A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume XXV
No. 1 (115) - Summer 1968

[Cover photo: Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, 1831-1991. This photograph was taken sometime around 1877-78,
and was first published in a reprint of Isis Unveiled (5th thousand), dated 1882.]


A Living Philosophy for Humanity

Published every Three Months. Sponsored by an International Group of Theosophists.
Objectives: To uphold and promote the Original Principles of the modern Theosophical Movement, and to disseminate the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy as set forth by H.P. Blavatsky and her Teachers.
Editor: Boris de Zirkoff.
Subscriptions: $2.00 a year (four issues); single copy 50 cents. Send all subscriptions, renewals and correspondence to: 615 South Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles 5, California. Make checks and money orders payable to "Theosophia."

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.



“Behold the truth before you: a clean life, an open mind, a pure heart, an eager intellect, an unveiled spiritual perception, a brotherliness for one’s co-disciple, a readiness to give and receive advice and instruction, a loyal sense of duty to the Teacher, a willing obedience to the behests of TRUTH, once we have placed our confidence in, and believe that Teacher to be in possession of it; a courageous endurance of personal injustice, a brave declaration of principles, a valiant defense of those who are unjustly attacked, and a constant eye to the ideal of human progression and perfection which the secret science (Gupta-Vidya) depicts - these are the golden stairs up the steps of which the learner may climb to the Temple of Divine Wisdom.” - From a Teacher, as quoted by H. P. Blavatsky in her Preliminary Explanations to E. S. Instruction No. III .

“Magic ... is firmly and solely based on the mysterious affinities existing between organic and inorganic bodies, the visible productions of the four kingdoms, and the invisible powers of the universe ... A thorough familiarity with the occult faculties of everything existing in nature, visible as well as invisible; their mutual relations, attractions, and repulsions; the cause of these, traced to the spiritual principle which pervades and animates all things; the ability to furnish the best conditions for this principle to manifest itself, in other words a profound and exhaustive knowledge of natural law - this was and is the basis of magic.” - H. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled (1877), Vol. I, p. 244. [3]


Boris de Zirkoff

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the Chief Founder of the modem Theosophical Movement, was born at Ekaterinoslav, a town on the river Dnieper, in Southern Russia, on the 31st of July, 1831, according to the Julian or so-called “Old Style” Calendar, then current in Russia. According to the Georgian Calendar the date would have been August 12th. She was the daughter of Col. Peter Alexeyevich von Hahn, and Helena Andreyevna, nee de Fadeyev, renowned novelist who died young. On her mother’s side, she was the granddaughter of the gifted Princess Helena Pavlovna Dolgorukov, a well-known scientist and writer. Through her, she descended from the historically famous line of Prince Rurik, and on her father’s side from the Counts Hahn von Rottenstern-Hahn, an old Mecklenburg family. After the early death of her mother, she was brought up in her grandparents’ house at Saratov, where her grandfather, Privy-Councillor Andrey Mihailovich, was Civil Governor.

Helena was an exceptional child, and at an early age was aware of being different from those around her. Her possession of certain psychic powers puzzled her family and friends. At once impatient of all authority, yet deeply sensitive, she was gifted in many ways. A clever linguist, a talented pianist and a fine artist, she was yet a fearless rider of half-broken horses, and always in close touch with nature. At a very early age she sensed that she was in some way dedicated to a life of service, and was aware of a special guidance and protection. When just eighteen, she married the middle-aged Nikifor V. Blavatsky, Vice-Governor of the Province of Yerivan’, in a mood of rebellious independence and possibly with a plan to become free of her surroundings. The marriage, as such, meant nothing to her and was never consummated. In a few months she escaped and travelled widely in Turkey, Egypt, and Greece, on money supplied by her father. On her twentieth birthday, in 1851, being then in London, she met the individual whom she had known in her psycho-spiritual visions from childhood - an Eastern Initiate of Rajput birth, the Master Morya or M. as he became known in later years among Theosophists. He told her something of the work that was in store for her, and from that moment she accepted fully his guidance, both in her occult development and her outward work.

Later the same year, she embarked for Canada , and after adventurous travels in various parts of the U.S.A., Mexico, South America and the West Indies, went via the Cape and Ceylon to India in 1852. Her first attempt to enter Tibet failed. She returned to England via Java in 1853. In the Summer of 1854, she went to America again, crossing the Rockies with a caravan of emigrants. In late 1855, she left for India via Japan and the Straits. On this trip she succeeded in entering Tibet through Kashmir and Ladakh, undergoing part of her occult [4] training with her Master. In 1858 she was back in France and Germany, and returned to Russia unannounced on Christmas day of that year, staying a short time with her sister at Pskov. From 1860 to 1863, she travelled through the Caucasus, experiencing a severe physical and psychic crisis which placed her in complete control over her occult powers. She left Russia again in the Fall of 1863, and travelled extensively through the Balkans, Egypt, Syria and Italy. It is probable that she may have gone to Tibet once more during this period, though her movements are cloaked in mystery. In 1870 she was back in Greece. Embarking for Egypt, she was shipwrecked near Spezzia; saved from drowning, she went to Cairo where she tried to form a Societe Spirite which soon failed. After further travels through the Middle East , she returned for a short time to her relatives at Odessa in 1872. In the Spring of 1873, she was instructed by her Teacher to go to Paris, and on further direct orders from him, left for New York where she landed July 7, 1873. Approximately from that time dates her public career.

H. P. Blavatsky was then forty-two and in controlled possession of her many and most unusual spiritual and occult powers. In the opinion of those who had trained her, as expressed by them in later years, she was the best available instrument for the work they had in mind, namely to offer to the world a new presentation, though only in brief outline, of the age-old Theosophia, “the accumulated Wisdom of the ages, tested and verified by generations of Seers ...,” that body of Truth of which religions, great and small, are but as branches of the parent tree. Her task was to challenge on the one hand the entrenched beliefs and dogmas of a discredited Theology and on the other tile equally dogmatic views of the science of her day. A crack, however, had recently appeared in this twofold set of mental fortifications. It was caused by Spiritualism, then sweeping America. To quote her own words: “I was sent to prove the phenomena and their reality, and to show the fallacy of the spiritualistic theory of spirits.”

Soon after her arrival in New York, she was put in touch by those who guided her efforts with Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, a man of sterling worth who had acquired considerable renown during the Civil War, had served the Government with distinction, and was at the time practicing law in New York. Soon after, she also met William Quan Judge, a young Irish lawyer, who was to play a·unique role in the Theosophical work of the then immediate future. On September 7, 1875, these three leading figures, together with a few others, founded a society which they chose to call The Theosophical Society, as promulgating the ancient teachings of Theosophy, or that Wisdom concerning the Divine which had been the spiritual basis of other great movements of the past, such as Neo-Platonism, Gnosticism, and the Mystery-Schools of the Classical world. The Inaugural address by the President-Founder, Col. Olcott, was delivered November 17, 1875, a date which is considered to be the official date of the founding of the Society. Starting from a generalized statement of objectives, namely, “to collect and diffuse a knowledge of the laws which govern the Universe,” the [5] Founders soon expressed them more specifically. After several minor changes in wording, the Objects stand today as follows:

1. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.
2. To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science.
3. To investigate unexplained laws of Nature, and the powers latent in man.

