Let us for a few minutes turn our thoughts together to the woman without whom, in every
probability, there would have been no Theosophical movement to-day as we understand it.
Let us consider briefly the crude and blundering question: "Do you believe in
To me this question sounds strange, sounds even, if I may say so, vulgar .
"Blavatsky?" No one who knew her, knew her thus tout court. For her
enemies even, while she lived, she was Madame Blavatsky, or at least, H. P. Blavatsky;
while for her friends and lovers she was Helena Petrovna, or H. P. B., or the "Old
Lady" - which last once gave occasion to a pretty witticism of a friend, who slyly
remarked that it would have been awkward had Madame been Monsieur.
When then such an uncompromising question as this is put to us, how are we to
answer it in utter honesty, if, as is the case with most of us who have studied the
subject, we refuse to adopt either the ignorant position of blind prejudice, which thinks
it answers infallibly by screaming the parrot-cry of "trickster," or the, to me,
still more ignorant view of blind credulity, that once on a time tried to parade our
Theosophic streets proclaiming the Bandar-log mantra "H. P. B. says," as the
universal panacea for every ill, and solvent of every problem - a species of aberration
which, I rejoice to say, has long ceased from troubling us?
To this question, the only answer that the vast majority of our present-day fellowship
can give, is perhaps somewhat on these lines: We never knew Madame Blavatsky personally,
and now, at this late date, in face of the absolutely contradictory assertions made
concerning her by her friends and her foes, it is not to be expected that we can pronounce
magisterially on a problem which has baffled even her most intimate friends, or solve an
enigma which is as mysterious as the riddle of the ancient Sphinx. What we know is, that
in spite of all that people have said against the extravagantly abused woman for upwards
of a quarter of a century, the fundamentals of Theosophy stand firm, and this for the very
simple reason that they are entirely independent of Madame Blavatsky. It is Theosophy in
which we are interested, and this would remain an immovable rock of strength
and comfort, an inexhaustible source of study, the most noble of all quests, and the most
desirable of paths on which to set our feet, even if it were possible, which it is not,
conclusively to prove that H. P. Blavatsky was the cleverest trickster and most consummate
charlatan of the ages.
For surely even the most prodigal of sons may recall dim - nay, even bright - memories
of the glories of the mansions of his fathers house; his report need not be
necessarily false because he is in exile, feeding with the "swine," and grown
like unto them. He may by chance have eaten of the "moly"; his memory of home
may be coming back. Nay, in this case, it has come back, though seemingly in a chaotic
rush, for in fact and truth - and this is what really counts in the whole matter - it has
awakened the same memory in many a one of us, his fellow exiles, who bless him for the
story - a true "myth" - which he has told.
All this and more, even the most cautious of us can answer, and so set H. P. B.s
testimony concerning herself, the "memories" concealed within her books, which
memories none but the knowing can know, against, on the one hand, the faults of their
scholarship - for she was no scholar and never claimed to be one, a fact that makes her
work the more extraordinary rather than helps to clarify the problem - and, on the other
hand, against the twenty years old inimical Report of a memory of a society which is now
distinguished but was then in its infancy. Indeed the enigma of H.P. B. is ridiculously
far from being so simple as the fervent believers in the infallibility of that very one
sided account would have it to be.
The enigma of H. P. B. is, even for those who knew her most intimately, insoluble, as
anyone may see for himself by reading the straightforward objective account of her, given
by her life-long colleague in the work, H. S. Olcott, in his Old Diary Leaves. No
one has in any way given so true a portrait of H.P. B. in her ordinary daily life as has
our President-Founder; it is an account of utter honesty, hiding nothing, palliating
nothing, but painting in bold strokes the picture of that to me most humanly loveable
bundle of inexplicable contradictions; that puzzling mixture of wisdom and folly; that
sphinx clad in motley; that successful pioneer of a truly spiritual movement (who was yet,
to all appearances, the least fitted to inaugurate such an effort because of her almost
mischievous delight not only in outraging the taboos of conventional thought, but also in
setting at nought the canons of deportment which tradition has decreed as the outer and
visible signs of a spiritual teacher); that frequent cause of despair even to her best
friends, and yet, in spite of her utter incomprehensibility, the most winsome of
As for myself, when I am confronted with the notorious S. P. R. Report - though I must
confess that I rarely hear anything about it nowadays - I have a very simple answer to
make; and it runs somewhat on these lines. You who believe in the S.P.R.
