Volume XV + XVI
[Cover photo: Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, 1831 - 1891, whose passing, May 8th, is commemorated by Theosophists as "White Lotus Day."]
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None of the organized Theosophical Societies, as such, are responsible for any ideas expressed in this magazine, unless contained in an official document. The Editor is responsible for unsigned articles only.
"If Universal Brotherhood is the panacea and its practice will lead us to the life of Understanding, of Peace and of Light, the idea that man lives in the midst of enemies and not of friends creates and envelops us in illusions, delusions, discontent and darkness.
"Philosophically it is taught by all mystics that Unity binds all souls into one grand mosaic. The test for every human soul consists in his understanding and appreciation of the fact that the human kingdom should be, must be, regarded as a family. Behind and underlying diversity there is Unity. There are feud and war between us and others, individually and nationally, because there is strife between our own two natures - the animal and the human. Our test therefore lies in destroying in ourselves the immorality which springs from egotism and in acquiring the spirit which sees the Divine at work everywhere. The Beautiful is hidden in the ugly; the True is at the core of every untruth; the Good ensouls the Evil ... We are so saturated with our small sins and petty crimes that we fail to see that our greatest sin, our ghastliest crime, is to live and labour each as a unit separated from others. Destiny, Nature, God, tests us on this point of Love for all as against the love of our own self, or even the love of a few - our kith and kin, our friends and countrymen. Every time we widen our circle of friendship, our sphere of service of others, and offer our compassion to all, our gratitude to the Givers of bounty, - on each such occasion we have passed our test as probationers on the path of life." - B.P. Wadia, late President, The Indian Institute of World Culture, in an Address, August 11, 1958. 
Every year, on May 8th, students of Theosophy commemorate the passing of H.P. Blavatsky from the scenes of this outer world. Every year the date comes around, but at times it seems to have a greater impact, an added significance and a deeper meaning.
What counts is not the personality of H.P. Blavatsky, however startling and spectacular it may have been at times. All outer forms of manifestation have their day for a while and then vanish away. They stand as symbols of invisible realities, as witnesses of things unseen, as focal points for the interplay of inner forces, and no more. What actually counts is the message delivered, the work accomplished, the spiritual and intellectual heritage left behind, the impact of the thought upon other minds, the vortex of energy set in motion, and the flame kindled upon the enduring altar of Truth. These do not pass away when the vehicle of personality is left untenanted, and the familiar form is reduced to ashes. And as the years go by, dropping one by one into the ocean of oblivion, the message alone remains echoing from every nook and corner through the winding corridors of time.
It is therefore to the Message of H.P. Blavatsky - faithfully conveyed by her from her own Teachers - that we should turn our minds and hearts when thinking of that brighter meteor that crossed some years ago the sombre skys of our soul-denying era, leaving in it a glowing trail of spiritual power as a testimony to the latent forces within man's heart.
The very core of the message brought by H.P. Blavatsky consists in the unequivocal assertion that man is essentially a divine being, endowed with the supreme power of free choice, that his origin lies in higher spiritual worlds and that "free and fearless investigation" of all and everything is one of his unassailable prerogatives. The work of the Theosophical Movement, therefore, is and must remain absolutely free from the shackles of any dogmas, creeds, preconceived ideas, set routines, unalterable methods, or the empty claims of propriety. To the student of Theosophy new ideas are as essential as fresh air, and independent thinking as imperative as the ability to walk erect.
As a free agent in a spiritual world, man carves his own destiny and builds for himself by thought, feeling and action, those conditions of consciousness and those outer forms of expression which are best suited for the manifestation of his true selfhood, in whatever stage of evolution he may be. Within his heart of hearts lies a direct road which leads to the highest Consciousness of his own being, the godlike center within himself, and he is the only one who can travel that road. No one else can do it for him, and no one else can give him permission to do so, or endow him with sudden and inexplicable powers to achieve that which his own individual effort alone can and does achieve. Hence "orthodoxy in Theosophy is a thing neither possible nor desirable," and the genuine student of the Esoteric Philosophy is a declared enemy of all entrenched ecclesiasticism, both scientific and  religious, of all soul-stupefying ceremonialism and ritualism, as well as of all pontifical claims which are but subtle attempts to undermine the spiritual freedom of man and to send his quivering soul to sleep.
Man, according to H.P. Blavatsky's message, can grasp ever greater installments of Truth only by creative thinking, by deep analysis, observation, cogitation, and self-dedication to the ideal of impersonal service for all that lives. Without creative thinking, he will become the prey of one or another of the many dangers and allurements upon the path of growth, such as psychism, sectarianism, dogmatism, crystallization of thought, or some outworn traditions parading under most appealing disguises, to delude man's senses and bewilder his mind, leading him astray. So that constant watchfulness is required on his part lest the "psychic outruns the Manasic and Spiritual development," or "a personal wish to lead, and wounded vanity, dress themselves in the peacock's feathers of devotion and altruistic work."
However grand and inspiring the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom are to us, however soul-satisfying may be their presentation in the epoch-making works left to us by H.P. Blavatsky, we must never forget that they are but the lifting of a "corner of the veil" which hides still greater truths and wider perspectives.
No student of The Secret Doctrine, if he is observant and attentive to his study, can fail to realize that the giving out to the world of the teachings and truths known as the Esoteric Philosophy is a progressive process lasting through the ages, geared to the grow in understanding of evolving man. H.P.B. herself speaks of the above mentioned work as being merely an outline, a partial presentation of certain truths, to be followed in due course of time by other efforts of a similar nature, as men become more receptive to Truth. How impossible, therefore, it would be for a careful student ever to look upon The Secret Doctrine in the light of an infallible Bible, or to become a bibliolater, worshiping the mere form of a work instead of searching for its inner meaning, hidden beyond the words it contains.
And yet, The Secret Doctrine, as well as other works of H.P.B. and of her Teachers, contains those bases of esoteric truth, and those key-notes of the genuine Occult Philosophy, which are best calculated to become touch-stones and guide-posts, when the student is faced with the need of assessing the spiritual-intellectual worth of other people's thoughts, some of which at times are offered as a new revelation. The pages which contain H.P.B.'s literary heritage are replete with those foundation-principles which, if understood and digested, will be found sufficient to appraise the validity of other claims, and their true relation to facts of Nature, as far as our understanding of these facts can serve us.
Therefore, on May 8th, on the "White Lotus Day," we gratefully remember the selfless service of a noble Soul, who, as one among other starlit minds through the ages, proclaimed once again to mankind at large the enduring supremacy of the Spirit, the all-inclusiveness of Truth, the dignity of man as an evolving being, and the stability of Universal Law. 
[From Ghosts I have Seen, by Violet Tweedale. New York: Frederick Stokes Co., 1919, pp. 51-61.]
Blavatsky taught me to look on man as an evolving entity, in whose life-career births and deaths are recurring incidents. Birth and death begin and end only a single chapter of the book of life. She taught me that we cannot evade inexorable destiny. I made my present in my past. Today I am making my future. In proportion as I outwear my past, and change my present abysmal ignorance into knowledge, so shall I become free.
I have often heard Blavatsky called a charlatan, and I am bound to say that her impish behavior often gave grounds for this description. She was foolishly intolerant of the many smart West End ladies who arrived in flocks, demanding to see spooks, masters, elementals, anything, in fact, in the way of phenomena.
Madame Blavatsky was a born conjuror. Her wonderful fingers were made for jugglers' tricks, and I have seen her often use them for that purpose. I well remember my amazement upon the first occasion on which she exhibited her occult powers, spurious and genuine.
I was sitting alone with her one afternoon, when the cards of Jessica, Lady Sykes, the late Duchess of Montrose and the Honorable Mrs. S.(still living) were brought in to her. She said she would receive the ladies at once, and they were ushered in. They explained that they had heard of her new religion, and her marvelous occult powers. They hoped she would afford them a little exhibition of what she could do.
Madame Blavatsky had not moved out of her chair. She was suavity itself, and whilst conversing she rolled cigarettes for her visitors and invited them to smoke. She concluded that they were not particularly interested in the old faith which the young West called new, what they really were keen about was phenomena.
That was so, responded the ladies, and the burly Duchess inquired if Madame ever gave racing tips, or lucky numbers for Monte Carlo?
Madame disclaimed having any such knowledge, but she was willing to afford them a few moments' amusement. Would one of the ladies suggest something she would like done?
Lady Sykes produced a pack of cards from her pocket, and held them out to Madame Blavatsky, who shook her head.
"First remove the marked cards," she said.
Lady Sykes laughed and replied, "Which are they?"
Madame Blavatsky told her, without a second's hesitation. This charmed the ladies. It seemed a good beginning.
"Make that basket of tobacco jump about," suggested one of them.
The next moment the basket had vanished. I don't know where it went, I only know it disappeared by trickery, that the ladies looked for it everywhere, even under Madame Blavatsky's ample skirts, and that suddenly it reappeared upon its usual table. A little more jugglery followed and some  psychometry, which was excellent, then the ladies departed, apparently well satisfied with the entertainment.
When I was once more alone with Madame Blavatsky, she turned to me with a wry smile and said, "Would you have me throw pearls before swine?"
I asked her if all she had done was pure trickery.
"Not all, but most of it," she unblushingly replied, "But now I will give you something lovely and real."
For a moment or two she was silent, covering her eyes with her hand, then a sound caught my ear. I can only describe what I heard as fairy music, exquisitely dainty and original. It seemed to proceed from somewhere just between the floor and the ceiling, and it moved about to different corners of the room. There was a crystal innocence in the music, which suggested the dance of joyous children at play.
"Now I will give you the music of life," said Madame Blavatsky.