In September 1877, a powerful impact was made upon the reading and thinking public by the publication of H. P. Blavatsky’s first monumental work, Isis Unveiled, which was issued by J. W. Bouton in New York, the one thousand copies of the first printing being sold within two days. The New York Herald-Tribune considered the work as one of the “remarkable productions of the century,” other papers and journals speaking in similar terms. Isis Unveiled outlines the history, scope and development of the Occult Sciences, the nature and origin of Magic, the roots of Christianity, the errors of Theology and the fallacies of established Science, against the backdrop of the secret teachings which run as a golden thread through bygone centuries, coming up to the surface every now and then in the various mystical movements of the last two thousand years or so. The contents of this work are as timely today as on the date it first appeared in print, and the demand for new editions has never subsided.

On July 8, 1878, H. P. Blavatsky was naturalized, being the first Russian woman ever to become an American citizen, an event which received widespread publicity through various newspapers.

After another three years of work in the U.S.A., H. P. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott left for Bombay, India, where they established their Headquarters. Soon after landing, they were contacted by Alfred Percy Sinnett, then Editor of the Government paper, The Pioneer of Allahabad. This contact proved of the utmost importance. The serious interest of Sinnett in the teachings and the work of the Theosophical Movement prompted H. P. Blavatsky to establish a contact by correspondence between Sinnett and the two Adepts who were sponsoring the Movement, Master Morya and Master Koot Hoomi, the latter a Kashmiri Brahman by birth. The replies and explanations given by these occultists to the questions sent in, by Sinnett are embodied in their correspondence from 1880 to 1884, published in 1923 as The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett. The original letters from these Teachers are the prized possession of the British Museum where they can be consulted by special permission in the Department of Rare Manuscripts.

After an extensive tour of India, the Founders returned to Bombay and started, in October 1879, their first Theosophical Journal, The Theosophist (still published today), with H. P. Blavatsky as Editor. The Society experienced then a rapid growth, and some very remarkable people were attracted to it both in India and elsewhere. In May, 1880, the Founders spent some time in Ceylon, where Col. Olcott laid the foundations for his later work to stimulate the revival of Buddhism. They both took “Pancha [6] Sila,” or became officially Buddhists, an act which Olcott described as merely “a formal confirmation of our previous professions.” In May, 1882, a large estate was bought at Adyar, near Madras, and the Headquarters moved there at the end of the year. This center became soon the radiating point for a world-wide activity, to which the Founders with their small band of coworkers gave their all. They engaged in trips to various outlying districts, founded Branches, received visitors, conducted an enormous correspondence with inquirers, and filled their newly-founded Journal with most valuable and scholarly material the main purpose of which was to revitalize the dormant interest on the part of India in the spiritual worth of their own ancient Scriptures. It is during this period that Col. Olcott engaged in widespread mesmeric healings until, in 1834, he left for London to petition the British Government on behalf of the Buddhists of Ceylon. H. P. Blavatsky, then in rather poor health, went to Europe with him.

After brief periods in Paris and London, she settled at Elberfeld, Germany, in the Fall of 1834, busily engaged in writing her second work, The Secret Doctrine. Meanwhile, a vicious attack on her by two of her servants at Adyar, Alexis and Emma Coulomb, was rapidly building up. She returned to Adyar late December, 1884, to learn the details of the situation. She wished to sue the couple, already dismissed by the Committee left in charge before the attack began, for their gross libel on her concerning the supposed fraudulent production of occult phenomena. She was, however, overruled by the Committee, and in disgust resigned as Corresponding Secretary of the Society. In March, 1885, she left for Europe, never to return.

The attack, as was later proved, had no foundation whatsoever. It was based on forged and partially forged letters, purporting to have been written by H. P. Blavatsky, with instructions to arrange phenomena of various kinds, letters which she was never allowed to see. A Christian missionary newspaper in Madras published some of them. The Society for Psychical Research in London, ignoring Mme. Blavatsky’s flat repudiation of the letters, sent an inexperienced young man, Richard Hodgson, to India to report on the Coulombs’ allegations. This Report, biased and inconsistent in its nature, was published in December, 1885, and has been the basis ever since for all subsequent attacks on H. P. Blavatsky’s character, motives and objectives. In 1963, however, with the aid of hitherto unpublished documents, Adlai Waterman, in his definitive work entitled Obituary: The “Hodgson Report” on Madame Blavatsky - 1885-1960, analysed the whole sad story, and to any impartial mind destroyed it utterly. It is high time for the Society for Psychical Research to repudiate Hodgson’s Report and to make its amende honorable.

This vicious attack had a most unfavorable effect on H. P. Blavatsky’s health. She settled first at Wurzburg, Germany, then moved to Ostende, and in the Spring of 1887, at the invitation of English Theosophists, moved to London. Oblivious of her poor health and of the many vicissitudes, she continued steadily to write her great work which was finally completed and published in two large volumes in [7] October of 1888. Her indefatigable helpers in the transcription and editing of the MSS. were Bertram Keightley and Dr, Archibald Keightley, whose financial backing was also of immense assistance. The Secret Doctrine (a brief outline of which follows the present article) was the crowning achievement of H. P. Blavatsky’s literary career, an epoch-making work which is just now beginning to be appreciated by the leading minds of the day, and which, no doubt, will be even better known and valued in century the twenty-first.

As H. P. Blavatsky had virtually lost control of her first Journal, The Theosophist, she founded in 1887, in London, Lucifer, a monthly magazine designed, as stated on its title-page, “to bring to light the hidden things of darkness.” It ran through twenty volumes before being superseded by The Theosophical Review, and copies of it are today an antiquarian item.

In 1889, the European Headquarters of the Society was established at 19 Avenue Road, St. John’s Wood, London, and from this historic address H. P. Blavatsky published The Key to Theosophy, “a clear Exposition, in the form of Questions and Answers, of the Ethics, Science and Philosophy for the study of which the Theosophical Society has been founded,” and the devotional gem called The Voice of the Silence, containing selected excerpts translated from an Eastern scripture, The Book of the Golden Precepts, which she had learnt by heart during her training.

In 1888, H. P. Blavatsky formed the Esoteric Section for the deeper study of the Esoteric Philosophy by dedicated students, and wrote for them her Instructions. She also founded the Blavatsky Lodge in London which has been active uninterruptedly since 1887.

H. P. Blavatsky died on May 8, 1891, during a severe epidemic of flu in England, and her remains were cremated at Woking Crematorium, Surrey.