investigators account say that Mme. Blavatsky was a trickster, You did not know her
personally; nor, as a matter of fact, did the Committee who adopted the
investigators account. Even the investigator himself had to get the data on which he
based his theory from others, when he arrived at Madras. It is thus all at second-hand at
the best; even the investigator saw nothing at first-hand. Like the investigator, and like
you who believe in his theory, I too was not there; I, therefore, have no means of judging
at first-hand. I can only put the very ample written testimony and the still ampler
unwritten evidence of her friends who were present, in favour of H.P.B. against the
accusations of two dismissed employees, adopted by the missionaries, and afterwards
endorsed by the S. P. R. investigator, who at that time seems to have had no first-hand
acquaintance with the simplest psychic phenomena, and to have felt himself compelled to
exhaust every possible hypothesis of fraud, even the most absurd, before giving Mme.
Blavatsky the benefit even of the slightest doubt.
Since those days, however, such a change has come over the general opinion of the S.P.
R. with regard to psychic matters, and Dr. Hodgson himself has so fundamentally altered
his own position, owing to his now mature first-hand experience, that one need not be held
to be departing entirely from an impartial judgment in thinking it more probable that Dr.
Hodgsons inexperienced hypotheses with regard to Mme. Blavatsky are not to be
preferred to the many years of testimony in her favour brought forward by her friends in
Oh, but - some one will say under the influence of this notorious Report - they were
all deluded, hypnotised. She was, on the showing of the evidence, helped by many skilful
confederates all over the world; it was all a clever system of deception.
This is indeed the main burden of the hypotheses put forward by this Report; on all
occasions, confederates, trap-doors, etc., hypnotism. Anything, everything, but the
admission that H.P.B. was, even at times, so common a thing as an ordinary spiritualistic
medium! No; she must be proved lower even than that - an unmitigated fraud in every
direction. Even an impartial outsider must feel inclined to exclaim: Surtout pas trop
de zele, Messieurs les Inquisiteurs! We have throughout presented to us the picture of
nothing but a cunning prestidigitatrice, with elaborate preparations and carefully
planned surprises, carried out by astute confederates. It is true that this host of
confederates has never been brought into court; they have disappeared into the invisible.
Indeed they have, and that too not metaphorically; or rather, perhaps, they have never
been anywhere else than in the invisible, for did not H. P. B. call them elementals?
Be that as it may be, I, for my part, when investigating a subject prefer first-hand
evidence. I have, therefore, as opposed to the endorsers of and the believers in this
Report, so to speak, never left her side; I worked with her in the greatest intimacy, was
her private secretary. The picture which the Report paints of H. P. B. flatly contradicts
all my own personal experience of her, and therefore I cannot but decline to accept it.
I went to her after the publication of the Report, three years after, when the outcry
was still loud and suspicion in the air; for the general public of that day, believing in
the impossibility of all psychic phenomena, naturally condemned H. P. B. without any
enquiry. I went with an accurate knowledge of the Report and of all its elaborate
hypotheses in my head; it could not have been otherwise. But a very few months
first-hand acquaintance with H.P.B. convinced me that the very faults of her character
were such that she could not have possibly carried on a carefully planned fraud, even had
she wanted to do so, least of all an elaborate scheme of deception depending on the
manipulation of mechanical devices and the help of crafty confederates.