For a moment or two there fell a trance-like silence. The twilight was creeping into the room, and seemed to bring with it a tingling expectancy. Then it seemed to me that something entered from without, and brought with it utterly new conditions, something incredible, unimagined and beyond the bounds of reason.
Someone was singing, a distant melody was creeping nearer, yet I was aware it had never been distant, it was only becoming louder.
I suddenly felt afraid of myself. The air about me was ringing with vibrations of weird, unearthly music, seemingly as much around me as it was above and behind me. It had no whereabouts, it was unlocatable. As I listened my whole body quivered with wild elation and the sensation of the unforseen.
There was rhythm in the music, yet it was unlike anything I had ever heard before. It sounded like a Pastorale, and it held a call to which my whole being wildly responded.
Who was the player, and what was his instrument? He might have been a flutist, and he played with a catching lilt, a luxurious abandon that was an incarnation of Nature. It caught me suddenly away to green Sicilian hills, where the pipes of unseen players echo down the mountain sides, as the pipes of Pan once echoed through the rugged gorges and purple vales of Hellas and Thrace.
Alluring though the music was, and replete with the hot fever of life, it carried with it a thrill of dread. The sweetness was cloying, its tenderness was sensuous. A balmy scent crept through the room, of wild thyme, of herbs, of asphodel and the muscadine of the wine press. It enwrapt me like an odorous vapour.
The sounds began to take shape, and gradually mould themselves into words. I knew I was being courted with subtlety, and urged to fly out of my house of life and join the Saturnalia Regna. The player was speaking a language which I understood, as I had understood no tongue before. It was my true native tongue that spoke in the wild ringing lilt, and I could not but give ear to its enchantments and the ecstacy of its joy.
My soul seemed to strain at the leash. Should I let go? Like a powerful opiate the allurement enfolded me, yet from out its thrall a small insistent voice whispered "Caution! Where will  you be led: supposing you yield your will, would it ever be yours again?" Now my brain was seized with a sense of panic and weakness. The music suddenly seemed replete with gay sinfulness and insolent conquest. It spoke the secrets which the nature myth so often murmurs to those who live amid great silences, of those dread mysteries of the spirit which yet invest it with such glory and wonderment.
With a violent reaction of fear I rose suddenly, and as I did so the whole scene was swept from out the range of my senses. I was back once more in Blavatsky's room with the creeping twilight and the far-off hoarse roar of London stealing in at the open window. I glanced at Madame Blavatsky. She had sunk down in her chair, and she lay huddled up in deep trance. She had floated out with the music into a sea of earthly oblivion. Between her fingers she held a small Russian cross.
I knew that she had thrust me back to the world which still claimed me, and I went quietly out of the house into the streets of London.
On another occasion when I was alone with Madame Blavatsky she suddenly broke off our conversation by lapsing into another language, which I supposed to be Hindustanee. She appeared to be addressing someone else, and on looking over my shoulder I saw we were no longer alone. A man stood in the middle of the room. I was sure he had not entered by the door, window or chimney, and as I looked at him in some astonishment, he salaamed to Madame Blavatsky, and replied to her in the same language in which she had addressed him.
I rose at once to leave her, and as I bade her goodbye she whispered to me, "Do not mention this." The man did not seem aware of my presence; he took no notice of me as I left the room. He was dark in colour and very sad looking, and his dress was a long, black coat and a soft black hat, which he did not remove, pulled well over his eyes.
[The Beacon, New York, Vol. I, June, 1922, pp. 17-22.]
Among the adherents of the different religions, philosophies, arts and sciences we find two great divisions: the realists, those who look for the life, the inner reality, and the literalists, or nominalists, those who stick to the name and outer form and look for nothing else. In our Theosophical Society we have the same broad division: those who try to make Theosophy a real power in their lives, who use its methods for individual study and research, and those who learn by heart its technical terms, who seek personal favors of its more prominent officials, and who answer all questions by nothing else than quotations from ancient or (preferably) modern Theosophical writers.
There is no harm in becoming familiar with the outer form of something, if we do not stop there and go  no further. To learn by heart the technical terms of the subject we study is helpful, if we also try to learn what the realities behind the terms are, if we make individual effort to enter into "the Spirit that giveth life" and not stop at "the letter that killeth." It is not harmful to seek introduction to Theosophists prominent either as writers or officials, or both, if we come to them as fellow students and not as cringing sycophants. Neither is it wrong to quote different Theosophical authors, if our attempt is only to point out the opinions of such writers and not to lay down the dogmas of a new orthodoxy, the Infallible Truth that none dare contradict.
When Mme. H.P. Blavatsky appeared among us with her message about a secret Brotherhood of Supermen whose insight and powers were much greater than those of average humanity, it sounded quite familiar to some of us who already knew the reality of clairvoyance, who had seen feats of real magic and who had heard from those with second sight of "invisibles" that could at will become visible.
The writer belongs to that category. I knew that "coming events cast their shadows before them," that they could not only be sensed, but visualized weeks and months ahead of their actual occurrence, in fact, that they had been thus clearly seen and foretold repeatedly; I knew how blood from an open vein of a man or animal could be stopped in an instant by a word and a gesture from a present-day magician, and how pain and disease could be quickly cured by spoken formulas and simple nature remedies (the so-called "sympathy cures"); I knew also many people, among them different members of my own family, that had seen and been spoken to and aided by nature spirits. So when I read Mr. A.P. Sinnett's dedication of his Occult World to a member of a Brotherhood of Wise Men, I saw no reason to doubt the existence of such nor of Their Lodge, and I hailed the announcement as a sign-post pointing out for me the path to the Teachers that I needed. Consequently I wrote to Mr. Sinnett, care of his publishers in London, asking for further information about the Brotherhood and the Theosophical Society that, as he told, had been founded to train men in spiritual science and to fight materialism and dogmatism. I got his answer Christmas eve, 1883; I found next summer, through a note in The Theosophist magazine, the name and address of the at that time only member of the T.S. in Chicago, Mr. Stanley B. Sexton, and we founded together with Dr. and Mrs. Wm. P. Phelon, on November 27th, 1884, the first T.S. Lodge in Chicago, still existing. We got our charter next year in March and began immediately our activity with less than a dozen members.
Bro. Sinnett had in his book told us, that Mme. Blavatsky was a pupil of the Occult Brotherhood, in fact, its mouthpiece and agent, and that the author himself had contacted members of the Great White Lodge through her. By reading her Isis Unveiled and her magazine The Theosophist the desire grew stronger and stronger in me to get into personal touch with this Link in the Occult Chain. And when I heard that she had left India for Europe and there been joined by the Countess Constance Wachtmeister, widow of a  Swedish minister of foreign affairs, I hoped for an introduction through her to the Russian woman of mystery, the conundrum of two continents, hailed as a Priestess of Isis by some, violently attacked as a charlatan and a fraud by others. My hopes were crowned with success when in the summer of 1885 Mme. Blavatsky made her headquarters in No. 17 Lansdowne Road, London, together with Countess Wachtmeister, who became her private secretary, Bertram and Archibald Keightley and others. From that time on to her death, on May 8th, 1891, I became one of her personal pupils.
Physical training of any kind presupposes proximity of the pupil to the preceptor; to imitate another physically you have to meet your original in the flesh. But for spiritual training spiritual nearness is more helpful than material. The physical vehicles of teacher and pupil are in spiritual training more often barriers than transmitters and receivers. For here it is necessary to prevent the nonessential, the personal element, the material part of the teacher, from overshadowing and hiding the essential, the spiritual teaching. Physical overshadowing of the spiritual can lead in two equally wrong directions: to stupid worship and unthinking superstition, or to carping criticism and scornful rejection. Those who fell down and worshiped the golden calf saw the home-made image before them. Those who stoned the prophets and (according to the gospels) crucified the Christ were the people immediately surrounding their victims, those who saw and heard them, but did not contact them spiritually.
Physical proximity is interesting to the curious; but its drawbacks are many. Great generals have found out to their disgust, that "no man is a hero to his valet." "Familiarity breeds contempt" where we let some disagreeable peculiarity of the personal veil the individuality. To many who never met Mme. Blavatsky personally, but who read her books, her articles and her letters, she was a great inspiration, a prophetess, a "Talking Image of Urur," while to others who met her, who saw her smoke cigarettes and heard her use rather strong language - in short, who found her disregard the conventionalities - she was only an irreverent iconoclast, a "Tartarian termagant." Many who met her lost their balance in the whirlpool of her vibrations; a few were crushed against Scylla, the rock of abject adulation; others were swallowed up by Charybdis, the maelstrom of doubt and denial. We, who neither had the good fortune to pay her homage in person and live with her, nor the misfortune to become her superstitious worshipers or her doubting detractors, took the middle path between these two dangerous extremes. We had at a distance less difficulty in separating what others had sometimes mixed up: the channel and its flow of living water, the teacher and the splendid teaching. We loved H.P.B. for her great kindness, and her immense helpfulness; we considered it none of our business either to worship our wonderful but still finite friend, or to turn her critics, demanding infallibility and simultaneously looking for flaws. We wanted spiritual and mental rather than physical proximity to our teacher; we desired her to point out to us not the way to personal fame and glory, but the  path which she had herself chosen: the one where the traveler "becomes as nothing in the eyes of men," where he "seeks to know all, but keeps himself unknown." And we were not disappointed.
There were two different ways by which H.P.B. reached us and taught us. One was by letters and articles, the other without such means. Sometimes she herself wrote; at other times, and more frequently, Countess Wachtmeister or Mr. Bertram Keightley acted as amanuenses. Friends who were occasional visitors at Lansdowne Road kept us also advised of what transpired there, of the studies, of the "phenomena," and of many other things of interest.