Against the background of her life, her character, her mission, her total dedication, and her spiritual powers, H. P. Blavatsky is destined to be recognized in time as the greatest Occultist in the history of Western civilization, a direct agent of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood of Adepts.


Blavatsky, H. P., Collected Writings: Vols. I (1874-78), II (1879-80), III (1881-82), IV (1882-83), V (1883), VI (1883-85), VII (1886-87), VIII (1887), IX (1888), X (1888-89); further volumes in preparation.

Letters from H. P. Blavatsky to the American Conventions. Many editions.
The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, New York & London, 1925.
Sinnett, A. P., Incidents in the Life of H. P. Blavatsky, London, 1886.
Kingsland, William, The Real H. P. Blavatsky, London, 1928.
Butt, G. Baseden, Madame Blavatsky, London, 1925.
Neff, Mary K., Personal Memoirs of H. P. Blavatsky, New York, 1937; also as paperback, Quest Book, 1967.
Ryan, C. J., H. P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Movement, Point Loma, 1937. [8]
Cleather, Alice Gordon, H. P. Blavatsky, Her Life and Work for Humanity, Calcutta, 1922; H. P. Blavatsky, A Great Betrayal, ibid., 1922; H. P. Blavatsky, as I Knew Her, ibid., 1923.
H. P. B. In Memory of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky . By some of her Pupils. London, 1891; 2nd ed., 1931.
Humphreys, Christmas, The Field of Theosophy. The Teacher, The Teaching and The Way, London, 1966.
Purucker, G. de and Katherine Tingley, “H. P. Blavatsky, the Mystery,” The Theosophical Path, Vol. XXXVI, April, 1929 to Vol. XXXIX, January, 1931.
The Theosophist, Adyar, Madras, India: H.P.B. Centenary Number. Vol. LII, August, 1931.
Jinarajadasa, The Personality of H. P. Blavatsky, Adyar, Madras, 1930.
Arundale, Francesca, My Guest; H. P. Blavatsky, Adyar, Madras, 1932.
Keightley, Bertram, Reminiscences of H.P.B., Adyar, Madras, 1931.
Besant, Dr. Annie, H. P. Blavatsky and the Masters of the Wisdom, 1918.
Vania , K. F., Madame H. P. Blavatsky, Her Occult Phenomena and the Society for Psychical Research, Bombay, 1951.
Waterman, Adlai E., Obituary: The “Hodgson Report” on Madame Blavatsky - 1885-1960, Adyar, Madras, 1963.
Wachtmeister, Countess Constance, Reminiscences of H. P. Blavatsky and “The Secret Doctrine,” London, 1893.
Olcott, Col. Henry Steel, Old Diary Leaves, Vol. I, New York & London, 1895; 2nd ed., Adyar, Madras, 1941.
Eek, Dr. Sven, Damodar and the Pioneers of the Theosophical Movement, Adyar, Madras , 1965.
Barborka, Geoffrey A., H. P. Blavatsky, Tibet and Tulku, Adyar, Madras, 1966. The Divine Plan. A Commentary on “The Secret Doctrine,” Adyar, Madras, 1961.
Wadia, B. P., Studies in “The Secret Doctrine,” Books I and II, Bombay, 1961.



The epoch-making work known as The Secret Doctrine is the magnum opus of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Its subtitle is “The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy.” It was published in October, 1888, and printed by Allen, Scott & Co., 30, Bouverie Street, London, E.C. The Theosophical Publishing Company, Ltd., London; William Quan Judge, New York; and the Manager of The Theosophist, Adyar, Madras, India, were the joint Publishers whose names appear on the title-page.

It was “Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1888, by H. P. Blavatsky, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D.C.”; it was also “Entered at Stationer’s Hall,” London, with all rights, reserved.

In all ages, and in all lands, the belief has existed that a divine degree of knowledge is possible to human beings under certain conditions; and, as a corollary to this, the conviction has dwelt in the hearts of the people that living men exist who possess this [9] knowledge. In ancient days, some of this higher knowledge was taught in the Mystery-Schools, traces of which have been found among all the nations of the earth. In more modern days, its existence has been suspected by intuitive thinkers, who have called it by various names, such as the “Wisdom-Religion,” or the “Esoteric Philosophy.”

It is to the elucidation of the teachings of that “Wisdom-Religion” that the two volumes of The Secret Doctrine are devoted. In the words of H. P. Blavatsky herself:

“These truths are in no sense put forward as a revelation; nor does the author claim the position of a revealer of mystic lore, now made public for the first time in the world’s history ... this work is a partial statement of what she herself has been taught by more advanced students, supplemented, in a few details only, by the results of her own study and observation ...

“It is needless to explain that this book is not the Secret Doctrine in Its entirety, but a select number of fragments of its fundamental tenets ...

“The aim of this work may be thus stated: to show that Nature is not ‘a fortuitous concurrence of atoms,’ and to assign to man his rightful place in the scheme of the Universe; to rescue from degradation the archaic truths which are the basis of all religions; and to uncover, to some extent, the fundamental unity from which they all sprang; finally, to show that the occult side of Nature has never been approached by the Science of modern civilization.

“If this is in any degree accomplished, the writer is content. It is written in the service of humanity, and by humanity and the future generations it must be judged. Its author recognizes no inferior court of appeal. Abuse she is accustomed to; calumny she is daily acquainted with; at slander she smiles in silent contempt.” [Preface.]

With this outspoken send off, the most important literary production from the pen of H. P. Blavatsky became public property.

The first of the two volumes of The Secret Doctrine contains Book I, and is primarily concerned with the evolution of the Kosmos, the Awakening of Septenary Hierarchies to a new Kosmic Day, after a period of latency, and the growth and development of Planetary Chains.

A most important INTRODUCTION establishes the stage-setting for what follows. The Secret Doctrine is declared to have been “the universally diffused religion of the ancient and prehistoric world,” and the work, far from being a mere treatise, “or a series of vague theories,” is said to “contain all that can be given out to the world in this [the XIXth] century.” A prophetic statement is made to the effect that “in Century the Twentieth some disciple more informed, and far better fitted, may be sent by the Masters of Wisdom to give final and irrefutable proofs that there exists a Science called Gupta-Vidya ...”

Next comes the PROEM which embodies the now famous Three Fundamental Propositions of the Secret [10] Doctrine, elaborated and expanded in the “Summing Up” section (Vol. I, pp. 269-99). The skeleton of Book I is formed by Seven Stanzas translated from the secret Book of Dzyan, the original of which is written in the sacred language of the Initiates - the Senzar. The stanzas and their commentaries and explanations form Part I of this First Book.

Part II is devoted to the elucidation of the fundamental symbols contained in the great religions of the world, and the occult meaning of the hidden ideographs and glyphs.

Part III outlines the contrasting views of Science and the Secret Doctrine and meets probable scientific objections by anticipation. This Part serves as a connecting link between the two volumes.

The general arrangement of Volume II is similar to that of Volume I. It deals primarily with the Evolution of Man on this Planet, the subject being introduced by “Preliminary Notes” on the Archaic Stanzas and the Four Prehistoric Continents.

