Blavatsky Study Center
Did Robert Crosbie Break the Seventh Clause of
His Solemn Pledge as a Member of the Esoteric School?
by David Green & Daniel Caldwell
During Mme. H. P. Blavatsky's life, her esoteric instructions were given to members of the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society by Blavatsky as Outer Head of the E.S. directly representing a Master who was the Inner Head. Each new member took a pledge not to discuss or show the esoteric documents to non-members. See rule 7 on page 2 of the 1888 pledge folder.
Robert Crosbie joined the Esoteric Section during H.P.B's life and he took the same pledge.
At H.P.B.'s death, Annie Besant and William Judge became joint Outer Heads. In other words, "the full charge and management of the school" was given jointly to Mrs. Besant and Mr. Judge. See the relevant ES documents in Esoteric Papers of Madame Blavatsky, pp. 325-334.
Mrs. Besant and Mr. Judge jointly sent out to all members of the school a new pledge (see p. 326 of Esoteric Papers of Madame Blavatsky for a facsimile of the new pledge form). The 7th rule of that pledge reads in part:
"I pledge myself to preserve inviolable secrecy as regards...all confidential documents...."
Robert Crosbie took that new pledge.
In Nov. 1894, Mr. Judge declared that Mrs. Besant was no longer joint outer head with him of the esoteric school. See Judge's Order of 1894. See also Mrs. Besant's reply to Mr. Judge's order.
Soon after Judge's death in 1896, Mrs. Katherine Tingley became outer head of Judge's esoteric school. See the relevant 1896 document.
For more information on the close relationship between Mr. Judge and Mrs. Tingley, see William Q. Judge and Katherine A. Tingley: An Analysis of the Controversy Surrounding W.Q. Judge's Diary Entries about "Promise" and the Dead H.P.B. including Material on the Close Relationship between Mr. Judge and Mrs. Tingley by H.N. Stokes.
At this time, Robert Crosbie accepted Mrs. Tingley as the new Outer Head of the esoteric school. See Mr. Crosbie's own words as given in several documents.
For a third time, Mr. Crosbie took a pledge. His signed pledge reads as follows:
"I . . . recognizing the person called Purple [Mrs. Tingley] as being the agent of the Master I serve . . . do hereby unreservedly pledge myself, by my Higher Self, to unquestioning loyalty, devotion and obedience to her and to her support and defence as such agent, under any and all circumstances and conditions to the extent of my available means, utmost exertion, and with my life if need be. . . .
So Help me my Higher Self.
(Signed) Robert Crosbie
Witness my hand, this 22d day of May,
Eighteen hundred and Ninety-seven."
But some seven years later in 1904, Mr. Crosbie rejected Mrs. Tingley's claims, withdrew from the Point Loma Theosophical Society (San Diego, California) and severed his membership in the esoteric school headed by Mrs. Tingley.
Mr. Crosbie then moved to Los Angeles. The editors of Theosophy magazine tell us about this period of Mr. Crosbie's life::
"There is also the association of Theosophical students known as the United Lodge of Theosophists [U.L.T.], formed in 1909 in Los Angeles, California, under the inspiration and guidance of Robert Crosbie."
".... He secured work in Los Angeles and gradually began to gather around him a few studentsmost of them entirely new to Theosophyto undertake once more the task of promulgating Theosophy in the same form as originally presented by the Founders of the Movement."
"When, in 1909, he had been joined by a small nucleus of persons who shared this ideal, The United Lodge of Theosophists was formed to carry out the purposes in view...." Italics added. Quoted from Theosophical Movement (1875-1950), pp. 316-318.
Also at the same time (1909) within the U.L.T., a separate esoteric school was organized with the name "Dzyan Esoteric School" [D.E.S.].
Gregory Tillett writes:
"The first DES group was established in Los Angeles by Robert Crosbie in November 1909, and extended to San Francisco in 1911, by which time it had only 11 members. By 1923, however, the DES had extended to other major cities in the USA. In 1928, B.P. Wadia (who resigned from the Adyar society in 1922 as a result of the Leadbeater scandals), after seven years work in New York and Washington, established groups in Europe and India, and became the Eastern Agent or Secretary of the DES."
"The DES works through Eastern and Western Divisions, and has both group and corresponding members...."