Many proofs did I get of what could be called the "wireless telegraphy" of H.P.B., her direct way of reaching and instructing her students. This is the favorite method of the Occult Brotherhood, as we find by the letter that Master K.H. delivered to Col. Olcott when they met by appointment at Lahore in 1883. The quotation of a few lines of that letter will be sufficient to indicate this method:
"Since the commencement of your probationary term in America, you have had much to do with me, tho' your imperfect development has often made you mistake me for Atrya, and often to fancy your own mind at work when it was mine trying to influence and to talk with yours."
In the same way, since the commencement of the probationary term under the Messenger of the Masters, we, her pupils, had much to do with our teacher. Mme. Blavatsky came to us, not as flesh and bones, which are only parts of the physical vehicle and the outer garment, but as the real individual. I used to wake up between two and three o'clock at night and see her leonine head, with the big penetrating eyes looking straight at me in a kind, thoughtful, motherly way. Around her head which seemed to be only a few inches away from my own face, radiated something similar to moonlight. It appeared exactly as if she had looked at me through the porthole of a steamer. The full face was seen in all its details, and it did not fade away suddenly like a flash, but remained unchanged for at least three or four minutes. That I saw the head and face of H.P.B. and no one else, this was out of question, I had at my writing desk at home her photograph, signed by herself; what I saw was the same face in every particular.
At first I wondered what this vision meant; but I did not have to wait long for the explanation. I was told, that this was the way the Masters - and Their chela and Messenger Upasika - visited their pupils and looked them over, observing to what extent the chela's aura was brightening up and developing higher qualities.
While many of those who met H.P.B. in the flesh never fully contacted her real Self, hence could have truly said with the poet: "So near, and yet so far," at the same time there is no lack of evidence that her friends and pupils, even those that were thousands of miles away, on other continents, met her more fully and directly, without interference of the physical, and were instructed through her by a system, which seemed quite miraculous at that time, long before the invention of the wireless telegraph, but which now  appears quite natural. It was no unusual occurrence, that when we read some of her writings, or anything else for that matter, or were doing our daily work, or were at rest, some new idea struck us like a flash. It seemed to come out of the void and to have no connection whatever with our ordinary trend of thought. It seemed as if a strange bird with gaudily colored plumage suddenly had flashed through the air before our eyes. Usually in a few days, sometimes weeks, we had the pleasure, mixed with wonder to see the same idea expressed by H.P.B. either in The Theosophist, in Lucifer, in The Path, or in a private letter. We used to label our experience "thought transference," and we tried to imagine how it had happened. Our teacher explained it thus. Thoughts are things, and certainly not "airy nothings." Thought forms that are sent out reach those who have developed the proper receiving apparatus and who are sufficiently wide awake when the thought forms come along. Thoughts properly received, tabulated, classified, and carefully connected with other thoughts that we had already made our own, make a structure of immense value for the thinker, a foundation on which he can build further by the aid of analogy and of logic.
A day or two before any letter with important information arrived, I used to see, generally when at my desk in the office or in my home, a few lines of writing, usually no more than two, slowly glide to the right before my eyes on a light background, exactly as in the moving picture shows today, parts of letters are projected on the wall in front of us to read. If the hand writing that I saw was familiar to me, I said to myself: "A letter from this friend is coming." If not disturbed, I could easily read some words and sentences. For the projection was plain. I learned by experience, that every time this occurred such a letter was sure to come. There was no need of reading all that was projected, for I knew that I would soon have the original letter in my hands and could then read it at leisure.
The fact that under such a training as this an unfoldment of keener faculties takes place is at present, I think, so well known, that little or nothing needs to be added about it. Indeed, visualizing the physically absent teacher at different times, and also reading part of letters in transition, must be evidence enough of this. Observation on other planes becomes gradually a fact by the refinement of our higher vehicles, by the change of focus and by concentration. What we thus observe not only strengthens our faith in the occult, but it gives us besides an added and invaluable knowledge. Of this I can here say no more. The teacher warned us: "Do not speak of your experiences to the doubting nor to the jealous. The sceptic will call your visions hallucinations, will try to undermine your faith and drag you back to soul-killing materialism. The jealous will scowl at you and send out dark thought forms to cloud your vision, by the reaction hurting themselves even more than they can hurt you. You do not want to hurt anybody; therefore, be careful. Only those who have similar experiences will believe you. With such be ready to compare notes."
In her teaching H.P.B. used the  method by which she herself had been taught: the method of the Masters. She gave us problems to solve, always with some hints of how to solve them. She told repeatedly that there were different methods of solution; in fact, that there were seven different keys to use, each of them leading to a different result, the results being actual facts on their own plane, all of them. Gradually it dawned upon us that such a statement - bewildering as it appeared to those who wanted every truth stated in only one way and expressed by only one formula - really made everything plainer and easier to comprehend. If we look upon the teachings of H.P.B. and her Masters as giving us problems to solve and hints how to solve them, and not as the placing in our hands of ready-made dogmas to accept on faith, the danger of our becoming simply a new sect will pass away.
Mme. Blavatsky warned us against becoming dogmatic, against looking upon any book of instruction as infallible and as the sole truth, by accepting it literally, not symbolically. Of the literal mode of interpretation, or Pashut, as used by the Hebrews, she said, "It is the key of the exoteric churches and not worth discussion" (Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, p. 401.). Mme. Blavatsky wanted us to see the symbolical in everything, to use analogy, to discover and apply the Law of Correspondence. She wanted us to seek the living spirit behind the dead letter, to have faith in fraternal cooperation and to give evidence of our faith, not with fine talk of how beautiful brotherly love is, but with cooperative work; for "faith without works is dead." (James, ii.)
What Mme. Blavatsky aimed at was to give us for starting point a working hypothesis in direct opposition to that of the destructive materialistic and literalistic nightmare of her time. A theory founded on constructive faith, hope and charity. But she told us never to stop at the hypothesis, the mere theory, never to be satisfied by faith alone, which would be superstition, but to verify gradually for ourselves the actual facts. As travelers we have to check up descriptions by visiting in person and seeing for ourselves the places our guide-books describe. What before was mere theory thus becomes knowledge. H.P.B. wanted us to do more than theorize. She wanted us to know through our own individual effort, guided by hints of our teachers. For she wanted us, who had been taught and helped, in our turn to help others by teaching them. And none can teach others what he does not know himself.
OUR PRESENT ISSUE
The present issue of THEOSOPHIA is a double one. It contains 32 pages, and will be the only one published until Fall. This has been found advisable, as well as practical, owing to the fact that the Editor will be absent for a while, and the Office work will be somewhat curtailed. In thus increasing the number of pages in the present issue, the subscribers will receive the same amount of reading matter in spite of the temporary change. - Editor, Theosophia. 
[Theosophical Quarterly, New York, Vol. VII, October, 1910.]
Those who knew Mme. Blavatsky at all are divided into two opposing camps: there is no third party of indifference. Such is the penalty of force of character, and even her enemies could not deny that to Mme. Blavatsky. Even among her friends are some who shake their heads over what they call the Blavatsky or "H.P.B. Legend." These have arrived at their conclusion by way of much analysis, by submitting all they knew of Mme. to cold criticism. They examine her life from the point of view of motive - not the motive of what she strove to accomplish, of that message which site brought to the world - but from the point of view of self-interest, of the personal advantage which she might obtain from her actions and words. Yet some of these "legend" propounders would call themselves her friends and regard the position Mme. Blavatsky might have gained by self-advertisement as the object of her work, in place of the spread of what she taught being advanced at the expense of all she held dear. Such results might arise from an analysis of possibly self-interested motive as a brief method of estimating human being, in place of the more difficult task of synthesis drawn from character. Such detractors, by whatever motive they may be actuated, only make an analysis of acts and words which they misunderstood, and, self-sacrifice being beyond them, they are confined to the narrow limit of self-interest for the moving urgencies of human life. They do not judge from an integrating synthesis of character as displayed in adherence to objects held up to others as ideals. Looking back now to a period of twenty years ago, I have seen nothing to alter the opinion then formed, but much which has confirmed it. Mme. was among the great souls who sacrifice themselves for humanity, and as such she was held up to derision and scorn. I do not assert that she was omniscient or that she never made errors when she was dealing with men and women around her. But I do most sincerely say that she never wilfully injured anyone; that she was always ready to lay aside her own comfort and advantage for the sake of another; that vigorous and impulsive as the human side of her was, she was essentially straight and just towards others; and that the motive for her actions was so true to spiritual law that her errors and mistakes (if they were such) were better guides than the more accurately reasoned judgment of her "candid friends." At least I may say that I am quite sure that I would have trusted the ordering of my life to her, knowing the confidence would not be betrayed from any point of view. Many of us did: I can only add that I wish I had been able to go further than I did.