She was frequently most unwise in her utterances, and if angry would blurt out anything
that might come into her head, no matter who was present. She did not seem to care what
anyone might think, and would sometimes accuse herself of all kinds of things - faults and
failings - but never, under any circumstances, even in her wildest moods, did she ever
utter a syllable that in any way would confirm the speculations and accusations of Dr.
Hodgson. I am myself convinced that had she been guilty of the things charged against her
in this respect, she could not have failed, in one or other of her frequent outbursts or
confidences, to have let some word or hint escape her of an incriminating nature. Two
things in all the chaos of her cosmos stood firm in every mood - that her Teachers existed
and that she had not cheated.
But the irreconcilables will say: Oh, she was too cunning for you; besides, she
The irreconcilables are of course privileged to say anything their fancy may dictate;
it is far easier to be seemingly wise at a long distance and to imagine things as one
would desire them to have been, than to have, like myself, to try to solve the actual
problem that was daily before my own eyes, for three years and more, and the further and
still more complex problem contained in a most voluminous literary output, every page of
which one has read, and many of which one has had in one way or other to edit. What,
however, has always been a personal proof to myself of H.P.B.s bona fides, is
a purely objective thing, incapable of being explained away by impatiently casting it into
the waste-paper basket of psychological theoretics.
To all intents and purposes, as far as any objective knowledge was concerned, I went to
work with H.P.B. as an entirely untried factor. I might, for all she knew to the contrary,
have been a secret emissary of the enemy, for she was to my knowledge spied on by many. In
any case, supposing she had been a cheat, she must have known that it was a very dangerous
experiment to admit an untried person to her most intimate environment. Not only, however,
did she do this, but she overwhelmed me with the whole-heartedness of her confidence. She
handed over to me the charge of all her keys, of her MSS., her writing desk and the nests
of drawers in which she kept her most private papers; not only this, but she further, on
the plea of being left in peace for her writing, absolutely refused to be bothered with
her letters, and made me take over her voluminous correspondence, and that too without
opening it first herself. She not only metaphorically, but sometimes actually, flung the
offending missives at my head! I accordingly had frequently to open all her letters and
not only to read them but to answer them as best I could; for this strange old lady cried
out with loud outcry to be relieved of the burden of letter-writing, that she might write
her articles and books, and would wax most wrathful and drive me out, whenever I pestered
her to answer the most pressing correspondence or even to give me some idea of what to
reply in her name.
Now I am not saying it was right of a woman who day by day received a large batch of
letters, some of them - many of them - containing the most private thoughts of men and
women all over the world, admitting the reader to the intimacy of their inner life, (1) thus to entrust them to a young man
comparatively ignorant of life and almost entirely unable to deal with them, otherwise
than each morning, so to speak, to beard the lion in his den - for the Old Lady was
leonine - and persist in parading the most important of this correspondence before the
eyes of H.P.B., to her ever-increasing annoyance and a regular periodical outburst, when
both correspondence and secretary were first committed to an infernal w.p.b., and finally
some sort of a compromise arrived at.
I grumbled then, but now I rejoice, for so I learned in a short time what might
otherwise have taken me many long years to acquire; but it seemed to me, and still so
seems, to have been somewhat rough on her correspondents, unless indeed in many cases the
fool had to be answered according to his folly - and I was a useful fool for the answering
side of the business.
But, be this as it may be, it convinced me wholly and surely that whatever else H.P.B.
may have been, she was not a cheat or trickster - she had nothing to hide; for a woman
who, according to the main hypothesis of the S.P.R. Report, had confederates all over the
world and lived the life of a scheming adventuress, would have been not only incredibly
foolhardy, but positively mad to have let all her private correspondence pass into the
hands of a third party, and that, too, without even previously opening it herself.
