence
of Bishop Leadbeater exercised upon Mrs. Besant through
letters written between 1916 and 1920, and to the fact that
"in 1912 she (Mrs. Besant) shut herself off from investigation
of the inner planes" and henceforth "loyally accepted
the statements of Leadbeater and others."
This sounds very plausible, but it becomes complete nonsense
when we find that Mrs. Besant made the announcement in 1910,
when Leadbeater's letters were still unwritten and when
she herself had not yet made the alleged abandonment of
her powers of perception on "inner planes". The
Order of the Star in the East, based upon that announcement,
was spreading rapidly during 1911.
It is true that Mr. Leadbeater drew Mrs. Besant's attention
to the potentiality of Krishnamurti (in 1909); but her first
reaction to this was to have Krishnamurti and his brother
to stay with her at Benares, so that she could form her
own judgement on the matter. When she made the announcement
in 1910, "She spoke", says Mr. N. Sri Ram, "with
great assurance, as if she knew, and not as if she had been
told by a colleague." (The Theosophist, Vol. 85, p.
Mrs Besant's Responsability
But what about this alleged shutting off of Mrs. Besant's
contact with the "inner planes" which Mr. Gardner
said took place in 1912? According to Mrs. Besant herself,
as we shall see, she did not shut herself off in the manner
described and did not become dependent on others, as Mr.
Other people who were very close to her have recorded what
occurred in terms which flatly contradict Mr. Gardner's
account of this. Mr. Jinarajadasa wrote that Mrs. Besant
renounced her habitual exercise of clairvoyance "soon
after 1913 . . . but not completely, for . . . she knew
how, when it was necessary that she should remember what
happened on the other side, to make a special arrangement,
so that when she returned from the higher worlds her brain
would register the record." (Occult Investigations,
p. 50, C. Jinarajadasa) A similar account is given by Josephine
Ransom. (Short History of the Theosophical Society, p.448,
Mrs. Besant, however, may be left to speak for herself.
In March, 1922, since allegations were being made similar
to those made by Mr. Gardner, Mrs. Besant issued a circular
letter "To all Members of the Theosophical Society".
In this she said: "My 'superphysical line of communication'
with the Masters has never been broken . . . I could obtain,
whenever necessary, the approval or disapproval of my Master
on any point on which I was in doubt. And in very serious
matters . . . I have impressed the facts on my physical
brain, i.e. brought them into waking consciousness."(Op.
cit. p.6). She also described how she had an arrangement
with Bishop Leadbeater to verify and corroborate the more
important experiences in which they both shared, by letters
written at once and crossing one another in the post.
With regard to the question of Bishop Leadbeater's influence
upon her, she wrote, "I ought to add that Bishop Leadbeater,
whose work is on a different line, has never influenced
me or sought to influence me on mine. In fact, as to my
own work, he looks on me as the authority and conforms himself
to the line I take, ready to help me if he can, as I am
ever ready to help him in his work. Each has his own 'job'
and obeys his own Chief." (Ibid. p. 7)
Mrs. Ransom, who in the course of research went through
the diaries and correspondence of Bishop Leadbeater at Adyar
and the letters that passed between him and Mrs. Besant,
has reported: "From Bishop Leadbeater's letters to
Dr. Besant over very many years, it is clear that in all
official matters he waited upon her lead, ready and willing
to uphold her decisions. As to his own work, he shouldered
all the responsibility. In 'occult matters' and instructions,
they exchanged and checked experiences, both being very
careful to be as accurate as possible." (Short History
of the Theosophical Society, p. 448)
When Mrs. Besant made announcements with respect to the
"Coming", she made them in terms which implied
that they came from her own inner knowledge or from specific
orders received from a Superior, not as if they came from
anybody else. Her most remarkable announcement on the subject
was made at Ommen in the Netherlands in 1925 (The Theosophist,
Vol.57), while Bishop Leadbeater was at Sydney, Australia.
The testimony of those present with him at Sydney, such
as Mrs. Ransom, was that the announcements which Mrs. Besant
then made at Ommen were as much news to him as to anybody
else, and he had clearly no part in formulating them.