Part I is based on Twelve Stanzas from the Book of Dzyan describing the gradual evolution of humanity through many occult stages, the origin of the lower kingdoms of nature, the submergence of ancient continents, and presents a panoramic view of bygone civilizations.

Part II deals with the Archaic Symbolism of the World-Religions, with special emphasis on the Sevenfold and Quaternary classifications of elements and forces.

Part III contrasts again the teachings of the Wisdom-Religion with those of the then current Science, mainly in the domain of Anthropology and Geology.

Having written some 1500 pages on these recondite and fascinating subjects, H. P. Blavatsky concludes by saying that “these two volumes had to serve as a PROLOGUE, and prepare the reader’s mind for those which shall now follow.” With the traditional modesty of a true disciple she points out that her main concern “was simply to prepare the soil. This, we trust, we have done.” Having opened before the reader’s eyes a vision of Kosmic grandeur, and stretched his mental and spiritual capacities to a far-flung horizon of evolving systems, interpenetrating hierarchies and limitless cycles of evolution, she closes by saying: “These two volumes only constitute the work of a pioneer who has forced his way into the well-nigh impenetrable jungle of the virgin forests of the Land of the Occult. A commencement has been made to fell and uproot the deadly upas trees of superstition, prejudice, and conceited ignorance, so that these two volumes should form for the student a fitting prelude for Volumes III and IV. Until the rubbish of the ages is cleared away from the minds of the Theosophists to whom these volumes are dedicated, it is impossible that the more practical teaching contained in the Third Volume should be understood. Consequently, it entirely depends upon the reception with which Volumes I and II will meet at the hands of Theosophists and Mystics, whether these last two volumes will ever be published, though they are almost completed.” [11]


Col. Henry Steel Olcott, President-Founder of The Theosophical Society, was born at Orange, N.Y., August 2, 1832, and descended from a well·to·do Puritan family which emigrated to New England in the 17th century. He studied at the College of New York and later at Columbia University. His earliest interest was the scientific study of agriculture in which he achieved international recognition at the early age of twenty-three. He became co-founder with Henry C. Vail of the Westchester Farm School, near Mt. Vernon, N.Y. The Government of the U.S.A. offered him the Directorship of Agriculture, but Olcott declined the offer, as he preferred to carryon independently. His first book, Sorgho and Imphee, the Chinese and African Sugar-Canes ( New York, A. O. More, 1858.), ran through seven editions and was prescribed as a school text. Olcott soon became an Associate Agricultural Editor of the famous New York Tribune.

Olcott’s passion for liberty drove him to enlist in the Northern Army at the outbreak of the Civil War; he went through the whole of the North Carolina campaign under Gen. Burnside, and was invalided to New York , having contracted dysentery. The Government chose him to conduct an inquiry into fraud, corruption and graft at the New York Mustering and Disbursing Office, and he was made Special Commissioner of the War Department. Over-riding all opposition and enmity, he rounded up every criminal and cleansed [12] the department. He was then promoted to the rank of Colonel. Soon after, the Navy Department applied for the use of Olcott’s services to eradicate abuses in the Navy Yards. He acquitted himself of this new responsibility with equal success, earning outspoken appreciations from the Officials.

Resigning his Commission in 1865, Olcott devoted himself to the study of law and was admitted to the Bar in May of 1868. He codified confused practices of insurance law and became a specialist in Customs, Revenue and Insurance cases, acquiring a large and prosperous clientele.

Olcott felt a deep fascination for the occult and mystical. He had followed with keen interest various psychic phenomena and studied extensively whatever literature was available on the subjects of mesmerism and magnetism, discovering soon that he had himself considerable mesmeric powers in healing. One day in July of 1874, while working in his New York law office, he had a sudden urge to investigate modern Spiritualism. He purchased a copy of the Banner of Light and read in it the account of the curious phenomena taking place at the Eddy farmhouse at Chittenden , Vt. He went there as special reporter for the New York Sun and wrote articles describing what he saw. The New York Daily Graphic persuaded him to return to Chittenden and to write another series of accounts. Olcott did so, and it was during his second stay there, namely on October 14, 1874, that he met H. P. Blavatsky who arrived on that date in company of a French Canadian lady.

Such was the background of the future President-Founder of the Theosophical Society. Olcott brought to his Theosophical task an unsullied record of public service, a keen capacity, a great ability to work, and an altruism which H.P.B. declared at a later date she had never seen equalled outside the Asrama of the Masters.

Col. Olcott’s life-story from 1874 on is almost identical with the history of the Theosophical Society itself, from its founding in 1875 to his death at Adyar, February 17, 1907. He was a great organizer, a clever administrator, a world-wide traveller on behalf of the Theosophical Society, a remarkable healer, an able lecturer and a man of forceful action in a great Cause. His devotion to the revival of pure Buddhism and the preservation of Buddhist Culture, against missionary inroads, resulted in later years in a widespread network of Buddhist Schools in Ceylon where Olcott is considered today as a National Hero.


Chief works by Col. H. S. Olcott:

People from the Other World, Hartford, Conn., 1875.
Theosophy, Religion and Occult Science, London, 1885.
Buddhist Catechism; orig. pub. in 1881, with a great many later editions and translations.
Old Diary Leaves. Series I was publ. by G. Putnam’s Sons in London and New York, in 1895, the original articles having appeared previously in the pages of The Theosophist. Four other Volumes appeared in due time. [13]
Various lectures printed in pamphlet form and heating on Buddhism, Comparative Religion and Theosophical Ideals.

Comprehensive Biographical accounts in:
H. P. Blavatsky,Collected Writings, Vol. I, pp. 503-18.
Dr. Sven Eek, Damodar and the Pioneers of The Theosophical Movement, 1965, pp. 640-59.
The Theosophist, Adyar, Madras: Olcott Centenary Number, Vol. LIII, August, 1932.
Kewal Motwani, Colonel H. S. Olcott. A Forgotten Page of American History. Madras, 1955.



William Quan Judge was born in Dublin, Ireland, April 13, 1851, in a family which had known much material adversity. At the age of seven he experienced a very serious illness and was pronounced dead by the doctor. He nevertheless revived, and during his convalescence began reading books on various mystical subjects, though his family was unaware of his ability to read. His mother died in Ireland at the birth of her seventh child. When William was thirteen, the Judge family emigrated to the United States, and the father had to assume the double responsibility of educating and providing for the children. They settled in Brooklyn, N.Y.

William managed to finish his schooling before going to work. He eventually became a clerk in the Law Office of George P. Andrews; who later became Judge of the Supreme Court of New York. He began to prepare himself for the legal profession. In April, 1872, he became naturalized, and was admitted to the State Bar of New York one month later. His industry, natural shrewdness and inflexible persistence commended him to his clients, and he became, as time went on, a specialist in Commercial Law.

