Under the title "No religion higher than truth",
the well-known motto of the T.S., the author, one of the
few remaining wise and scholarly writers in our society,
who knew all our great leaders intimately and in close proximity,
published a booklet which maybe will hit like lightning
and destroy much that is held as dear and holy. The gentlemen
V. Wallace Slater and L.H. Leslie-Smith, also prominent
persons in our movement, have helped him in the composition
of this booklet.
 Mr. Gardner poses the question to what extent the
statements of Mr. C.W. Leadbeater in the era of 1910 till
1930, which have had a tremendous influence on the spirit
of the society and led to the foundation of the Order of
the Star in the East and the Liberal Catholic Church, were
based on truth, i.e. on true statements by one of the Greatest
of the occult Hierarchy, whom he presented as Lord Maitreya,
the Bodhisattva or the Christ, or if all he stated was merely
the result of a strong imagination, which he took in all
honesty as concrete reality. Gardner's reasoning is based
on the study of the very difficult theme of Unconscious
Kriyashakti, a psychic phenomenon that received very much
attention from depth psychology under the concept of subliminal
self-projection. It is the cause of psychological deviances
of very gifted and highly developed persons.
Gardner thinks to have convincing proof that this was the
case with C.W. Leadbeater and makes us aware of the tremendous
dangers of this phenomenon, against which both H.P.B. and
the Masters and Dr. Besant have warned us explicitly. He
thinks and presents facts, that C.W. Leadbeater was the
victim of self-projection and thereby did drag the T.S.
in a catastrophic mistake, the calamitous results of which
are still operative and causes great damage to the society.
The great mistake, which became the reason for the formation
of the Order of the Star in the East, could be halted by
the decisive and sharp rejection in 1930 by Krishnamurti
himself. In that year the whole edifice fell apart. The
big stadium in Sydney was sold, the estate and castle in
Eerde were given back to its original owner, all publications
halted, the Star-shops closed and all propaganda definitely
stopped. All ended, because the great mistake was seen through
and openly acknowledged.
This was not the case with the Liberal Catholic Church because
there was obviously nobody who could act publicly to denounce
the movement and put the mistake right. The LCC thus continued
its work and still has many faithful followers. Gardner
describes in dramatic fashion how Dr. Besant shut down her
occult powers in connection with her political work for
India. She then put unlimited and blind faith in the powers
and unimpeachable honesty and sincerity of C.W.L., not aware
that even very Great Ones can fall victim to the wiles and
tricks of unconscious Kriyashakti. Gardner recounts how
Dr. Besant in 1930 during a meeting with bishops Leadbeater
and Wedgwood apparently suddenly realized what had happened
and saw through the catastrophe. How terribly the thought
must have pained her that she might have been the only one
who could have prevented this accident from happening if
she had stayed alert and had not blindly accepted, even
endorsed, what Mgr. Leadbeater stated and which was accepted
in good faith by most members of the T.S. She still could
participate in the dismantling of the Order of the Star,
but in relation to the LCC her insight came too late. This
shock and the political setback by Gandhi's actions in India
were too much for this tremendous and indomitable woman.
Shortly thereafter she collapsed both physically as well
as mentally by the inner tensions and she left her mortal
coil several years later in 1933. The booklet is indeed
painful reading-matter, but we cannot serve the truth by
closing our eyes to the facts, because then we will be easy
prey to the dark powers, which serve ignorance. Alert and
critical should be our motto and personally I think that
we have often failed in that and have accepted and went
along by only faith and trust. Indeed I am convinced that
Mr. C.W. Leadbeater deserved the full 100% of our confidence.
I do not belief there are many people in this world who
can be set at the same level as this great Occultist as
far as honesty, sincerity, love of truth, faith and complete
selflessness. Mr. Gardner doesn't doubt that either. Therefore
the guilt of these happenings is maybe more due to us who
accepted without critical thought, than the great Seer,
who was not aware of all the dangers coming with his clairvoyance,
because he was alone in his investigations.
But it seems to me that it is our duty to face all of this
 and not avert our gaze, saying: "It has happened
and we cannot do anything about it anymore". Because
others-outside our Adyar Theosophical Society-will not refrain
from using this publication to ask us how we will process
all this and bring it to a good solution. All those who
in the very first place feel to be members of the T.S. will
have to take cognizance of the content of this booklet,
without prejudice, an open mind, accepting the truth in
whatever form it comes to us, how much pain it might incur
to keep following her Light and accept the probably bitter
consequences of an honest mistake. Because, if we as T.S.
members do not realize that the motto: "better turned
around half way than lost the whole way", is applicable
to us, as well as to anybody else, then we will not have
stayed faithful to the motto of our society: Satyan n' asti
paroh Dharma and we will have to reject all compromise with
such most decisively.
In The Theosophist of October is an article by N. Yagnesvara
Sastry, titled "Limitations of Occultism", in
which the dangers of clairvoyance are clearly analyzed,
also in relation to the occult statements by different luminaries
in our T.S. We will soon publish a translation of that article
[A.J.H. van Leeuwen]
THE PAMPHLET BY E.L. GARDNER
In connection with the so-called review of the pamphlet
by E.L. Gardner: "No religion higher than truth",
I think I have to express a serious objection:
1st against the assumption-because it is not more than
that-that Bishop Leadbeater, as br. A.J.H. van Leeuwen writes:
"was the victim of self-projection and thereby did
drag the T.S. in a catastrophic mistake, the calamitous
results of which are still operative and causes great damage
to the society". (Theosofia, Jan. '64, p. 30).