In connection with what Bishop Leadbeater wrote in The
Masters and the Path, Mrs. Besant did not merely, as Mr.
Gardner put it, give a "whole-hearted endorsement of
his views". She stated that she had herself shared
the experiences described by Bishop Leadbeater, or had had
similar experiences. In the Foreword to The Masters and
the Path she wrote, " . . . I desire to associate myself
with the statements made in this book, for the accuracy
of nearly all of which I can personally vouch . . . ".
Thus Mrs. Besant repeatedly claimed that she acted out
of her own experience and her own inner prompting. It is
not here a question of whether Mrs. Besant was right or
wrong, wise or foolish, in what she did; but the point is
that she did it on her own responsibility and motivation,
and not under the influence or at the bidding of another
person. Without providing any evidence to support his claim,
and propping it up with an entirely untrue description of
the timing of events, Mr. Gardner ignored or treated as
mendacious what Mrs. Besant herself has said. But a certain
level of testimony from the individuals actually involved
in a past event has to be respected until it is proved untrue.
On the evidence so far available, it would appear that the
major responsibility in the matter of publicly announcing
the "Coming" was Mrs. Besant's, not Bishop Leadbeater's.
Again quite without evidence, Mr. Gardner said that Mrs.
Besant merely "accepted . . . in good faith" what
was told to her by Bishop Leadbeater about the founding
of the Liberal Catholic Church; and again she herself tells
a very different story. In her letter "To all Members
of the Theosophical Society" she specifically mentioned
"the three activities" [which included the Liberal
Catholic Church] as one of those matters in which she herself
had independently verified what was told to her. (Op. Cit.
As a final thrust in his argument about Mrs. Besant's dependence
on others, Mr. Gardner employed the old and generally discredited
device of giving a vague ex parte summary of a conversation
with a person long dead. Since more than thirty years were
allowed to lapse before Mr. Gardner acted in any way upon
that conversation with Mrs. Besant, one is naturally inclined
to feel that it must have been rather different from what
he later imagined it to have been, and that the reminiscences
of a man who saw events in 1910 being set in motion by letters
written from 1916 onwards may not be entirely reliable.
Passing on from Mr. Gardner's handling of persons, we can
consider now his handling of the documents offered as sources.
He referred first to letters written between 1916 and 1920
which had "but recently come to my knowledge"
and which he said had "recently been examined".
Though no proper reference is given, it seems to be generally
understood that these are the few letters published as long
ago as 1952 by Mr. Jinarajadasa under the title On The Liberal
Catholic Church, and this also seems to be what Mr. Gardner
referred to when he wrote of questions put by Bishop Leadbeater
to the Master K.H. It is very misleading to refer to these
things in terms of portentous mystery, as if long researches
had unearthed some kind of theosophical Dead Sea Scrolls.
The uninformed could imagine that Mr. Gardner had discovered
In his observations on "unconscious kriyashakti"
Mr. Gardner made quotations said to be from Madame Blavatsky's
writing in The Secret Doctrine. Reference to the text will
show that these are only from "Notes on some oral teachings"
included at the end of The Secret Doctrine after H.P.B.'s
death. We do not know who wrote the notes, but they were
certainly not part of the text' of The Secret Doctrine as
she wrote and published it. Students of The Secret Doctrine,
as it came from H. P. B. herself, are likely to conclude
that she used the term "unconscious kriyashakti"
to refer to something different from what Mr. Gardner had
The Mahatma Letters
More important and significant, however, was Mr. Gardner's
use of quotations from two "Letters" in The Mahatma
Letters to A.P. Sinnett. He quoted them as if they were
the actual words of the two Masters. In Letter No.53 of
The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett we are told that the
normal custom was to give the task of delivering such letters
to a chela or pupil, "and if not absolutely necessary
- to never give it a thought. Very often our very letters
- unless something very important and secret--are written
in our handwritings by our chelas." Madam Blavatsky
declared that "It is hardly one out of a hundred occult
letters that is ever written by the hand of the Master in
whose name and on whose behalf they are sent." (Lucifer,
Vol. 3. P.93). A. P. Sinnett wrote of a time when, H.P.B.
told him, "the Masters had stood aside and left everything
to various chelas, including freedom to use the blue handwriting."