William’s marriage to Ella M. Smith was not successful, as his wife opposed his mystical interests, and the loss of their child added to the unhappiness of their family life.

It was in the Fall of 1874 that Judge came in contact with H. P. Blavatsky. Having read Col. Olcott’s articles in the Daily Graphic, he wrote him asking to be introduced to H.P.B. This resulted in an association that was to last throughout their life. Soon after, in September of 1875, Judge became one of the Founders of The Theosophical Society and acted as Counsel thereof. When H.P.B. and Olcott left for India, in December, 1878, the small group of Theosophists in New York was left in the care of the Acting President, Major-General Abner Doubleday and W. Q. Judge. The next few years were rather desolate and lonely for Judge, and it is obvious from existing records that he was undergoing a severe occult test during which his inner stamina was tried in every conceivable manner. After the situation had somewhat improved, Judge undertook his long-wished-for journey to India. He went via Paris in March, 1884, and was on hand to meet H.P.B. and Olcott who were [14] then coming from India . While in Paris, he helped H.P.B. in the early stages of the writing of The Secret Doctrine. He then continued his trip and stayed a short time at Adyar, where he had the great happiness of meeting Damodar with whom he had corresponded for several years. He returned to New York in November of 1884. Upon his return, Judge found his financial prospects greatly improved, and identified himself with the law firm in which Olcott’s brother worked.

Feeling that a basic reorganization of the Theosophical work was required in America, he suggested the formation of an American Section. This was done in June, 1886, with Judge elected as permanent General Secretary. Under his vigorous leadership the Section soon prospered and new Branches were chartered all over the country.

From that time on, Judge’s life, similar to Olcott’s own case, is so indissolubly involved in the history of the Theosophical Society in America , that to outline the one is tantamount to outlining the other.

In April, 1886, Judge started his magazine The Path which was to become the backbone of Theosophical publicity in America . As only a few qualified writers were yet available, Judge wrote for it under a number of pseudonyms, such as Eusebio Urban, Rodriguez Undiano, Hadji Erinn, Willian Brehon and others. H.P.B.’s admiration for his journal was very pronounced, and she referred to it as “pure Buddhi.”

Judge lectured up and down the country, published tracts on Theosophy, conducted an enormous correspondence, and gradually attracted a number of valuable co-workers who engaged in similar activities under his able guidance.

In December, 1888, Judge was in Dublin, and went from there to London to assist H.P.B. in the formation of the Esoteric Section, for which he formulated some of the Rules. H.P.B. appointed him as her “only representative for said Section in America,” and she did so “in virtue of his character as a chela of thirteen years standing.” In the same year he was appointed by Olcott as Vice-President of The Theosophical Society, and in 1890 was officially elected to that office, the rules having been changed. H.P.B.’s trust in Judge and her high regard for his occult standing are, perhaps, best illustrated by the following words in her letter to Judge, dated from London October 23, 1889 :

“The Esoteric Section and its life in the U.S.A. depends on W.Q.J. remaining its agent and what he is now. The day W.Q.J. resigns, H.P.B. will be virtually dead for the Americans.

“W.Q.J. is the Antaskarana between the two Manas (es) the American thought and the Indian - or rather the trans-Himalayan Esoteric Knowledge.”

At one time, when Col. Olcott intended to resign from the Presidency of the T.S., he designated Judge as the man to succeed him in this position. Subsequent events altered this, as Olcott did not resign, and continued as President-Founder until his death in 1907. [15]

After the passing of H.P.B., another trying time had to be lived through by Judge, as he became the target of various accusations from some of his own Fellow-Theosophists. Charges and counter charges were made which cannot be adequately explained in the present bird’s-eye-view of his life. The final outcome of this unfortunate set of circumstances due to human weaknesses, was the decision of the American Section to become an independent body as “The Theosophical Society in America” under the Presidency of Judge. This took place at the Boston Convention, on April 28-29, 1895.

W. Q. Judge died rather young, on March 21, 1896, as a result of tuberculosis and the debilitating effects of Chagres fever he had contracted some years before during business journeys in So. America.

To quote some very significant wards of his uttered at the American Convention of 1895:

“The Unity of the Theosophical Movement does not depend upon singleness of organization, but upon similarity of work and aspiration; and in this we will ‘KEEP THE LINK UNBROKEN’.”


Principal writings of W. Q. Judge:
An Epitome of Theosophy, 1888.
The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, 1889.
Echoes from the Orient, 1890.
Bhagavad-Gita - a rendering of this ancient Scripture, with valuable foot-notes, and Commentaries published in The Path and later in book form.
Letters That Have Helped Me, 1891. Second Series publ. in 1905.
The Ocean of Theosophy, 1893.
A large number of articles and essays in The Path and The Theosophical Forum which was started in 1889 in Question-and-Answer form.
Judge also issued Oriental Department Papers and Department of Branch Work Papers.
Two Collections of his articles have been published to date: Vernal Blooms, 1946; and The Heart Doctrine, 1951.

For a more comprehensive account of Judge’s life and work, consult:
H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. I, pp. 472-90; and Dr. Sven Eek, Damodar and the Pioneers of The Theosophical Movement, 1965, pp. 101-23.



The Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras 20, India, where its International Headquarters is; Headquarters of the American Section is at Wheaton, Ill. (P.O. Box 270 ).
The Theosophical Society (formerly at Point Loma, Calif.), with Headquarters at 643 East Mariposa, Altadena, Calif.
The United Lodge of Theosophists (incl. The Theosophy Company), at 245 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles, Calif. [16]


Henry Still Olcott
President of The Theosophical Society

[Originally published in the Supplement to The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 10, July 1883, p. 14. The contents of this Official Document are of equal, if not greater, importance in the dangerous and trying times we live in today, than they were under the circumstances which prevailed at the time the Document was originally published. Students are urged to give it the attention is deserves. - Editor.]