The first time I ever saw Mme. Blavatsky was in 1884, shortly after I had joined the Theosophical Society. A meeting had been called and was being held in the chambers of a member in Lincoln's Inn. The reason for the meeting lay in difference of opinions between Mr. Sinnett on the one hand and Mrs. Kingsford and Mr. Maitland  on the other. Colonel Olcott was in the chair and endeavored to adjust the differences of opinion, but without success. By him were seated the contending parties, Mohini M. Chatterji and one or two others, facing a long narrow room which was nearly filled with members of the Society. The dispute proceeded, waxing warm, and the room steadily filled, the seat next to me being occupied by a stout lady who had just arrived, very much out of breath. At the moment someone at the head of the room alluded to some action of Mme. Blavatsky's, to which the stout lady gave confirmation in the words "That's so." At this point the meeting broke up in confusion, everybody ran anyhow to the stout lady, while Mohini arrived at her feet on his knees. Finally she was taken up to the end of the room where the "high gods" had been enthroned, exclaiming and protesting in several tongues in the same sentence and the meeting tried to continue. However, it had to adjourn itself and so far as I know, it never reassembled. Next day I was presented to Mme. Blavatsky, who was my stout neighbor of the evening. Her arrival was totally unexpected and her departure from Paris was, she told me long afterwards, only arranged "under orders" half an hour before she left. She arrived at Charing Cross without knowing the place of meeting, only knowing she had to attend it. "I followed my occult nose," she told me, and by this means got from the station to Lincoln's Inn and found her way to the rooms on foot. Her arrival was singularly opportune, for it broke up a meeting which declined to be peaceful, in spite of all the oil which Colonel Olcott was pouring on its troubled waters. Mme. Blavatsky returned to Paris almost immediately and I did not see her again until she returned to London to stay in Elgin Crescent. Of that time I have no clear remembrance. I was busy all day, and many evenings was unable to be present at the causeries which were then held. I did not keep a diary and I was much occupied with hospital work. That autumn circumstances caused Mme. Blavatsky to take rooms in Victoria Road shortly before she left London for Birkenhead, to go to India. I then had the privilege of staying in the house with her and others, and each evening we had great times of talk and queries, the detail of which I do not remember. So I did not make use of opportunities and advantages which were mine and cannot relate things which would be of very great interest to this narrative. I remember traveling with the party by the Great Western Railway to Birkenhead to see them off and vaguely recall hearing of some traitorous people who were attacking Mme. Blavatsky and whom she had trusted. This evidently was the earliest rumbling of the storm which was so soon to burst.
Then came the general work of the Theosophical Society, which was interrupted by the explosion caused by the report of the Society for Psychical Research, drawn up by Dr. Hodgson. Mme. Blavatsky was assailed on all sides and the doubt cast upon the phenomena associated with her was considered to discredit the ethical and moral teaching which through her means and work had been placed before the world. I heard the resume of the report at the meeting and afterwards read the report as issued. Both  at the meeting where the resume was read and afterwards when I read the report it struck me as a very inconclusive document, one based on hearsay evidence, and evidence which was tainted and doubtful and on evidence which was not properly tested. It did not have weight against fully authenticated evidence of a direct nature which supported Mme. Blavatsky. At the time she had returned to Europe by way of Italy and I afterwards heard of her at Elberfeld and at Wurzburg and then at Ostend and that she was in very seriously bad health and busily engaged in writing the Secret Doctrine.
It was in 1886 that the position of affairs in England induced me, among several things, to write to Mme. Blavatsky at Ostend to ask advice as to what should be done to further the work. She sent a long reply to me and, I believe, to the others also, and at a later date in consequence of that letter I went to Ostend to see her. She was then living in the company of Countess Wachtmeister, to whom those who loved Mme. Blavatsky owe a deep debt of gratitude for her devoted care.
My purpose in going to Ostend was, as I say, to see Mme. Blavatsky and to ask her advice as to the best way of carrying on the work of the Theosophical Society. She had replied to our letters saying that the work could be done, and to myself she had written that such work needed a leader and an unflinching will and determination on the part of that leader. She had also stated, on the opinion of one of her occult friends whom she consulted, that it was possible that I could be such a leader and could do it. Thus I naturally wished to see her and to have her advice and assistance on the means to be adopted. I really had no idea as to what could best be done and I wised to avoid unnecessary errors at the outset. When I look back on the methods of those who came forward to "save the Society" at different times, I fancy that in going to Ostend I avoided one of their dangers, for almost invariably one of their purposed means of salvation was to throw overboard and disavow the founders of the Society. I was then and am now fully convinced that the Society was founded by the Masters of Wisdom, whose messenger and agent for the purpose was H.P. Blavatsky.
I had purposed to stay at the hotel, and, leaving my luggage, I went to call. I purposed, but Mme. Blavatsky disposed, and I very soon found myself made to stay in the same house with her. Mme. Blavatsky was very busy with her book, writing articles for Russian papers, by which she supported herself, and answering her voluminous correspondence. I was handed a huge package of MSS. - a quantity which by after-experience would have made one of the volumes afterwards printed - and asked what I thought of it. It was naturally of absorbing interest and I spent many hours over it. The few days which I spent in Ostend - two or three - were mainly occupied with this reading and in efforts to follow the intention of the book - The Secret Doctrine. In its form at that time it was a series of essays of the greatest interest and information, but, as it seemed to me, it had no consecutive plan. It was a chaos of possibilities, but by no means a void, even if it was without form. The days were busy. I was given breakfast, but Mme. Blavatsky and the Countess  had their coffee in their rooms. Then I set to work on the MSS., while Mme. Blavatsky worked in her own room and was invisible till a late hour of the afternoon. She might come out for her dinner, but her meals were the despair of her maid who prepared them, for they were very movable feasts. In the evening she emerged and then came talk on her proposed visit to England, the work to be done there, on the Secret Doctrine, and on general subjects. Most of the evening, while, talking, she played her "patiences," talking as she arranged her cards. Of the calumnies against her she said very little - singularly little, it seemed to me, in view of what I had heard and knew of her character - and with a reserve and dignity which commanded my respect and admiration. As for the object of my visit; she would come to England, but she could fix no time. As for the "S.P.R." report, it was "a back number" and all in the day's work, though it was clear that she had deeply felt the defection of many who had had the best reasons for trusting her. So I returned to England and we began to look for places to which she might come. Ten days after my return we were startled by the news that she was most seriously ill and that recovery was improbable, well-nigh impossible. With each report the situation grew more grave.
It was Sunday, and another of our group, who had invited her, a medical man, went with me to ask advice from a leading London Specialist. That evening our friend left for Ostend, where matters hung in the balance for a few days. The "impossible" happened and he returned with the news that the crisis was over. In a short time Mme. Blavatsky announced she was free to come to England.
At this time I again crossed to Ostend, following a relative who had preceded me, and we arranged for her journey and safely conveyed her over to Dover and thence to Maycot in Norwood. The journey promised to be difficult, for Mme. Blavatsky was still a very sick woman and found it very difficult to move about. Also, though the start at Ostend was comparatively easy, it was very different on arrival at Dover, where the poor old lady had to be carried at low tide up the steep and more or less slippery steps of the pier: also the crossing had not been smooth.
The evening we arrived was busy. No time was to be lost and her writing materials had to be got ready that evening for her start at work the following morning. She was at her desk as usual and there was considerable trouble because all her books were not yet unpacked. Naturally the one wanted was the last of the batch, but such was fate and all in the day's work. For me, life was one long wrestle in the mazes of the Secret Doctrine, with the effort to suggest a grouping and arrangement and the correction of the foreign turns of language, at the same time retaining Mme. Blavatsky's very distinctive style. The task was rendered all the more difficult by the absolute indifference of the author. "Make it as you see best, my dear," was the almost invariable reply, and the matter was not made any better by the others called in to help. They insisted that the original language was to be left unaltered, so that readers of the book might have the chance of taking their choice of the writer's meaning. Meanwhile the said writer threatened me with the direst  pains and penalties if it was not put into "right English." Naturally I preferred the "deep sea" of Mme. Blavatsky's favour. Living abroad as she had been, her brain was full of Language idioms other than English, and the result of her writing the book in English was a literal translation of "foreign" idioms, with the most surprising results.
It was no very long time before Mme. Blavatsky's presence began to be felt. People began to gather round her, and Maycot became the scene of the pilgrimage of a good many people who had retained their interest. There were many who had got into touch with the inner side of life. These at least knew that Mme. Blavatsky was a reality. They knew that whatever doubt might be thrown on the account of the way external phenomena happened, the real knowledge of the unseen worlds and states of consciousness was possessed by Mme. Blavatsky and that in those realms of which they had some cognizance, Mme. Blavatsky was their master, and knew far more than they. It was a remarkable experience to see those who came. Some had private interviews: others were received in company with us who lived in the house. And the method of treatment! At times argumentative: at others sarcastic: very rarely appealing for credence or justice: always the same driving energy which spared neither herself nor any other who might in any way further her Master's work. No matter what their separate interests might be, Mme. Blavatsky was a uniting link. For the most part they were all being welded together into a united body whose support could give her a platform which should gain consideration for the Theosophical philosophy; and it was her mission to obtain a hearing for this in the western world.
The nominal day began for Mme. Blavatsky before 7 a.m. When it really began I do not know. The body had to have its sleep, for it could not be driven too hard. But I had reason to believe that many hours of the night were spent in writing, though this never interfered with her usual hour to get to her desk. She was invisible until she called for her midday meal. I say midday, but it was a very movable meal and might be called for at any hour between twelve and four, a proceeding which naturally disconcerted a cook. Woe betide any disturber of those hours of work, for the more quiet she was, the more seriously was she engaged. Thereafter came callers, whom she might or might not see, if she had no appointment, and of these she had many. But Maycot was a long way out of London proper, and we had to face the disappointed pilgrims! Finally at 6:30 came for Mme. Blavatsky the evening meal, which was taken in company with the rest of us. The table cleared, came tobacco and talk, especially the former, though there was plenty of the latter. I wish I had the memory and the power to relate those talks. All things under the sun and some others, too, were discussed. Here was a mind stored with information gathered in very extensive travels, an experience of life and experience of things of an "unseen nature," and with it all an acuteness of perception which brought out the real and the true and applied to it a touchstone which "proved the perfect mass." Of one thing Mme. Blavatsky was intolerant - cant and sham and  hypocrisy. For these she had no mercy; but for genuine effort, however mistaken, she would spare no trouble to give advice and readjustment. She was genuine in all her dealings, but I learned then and later that she at times had to remain silent in order that others might gain experience and knowledge, even if in gaining it they at times deceived themselves. I never knew her to state what was not true; but I knew that sometimes she had to keep silence. because those who interrogated her had no right to the information. And in those cases, I afterwards learned that she was accused of deliberate untruth. One of her regrets comes to my mind as I write: "for then you will know that I have never, never deceived anybody, though I have often been compelled to let them deceive themselves." In all senses Mme. Blavatsky held that "There is no religion higher than Truth," and the position in which she was thus placed must have been one of the many phases of her martyrdom.