(The K.H. Letters to C.W. Leadbeater, p. 75, C. Jinarajadasa).
In a letter to Frau Gebhard, H.P.B. admitted that she had
represented letters as coming direct from the Masters when
she had known that they were only the work of chelas, and
said that she had been "shocked and startled, burning
with shame when shown notes written in Their handwritings
. . . exhibiting mistakes in science, grammar and thoughts,
expressed in such language that it perverted entirely the
meaning originally intended." (The Early Teaching of
the Master, Foreword p. x, C. Jinarajadasa). She also stated
that there had been cases where chelas had taken "ideas"
for the Letters out of her (H.P.B.'s) own head. Sinnett
wrote that "The correspondence as a whole is terribly
contaminated by what one can only treat as Madame Blavatsky's
own mediumship in the matter . . . It must always be remembered
that correspondence from a Master, precipitated through
the mediumship of a chela, cannot always be regarded as
His ipsissima verba," (The Story of the Mahatma Letters,
p. 25, C. Jinarajadasa).
This being the nature of the obscure and composite authorship
of the Mahatma Letters, it is not possible to show that
any particular passage authentically represents the Master
Himself. Passing now from the Letters in general to the
passages used by Mr. Gardner, his first quotation was from
Letter No. 10, which he stated was "signed by the Master
K.H." Reference to the published text, however, shows
that this was not a Letter, was not signed and does not
exist in the K.H. handwriting. It is a set of "abridged"
notes on a Chapter that had been written by A. 0. Hume,
and is in the handwriting of A. P. Sinnett. Mr. Gardner
showed that he was not entirely happy about this "Letter",
for he tried to improve on it a little by slightly altering
the wording. This was exposed in detail by the Rt. Rev.
Marijn Brandt in St. Michael's News for April, 1964.
The second quotation, stated by Mr. Gardner to be the words
of the Master M., is from the document published as Letter
No. 134 in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett. This Letter
was not written by the Master M. nor signed by Him. It was
written down by H.P.B. At the beginning of the Letter she
seems to represent herself as taking it down from dictation,
but later she describes herself as "translating"
His meaning. In the case of any ordinary document which
was variously described as the result of dictation or of
translation, there would be some doubt as to how far it
conveyed the meaning originally intended.
Already we have seen that Sinnett believed that H.P.B.'s
own influence got into the Letters, and she herself admitted
that some of her "ideas" found their way into
them. Anyway, when Letter No. 134 was published Colonel
Olcott denied its authenticity as a true expression of the
Master and wrote of it in The Theosophist of April, 1895,
that it "grossly violates that basic principle of neutrality
and eclecticism on which the T.S. has built itself from
the beginning." With all this background, it would
be unreasonable to expect the quoted words to be accepted
seriously as the words of the two Masters.
Mr. Gardner implied that C. W. Leadbeater was not familiar
with "Letter No.10" because it was published only
in 1923. It is almost certain that he was acquainted with
it, as he was the recipient of copies from Sinnett and it
was these copies that Mr. Jinarajadasa used to prepare the
first draft of The Early Teachings of the Masters, in which
he included "Letter No. 10". (The Story of the
Mahatma Letters, p. 21, C. Jinarajadasa). Bishop Leadbeater
himself made his attitude towards the Mahatma Letters quite
clear in his little book, Messages from the Unseen. He regarded
them as written largely by chelas, and he quoted H.P.B.
to that effect.
The Theosophical Society and its
Apart from the publication of actual misstatements, it
is possible in various ways to convey an impression which
is so false that it amounts to a misstatement. Many will
feel that Mr. Gardner and his publishers have done this
in two respects. One is by the incorporation of material
written some time previously by Mr. N. Sri Ram, President
of the Theosophical Society. Though no claim is made verbally,
the way in which this excerpt is embodied in the booklet
tends to convey the impression that the President of the
Theosophical Society endorses and approves of the opinions
of Mr. Gardner, or even endorses as true Mr. Gardner's description
of past events. This is, in fact, the opposite of the truth.