The tenacious observance by the Founders of our Society of the principle of absolute neutrality, on its behalf, in all questions which lie outside the limits of its declared “objects,” ought to have obviated the necessity to say that there is a natural and perpetual divorce between Theosophy and Politics. Upon an hundred platforms I have announced this fact, and in every other practicable way, public and private, it has been affirmed and reiterated. Before we came to India , the word Politics had never been pronounced in connection with our names; for the idea was too absurd to be even entertained, much less expressed. But in this country, affairs are in such an exceptional state, that every foreigner, of whatsoever nationality, comes under Police surveillance, more or less; and it was natural that we should be looked after until the real purpose of our Society’s movements had been thoroughly well shown by the developments of time. That end was reached in due course; and in the year 1880, the Government of India, after an examination of our papers and other evidence, became convinced of our political neutrality, and issued all the necessary orders to relieve us from further annoying surveillance. Since then, we have gone our ways without troubling ourselves more than any other law-abiding persons, about the existence of policemen or detective bureaus, I would not have reverted to so stale a topic if I had not been forced to do so by recent events. I am informed that in Upper India, some unwise members of the Society have been talking about the political questions of the hour, as though authorized to speak for our organization itself, or at least to give to this or that view of current agitations the imprimatur of its approval or disapproval. At a European capital, the other day, an Asiatic, whom I suspect to be a political agent, was invited to a social gathering of local Theosophists, where, certainly, philosophy and not politics, was the theme of discussion, but where this mysterious unknown’s presence was calculated to throw suspicion over the meeting. Again, it was but a fortnight or so ago that one of the most respectable and able of our Hindu fellows strongly importuned me to allow the Theosophical Society’s influence - such as it may be - to be thrown in favor of Bills to promote religious instruction for Hindu children, and other “non-political” measures. That our members, and others whom it interests, may make no mistake as to the Society’s attitude as regards politics, I take this occasion to say that our Rules, and traditional policy alike, prohibit every officer and fellow of the Society, AS SUCH, to meddle with political questions in the slightest degree, and to compromise the Society by saying that it has, AS SUCH, any opinion upon those or any other questions. The Presidents of Branches in all countries will be good enough to read this protest to their members, and in every instance when initiating a candidate to give him to understand - as I invariably do - the fact of our corporate neutrality. So convinced am I that the perpetuity of our Society - at least in countries under despotic or to any degree arbitrary Governments - depends upon our keeping closely to our legitimate province, and leaving Politics “severely alone”, I shall use the full power permitted me as President-Founder to suspend or expel every member, or even discipline or discharter any Branch which shall, by offending in this respect, imperil the work now so prosperously going on in various parts of the world.

Official: - H. S. OLCOTT, P.T.S., H. P. BLAVATSKY, Corr. Sec’y. Theos. Socy .[17]



Gottfried de Purucker *

[From Studies in Occult Philosophy, pp. 417-21.]

(* [Dr. Gottfried de Purucker, late Leader of the Point Loma Theosophical Society, was born at Suffern, N.Y., January 15, 1874, and died at Covina, California, September 27, 1942. He succeeded Katherine Tingley as Leader of the Society, July 11, 1929 . Educated in Geneva , Switzerland , along Classical lines, specializing in ancient and modern languages, Dr. de Purucker became in later years one of the finest scholars in the Theosophical Movement. During the period of 1929-42, he produced a number of remarkable works, such as The Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, The Esoteric Tradition, Man in Evolution, and the devotional book Golden Precepts of Esotericism. He inaugurated and sponsored a Fraternization Movement among the various Theosophical Organizations, an effort which gained greater momentum in later years. - Editor, Theosophia.])

H. P. B. mentions in the Proem of THE SECRET DOCTRINE that it is necessary to gain understanding of the three fundamental principles. Could you tell us what these three fundamental principles are and what they mean? I find it extremely difficult to comprehend them.

The three fundamental principles as H. P. B. outlines them in The Secret Doctrine are the very basis, the three foundation-stones, on which the entire structure of the modern presentation of the Ancient Wisdom rests. If you get these three ideas in your mind, you will have thereafter an outline, a skeleton-frame, of ideas.

H. P. B. writes as follows on page 14 of the first volume of The Secret Doctrine: “The Secret Doctrine establishes three fundamental propositions: (a) An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE [This does not mean immutable in action, but does mean immutable in its own essence.] on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude.”

H. P. B. writes practically three pages on this fundamental proposition or principle; and it is one which I have devoted much space to in my Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, because it is the least understood by most students. Some of our students have imagined that this principle is a god of a kind, or a spirit of a kind, and it is neither - at least not in any usual conception of these terms. Some people have imagined, contrariwise, that it is a mere abstraction, a usage of words only in order to cover or to conceal or to disguise a hiatus in the Ancient Wisdom or the mystical thought of the Masters; and this idea is simply preposterous. It is called a ‘principle,’ simply because there is no word in the English language which accurately describes it.

To illustrate: What is the ‘principle’ of a triangle? A triangle is a geometrical figure which has three straight sides joined at their ends and [18] enclosing space. A ‘principle’ of a thing describes its esse, its essence, its characteristic; and consequently there is otherwise no limiting description here. H. P. B. says herself that this principle in its esse is beyond the reach of human thought. Obviously true, because it is Boundless Infinitude; it is That, Tat to use the words of the Hindu Veda. Consequently it is everywhere, it is all that is, all that ever was, all that ever will be, the fountain of everything, the great source, the inexpressible source, the ineffable source, from which everything flows forth, and into which everything finally returns, atoms and gods, worlds and everything on and in them. It is boundless life, boundless space, boundless duration, frontierless and beginningless, and without limiting extensional dimensions of any kind, because it contains them all. How can you describe this indescribable THAT? This, then, is the first principle that H. P. B. postulates as one of the three fundamental propositions.

There is not a word about ‘God’ here. It is not personal nor is it impersonal - this ‘principle’ as H. P. B. call it - because it includes both personalities and impersonalities and is beyond both. It is not spirit, and it is not non-spirit, because it includes and is beyond both. It is not time and it is not non-time, because it includes and is beyond both. These statements are correct because all these ideas are human ideas connected with what modern scientific philosophers would call ‘space-time’ and ‘events.’ Yet the very core of the core of the heart of the heart of each one of us, and indeed of every entity and thing in boundless infinitude, is this principle. It is what we essentially are as individuals and collectively. Call it the kosmic life and you won’t err; only in this case for the adjective ‘ kosmic’ you must extend your conception to include boundless infinitude. Call it the kosmic intelligence and you won’t err, but in this case it is not only the intelligence of a Solar System nor of a Galaxy nor of a thousand billion Galaxies, but all these and infinitely more; nothing manifested, however vast, even approaches the ends of it, because it has no end.

This idea cuts directly at the root of all sectarian religious thought; it does away with all human religious postulates regarding divinity and all human man-made gods, no matter how great. If properly understood it washes our minds clean of all egoisms; all things sink into utter insignificance beside the adumbrations of a conception that we may have of this - and yet it is the essence of ourselves! It is the selves of the gods; it is the selves of the Universes; it is the selves of the Galaxies, the selves of the great Spaces, of the great fields of the spaces of frontierless Space; it is all the inner worlds and all the outer worlds and that mysterious, that awful, indescribable ‘something’ which surrounds and permeates and enfolds and encloses and which flashes through all. It is all energy that is, it is all substance that is, it is all destiny that is, it is everything at all times and in all places and everywhere. How can you give the name of ‘god’ to THAT? This, then, is an outline of the first fundamental proposition.

H. P. B.’s second fundamental proposition she describes as follows on page 16 of the first volume of The Secret Doctrine, to wit: “(b) The Eternity [19] of the Universe in toto” [not anyone Universe, but what I have often spoken of as boundless and frontierless infinitude, inner infinitude as well as outer, the ‘Universe’ in the sense of a kosmic organism, but an organism which has no beginning and no ending, or rather it is organisms within organisms, kosmic cause within and beyond kosmic cause.]. “The Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane [here H. P. B. is describing only the astral-vital-physical]; periodically ‘the playground of numberless Universes ...’ [mark you this] The Eternity of the Universe ... periodically ‘the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing,’ called ‘the manifesting stars,’ and the ‘sparks of Eternity.’ ‘The Eternity of the Pilgrim’ is like a wink of the Eye of Self-Existence (Book of Dzyan).”