The evenings passed in such talks, and all the while she arranged her "patiences." Many were the games at which I thus assisted in silence, gently indicating any opportunities which I saw of placing the cards. Sometimes these were acceptable, but at others, peaceful progress was interrupted by the effort to rap the disturbing finger on the table with her knuckles. There were times when an adroit withdrawal of the finger led to the knuckles rapping the table, and then "on my head" was it. Among other things which l learned was the fact that while Solitaire occupied the brain, H.P.B. was engaged in very different work, and that Mme. Blavatsky could play Solitaire, take part in a conversation going on around her among us others, attend to what we used to call "upstairs" and also see what was going on in her own room and other places in the house and out of it, at one and the same time.
It was at one of these tobacco parliaments that Mme. stated her difficulty in getting her views expressed in The Theosophist. This was the magazine which she had started with Colonel Olcott in India. It was under his charge and he edited it in India and not unnaturally he conducted it on his own lines. But with the commencement of Mme. Blavatsky's work in England a more immediate expression of her views became a matter of importance. So a new magazine was proposed and decided on and steps were taken to secure its publication. Oh, but there were discussions as to its title! "Truth," "Torch," and a variety of others were offered as suggestions and rejected. Then came the "Light-bringer" and finally "Lucifer," as an abbreviation. But this was most vehemently opposed by some as being too diabolical and too much opposed to les convenances. Perish the word! This secured its instant acceptance, and those who read the first number of Lucifer, and also that part of the Secret Doctrine which deals with the Fallen Angels, may see for themselves the information which those discussions gained for us out of Mme. Blavatsky's inner consciousness. Even if it was not planned from the outset; the result was to reveal a fund of information of vital interest in dealing with the mystery of Manas.
The gathering together of many threads which led to the coming to Mme. Blavatsky at Norwood of those interested in spiritualism, Masonic lore,  the Kabbalah, astrology and many kindred subjects, proved that Maycot was too far distant from central London and that it was also too small. So a move was decided on, and with the return of Countess Wachtmeister the household was moved to 17 Lansdowne Road.
Then followed a time of still more arduous work. The editing of Lucifer, the work on the Secret Doctrine, of which I copied the entire first volume and part of the second on a typewriter (only to find it useless), the coming of interested callers in numbers and from all parts of England and the continent, with the formation of the Blavatsky Lodge and its meetings, made a very busy winter. The Secret Doctrine began to be printed and in this and in Lucifer Mme. Blavatsky's idiosyncrasy of regarding page-proof as being equivalent to manuscript, led to much argument and expense. It was not merely that she would divide a page after the type was all locked in the forms and insert a quantity of fresh matter, but she would with much care and precision of scissors cut out and then paste in a single sentence in an entirely different place. Woe betide the zealous sub-editor who protested on behalf of the printers and the provision of funds. "Off with his head" or his metaphysical scalp were the orders of the Queen of our wonderland. Nevertheless the account for corrections of the Secret Doctrine came to more than the original cost of setting up!
The Blavatsky Lodge was originally started as a body of people who were prepared to follow H.P.B. implicitly and a Pledge embodying this was drawn up. We all took it and the meetings began. Every Thursday evening they were held in Mme. Blavatsky's room, which was thrown into one with the dining room. Members flocked in, so that the rooms were too small, the interest being in the questions which were propounded for Mme. Blavatsky to answer. Some of the results were printed in "Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge." At this time the increase in membership was such that those who entered signed the roll of membership and the Pledge almost mechanically. I was led to write an article for Lucifer, entitled "The Meaning of a Pledge" and I handed it to Mme. Blavatsky. When she read it through I was subjected to what I have since learned is called epilation, for I was divested of my scalp hair by hair. Exactly why I did not know, nor was I told. But when the process was finished somebody "upstairs" or "within" accepted the article and was rather pleased with it as being timely. But the result was the removal of the Pledge as a condition of membership in the Lodge.
The procedure under such circumstances is worth recalling. You would, as I did, present your thesis or remarks. It would be received vehemently, be opposed with a variety of eloquence - an eloquence calculated to upset your balance, and the impression given that you were a most evilly designing person, aiming to upset some of Mme. Blavatsky's most cherished plans of work. But with your sincerity of purpose becoming plain, there would come a change in Mme. Blavatsky. Her manner would change, even the expression of her face. "Sound and fury" evaporated, she became very quiet, and even her face seemed to become larger, more massive and solid. Every point you  raised was considered and into her eyes - those wonderful eyes - came the look we learned to recognize. That look was one to be earned as a reward, for it meant that the heart had been searched and that guile was not found, also that H.P.B. was in charge.
Some people have advanced as a theory to account for these changes, that Mme. Blavatsky was the scene of mediumistic oscillations or that, at least, she was the scene of action of not merely double but of multiple personality. These suggestions are really the wildest of hypotheses - much less, working hypotheses. To those who know the laws which govern the relation of the physical instrument to the subtle astral and spiritual forces which dominate it, the explanation is simple. But I will put forward my own theory. For the purpose of the theosophical work that body was an instrument used by one of the Masters, known to us as H.P.B. When he had to attend to other business, the instrument was left in charge of one of his pupils or friends, who ran the body as an engineer directs his machine when taking duty for another. But the substitute engineer has not the same sympathy with his machine or instrument as the regular man and is "outside the machine." I conceive that, just as the engineer and his machine overcome the inertia of matter, so the body and its tendencies proved no light task to control in the absence of the real owner and head engineer. And a certain letting off of steam was the result. But the energy was not wasted but used up in the work.
It must be remembered that during all this time of stress and effort Mme. Blavatsky was still a sick woman, always suffering pain and often hardly able to walk. But her inflexible will and devotion got her from her bed to her writing table and enabled her to persist in the carrying through the press of the Secret Doctrine, to edit Lucifer, write her Russian articles and those for Lucifer, the Theosophist, the Path, when it came out, Le Lotus Bleu, to receive her visitors both in private and in public, and in addition to deal with an enormous private correspondence. It was at this time I got seedy. I got a form of erysipelas with high fever, and had to stay in bed. It so happened that Mme Blavatsky's physician was calling and he looked in on me. What was said I do not know, but as I lay in a kind of stupor I found that Mme. Blavatsky had made progress up two flights of fairly steep stairs (she who never went up a step if it could be helped, on account of the pain so caused) and had arrived to judge for herself of her bad report of me. She sat and looked at me, and then she talked while she held a glass of water between her hands, and this water I afterwards drank: then she went downstairs again, bidding me to follow.
Down I went and was made to lie on the couch in her room and covered up. I lay there half asleep while she worked away at her writing, sitting at her table in her big chair, with her back towards me. How long I was there I do not know, but suddenly just past my head went a flash of deep crimson lightning. I started, not unnaturally, and was saluted through the back of the chair with "Lie down, what for do you take any notice?" I did so and went to sleep and, after I had been sent upstairs to bed, I again went to sleep and next morning was quite well,  if a little shaky. Then I was packed off to Richmond and forbidden to return until I was strong. This was the only time I saw the crimson light, though I have seen, and others saw, the pale blue light attached to some objects in the room and then flitting about. One of us rashly touched it one day when Mme. Blavatsky was in the next room. He got an electric shock and was also electrified by sounds of wrath from Mme. Blavatsky, greeting him by name and asking what on earth he meant by meddling with what he had no business to touch and by making an impertinently curious intrusion into matters with which he had no concern. I am sure he has not forgotten either the shock or rap to his knuckles or rap to his curiosity. I know he remembered the shock to his arm for a long time.
The meetings of the Blavatsky Lodge were out of the ordinary. The discussions were informal and all sat round and asked questions of Mme. Blavatsky. All sorts and conditions of men and women were present and one part of our delight was for Mme. Blavatsky to reply by the Socratic method - ask another question and seek information on her own account. It was a very effective method and frequently confounded the setter of the conundrum. If it was a genuine search for information which dictated the question, she spared no pains to give all information in her power. But if the matter was put forward to annoy her or puzzle, the business resulted badly for the questioner. The meetings took up a lot of time, but Mme. Blavatsky enjoyed the contest of wits. All nations would he represented in those rooms on Thursday nights, and one could never tell who would be present. Sometimes there would be unseen visitors, seen by some but not by others of us. Results were curious. Mme. Blavatsky felt the cold very much and her room therefore was kept very warm, so much so that at the meetings it was unpleasantly hot very often. One night before the meeting time, I came downstairs to find the room like an ice-house, though fire and lights were fully on. I called H.P.B.'s attention to this, but was greeted with a laugh and "Oh, I have had a friend of mine here to see me and he forgot to remove his atmosphere." Another time I remember that the room gradually filled until there was no vacant seat. On the sofa sat a distinguished Hindu, in full panoply of turban and dress. The discussion proceeded and apparently our distinguished guest was much interested, for he seemed to follow intelligently the remarks of each speaker. The President of the Lodge arrived that night very late, and coming in looked around for a seat. He walked up to the sofa and sat downright in the middle of the distinguished Hindu, who promptly, and with some surprise, fizzled and vanished!
