Site for Esoteric History 

About John R. Wilkinson

E-mail by Bill Keidan

June 3, 2000

Dear Govert,

Since publication of my article, "What Really Happened to Krishnamurti" I have been reading your article "Centennial Efforts and Counter Efforts of the Millennium" and I have a few snippets of information which may be of interest to you and your readers.

I came across one of the main stimuli for your article - the late John R. Wilkinson (known as Jack to his friends) - in the twilight of his life here in Perth, Western Australia. Because of the deep Theosophical interests we had in common, myself and a lady friend were often invited to dine with John and his wife Gwen and we had several interesting discussions about his past. When he was a young man John was taken up by the Theosophical Gnostic seer and teacher Charles Webster Leadbeater for encouragement and training as one of his special young people and was one of two outstanding young men of the time who resided in Perth who were especially privileged in this respect. I might add in passing that whatever is now said about C.W. Leadbeater, he left behind him many perennial contributions based upon his very real superphysical insights. On those matters nearer home (rather perhaps than the canals of Mars) he was often amazingly accurate. Although it is now fashionable to query whether C.W.L.'s seership was of a self-deluded variety there are many anecdotes from people who knew him in Perth and elsewhere to indicate that in most cases he saw true. This ability continued for many years of his vastly productive life and stayed with him right until his death. As evidence of this another Perth Theosophical identity of my acquaintance, the late Wing Commander Oswald Gregson O.B.E., told me that he once knew a lady who nursed C.W. Leadbeater on his deathbed at St. Omar's hospital (now no longer extant) in Perth. And she said, "Oh, yes, I remember him, he was a strange old man, he said he could see his heart beating inside his chest and described it as being like a large, inflamed, red tomato." What the nurse obviously took for an hallucination of a dying man was probably quite an objective even a Socratic observation, as C.W. Leadbeater was able to focus his higher sense perceptions on the generalized oedema which was to cause his death.

At any rate the keynote of John's life was that he was a great student of Theosophical detail, able to digest massive amounts of data, even incorporating them in charts and lists, and with a great seer like C.W. Leadbeater around there was plenty of data to collect and digest. And John's Theosophist 1930 article which you quoted with your interesting footnotes and built upon in your own article, was one attempt to systemise such information into useable form. Unfortunately, that article must have been pretty close to being John's last contribution to Theosophical work, at least for many long years. The fact of the matter was that he was shortly to become a victim of the Krishnamurti defection from The T.S. He followed K. away from the Theosophical impulse into his pathless land. He was not of course the only person to do so many others, and even distinguished Theosophists of substantial intellect and inner attainment such as Dr. J.J. van der Leeuw, also got caught up in the same problem. One of Geoffrey Hodson's descriptions for this sort of development was enshrined in Aesop's fable of the dog who seeing his reflection in the water dropped his bone in order to grasp at the reflection - dropping the substance as it were for the shadow. Sometimes, of course we have to make mistakes in order to find ourselves, that is a normal part of human growth. The central issue was and ever will be that once a person is sufficiently awake to understand that the higher reaches of the spiritual life are linked to the personal acceptance and implementation of the Path Ideal, such an aspirant should largely have outgrown the need for new or novel forms of illumination. Any real technique of yoga or related discipline that may be needed will automatically be supplied as a result of the correct implementation of the preceding phase of spiritual progress - our welfare is well cared for by The Inner Government of the world in this respect. But because we humans have a psychological as well as an intellectual component our development does not always flow in a linear manner and we often get caught up in eddies in the current.

At the time that I met John he had just returned as a member of The Theosophical Society and as a priest in The Liberal Catholic Church, these organisations of course have not been without their own problems, but they were erected with inner validity upon The Path Ideal and sincere seekers can still therefore find the Path Ideal through them. I had got to know John sufficiently well over the few years that were left to him to one day ask him the following question, "Jack, you knew C.W. Leadbeater very well and the level of insight that he possessed; in all your years studying Krishnamurti and meeting other devotees, can you ever remember finding anyone who demonstrated the same degree of insight to you as CWL?" He thought reflectively for a few seconds and then in an honest and unemotional way he simply said "No".

Kindest regards,

Bill Keidan




Copyright © 2001 - G.W. Schüller