All this and much else proved to me that H.P.B. was assuredly not a cheat and a
trickster, certainly not while I knew her; and in every probability was not in the past
when I did not know her. Of one thing, however, I am certain, that I know far more about
H.P.B. her life and work, than those members of the S.P.R. who have persistently done
their best to disgrace her before the world, and that their hypotheses are ludicrously
insufficient to unriddle that sphinx of the nineteenth century, H.P. Blavatsky who was, at
the lowest computation, not only as interesting as a dozen Mrs. So and Sos, on whom
the S.P.R. have expended so much energy, but who, further, was the chief means of opening
many windows into the greatness of things, no one of which will be shut again, for the
life-work of the greatest of her detractors in the S.P.R. does but ever more and more
support her own contentions.
"Do you believe in H.P.B.?" Yes; I believe in H.P.B. As for H. P. Blavatsky,
I have no more high opinion of her than had H.P.B. herself, for she straitly distinguished
between the two; but I reject with scorn the ludicrous attempt to explain even H.P.
Blavatsky by calling her a trickster and a common charlatan. I believe firmly in
H.P.B.s bona fides; but above all things I believe with all my soul in the
great things she fought for, in the deep Mysteries of which she gave tidings. I should,
however, like always to be allowed, if I can, to state them in my own way, and, if I am
able, to support them in my own way, for I frequently dissent from H.P.B.s methods
and from her manner.
She was filled with imperfections, even as we all are, but she - when she touched a
height, it was a great height. There was something colossal, titanic, even cosmic, about
H.P.B. at times; indeed I have sometimes had the apparently whimsical notion that she did
not belong to this planet, did not fit into this evolution. But, indeed, who shall
unriddle the enigma of H.P.B.? What did she not touch at times? Multiplex personality in
contact with the multiplex personalities - as complex perchance as mans whole
nature, in miniature at least!
I make the surface critic an unconditional present of the faulty apparatus of her
controversial writings - though that is perhaps somewhat too generous a gift on all
occasions. She was no scholar, had no training at school, or college, or university; was
no scientist, had presumably never witnessed a laboratory experiment in her life; she was
no mathematician, (2) no formal
philosopher of the schools, could not, most probably, have told you the difference between
the positions of Kant and Schopenhauer had you asked her - and yet she wrote on all these
things, and frequently with the greatest acumen.
Of all this I make a present to the critic; I class all this as mostly ephemeral, as
what will to a large extent pass away, as what has in some measure already passed away,
for science has grown much in later years and is now denying many things that she denied,
and affirming many that she affirmed twenty years ago. But the giants grip of the
whole scheme of things, the titanic sweep of world-processes envisaged, the cyclopean
piling of hypotheses on hypotheses till her hypothetical Ossas and Pelions reached to
heaven, and to the heaven of heavens - the fresh atmosphere of life and reality with which
she surrounded her great expositions - all this I claim for her enduring reputation. She
was a titan among mortals; she pointed the way to me and to many others, and that is why
we love her. Setting forth on the way she showed, we know she lied not as to the
direction. Our titan was elemental, as indeed are all titans; but in laying foundations it
is necessary to have giants, and giants when they move cannot but knock over the idols in
the shrines of the dwarfs.
Let me then speak of a subject of which I presumably know as much as even the most
industrious adverse critic of H.P.B.s work - her literary remains. I have carefully
read all she has written; much of it I have edited, some of it I have read many, many
times. I think I may say without any undue boasting that no one knows better than I do the
books from which she quotes and the use she makes of quotations. She was, indeed, more or
less mediaeval, or even, at times, Early-Christian, in her quotation work; let us grant
this fully in every way - though perhaps we are a little inclined to go too far in this
nowadays. But what I have been most interested in, in her writing, is precisely that which
she does not quote from known sources, and this it is which forms for me the main factor
in the enigma of H.P.B. I perpetually ask myself the question: Whence did she get her
information - apparent translations of texts and commentaries, the originals of which are
unknown to the Western world?