By the way, I might add here that this term Dzyan is but the Senzar term of what in Sanskrit meant spiritual meditation; the same word is used in the phrase Dhyani-Buddhas, the Buddhas immersed in Dhyana. Dhyana therefore is the Sanskrit form of the Senzar-Dzyan. “The appearance and disappearance of Worlds is like a regular tidal ebb of flux and reflux.”

“This second assertion of the Secret Doctrine is the absolute universality of that law of periodicity, of flux and reflux, ebb and flow, which physical science has observed and recorded in all departments of nature. An alternation such as that of Day and Night, Life and Death, Sleeping and Waking, is a fact so common, so perfectly universal and without exception, that it is easy to comprehend that in it we see one of the absolutely fundamental laws of the universe.” - in the boundless, in the infinite, frontierless, spaces of Space.

The second proposition sets forth that there appear from time to time in regular and periodic successions, like an ebb and flow, worlds and beings continuous throughout eternity, Manvantara and Pralaya: the appearance and disappearance of incalculable numbers of Universes in all grades, in all degrees and stages, of spiritual evolution and of vital-astral-physical evolution. I have often marvelled that here, in explaining what the second fundamental proposition is, H. P. B. should have limited it - at least in appearance - to the astral-physical side only, because actually this is an insufficient exposition of this amazing proposition which is equivalent to an intellectual revelation; but I dare say, and in fact I know, that our beloved H. P. B. thought that to give all the truth concerning this proposition in The Secret Doctrine, which was the first installment of the esoteric teaching, would be too much to deliver at one time and in an era when men had no real idea of inner worlds, of spiritual and ethereal worlds, except as taught vaguely by the Christians and unfortunately and inaccurately by the Spiritists. In fact, one can only commend her for her reserve in this respect.

This ebb and flow, this flux and reflux, this appearancl1 and disappearance, of Solar Systems, of Galaxies, and of individual suns or planets, is as evident in the interior planes and spheres, in the invisible realms, as it is on and in our own astral-vital-physical plane. Periodicity or universal cyclical action is the key-note, the key-thought, therefore, of the second great fundamental principle. [20]

First, then, we have as the primordial ‘principle,’ the vast and frontierless Boundless in which appear from time to time in periodical successions worlds and galaxies of worlds, galaxies and hierarchies of galaxies, coming and going throughout eternity; and man’s various reimbodiments, not only on this plane on this globe but throughout the Planetary Chain and indeed also in the Outer Rounds - and you know what these are, some of you at least, if you have studied Fundamentals - man’s reimbodiments, I repeat, are an instance in the small of the same universal law which rules everything within the mighty Whole.

Isn’t it obvious that a part of a whole cannot contain something that the whole has not? Isn’t this clear? Therefore; whatever the part contains the whole must have, otherwise it could not appear in a part of the whole. Conversely, whatever the whole has, the part has - unmanifest it may be, but latent there and some day to appear.

All is within each one of us. Ah! your destiny is sublime beyond all human imagining; for I tell you, Companions, that you and the Boundless are fundamentally, essentially, one. You are not merely separable parts of a whole, not merely one with it as separable parts, distinct parts, as in a loose union, but are essentially the same with the Boundless. There is no fundamental or essential difference whatsoever. The infinite, the Boundless, and you, are the same in essence, are identic in essence; and therefore you merely manifest, as manifesting atoms as it were, some of the energies and powers and forces that the Boundless contains and which therefore you contain manifest or unmanifest.

Now comes the third fundamental proposition - and this is in some respects and perhaps to some students the most wonderful of all three, to which the observations that I have just made naturally lead us in thought. This proposition appears on pages 17 and 18 of the first volume of The Secret Doctrine. “The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, [which is what I have just told you] the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root [the Boundless, therefore you are the Boundless]; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul - a spark of the former - through the Cycle of Incarnation (or ‘Necessity’) in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, [which is the second fundamental proposition] during the whole term.” Then H. P. B. continues to define.

It seems to us now greatly to be regretted that at this point in the writing of The Secret Doctrine, although it is done elsewhere, H. P. B. did not point out that ‘Soul’ is used here in the sense of fundamental Self, although the S is printed with a capital letter, meaning here not the lower self, not the human self, not the beast-self - the animal self - but the god-self, the super-god self, in other words the Paramatman, that fundamental essential selfhood which is the heart of being and therefore which is your heart of being. This is what is meant by ‘Soul’ here, the fundamental identity not of your weak, vacillating, poor human soul or mind, which is but a shadow of the reality, but the fundamental identity of the god within you, and of the [21] super-god within you, and of the super, super, super, super-god within you, which is the core of the core of the core of you - with this indescribable sublimity called the ‘Boundless,’ when manifesting in its form of ‘Universal Over-Soul.’ Note here the very important and profoundly interesting distinction drawn by our great H. P. B., and so rightly drawn, between the ‘Boundless’ without qualifying adjective which is sheer frontierless infinity and eternity, and that aspect of the Boundless in its form of manifestation which in ordinary human language can be described as the ensouled Universe, or as H. P. B. puts it ‘the Universal-Soul.’ This distinction is of the first importance for a proper understanding of what perhaps we may call kosmic pneumatology and psychology.

These three fundamental propositions are the very heart of the Ancient Wisdom, and therefore of Occultism, no matter in what words or after what human fashion we learn these propositions and take them into our consciousness. In order to make progress in occult studies, that is in the studies of esoteric philosophy, we must have the ideas thoroughly familiar to us, as parts of our consciousness, so that our mind instinctively reverts to them as invaluable touchstones in our studies and hours of quiet reflexion. The first is the Boundless; then second the periodical appearance of the Universes and of the gods; then third the fundamental identity of every entity, of every thing, with the Boundless. Here are the three propositions in brief.


[Bombay Gazette, Bombay, May 13, 1879.]

... My present business is to take the Gazette to task for thrusting upon my unwilling republican head the Baronial coronet. Know please, once for all, that I am neither “Countess,” “Princess,” nor even a modest “Baroness,” whatever I may have been before last July. At that time I became a plain citizen of the U.S. of America - a title I value far more than any that could be conferred on me by King or Emperor. Being this I could be nothing else, if I wished; for, as everyone knows, had I been even a princess of the royal blood before, once that my oath of allegiance was pronounced, I forfeited every claim to titles of nobility. Apart from this notorious fact, my experience of things in general, and peacocks’ feathers in particular, has led me to acquire a positive contempt for titles, since it appears that outside the boundaries of their own Fatherlands, Russian princes, Polish counts, Italian marquises, and German barons are far more plentiful inside than outside the police precincts. Permit me further to state-if only for the edification of the Times of India and a brood of snarling little papers, searching around after the garbage of journalism - that I have never styled myself aught but what I can prove myself to be-namely, an honest woman, now a citizen of America, my adopted country, and the only land of true freedom in the whole world.