In The Theosophist of February, 1964, Mr. Sri Ram completely
dissociated himself, both in general and in particular,
from those views and opinions after he had seen the booklet.
The other false impression is that which is created by
using the Motto of the 'Theosophical Society-"There
is no Religion Higher than Truth"-as the title of the
booklet. It conveys the idea that the booklet is somehow
"official", and also that it is truthful, when
it is actually neither.
The Testimony of Others
It is a rule of scientifically written history that all
relevant evidence must be taken into account before a final
conclusion is offered. On some of the matters to which Mr.
Gardner referred it would be difficult to assess the value
of the evidence that is available, since it consists of
testimony relating to individual experiences of a highly
subjective nature. But to ignore that
testimony and write as if it did not exist amounts to a
suppression of the truth. Thus Mr. Gardner wrote, "Obviously
there has been no Coming." That this was not obvious
to many people who were close to Krishnamurti is evident
from many personal testimonies. It will suffice to quote
one of these as an example. Miss Clara Codd, writing on
the nature of love, wrote: "I knew and remember something
of what that Divine Love - agape - is, from that wonderful
meeting in Benares, long years ago, when Krishnaji was overshadowed.
I seemed to see then, momentarily, through the eyes of the
Lord Christ, the Buddha Maitreya, the World Teacher, and
I knew then that with Him was no shadow or sense of difference,
no big or small, no important or unimportant. All were equally
important, equally dear." (The Way of the Disciple,
p.255, Clara Codd).
Such a statement is not something that can be evidentially
proved, but equally this type of testimony cannot wholly
be left out of account, nor should it - in a Society devoted
to brotherhood, truth and the communication of experience
- be, as it were, shouted down or devalued and obscured
by a mass of untrue statements.
In another place Mr. Gardner stated that "the Lord
Maitreya and the Masters with whom Leadbeater was on such
familiar terms were his own thought-creations." Again
this is perhaps not a matter that it would be easy to prove
evidentially one way or another; but one cannot ignore or
with honesty suppress the fact that Bishop Leadbeater's
testimony on this subject was supported by that of many
other people, including three successive Presidents of the
Thus at a strictly factual level this booklet sins against
the light in many ways. It is profoundly inaccurate in its
presentation of facts. It reaches its conclusions by falsifying
the time and order in which events occurred. Without offering
any evidence, it makes statements about Mrs. Besant which
she specifically denied in her lifetime as untrue. It places
much dependence on already discredited sources, and in one
case tampers with a source by alteration and omission. It
omits any reference to the existence of substantial testimony
pointing to conclusions quite other than those of its writer,
and it is set forth in such a way as to compromise the Theosophical
Society and its President.
Part of the booklet consists of opinions which it is anybody's
privilege to accept or reject. But opinions which have to
be supported by such untruthful and distorted descriptions
of past events and of the actions and motives of the people
concerned, and by such misuse of printed sources, are likely
to commend themselves only to the very credulous.
It is sad that Mr. Gardner, in trying to reconstruct the
past, relied on the hindsight of his own advanced age -
a more clouded hindsight than he realised - and did not
seek the help of anybody able to gather information by ordinary
scientific and objective methods of research.
No Religion Higher Than Truth"
by the Rt. Rev. Marijn Brandt
With regard to the discussion arisen about Mr. E. L. Gardner's
booklet "There is no Religion higher than Truth"
I should like to make a few remarks.
If we don't want our theosophy to become a kind of orthodoxy,
it is necessary that we are always ready to submit our views
to a thorough criticism, and that we actually do this now
and then. Mr. Gardner's booklet might have been an inducement
to do that. The idea of unconscious kriyashakti is a very
important notion, and I am quite ready to accept that many
people make such strong thought-forms and vivify them in
such a way, that these finally appear to them as objective
realities. It will be good to take this specially into account
whenever we might have "occult experiences" ourselves.