Mr. E.L. Gardner has not given any single "convincing
proof" of that, but merely offered his own opinions;
2nd because the developments around the situation with
Krishnamurti and the Star camps has taken turns different
from what most members expected (and about which both Dr.
Besant and Bishop Leadbeater have warned us repeatedly),
does not mean that Bishop Leadbeater made a "great
Mr. Gardner even writes in his pamphlet that he is convinced
about the great clairvoyance and honesty of Mgr. Leadbeater;
that it is a fact that C.W.L. did discover Krishnamurti
by way of his clairvoyance as an extraordinarily gifted
child; that both Dr. Besant and Mgr. Leadbeater took Krishnamurti
out of his Indian surroundings and gave him and Mister C.
Jinarajadasa the education, without interfering in the development
of his consciousness, to prepare him for his later task.
Moreover Mister Gardner acknowledges that Krishnamurti has
indeed developed into an independent thinker, with a big
influence in these days on the thinking public. Only some
of our great leaders in close proximity to Krishnamurti
and he himself exactly know what has happened, and I am
sorry to say that I cannot count Mr. Gardner-with all respect
for his books, which are mostly based on the study of "The
Secret Doctrine"-amongst the few who can have a correct
judgement about what happened in those days.
And exactly therefore I have the opinion that it is quite
lamentable that the 94 or 95-year-old mister Gardner had
to drag up after so many years a very old happening of 30
years ago. If he is convinced of his criticism, why didn't
he write about that earlier?;
3rd I have to protest against the article as written by
br. A. van Leeuwen. The foundation of the liberal Catholic
Church of ca. 1916 has nothing to do with the Star camps;
4th "The great mistake, which became the reason for
the formation of the Order of the Star in the East, could
be halted by the decisive and sharp rejection in 1930 by
Krishnamurti himself." Writes br. Van Leeuwen. In my
opinion these words paint a completely wrong picture of
the said Order. The Order of the Star in the East was originally
founded as preparation for the work of Krishnamurti. When
he started acting independently it was left to him how he
would lead further the movement. The Order of the Star in
the East was then dissolved because the time of preparation
was over and the name was changed into The Order of the
Star. I was witness to these developments when I participated
in the Star camps every year from 1926 till 1936. After
two years Krishnamurti dissolved this Order because thousands
of people joined this Order thinking that thereby they would
be in the proximity to the "World Teacher". Krishnamurti
himself announced that that was not the intention at all;
he did not look for followers. "If there are two or
three people in this world, who understand my message, that
would be sufficient to me."
5th "Others-outside our Adyar Theosophical Society-will
wonder how we will process all this and bring it to a good
solution", writes br. Van Leeuwen on p. 31. That is
for me and many others no problem at all for which a "good
solution" has to be found. When somebody creates a
"problem" through, in my opinion, faulty interpretation,
then we can leave that easily aside. The booklet is indeed
"painful reading-matter"; for whom? For Mr. E.L.
Gardner himself; many will wonder how it is possible that
Gardner would be so unfair to blame only C.W.L., who cannot
defend himself anymore.
In "The Liberal Catholic" will appear (or already
appeared) an article by Bishop Vreede, which will be translated
for the "Vrij Katholiek." I hope the editors of
Theosofia will also publish it.
6th About the meaning of Kriyashakti one can find a lot
in "The Secret Doctrine". It is a creative force,
which only very high adepts possess and which cannot be
compared with "subliminal self-projection". Mr.
Gardner has indeed written a general article for "The
Theosophist" of July '63 about "Kriyashakti Conscious
or Unconscious" and br. Sri Ram dedicated some thoughts
to it in "The Watchtower" as a warning to accept
"messages from the Masters", coming from all kinds
of people. In both articles no reference was made to Bishop
7th I agree with br. Van Leeuwen that foremost we have
to stand for the Truth. But this "Truth" is not
dependent on statements coming from one person. In that
regard I have always observed the three last sentences from
"Light on the Path":
"Hold fast to that which has neither substance nor
Listen only to the voice which is soundless.
Look only on that which is invisible alike to the inner
and the outer sense."
If one abides by these rules, one can never be shocked
Response to the above "letter".
That the review, and later also the brochure (pamphlet
in the Dutch language is an ugly word), of Mr. Gardner would
elicit reactions was to be expected and I am convinced that
the writer and both his helpers, Mr. Slater and Mr. Leslie-Smith,
did not expect, even maybe hoped, anything else, when this
booklet was put together. To me it doesn't seem friendly
to insinuate, because the author is 94 or 95 years old.
Where do we have to draw the age-limit to consider somebody
still "fully" capable? 85 or even lower? Isn't
the issue how and what the author writes and not his age?
Actually Gardner provides the reason why he couldn't do
it earlier and why he could do it only now
There is no reason for me to refute the above "protest".
In my opinion it was written rather recklessly as a reaction
to being "shocked", which is understandable and
I can not give any other advice than to read the booklet,
with an open mind, therefore especially unprejudiced. Sometimes
that is difficult because one is not aware of one's own
prejudices. Even more difficult is that when one is-direct
or tangentially-involved in the problem. It has to be tried.
A.J.H. van Leeuwen
N.B.: According to [the Dutch dictionary] Van Dale
pamphlet now means a libel, skit or lampoon. To lampoon
means to deride, scold and disparage. I do not think we
may ascribe such inferior motives to Mr. Gardner and his
The review appeared in the magazine Theosofia (January
1964) of the Dutch section of The Theosophical Society (Adyar).
The subsequent letter and response appeared in the March
Translated from Dutch by Govert Schuller.
The full text of the booklet reviewed, E.L. Gardner's booklet
"No religion higher than truth," can be found