Some ten years ago or more, the late Professor Max Muller, to whom all lovers of the
Sacred Books of the East owe so deep a debt of gratitude, published his most instructive
set of Gifford Lectures, entitled Theosophy or Psychological Religion. These I
reviewed in much detail, in a series of three articles in this REVIEW. The aged Professor wrote to me a kindly note on the subject, taking exception
to one or two points, and we exchanged several letters.
He then expressed himself as surprised that I should waste, as he thought, what he was
good enough to call my ability on "Theosophy," when the whole field of Oriental
studies lay before me, in which he was kind enough to think I could do useful work. Above
all, he was puzzled to understand why I treated seriously that charlatan, Mme. Blavatsky,
who had done so much harm to the cause of genuine Oriental studies by her parodies of
Buddhism and Vedanta, which she had mixed up with Western ideas. Her whole Theosophy was a
rechauffe of misunderstood translations of Samskrt and Pali texts.
To this I replied that as I had no object to serve but the cause of Truth, if he could
convince me that Mme. Blavatskys Theosophy was merely a clever or ignorant
manipulation of Samskrt and Pali texts, I would do everything in my power to make the
facts known to the Theosophic world; for I naturally did not wish to waste my life on a
"swindle" - the epithet he once used of Esoteric Buddhism at an
Oriental Congress. I therefore asked him to be so good as to point out what in his opinion
were the original texts in Samskrt or Pali, or any other language, on which were based
either the "Stanzas of Dzyan" and their commentaries in The Secret Doctrine,
or any of the three treatises contained in The Voice of the Silence. I had myself
for years been searching for any trace of the originals or of fragments resembling them,
and had so far found nothing. If we could get the originals, we asked nothing better; it
was the material we wanted.
To this Professor Max Muller replied in short note, pointing to two verses in The
Voice of the Silence, which he said were quite Western in thought and therefore
betrayed their ungenuineness.
I answered that I was extremely sorry he had not pointed out the texts on which any
sentence of the "Precepts" or any stanza of the "Book of Dzyan" was
based; nevertheless, I should like to publish his criticism, reserving to myself the right
of commenting on it.
To this Professor Max Muller hastily rejoined that he begged I would not do so, but
that I would return his letter at once, as he wished to write something more worthy of the
REVIEW. I, of course, returned his letter, but
I have been waiting from that day to this for the promised proof that H.P. B. was, in
these marvellous literary creations, nothing but a sorry centonist who out of tags of
misunderstood translations patched together a fantastic motley for fools to wear. And I
may add the offer is still open for any and every Orientalist who desires to make good
the, to me, ludicrous contention of the late Nestor of Orientalism.
I advisedly call these passages, enshrined in her works, marvellous literary creations,
not from the point of view of an enthusiast who knows nothing of Oriental literature, or
the great cosmogonical systems of the past, or the Theosophy of the World Faiths, but as
the mature judgment of one who has been for some twenty years studying just such subjects.
Nor can it be maintained with any show of confidence that the Stanzas and their
Commentaries, and the Fragments from what is called the Book of the Golden Precepts, are
adequately paralleled by the writings of spiritualistic mediumship; they are different
from all these, belong to a different class of transmission.
The Stanzas set forth a cosmogenesis and anthropogenesis which, in their sweep and
detail, leave far behind any existing record of such things from the past; they cannot be
explained as the clever piecing together of the disconnected archaic fragments still
preserved in sacred books and classical authors; they have an individuality of their own,
and yet they bear the hall-mark of an antiquity and the warrant of an economy which the
Western world thinks to have long passed away. Further, they are set in an atmosphere of
commentary apparently translated or paraphrased from Far Eastern tongues, producing a
general impression of genuineness that is difficult for a scholar who has sufficiently
overcome his initial prejudices to study them, to withstand.
As for the Fragments which purport to be treatises of a mystic Buddhist school, they
too bear on their faces every mark of genuineness, even in their heretical nature and in
the self-confession of their sectarian character. It is far more difficult to believe they
are forgeries, begotten of a Western brain, than to believe they are, if not literal
translations, at least free versions from genuine documents, perhaps of the Aryasanga school
sermons for pupils on the Path.
