Bottom. Let me play the lion. . . . I will
roar, that I will do any mans heart good to hear me. . . . I will
make the Duke say, . . . "Let him roar let him roar again." .
. . Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves; to bring in God
shield us! a lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing; for, there
is not a more fearful wild-fowl than your lion living; and we ought to
look tot. . . . Nay, you must name his name, and half his face must
be seen through the lions neck; and he himself must speak through,
saying thus, or to the same defect: "Ladies," or "fair ladies
[or Theosophists I would wish you," or "I would
request you," or "I would entreat you," not to fear,
not to tremble: . . . If you think I come hither as a lion, . .
. no, I am no such thing: I am a man . . . and there indeed
let him name his name. Midsummer Nights Dream.
In Light of July 21st,
in the "Correspondence," appears a letter signed "G. W.,
M.D." Most transparent initials these, which "name the name"
at once, and show the writers face "through the lions neck."
The communication consists of just fifty-eight paragraphs, containing an
equal number of sneering, rancorous, vulgar, personal flings, the whole
distributed over three and a half columns. It pretends to criticize, while
only misquoting and misinterpreting Eastern Esotericism. Its author would
create a laugh at the expense of Mr. Sinnetts book, and succeeds in
showing us what a harmless creature is the "lion," "wild-fowl"though he may be; and where he would make a show of wit, the letter
is only nasty.
I should not address your public, even in my private capacity, but that
the feelings of many hundreds of my Asiatic brothers have been outraged
by this, to them, ribald attack upon what they hold sacred. For them, and
at their instance, I protest. It might be regarded as beneath
contempt had it come from an outsider upon whom rested no obligation to
uphold the dignity of the Theosophical Society; in such case it would have
passed for a clumsy attempt to injure an unpalatable cause: that of Esoteric
Buddhism. But when it is a wide-open secret that the letter came from a
member of about five years standing, and one who, upon the protogenesis
of the "British Theosophical Society" as the "London Lodge
of the Theosophical Society," retained membership. the case has quite
another aspect. The cutting insult having been inflicted publicly and without
antecedent warning, it appears necessary to enquire as to the occult motive.
I shall not stop to remark upon the wild résumé, which,
professedly "a criticism from a European and arithmetical standpoint,"
passed muster with you. Nor shall I lose time over the harmless flings at
"incorrigible Buddhists and other lunatics," beyond remarking àpropos of "moon" and "dust-bins"
that the former seems to have found a good symbol of herself as a "dust-bin"
in the heads of those whose perceptive faculties seem so dusty as to prevent
the entrance of a single ray of Occult light. Briefly then, since the year
1879 when we came to India, the author of the letter in question has made
attempts to put himself into communication with the "Brothers."
Besides trying to enter into correspondence with Colonel Olcotts Guru,
he sent twice, through myself, letters addressed to the Mahâtmâs.
Being, as it appears, full of one-sided prejudiced questions, suggesting
to Buddhist Philosophers the immense superiority of his own "Esoteric"
Christianity over the system of the Lord Buddha, which is characterized
as fruitful of selfishness, human blindness, misanthropy and spiritual
death, they were returned by the addressees for our edification and
to show us why they would not notice them. Whoever has read a novelette
contributed by this same gentleman to The Psychological Review and
entitled "The Man from the East" will readily infer what must
have been his attitude towards the "Himâlayan" and Tibetan Mystics. A Scotch doctor, the hero, meets at a place
in Syria, in an Occult Brotherhood, a Christian convert from this "Himâlayan heathen Brotherhood," who a Hindû utters against
his late Adept Masters the self-same libels as are now repeated in the letter
The shot at Theosophy being badly aimed, flew wide of the mark; but still,
like Richard III, "G. W., M.D." resolved, as it appears, to keep
up the gunnery
If not to fight with foreign enemies,
Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.