During this winter affairs had been moving in America and there had been a gradually increasing interest in things Theosophical. Mr. Judge's steadfast work began to take effect and it was proposed to gather all the threads together and hold a Convention of the various Branches and members in Chicago. I heard of the mere fact as one of general interest but a day or two after I was called to Mme. Blavatsky's room and asked "Arch, when can you start for America"? I suppose I was like a pussy-cat and needed stirring up, but I was off in three days by the City  of Rome and took with me a long letter from Mme. Blavatsky to the Convention. The voyage was an odd experience for me, as I had never been on an ocean trip before or to such a distance. Also I had been torn up by the roots out of a busy life, which occupied every moment. On board in my cabin my attention was attracted to a number of little taps and cracks. These might naturally be due to the ship. But my attention was enforced to a series of little flashes of light, especially at night. The point to me was that these flashes and also these taps and cracks invariably associated themselves in my mind with the idea of H.P.B., and by this time I had begun to learn that most of these "happenings" meant something. Afterwards by letter, and later when I returned, I found she could tell me accurately what I had been doing during my journey to and from and throughout my stay in America. I was told that these taps and cracks and flashes were the coming and going of elemental forms of force which took a snapshot of me and my proceedings. On my return the household proved to have increased very considerably. More workers had gathered round and there was work for them all to do. Life went on at increased pressure, each of us having a special relation to H.P.B., each receiving a different treatment. Tot homines, quot sententiae, and the variations of daily routine and life were all adapted to the testing and strengthening repair of any defect in character which might affect the work we were doing. As I look back to over twenty years ago, one can see so many privileges which were extended, but of which one failed to avail oneself. But such reflections only show the arduous work in which Mme. Blavatsky was engaged. Though the Secret Doctrine was now published, there was the regular demand from the various magazines, besides an increase in her already voluminous correspondence.
It was about this time that one day Mme. Blavatsky showed great concern over the affairs of the editor of one of the magazines then published. He had been to see her sometime before and had thereafter started the magazine. It had met with considerable success, but naturally had also met with difficulties. Entering her room one day I found Mme. Blavatsky discussing with the others present and with much sympathy, the difficulties of the editor. So far as I remember now, he had sacrificed a good deal of position and his means of support, in order to bring out the magazine; and in consequence of issuing the recent number was in actual want of food. The discussion continued and Mme. Blavatsky grew very silent. At last she exclaimed, "Well, I will," and turned to me, asking if I had a L25 note. I replied that I had not, but could easily send for one. Then I remembered that I had just sent one away in a letter and went to see if the letter was still in the house. I found it had not yet been posted and opening the envelope I brought it to H.P.B. She thanked me and said she only wanted it for a few moments. l offered it to her but she told me to retain it and fold it closely, which I did. She then asked for her tobacco basket and handing this to me asked me to put the rolled-up note inside. I put it in but she said I was to bury it in the tobacco. I placed it on the arm of her chair at the end. She rested her hand  on the basket and apparently went into "a brown study," while the rest of us went on talking, I watching her closely. In a minute or so she said with a sigh "open it and take your note." So I took the basket and opened it and took the note which I unfolded, only to find a second note with a different number rolled up inside. The second note was sent to the editor and I hope it proved as efficient in relieving his troubles as Mme. Blavatsky intended it should be.
I afterwards asked why she needed my note, when she could easily have precipitated her note without it. She replied "There is your mistake. I had to get my friend to disintegrate the note at his end of the line, while it was easier for me to have a mould on which to pour the disintegrated particles of matter and it did not require so precise an astral picture on my part." I then asked why and how she could get such notes and was given to understand that under certain circumstances of merit she had the right to call on certain funds and on certain centres in charge of her occult friends for such aid for others. The precipitated note was of an entirely different number and series from mine and was in no sense a reduplication: that would have been dishonest and therefore impossible to H.P.B.
As nearly as I can recall it was during this winter that we had a visit from Mr. Judge. I had met him before in America and at Mr. Sinnett's house, where he dined when passing through London on his way to Fontainebleau (where Mme. Blavatsky then was in 1884) on his way to India. It was only a brief visit but it was concerned with the work he was doing in America, where in consonance with Mme. Blavatsky's efforts in England, he was working to revive the spread of Theosophy in America. Just at this time, too, there was beginning to be formed the Esoteric School of Theosophy. With this Mr. Judge had a good deal to do and assisted Mme. Blavatsky in drawing up the rules which were necessary and in carrying into organization and external expression those regulations which essentially belong to the inner, unseen life of man. Then and afterwards, while H.P.B. was always chief, she alluded to Mr. Judge as her chief aid.
The following spring I again had to go to the American Convention but there are no especial incidents to relate. On my return I found that Mme. Blavatsky had been away for a time and during her absence had commenced the writing of the Voice of the Silence. She was also engaged on the Theosophical Glossary and had begun the Key to Theosophy, though this was published much later. Life went on at the same high pressure of work and it was evident that Mme. Blavatsky's work was in the act of solidifying around her a very wide field of interest. At the close of this summer I was obliged to leave London on account of a relative's health and departed to New Zealand. Therefore I was not present when a very great stir and accession of energy resulted in decision to remove from Lansdowne Road to the house at Avenue Road. I returned to find the preparations for a move already so far advanced that a week after my return the move was made. It resulted in a still larger activity for Mme. Blavatsky, for she had a larger staff of helpers and a lecture  hall had been built to give room for the meetings of the Blavatsky Lodge. More office room was required, as the house had now become the headquarters of the European Section, for the British Section was now no longer the only European organization of the Society. With increased numbers came a strain on the commissariat department and therefore the new lecture hall became the household refectory in the intervals of the meetings. Mme. Blavatsky still had her meals in her own rooms, but when her hours of work were over she would come and join in the general talk during the evening and play her patiences as in former times. The preparation of Mme. Blavatsky's meals became a part of the devoted service of certain members of the household. It was to be a privilege to so aid her to secure good sustenance, and might prove a gain to her health. All she wanted was so easy to prepare and very simple. So it was, but her devotion to her work and forgetfulness of time, made the service very difficult. One has to remember that Mme. Blavatsky's health was very poor, her rheumatism was very painful and her digestion difficult. The body needed food very quickly after the driving energy of H.P.B. had been taken off. It was driven mercilessly and in its broken state the instrument reacted, sometimes to the amusement of H.P.B. I gathered that some of H.P.B.'s friends and pupils were left in charge of it and that it ran away sometimes. But this "running away" was utilized both in the education of her friends of the interior worlds in the exercise of a difficult control, and in the testing of the self-control and devotion of the household who sought to serve Mme. Blavatsky.
As ever, early at work, word would be given that she wanted her dinner at one o'clock, but she must not be disturbed until she rang. One o'clock would come - and go: as also two o'clock (even three, some days) and still no bell. By such time the simple dinner, being simple, was irretrievably spoiled. Just then the bell would ring and the body needed its food in a hurry. And then, to all appearance, the body was a fractious invalid - very fractious! It complained very forcibly, with a rare command of language, and bitterly, of the broken promises of those who had faithfully promised that the dinner would be ready. Fearful protestations and explanations ensued with further promise of a fresh dinner in a very few minutes and great was the striving to get ready. Then usually it became my privilege to brew some coffee on a machine I had got for her and kept ready, the process of which she seemed never to tire of watching. With the coffee to drink and some rusks to eat the exhaustion passed and the despised dinner (or some other got ready) would reappear and the storm centre would shift. But though she was perfectly jolly, laughing and amused the while I entertained her, the thunderstorm would roll up again at the return of the devoted dinner-maker: Even the weakness of the bodily ailments were turned to the testing of the devotee and the ability to "stand fire." I was not in the area of these storms, it was not for me, "I was another kind of hairpin." In the meantime I had the pleasure of being of help, until coffee taken, dinner consumed, I was told to "get out" and H.P.B. was off to work again.
With the close of that summer I  had to leave England again, going by way of New Zealand to San Francisco where I had letters from H.P.B. and did the work I had to do. Then returning on the way home I arrived in New York and was detained there by the illness of the relative I was with; and on May 8, 1891, received the news of Mme. Blavatsky passing from this life.
In these brief notes and reminiscences there is no pretense to give a full account. It would demand a far abler and deeper spiritual understanding than mine to write a life of H.P.B. All I can testify to is that she knew no weariness in the cause to which she was devoted; that she was noble in every sense of the word; that those who had opportunity to know her loved her, and that she was worthy of all their devotion. What we were able to give in the cause she served was returned many times over. But it was not for what she so freely gave that H.P.B. was loved. It was for what she was and what she represented. And with that, all is said.
[This excerpt from a long letter signed "X ... F.T.S." was originally published in The Theosophist, Vol. II, July, 1881, pp. 213-15, and its authorship has remained unknown through the intervening years. Recently, however, when a Manuscript on the subject of Zoroastrianism, in H.P.B.'s own handwriting and held in the Archives at Adyar, was transcribed and published in The Theosophist (Vol. 80, October and November, 1958), the name of the author of this letter suddenly came to light. It appears that it was written by the Adept known under the name of Hillarion (or Illarion), also Hillarion Smerdis, who at one time resided on the island of Cyprus. H.P.B. mentions this letter and definitely identifies its author. It appears from other sources that Hillarion Smerdis collaborated with H.P.B. in the writing of her occult stories, such, for instance, as "The Ensouled Violin" which is actually signed with his name in The Theosophist (Vol. I, Jan., 1880). It has been stated both by H.P.B. (Light, London, Aug. 9, 18884) and Col. H.S. Olcott (Diaries, entry of Feb. 19, 1881) that this Adept has "gone for his final initiation, passing through and visiting us [the Founders] in his physical body on his way, at Bombay." To the same Brother is attributed the authorship of the first part of Light on the Path, recorded by Mabel Collins. Soorb-Ovaness is the name of the oldest Christian monastery in Armenia. - Ed., Theosophia.]