And also with regard to all "clairvoyant" informations,
even by our great leaders. No man is infallible, and we
must realise that great experts in the occult field, like
C.W.L., can make mistakes, and might even be misled by their
own imagination. I should like to add: why not also H.P.B.
and A.B.? These three great people have often warned us
not to regard them as infallible.
But a very weak point in Mr. Gardner's booklet is that
he seems to make C.W.L. the scapegoat for all the "mistakes",
whitewashing others who may have had an equal responsibility.
Why should only C.W.L. have been misled by his unconscious
kriyashakti? In trying to prove this, Mr. Gardner supplies
"evidence" which contains many inaccuracies. Unacceptable
is also the way in which parts of sentences, quoted from
"The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett" are taken
out of their context, and grouped in such a way that a meaning
is suggested which we don't find in the original text. Mr.
Hugh Shearman's article in the March issue of St. Michael's
News pointed to a number of inaccuracies of Mr. Gardner's
pamphlet. In answer to this Mr. Gardner wrote in a letter,
printed in the April issue, that the announcement of the
"Coming" was not widely proclaimed till after
the war (1918). Mr. Gardner needs this statement as "evidence"
to prove that Mrs. Besant relied for her "announcement"
on the information she had received from C.W.L., as she
had "cut off" her clairvoyant faculties in 1912.
(Others say: after 1913). From my personal memory I know
that Mr. Gardner is wrong in dating the "wide"
announcement after 1918. When I joined the Order of the
Star in the East in March 1914 (so: before World War l)
there had already for at least three years been given wide
publication to the expectation of the coming of the World
Teacher. In March 1912 Mrs. Besant gave several public lectures
on the subject in Holland.
In "A Short History of the Theosophical Society",
compiled by Josephine Ransom, a survey is given of Mrs.
Besant's activities and lectures about the "coming"
in the years 1910-1913 on pages 386-399. This shows that
she gave these lectures about the "coming" during
a time when she had not yet made her psychic faculties inactive.
So I don't think we have a right to say that only C.W.L.
was responsible for the announcement of the "coming".
In "The Theosophist" of October 1911 we read in
"On the Watch-tower":
"The Older of the Star in the East . . . is making
remarkable progress in England. It has already more than
a thousand adherents in this country, and hundreds are joining
on the Continent".
This proves also that wide publication was given to it
in that time.
Does the fact that Krishnaji repudiated the authority which
was created around him, mean that there has been no "coming",
or that C.W.L. (and/or A.B.) were wrong? Who is able to
judge such things now? And is it of any importance? Many
things in the Order of the Star in the East may have been
based on mistakes. But mistakes or no mistakes, Krishnaji
is giving a message to the world, and it is that message
which matters, not what people thought or did not think
about him in the past.
And the same applies to the origin of the Liberal Catholic
Church. Whether C.W.L. was right or wrong in his letters
of 1916 to 1923 to Mrs. Besant about the relation between
the Lord Maitreya and the liberal Catholic Church, is of
little importance now. The important thing is, that the
Liberal Catholic Church exists as a Christian church, free
from a number of the limitations of other Christian churches,
free from dogmas, free from anxiety, free from heaven and
hell, free from the tyranny of a priestly caste. That this
became possible is mainly due to the work of Bishops Leadbeater
and Wedgwood. We may really be proud that Theosophy inspired
them to bring about this regeneration of Christianity, just
as we may be proud that our President-Founder Col. Olcott
gave the impetus to a renaissance of Buddhism in Ceylon,
and that other Theosophists tried the same for other religions.
Mr. Gardner quotes on page 7 from a letter by C.W.L. to
A.B. (published in the booklet "On the Liberal Catholic
Church, Extracts from letters of C. W. Leadbeater to Annie
Besant, 1916-1923", compiled by C. Jinarajadasa in
"He (The Lord Maitreya) told us to ask questions from
the Master K.H. upon points as to which we were uncertain
- and the information which we gained in this way was of
the very greatest value to us'.