Bombay, May 12. [22]


William Quan Judge

[Originally published in The Path, Vol. X, September, 1885, pp. 188-90.]

From ignorance of the truth about man’s real nature and faculties and their action and condition after bodily death, a number of evils flow. The effect of such want of knowledge is much wider than the concerns of one or several persons. Government and the administration of human justice under man-made laws will improve in proportion as there exists a greater amount of information on this all-important subject. When a wide and deep knowledge and belief in respect to the occult side of nature and of man shall have become the property of the people then may we expect a great change in the matter of capital punishment.

The killing of a human being by the authority of the state is morally wrong and also an injury to all the people; no criminal should be executed no matter what the offence. If the administration of the laws is so faulty as to permit the release of the hardened criminal before the term of his sentence has expired, that has nothing to do with the question of killing him.

Under Christianity this killing is contrary to the law supposed to have emanated from the Supreme Lawgiver. The commandment is: “Thou shalt not kill!” No exception is made for state or governments; it does not even except the animal kingdom. Under this law therefore it is not right to kill a dog, to say nothing of human beings. But the commandment has always been and still is ignored. The Theology of man is always able to argue away any regulation whatever; and the Christian nations once rioted in executions. At one time for stealing a loaf of bread or a few nails a man might be hanged. This, however, has been so altered that death at the hands of the law is imposed for murder only - omitting some unimportant exceptions.

We can safely divide the criminals who have been or will be killed under our laws into two classes: i.e., those persons who are hardened, vicious, murderous in nature; and those who are not so, but who, in a moment of passion, fear, or anger, have slain another. The last may be again divided into those who are sorry for what they did, and those who are not. But even though those of the second class are not by intention enemies of Society, as are the others, they too before their execution may have their anger, resentment, desire for revenge and other feelings besides remorse, all aroused against Society which persecutes them and against those who directly take part in their trial and execution. The nature, passions, state of mind and bitterness of the criminal have, hence, to be taken into account in considering the question. For the condition which he is in when cut off from mundane life has much to do with the whole subject.

All the modes of execution are violent, whether by the knife, the sword, the bullet, by poison, rope, or electricity. And for the Theosophist the term violent as applied to death must mean more than it does to those who do not hold theosophical views. For the latter, a violent death is distinguished from [23] an easy natural one solely by the violence used against the victim. But for us such a death is the violent separation of the man from his body, and is a serious matter, of interest to the whole state. It creates in fact a paradox, for such persons are not dead; they remain with us as unseen criminals, able to do harm to the living and to cause damage to the whole of Society.

What happens? All the onlooker sees is that the sudden cutting off is accomplished; but what of the reality? A natural death is like the falling of a leaf near the winter time. The time is fully ripe, all the powers of the leaf having separated; those acting no longer, its stem has but a slight hold on the branch and the slightest wind takes it away. So with us; we begin to separate our different inner powers and parts one from the other because their full term has ended, and when the final tremor comes the various inner component parts of the man fall away from each other and let the soul go free. But the poor criminal has not come to the natural end of his life. His astral body is not ready to separate from his physical body, nor is the vital, nervous energy ready to leave. The entire inner man is closely knit together, and he is the reality. I have said these parts are not ready to separate - they are in fact not able to separate because they are bound together by law and a force over which only great Nature has control.

When then the mere physical body is so treated that a sudden, premature separation from the real man is effected, he is merely dazed for a time, after which he wakes up in the atmosphere of the earth, fully a sentient living being save for the body. He sees the people, he sees and feels again the pursuit of him by the law. His passions are alive. He has become a raging fire, a mass of hate; the victim of his fellows and of his own crime. Few of us are able, even under favorable circumstances to admit ourselves as wholly wrong and to say that punishment inflicted on us by man is right and just, and the criminal has only hate and desire for revenge.

If now we remember that his state of mind was made worse by his trial and execution, we can see that he has become a menace to the living. Even if he be not so bad and full of revenge as said, he is himself the repository of his own deeds; he carries with him into the astral realm surrounding us the pictures of his crimes, and these are ever living creatures, as it were. In any case he is dangerous. Floating as he does in the very realm in which our mind and senses operate, he is forever coming in contact with the mind and senses of the living. More people than we suspect are nervous and sensitive. If these sensitives are touched by this invisible criminal they have injected into them at once the pictures of his crime and punishment, the vibrations from his hate, malice and revenge. Like creates like, and thus these vibrations create their like. Many a person has been impelled by some unknown force to commit crime; and that force came from such an inhabitant of our sphere.

And even with those not called “sensitive” these floating criminals have an effect, arousing evil thoughts where any basis for such exists in those [24] individuals. We cannot argue away the immense force of hate, revenge, fear, vanity, all combined. Take the case of Guiteau, who shot President Garfield. He went through many days of trial. His hate, anger and vanity were aroused to the highest pitch every day and until the last, and he died full of curses for everyone who had anything to do with his troubles. Can we be so foolish as to say that all the force he thus generated was at once dissipated? Of course it was not. In time it will be transformed into other forces, but during the long time before that takes place the living Guiteau will float through our mind and senses carrying with him and dragging over us the awful pictures drawn and frightful passions engendered.

The Theosophist who believes in the multiple nature of man and in the complexity of his inner nature, and knows that that is governed by law and not by mere chance or by the fancy of those who prate of the need for protecting society when they do not know the right way to do it, relying only on the punitive and retaliatory Mosaic law - will oppose capital punishment. He sees it is unjust to the living, a danger to the state, and that it allows no chance whatever for any reformation of the criminal.



With the passing of time, the writings of H. P. Blavatsky increase in importance. Together with the Letters from the Adept-Brothers, they are the unshakable foundation for all genuine occult work today and in future centuries. The astounding developments in modern science confirm many of the teachings outlined by her. Every student in the Theosophical Movement, and every Lodge or Group within the organized Societies should be in possession of them as source material.

The following Volumes are available:
Vol. I (1874-78) 570 pages.
Vol. II (1879-80) 635 pages.
Vol. III (1881-82) 584 pages.
Vol. IV (1882-83) Ready 1969.
Vol. V (1883) 416 pages.
Vol. VI (1883-85) 481 pages.
Vol. VII (1886-87) 433 pages.
Vol. VIII (1887) 507 pages.
Vol. IX (1888) 487 pages.
Vol. X (1888·89) 461 pages
Large octavos; illustrated with rare portraits; cloth bound; fully indexed.

U.S.A. Price: $7.00.
Order from: “THEOSOPHIA” 551 South Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90005, U.S.A.
(Also: 68, Great Russell St., London, W.C. 1, England; and Adyar, Madras 20, India).