... Our Zoroastrian Fellows would fain hear a page of their history torn out of the book of popular memory and woven into legends. That book, so full of the glories of their forefathers, in that hoary past when they formed not only a proud and independent nation, but many linked together by one religion, one polity and civilization - is rapidly fading out. Its fate was like that of some precious manuscripts of the pre-Christian ages, which are sometimes found mouldering in the libraries of old monasteries. First its broad  margins were used for monkish dissertations, and later on, its contents themselves began being rubbed out by vandal hands to make way for polemical discussions on some Arian heresy.... Strange to say, even the few traditions that have remained intact, did not find refuge among the Behedin, - that small remnant of "the followers of the true faith," who, clinging to their old religion are now scattered all over the province of Kerman - but, are all centred, on the contrary, around the mountain chain of Great or Major Armenia, and of the Lake Van, among the semi-Christian Armenian population. To extricate them whole and undisfigured from the entangled skein of Mahometan, Christian and pagan traditions, demands a more dexterous hand than that of the enchanted Princess in the fairy tale of "Blue Bird." Very luckily, some of the principal records are saved and preserved in the shape of a whole library of cylinders. They may serve one day to strongly damage the wild theories and interpretations of the Anquetil Duperrons, the Spiegels and Haugs. Vox populi, vox lei. Popular rumour, always alive to the marvelous, has spun out an intricate cobweb of fancies around the central speck of fact: it will have a stately figure - which it persists in identifying with Mathan, the last of the great Magian High Priests, gathered unto his fathers for the last sixteen centuries - appear daily at sunset at the entrance of an inaccessible cave at the top of one of the peaks of Allah-Dag, with a book of records under his arm ...
With the exception of the "Guebers" - the Behedin of Kerman - now, all the millions of the ancient Fire-worshipers have turned Mussulmans and Christians. Of the human blood spilt during the forcible conversions to Christ and Mahomet, the national traditions are full. The tears of the Recording Angel, wept throughout the whole duration of the two ages allotted to humanity from the period of Gayo-Maratan, would hardly suffice to wash away the entries made in his book of the ferocious and cruel deeds committed by Christians and Moslems against the followers of Zaratushta. Of the works of ages in the shape of Fire-temples and monuments destroyed by the zeal of the proselytizing "Saints" - the "men of honest repute" recorded in the Ecclesiastical fables called the History of the Church - the ruins are plentiful, and each of them has its tale of woe to relate. I have just visited one of such historical spots built in the undated period of an antiquity, more remote from us than would be willingly conceded to us by the Europeans. I write to you on a fire-altar, 4,000 years old, which has escaped destruction by some miracle, having turned it into a very comfortable pupitre.
Leaving Dayadin the day before yesterday early in the morning, I made my way to the foot of Allah-Dag through snow and ice and arrived at the cave 36 hours later ... Allah-Dag, geographically speaking, is the modern name for the whole range of mountainous chain south of Bayazid and Dayadin; Nepant, Shuschik-Dag, Tchir-Gerook and Koombeg-Dag being all independent peaks, though included in the same denomination of Allali-Dag or "God's Mountain." They are not to be compared with the Himalayas, their loftiest leak measuring but 11,600 feet above the sea-level, but they are interesting for the traditions clinging to them. It would be premature and even useless to  give out what may be known of the truth. Your archaeologists and ethnologists are yet bound hand and foot by the Biblical weeds which, for a century or so, will still prevent the Plant of True Knowledge from taking firm root on the Western soil ... But, I may tell you of a popular tradition the nucleus of which is built upon fact. Upon hearing of my intention to start on exploration of the mountain fastnesses, a venerable Armenian patriarch of Dayadin, on the decline of life, and who tries to put to the best use the only and solitary organ left in him intact by the Kurds, namely, his tongue, let it loose upon that occasion. He tried his best to frighten me out of my intention. No mortal man, he said, could ever visit that particular place and live. Besides every cave being the private property of "Mathan," he would cause the sacred fire to appear under the traveler's foot and burn him to death for his sacrilegious attempt; and then Noah's Ark is preserved in the highest cave ... "And what do you make of the Arc on Mount Ararat then?" I inquired of him. Forthwith I was apprized of the novel geological discovery that Ararat had formed once upon a time part and parcel of Allah-Dag, but falling into the hands of the Persians it broke away from the latter and placed itself on Christian territory, leaving in its precipitate flight the "sacred" ark in the safe keeping of Allah-Dag. Since then "Mathan" refuses to give it up.* (* In George Smith's History of Babylonia, the author expresses an opinion to the effect that the Biblical Ararat "does not mean the mountain now called Ararat, but a mountainous country south of this and near the lake Van." (p. 50.) The great Assyriologist can hardly have heard of that popular tradition and must have been prompted to say this on some knowledge grounded upon weightier reasons than popular tradition. But one corroborates the other. - Ed. Theos. [H.P.B.]) Another tradition - among the Behedin, and in the oasis of Yezd - tells us of the initiated Magi who in times prehistoric had become through their knowledge and wisdom - "gods." These lived in the Armenian mountains, and were astrologers. Having learned from the star-gods that the world was going to be flooded, they caused the mountain on which they lived to breathe fire and lava, which covered with bitumen all the outward surface of the mountain; and this made the great cave in it secure against the water. After that they placed all the good people with their cattle and goods inside the mountain, leaving the wicked ones to perish. A still simpler version might be found, and one which would come nearer to the historical facts. But of that, no more at present.
You know, of course, that the Armenians, who, until the fourth and even seventh centuries of the Christian era were Parsees in religion, call themselves Haiks, the descendants of Haig, a contemporary of Bilu (Belus), a king of the Babylonians** (** Not to be confounded with the Sun-God Belus and Baal - two far more ancient deities. -Ed. Theos. [H.P.B.]) who deified and worshiped him after death as a Sun and Moon God. Haig is made to have flourished 2200 B.C. according to accepted date, and more than 7,000 agreeably to truth. Their legend states that Haig and his clan were compelled to emigrate from Babylonia to Armenia on account of the religious persecutions to which they were subjected from Belu who sought to  pervert them from pure Parseeism to Sabaism by including the moon into sun-worship. Twenty-six centuries later, (accepted date) when their King Tiridates the last of the Arsacidae began to force them into Christianity (fourth century) and the new faith had spread its own versions of cosmogony from Genesis, that Haig had the honour of finding himself transformed into a descendant of Japhet, the son of Noah - that virtuous old man who had performed every achievement but that of being born. But even in their forgotten traditions we find that they claimed to have remained true to the teachings of Zoroaster. These they had accepted ever since Musarus Oannes or Annedotus - the Heaven or Sun - sent (the first Odakon Ano-Daphos, the man-fish) arising daily from the sea at sunrise to plunge back into it at every sunset, taught them the good doctrine, their arts and civilization. That was during the reign of Amenon the Chaldean, 68 sari, or 244,800 years before the Deluge. Since then (as demonstrated by the Assyriologists, according to the cylinder-records), several other Odakons had ascended from the sea, the last coming during the days* (* During the millenniums rather, since, according to the chronology left to us by Berosus, the reign of that king lasted 8 sari or 28,800 years.) of the Chaldean King Ubara-Tuto - "the glow of sunset," - the last but one of the antediluvian kings of Berosus. Each and all of these aquarian teachers came from his habitat, in lands unknown ascending from the Persian Gulf.** (** One of the cylinders states that this sea was part of the great chaotic deep out of which our world was formed: the celestial region where the "gods and spirits" (the initiated Magi, or Sons of God) dwelt was in their neighborhood, but not in their country. - Ed. Theos. [H.P.B.]) If we study the account given of the Annedotus by Apollodorus and then amplify it with the old pre-Christian traditions of Armenia, which say that he made them know the seeds of the earth, taught them to worship their mother Earth and their father the Sun and showed them how to help the two to bring forth fruit, i.e., taught them the arts of agriculture, we will not wonder at discovering that the Chaldean Oannes and Zoroaster are one in their reminiscences. The Chaldean Annedotus was called the "Son of the Fish," and the latter was the name of Zoroaster's mother. Wonder, what your Zend scholars, Parsees and Europeans, will say to this? They will not feel a little surprised, perhaps, when told, that it was the Hellenized name of their Zoroaster - Annedotus, whom the Greeks called Oannes that led the old Armenians more easily into accepting Christianity than they otherwise might - as I am now prepared to show.
