by Henry Kiddle
[Reprinted from Light (London), December 8, 1883, pp. 540]
To the Editor of "LIGHT."
SIR, -- The letter of W. T. Brown, F.T.S., Bachelor Legis, dated Madras, October 8th, 1883, and published in your issue of the 10th inst., calls for some comment from me, on account of the singularly incorrect and illogical view it takes of my position in regard to the Sinnett and Buddhistic controversy.
I made no "accusation of plagiarism" in calling attention to the parallel passages found in one of Koot Hoomis "occult" letters and a discourse of mine of previous date. I simply asked for an explanation. It was, indeed, a great compliment to be quoted (even without the usual marks) by so profound a sage -- so great that I almost doubted the existence of the sage. Hence, I desired that existence proved; and I have waited more than three moths, anxiously expecting the occult problem to be solved.
But how has it been solved? Mr. Sinnett pleads ignorance; but thinks the question "trivial." Mr. Brown, however, says conjecturally, "Our master has, no doubt, seen the idea [how about the words?] and being tired has written or impressed it hurriedly without regard to the feelings of Mr. Kiddle on the one hand or Plato on the other." Beautiful childlike faith! But does this satisfy the keen intellect of an occultist? If the master was too "tired" to avoid copying without quotation prints, how is it that his mind was so active in adapting the passage to Occultism, while it was meant for Spiritualism? And why did he interject the remark about Plato, attributing to that ancient philosopher what he was copying from my address? I humbly request Mr. Sinnett, Mr. Brown, or Koot Hoomi himself, to shew me by definite citation that the passage referred to was written by Plato. I certainly did not translate it from any of his works. This seems to be an attempt to change the issue by asserting, without any proof, that the real author of the passage in question is Plato. Perhaps he is, but I ask the proof. Then we shall see what the "feelings of Plato" have to do with the matter. As to myself, it is not at all a matter of feeling but of truth. This is what I wrote to obtain; but it is very "occult," I am told; "it deals with an essence known as "astral light." Oh! And then I am somewhat impertinently (not pertinently, I mean) informed that "the absence of knowledge on the part of Mr. Kiddle is assuredly his loss." Yes, but when I find my property in the possession of another person, it seems like adding insult to injury to be told," you are an ignorant fellow, else you would know where and how I got it, and that you have no rightful claim to it. Dont charge me with stealing, but look to my friend and accomplice Astral Light."
Mr. Sinnett may look at this matter as "trivial," and per se perhaps it is; but let me remind him that the question, "Is Koot Hoomi a myth?" has not been answered yet, and consequently the authority for "Esoteric Buddhism," and its singular theories and statements is still extremely shadowy.
If the "masters of Occultism" are striving to enlighten the world, they will be willing rather to remove the very natural scepticism that exists than to "quietly laugh" at it, as Mr. Brown puts it; unless to the occult mind a laugh is equivalent to an argument. If the "accepted chelas" know the "Brothers" as they "know their own souls," their testimony would be singularly interesting, if not conclusive.HENRY KIDDLE.
November 21, 1883.
[By inserting Mr Kiddles final reply we must not be understood as encouraging further discussion. We will note facts in connection with this subject if any are brought to our notice. --ED. "LIGHT."]