The three indignant answers called out by "G. W., M.D.," having
emanated from an English lady and two genuine English gentlemen, are, in
my humble opinion, too dignified and mild for the present case. So brutal
an attack demanded something stronger than well-bred protests; and at the
risk of being taken by "G. W., M.D." as the reverse of well-bred,
I shall use plain words about this whilom friend, but now traitor I
hope to show the term is not too harsh. As an ardent Theosophist, the grateful
loyal friend of the author denounced who deserves and has the
regard of Mahâtmâ Koot-Hoomi and as the humble pupil of
Those to whom I owe my life and the future of my soul, I shall speak. While
I have breath, I shall never allow to pass unnoticed such ugly manifestations
of religious intolerance, nay, bigotry, and personal rancour resulting
from envy, in a member of our Society.
Before closing, I must notice one specially glaring fact. Touched evidently
to the quick by Mr. Sinnetts very proper refusal to let one so inimical
see the "Divine Face" (yes, truly Divine, though not so much so
as the original) of the Mahâtmâ, "G. W., M.D." with
a sneer of equivocal propriety, calls it a mistake. He says:
For just as some second-class saints have been made by gazing on halfpenny
prints of the Mother of God, so who can say that if my good friend had
permitted my sceptical eyes to look on the Divine face of Koot-Hoomi I might not forthwith have been converted into an Esoteric Buddhist?
Impossible; an Esoteric Buddhist never broke his pledged word; and one
who upon entering the Society gave his solemn word of honour, in
the presence of witnesses, that he would
Defend the interests of the Society and the honour of a brother Theosophist, when unjustly assailed, even at the peril of my [his own life,
and then could write such a letter, would never be accepted in that capacity.
One who unjustly assails the honour of hundreds of his Asiatic brothers,
slanders their religion and wounds their most sacred feelings, may be a
very esoteric Christian, but certainly is a disloyal Theosophist.
My perceptions of what constitutes a man of honour may be very faulty, but
I confess that I could not imagine such a one making public caricatures
upon confessedly "private instructions." (See second column, paragraph
14 of his letter.) Private instructions of this sort, given at confidential
private meetings of the Society in advance of their publication, are exactly
what the entering members "word of honour" pledges him not
The broken faith hath made thee prey for worms;
What canst thou swear by now?
Your correspondent deprecates
At the outset this Oriental practice of secrecy; [he knows that secrecy
and cunning are ever twin sisters, [and it appears to him childish and
effeminate [to pretend by secret words and signs to enshrine great truths
behind a veil, which is only useful as a concealment of ignorance and nakedness.
Indeed: so he is not an "Esoteric Christian" after all,
else I have misread the Bible. For what I find there in various
passages, of which I cite but one, shows me that he is as disloyal to his
own Master and Ideal Christ, as he is to Theosophy:
And He said unto them [His own disciples, Unto you it is given to know
the mystery of the kingdom of God; but unto them that are without [the
"G.W., M.D.s" of the day all these things are done in
parables: that seeing they may see and not perceive; and hearing they may
hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and
their sins should be forgiven them. (Mark, iv. II, 12.)
Shall we characterize this also as "childish and effeminate,"
say that the twins sisters "secrecy and cunning" lurk behind this
veil, and that in this instance, as usual, it was "only useful as a
concealment of ignorance and nakedness"? The grandeur of Esoteric Buddhism
is that it hides what it does from the vulgar, not "lest at any time
they should be converted, and their sins forgiven them," or as they
would say, "cheat their Karma" but lest by learning prematurely
that which can safely be trusted only to those who have proved their unselfishness
and self-abnegation, even the wicked, the sinners should be
And now, may the hope of Bottom be realized, and some London Duke say
to this harmless lion: "Let him roar, let him roar again."
[From Light, 1883.
Nilgherry Hills, Aug. 23rd, 1883
H. P. Blavatsky
* The mythical hero of the story would seem to have
met at Paris with a certain pseudo-Brâhman, a convert to Roman Catholicism,
who is giving himself out as an ex-Chelâ his statements and all
corroborative ones to the contrary notwithstanding; he may have misled,
if not the mythical Scotch doctor, at least the actual "M.D."
of London. And, by the way, our French Fellows may as well know, that unless
this pretender ceases his bogus revelations as to the phenomenal powers
of our Mahâtmâs being "of the devil" a certain native
gentleman who has known this convert of the Jesuits from childhood, will expose him most fully. H. P. B. back to text