"The DES teaching documents are, essentially, those of HPB as used by WQJ, with an additional 'Preliminary Memorandum' written by Crosbie, and its own book of rules. The DES issues the Probationer's Pledge, the Preliminary Memorandum, the Book of Rules, and Instructions I to VI, together with Suggestions and Aids I to IX." Quoted from Tillett's posting on Theos-Talk, a Yahoo! Group. See also The Dzyan Esoteric School of the United Lodge of Theosophists and ULT Mysteries.
See a photofacsimile of the D.E.S. document titled "To Applicants for Admission to the D.E.S." that clearly shows the connection between the United Lodge of Theosophists and the Dzyan Esoteric School.
As already related above, Robert Crosbie had taken the original pledge sent by H.P.Blavatsky not to discuss or reveal the E.S.T.S. instructions and papers to non-members. He reaffirmed that again in 1891 when Judge and Besant took charge of the Esoteric School.
Yet in 1909 --- years after the death of both Blavatsky and Judge, and after he had severed his relationship with Mrs. Tingley and her Esoteric School, --- Mr. Crosbie decided to form a "Dzyan Esoteric School".
He also decided to issue reprints of all of Blavatsky's and Judge's esoteric instructions to people "entirely new to Theosophy" who
would become members of his newly formed school.
Blavatsky & Judge claimed that they issued the esoteric instructions at the direction of the Masters. But who gave permission to Crosbie in 1909 to reprint the esoteric instructions and allow new people to have access to this esoteric material?
Also there is another relevant topic.
Mr. John Garrigues et al (editors of Theosophy Magazine and leading associates of the ULT) in The Theosophical Movement 1875-1925, pages 571-572 did not hesitate to "attack" Mrs. Annie Besant on the very same issue. Read Mr. Garrigues' words:
"In Mrs. Besant's 'Third Volume' [of The Secret Doctrine, 1897] are incorporated the private papers originally issued by H.P.B. to the E.S., and in reprinting these Mrs. Besant . . . broke the seventh clause of her solemn pledge as a member of the Esoteric School...."
If Mrs. Besant was guilty of what Mr. Garrigues and associates accused her, then is it not equally fair to at least pose the following questions?
Did Mr. Robert Crosbie also violate his own original 'solemn' E.S. pledge by reissuing (through the DES) Blavatsky's esoteric instructions to new students under an oath of secrecy?
If Mrs. Besant was guilty of breaking her pledge, why not also Mr. Crosbie?
Did Mr. Crosbie violate his original pledges by allowing other people to have copies of Blavatsky's & Judge's esoteric instructions?
Who gave Mr. Crosbie the authority or right to disregard his original pledges & offer these instructions to new students?
Did Mr. Crosbie believe and claim that he was in contact with the dead Blavatsky, the deceased Judge and the Mahatmas receiving their permission to start the Dzyan Esoteric School and reissue H.P.B.'s esoteric instructions, etc. in 1909? See Robert Crosbie: His Special Status for more on this topic.
It is clear H.P.B. issued the esoteric instructions at the direction of the Masters. But years after the deaths of both H.P.B. and Judge, who gave Robert Crosbie the authority or right to go against his pledges & reissue H.P.B.'s esoteric instructions to new students under an oath of silence and secrecy? Did Mr Crosbie believe that he was following in the esoteric footsteps of Blavatsky and Judge?
For more background on Mr. Crosbie, see:
Robert Crosbie: Does He Have a Special Status in ULT?
Robert Crosbie: His Special Status in the ULT's "History" of Modern Theosophy
Robert Crosbie, Devoted Follower and Loyal Defender of Mrs. Katherine Tingley
Mr. Crosbie's Revisionist Account of His Association with Mrs. Tingley
In 1896, Mr. Crosbie's Knowledge of Mrs. Tingley was not based on Second Hand Reports
Robert Crosbie's 1907 opinion of Katherine Tingley
Transcript of Biographical Notes signed by Mr. Crosbie
Robert Crosbie; The Friendly Philosopher 1849 -- 1919
Claims Made About Mr. Crosbie
". . . Masters' Messengers to the world, the Transmitters of the Wisdom-Religion. Among These, and in our own time and country: H.P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge,
and Robert Crosbie. . . "
Theosophy magazine, November 1929, bold added.
"Robert Crosbie preserved unbroken the link of the Second [Esoteric] Section of the Theosophical Movement from the passing of Mr. Judge in 1896, and in 1907 - just eleven years later - made that link once more Four Square amongst men. In the year 1909 the Third Section was restored by the formation of the United Lodge of Theosophists....There is always one Witness on the scene. After the death of Mr Judge, Robert Crosbie kept the link unbroken."
Theosophy magazine, August, 1919.
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