Then Mr. Gardner continues:
"The questions put by Bishop Leadbeater to the Master
K.H., and said to have been answered by him, run to several
thousand words. They relate to the celebration of Mass,
the effect of consecration and of priesthood, and to numerous
details of ecclesiastical procedure. The answer to these
many questions all support and endorse the clerical views
of Bishop Leadbeater himself."
This is really a very remarkable accusation. Where does
Mr. Gardner find the information that those "several
thousand words" are answers given by the Master K.H.?
He seems to think that the number of rather incoherent notes
found in C.W.L.'s safe after his death, and published by
Mr. Jinarajadasa on pages 17-54 of the above mentioned booklet,
are the answers to questions put to the Master K.H. But
before these notes Mr. Jinarajadasa printed the following
introductory remark (p. 16):
"The following Notes are among the files in Bishop
Leadbeater's safe. I print them from the copy which is with
me. Much of this material was later Incorporated in Bishop
Leadbeater's book 'The Science of the Sacraments'."
And what follows, is a number of notes - only some of them
in the form of questions and answers, but nowhere is indicated
that the answers came from the Master K.H.; a few answers
are printed between quotation marks, indicating that C.W.L.
was not the real author of those, and in one of the cases
it is clear that he refers to the Lord Maitreya. For all
the rest it seems quite clear to me, that these questions
were questions put to Bishop Leadbeater, and answered by
him. But most of the notes are not at all in the form of
questions and answers, and in some cases they are very disconnected.
What is the use of publishing such notes that have already
been used as material for "The Science of the Sacraments"?
It is true that Bishop Leadbeater stated that he had gained
information from the Master K.H., but Mr. Gardner invents
that the "several thousand words" printed there
are claimed as answers from the Master! This is creating
Mr. Gardner continues:
"Evidently the 'Lord Maitreya' knew nothing of the
Master K.H.'s strong views on religions and sacerdotalism.
The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett had not at that time
been published. Letter No. 10, signed by the Master K.H.,
'The chief cause of nearly two-thirds of the evils that
pursue humanity . . . is religion under whatever form and
in whatsoever nation. It is the sacerdotal caste, the priesthood
and the churches; it is in those Illusions that man looks
upon at sacred that he has to search out the source of that
multitude of evils which is the great curse of humanity.
. . . The sum of human misery will never be diminished
unto that day when the better portion of humanity destroys
in the name of Truth, morality and universal charity the
altars of their false gods.'"
One of the fundamental laws of scientific honesty is, that
whenever we quote something written by another, we must
use the quoted words in the same context as the original
writer used them. Even slight alterations, such as changing
a single word or omitting a part of a sentence, may change
the meaning. Alas, there are many writers (even among trained
scientists) who break this rule of honesty, and so, by untruthfully
quoting, do violence to the meaning of the original writer.
This has been done in Mr. Gardner's booklet, and in order
to show it, I shall quote a little more from that letter
No. 10, giving that part exactly as it was printed in "The
Mahatma Letters". For comparison I print the parts
quoted by Mr. Gardner in italics. In a rather long treatise
on "Our Ideas on Evil", the Master K.H. sums up
many causes of evil, and writes:
"Therefore it is neither nature nor an imaginary Deity
that has to be blamed, but human nature made vile by selfishness.
Think well over these few words; work out every cause of
evil you can think of and trace it to its origin and you
will have solved one-third of the problem of evil. And now,
after making due allowance for evils that are natural and
cannot be avoided, - and so few are they that I challenge
the whole host of Western metaphysicians to call them evils
or to trace them directly to an independent cause - I will
point out the greatest, the chief cause of nearly two-thirds
of the evils that pursue humanity ever since that cause
became power. It is religion under whatever form and in
whatever nation. It is the sacerdotal caste, the priesthood
and the churches. It is in those illusions that man looks
upon as sacred, that he has to search out the source of
that multitude of evils which is the great curse of humanity
and that almost overwhelms mankind. Ignorance created Gods
and cunning took advantage of opportunity. Look a India
and look at Christendom and Islam, at Judaism and Fetichism.