From Allah-Dug I proceeded west of Dayadin and halted at the monastery of Soorb-Ovaness - "John the Precursor" (the name Ovaness being identical with the Greek Oannes or John). Now Soorb-Ovaness is the oldest Christian monastery in Armenia. It is built on the site of an antediluvian Fire-temple, and situated on the left bank of the Euphrates, at the foot of the majestic Nepat. Centuries before the Christian era there was a town here, called by some Bhagavan and by others Ditza-van consecrated to Ahura-mazda or Ormuzd. The country is alive with traditions, and even the convent libraries have  preserved many fully authenticated records of these pre-Christian centuries. There is one manuscript, among others, which contains the Chronicles of all the festivals of the fire-worshiping Armenians, written upon parchment. Their New Year, which began with them in August, was celebrated with extraordinary pomp. Armenian civilization wrought out by the Zoroastrian philosophy, seems to have been ignorant of but few of our modern comforts. These chronicles (fourth century of the Christian era) contain an account of the death and burial of the High Priest Mathan (with whose ghost I am daily threatened by the inhabitants) a brother of the King Tigranes III. When he died his royal relative had a gorgeous fire-temple built to his memory. There were several inns attached to it, offering free lodging and board to every traveler and relief to pilgrims of whatever nationality. Alas! these were the last sunny days of the faith .... In 302 King Tiridates with his nobles and army was receiving baptism on this same spot in the waters of the Euphrates from Gregory the Illuminated. There is no doubt but that the venerable saint could claim to have found himself illuminated with a most brilliant idea; since, had it not occurred to him at the time, the many millions of the baptized Armenians might have remained fire-worshipers to this day. Though the king and a portion of his nobles had accepted baptism, the people resisted, and had to be forced with great trouble to accept the new faith. To overcome their reluctance, the king was advised in the same year by Gregory to pull down and rase the Bhagvan fire-temple to the ground and replace it with a Christian church, wherein relics (a thigh bone and two finger bones) alleged as those of St. John the Baptist, or the "Precursor" were placed. The Armenians, during a century and a half of subjection to Macedonia (from 325 B.C.) had accepted the name of Ovaness for their Chaldean man-fish Annedotus. They were easily made to believe that "Ovaness the Baptist" who led them into the water, was identical with Ovaness or Oannes, who had instructed their forefathers arising from out, setting in, and replunging back into the water before, during, and after the preaching. The identity of the name and the element, in short, proved useful allies in the plan devised by the diplomatic Saint. Before the end of the eleventh century all Armenia was baptized.* (* "Ioannes, the Baptist who is usually associated with Waters, is not a Petro-Paulite name and symbol of the Hebrew Ionah [the Jonah swallowed by the whale] and the First Messenger Assyrian Oannes ... The fishermen and fishers of men in the Gospels are based on this mythos." (Enoch, the Book of God, Vol. II, p. 80.) "This appears the more probable as the inhabitants of Mosul, near the ruins of Nineveh have assumed for centuries that the mound called by them - "Nebbi Yunus" - contained the tomb or sepulchre of the prophet Jonah, on its summit; while the excavations of Layard brought to light on the neighboring mount Koyunjik a colossal image of the Fish-God Oannes - the cause most probably of the later legend. - Ed. Theos. [H.P.B.]) The moral to be inferred from the tale is, that old men die and new arise in their place, but that the same partisan and sectarian spirit which animates the missionary and the priest of today animated the missionary and the priest of old - the priestly caste being the toughest of all. This tradition about, and belief in the Chaldean Oannes was the only additional feature to that of modern Parseeism in the Armenians of  old. And yet I am not prepared to say that the Parseeism of the pre-Sassanian period did not include the same belief, at least in a legendary form. At the time when the last sparks of Persian nationality were quenched by the downfall of the Sassanidae, nearly all their books and records spared by Alexander were lost. The Sassanian dynasty, I know, had restored the Magian religion in all its primitive splendor; and the ancient Chaldean Magi were believers in Oannes the man-fish, the messenger sent to them by Belus, the Sun-God, to instruct humanity, as Berosus a priest of the Temple of Belus tells us. To accept Zoroaster as the reformer of the Magian religion is to move the period in which he flourished to the very threshold of the Christian era, in which case there could never exist such a discrepancy about the age he lived in, as there is now, and as we find among the Greek historians.
Now to bring my letter to a close. In the years 634-639 the Byzantine Emperor Irakliy (Heracles) returning from his campaign to Persia, and finding the church too mean to contain such a treasure, as the relics of the "Precursor," had the edifice pulled down and a monastery of gigantic size built in its place. Its outward majestic and most grandiose proportions strike the traveler with astonishment up to this day. It is the largest building in Armenia. But - inside it is all darkness and emptiness. The wall bearing the deeply cut inscription which tells of the meritorious deed of the Byzantine Emperor is perforated with Mussulman bullets .... The cupola rests on four massive granite pillars, inside which are excavated a number of rooms, several stories high, one above the other, with spiral staircases winding round them and leading to each of the cells, and secret passages menaged in the wall leading the inmates in hours of danger to the top of the cupola, and from thence into the heart of the mountain and its many natural caves. Owing to the recent invasions of the Kurds the last ornaments of the church and altar have disappeared - the holy thigh and two fingers having failed to protect the place. Alone the library, composed of books and old manuscripts heaped up as waste paper in every corner of the pillar-cells tempting no Kurd are scattered over the rooms. Out of the three monks who were here in 1377 there remains but one. For the consideration of a dagger and a few silver abazes I got several precious manuscripts from him ... - April. X ... F.T.S.
H.P. BLAVATSKY COLLECTED WRITINGS - VOL. VII
This new Volume of the Uniform Edition of H.P.B.'s Writings, published
by The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras, India, is now
off the Press. As the earlier Volumes, it contains a vast amount
of erudition, teachings, and information on a multitude of occult
and related subjects. It may be obtained in the United States from
The Theosophical Press, P.O. Box 270, Wheaton, III., and in Europe
from The Theosophical Publishing House, 68 Great Russell St., London,
Of Death, we may quote Shelley:
"Peace, peace! He is not dead, he doth not sleep -
To many of the Ancients, life as we know it here was the dream, and the reality was in the hereafter. But the additional truth is that there is reality here too, and we live our lives for the purpose of finding out more of the realness hidden within the seeming fortuitous pattern of our lives. To the one who seeks Truth, Death is the great Interpreter, the great Revealer. The teachings that we learn from a study of Death are these:
(1) Death is a breaking up of the many-sided entity called Man in order, first, to bring necessary rest and reinvigoration to the human part of us before rebirth, and, secondly, to permit the spiritual aspects of our nature to be free to enjoy their spiritual experience in the less gross spheres of the universe.
(2) We are always aided by the deathless part of us, the very essence of our real nature; and life, the human aspect of it which we know so well, is really a matter of seeking out that hidden divinity and embracing it more consciously. For the inner God, the inner Christos, the inner Osiris, there is no death.
(3) The Universe is an orderly organism, and everything in it works for the advancement and progress of all other parts: a great living, pulsating, growing Being, with infinite possibilities of growth and expression.
(4) The process of this growth is through cyclic activity and rest, appearance and disappearance from inner world to outer world, to which process we crudely give the name, when associating it with human beings, of life and death, but which after all is a continuous circle or spiral of LIFE.
(5) We cannot cheat in life. Nature, or the Universe, or God, or the Divine - whatever name we want to give to That which is beyond definition - is impersonal, not to be swayed by supplication. It acts for the good, which is the unfolding and evolving of all heings. Each being gets what he deserves. We reap what we have sown.
This last idea is strikingly depicted in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, or, more accurately, Coming Forth into Light, in the after-death scene of The Weighing of the Heart. Here Ani, the Pilgrim through the Spaces, is tried in the Scales of Judgment; his heart, weighed against the Feather of Truth, is found true. As an awakened soul now, he joins the Gods, no longer as the human Ani but as the illuminated Osiris-Ani, and continues his journey through the realms of Light.
The symbolism in that scene emphasizes the truth that each one of us when he dies faces - himself. We do not throw on some exterior divinity the burden of our errors or weaknesses. There is no favoritism in Nature. We are what we are, and, when liberating Death comes, we know it. In that clear and solemn moment we experience a flashing before the inner eye of all the events of the life just closed. The accurate evaluation of our life is stamped on the consciousness of the Reincarnating Ego, which is the eternal Self  within us, and in the next incarnation this knowledge acts as a reserve of hidden wisdom to help us face the trials and tribulations of the new life.
When the dream of life is pierced by moments of perception which reveal the purpose of life, the Sleeper stirs. When these golden gleams are seized and held beyond the changes of consciousness, far out into the deeps of Space, far within into the deeps of Spirit, the Sleeper wakes.
Can you throw any light on the "camel and the eye of the needle" simile which is used in the Gospels?
The question of the camel and the eye of the needle comes up just about every so often. There are many attempts to rationalize this (as many other Biblical sayings) but none seem to answer the question. l have studied this saying which is attributed to Jesus over the years. First: - this passage occurs three times in the N.T. - Matt., xix, 24; Mark, x, 25; Luke, xviii, 25. In all cases the saying is the same. The word Kamelos is found in all three. I have a Greek N.T. which gives all variations in use of words and spelling found in the Codex Sinaiticus, the Codex Vaticanus, and the Codex Alexandrinus, the three oldest known MSS of the N.T. In all three Gospels these ancient MSS agree that it is a CAMEL trying to go thru the needle's eye! If it ever was a rope, the change came earlier, which would be in source documents now lost. The passage seems to me to be one of those Aramaic or Hebrew "proverbs" (?) which are found in numbers in the O.T. Book of Proverbs.
There is another explanation, however, which makes more sense to my present thinking. I can't remember where I read this, but as it is just "another explanation," the source is not too important. In all the ancient walled cities, of which Jerusalem was one, the large main gates were closed and barred after sunset, being opened at sunrise in the morning. Beside the large gate there was frequently a small gate through which messengers and important people could pass. This small gate was only large enough to admit one man at a time, and this small gate was commonly known as the "needle's eye." Now it might he possible, though difficult, for a camel to squeeze through this small gate. Then, too, all the Gospels use the term "easier" which seems to me to describe a thing which is difficult, but not impossible.
I do not have a Latin version of the N.T. but the camel would undoubtedly be found there, too. - Clarence Q. Wesner.
"What is needed to guide us to a living appreciation of Truth, which is a truth about ourselves and life in general, is an inward approach that keeps us open to everything about us, including our fellowmen - an openness to understand and sympathize, which is true Brotherhood. Theosophy ... is a truth of which the living essence has to be discovered in oneself. The Society exists to propagate the truth that can be stated in various forms; but first there must be a reflection of the truth to be realized in our own lives. The success of our work as a Society will depend not merely on the amount of propaganda we put out, the number meetings and lectures at which we thresh out problems, but upon there being members in every part of the world who are wells of understanding, who are nuclei for the spiritual expressions of the movement and eager to do what is required of them individually." - N. Sri Ram.