It is Priestly imposture that rendered these Gods so terrible
to man; it is religion that makes of him the selfish bigot,
the fanatic that hates all mankind out of his own sect without
rendering him any better or more moral for it. It is belief
in God and Gods that makes two-thirds of humanity the slaves
of a handful of those who deceive them under the false pretence
of saving them. Is nit man ever ready to commit any kind
of evil if told that his God or gods demand the crime?;
Voluntary victim of an illusionary God, the abject slave
of his crafty ministers. The Irish, Italian and Slavonian
peasant will starve himself and see his family staving and
naked to feed and clothe his padre and pope. For two thousand
fears India groaned under the weight of caste, Brahmins
alone feeding on the fat of the land, and today the followers
of Christ and those of Mahomet are cutting each other's
throats in the names of and for the greater glory of their
respective myths. Remember the sum of human misery will
never be diminished until that day when the better portion
of humanity destroys in the name of Truth, morality, and
universal charity, the altars of their false gods.
"If it is objected that we too have temples, we too
have priest and that our lamas also live on charity, let
them know that the objects named have in common with their
Western equivalents but the name. Thus in out temples there
is neither a god nor gods worshipped, only the thrice sacred
memory of the greatest as the holiest man that ever lived."
When we carefully compare the sentences Mr, Gardner quotes
with the original text, we see that he grouped them in such
a way that the letter might be applicable to the Liberal
Catholic Church, and that is probably what Mr. Gardner wants.
But he omitted "ever since that cause became a power",
and he places three little points instead of these words.
That is the way in which we indicate something has been
omitted, but the rule of honesty tells us, that we may only
do that if we do not change the context. Here it makes quite
The next three little points indicate again a part which
has been omitted. In that part the Master states that it
is the imposture and the exploitation of the masses by the
priestly caste, which is the cause of so much evil. He does
not criticise praise and adoration of the Divine, nor the
existence of temples and priests as such, but He does criticise
the organisation of power which most of the Western churches
in that time were and still are (perhaps to a lesser extent
because they have lost much of their influence now). The
Liberal Catholic Church is nothing like such an organisation
of power, it has brought us a Christianity with freedom
of belief, without fear, without exploitation, and with
priests who have no power over people, and who do not receive
any money, but who are only servants of their fellow-men.
So there is no contradiction between "the Master K.H.'s
strong views on religions and sacerdotalism", and the
views on religion and church which Bishop Leadbeater brings
in "The Science of the Sacraments". Mr. Gardner's
quotation stops lust before the statement of the Master
that They in Tibet too have temples and priests, but quite
different from those in the West, having only their name
in common with their Western equivalents. But this last
thing may be said just as well of the L.C.C., -so much so
that a number of orthodox churches refuse to recognise it
as a Christian church! Is it so unlikely that the Master
would welcome such a new form of church which is free from
the causes of evil which He mentioned in His letter?
Mr. Gardner also "quotes" from letter No. 134
of "The Mahatma Letters". That letter contains
a treatise on a totally different subject, namely that the
Masters were willing to write to Mr. Sinnett and Mr. Hume,
but not to certain other people, because those others were
too much caught in religious prejudices, and the Masters
would have to use more than ordinary exercise of power to
drive away the undesirable entities around them. In his
"quotation" Mr. Gardner picks out a small part
of a sentence here, a small part of another sentence there,
and again some part of a sentence somewhere else - and then
puts these parts in a sequence, thus suggesting a whole
which never existed. This is not any more quoting; this
is, to say it very gently, a misrepresentation of the facts.
Because of all this, for an unprejudiced but critical student
Mr. Gardner's booklet cannot stand the test. The idea of
conscious and unconscious kriyashakti may be a valuable
one, but the fact that this idea has been (mis)used in order
to press forward a fixed idea, and above all: the way in
which this has been done, is not in accord with the motto:
"There is no Religion higher than Truth".
The Rt. Rev. Marijn Brandt.
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