Almost without exception I find that people who loudly condemn H.PO.B., when asked
"Have you read these things?" answer: "Oh, I really cant be bothered
to read anything that woman wrote; she was an impostor"; or: "No, I have not
read these things; and anyway I am not an Oriental scholar, but Professor
Max Muller in The Nineteenth Century," etc., etc.
All of which is rather in favour of H.P.B. than against her, for there must be
something almost superhuman on the side of one who can arouse such blind prejudice in
otherwise fair-minded folk.
The enigma of H.P.B., which no Report or a thousand such Reports can solve, among many
other riddles, present us in limine with the question: Whence did H.P.B. become
possessed of these things? What is the most simple hypothesis to account for it all? If
you say she was a spiritualistic medium - then you must extend this term enormously beyond
its ordinary connotation, and translate it into a designation of great dignity, and carry
it up into the heights of exalted genius; for nothing short of this, I am convinced, will
satisfy the unprejudiced enquirer.
I have tried every hypothesis and every permutation and combination of hypotheses of
which I have heard or which I have devised, to account for these truly great things in
H.P.B.s literary activity, and I am bold to say that the only explanation that in
any way has the slightest pretension to bear the strain of the evidence is that these
things were dictated to, or impressed upon, her psychically by living teachers and
friends, most of whom she had known physically. It is true that, as she herself stated,
and as was stated through her, she at times got things tangled up badly, but she strove
her best to do her best in most difficult circumstances.
Indeed, one of the most interesting facts in the whole problem is that she was herself
as much delighted with the beauty of these teachings and amazed at the vastness of the
conceptions as anyone else. If she herself had invented them, she often would say, then
she was a world-genius, a Master, instead of being, as she knew she was, the very
imperfect servant who simply declared there were true Masters to serve. She might
repudiate everything else, but this she never gainsaid. Doubtless she has distorted many
things, has not heard correctly, has transmitted them imperfectly, for she was ever very
ill and harassed, the object of never-ceasing attack treachery, and ingratitude, in
addition to being naturally of a very fiery and tempestuous nature. All of which things
make it all the more surprising that so much was achieved and not that more was not
accomplished. The powers that were used must thus have been very great, perhaps an earnest
and foreshadowing of what may be accomplished in the West if found necessary, and an
absolute departure from the conventional conditions of the contemplative life as a means
H.P.B. was a warrior not a priestess, a prophetess rather than seeress; she was,
moreover, most things you would not expect, as an instrument for bringing back the memory
of much that was most holy and wise in antiquity. She was indeed as it were the living
symbol of the seeming foolishness of this world, whereby the wisdom was forthshadowed. In
this birth, I am persuaded, I shall never look upon her like again; she alone has given me
the feeling of being in contact with someone colossal, titanic, at times almost cosmic. I
have sometimes wondered whether this strange being belonged to our humanity at all - and
yet she was most human, move lovable. Had she run away from some other planet, so to
speak? Did she normally belong to their evolution? Quien sabe?
To all of such questions none of us who knew her and loved her can give any sure
answer; she remains our sphinx, our mystery, our dearly loved Old Lady. She was not a
teacher in any ordinary sense, for she had no idea of teaching in any orderly or
systematic fashion; indeed she detested the very idea of being considered a spiritual or
ethical teacher, cried out loudly against it, protested she was the least fitted of all to
be called to such an office. No, she was better than that, better than any formal
instructor, for she was as it were a natural fire at which to light up enthusiasm for the
greater life of the world, a marvellous incentive to make one grip on to the problems of
self-knowing, a wonderful inspirer of longings for return, a true singer of the songs of
home; all this she was at times, while at times she intensified confusion.
It is some thirteen years since H.P.B. departed from her pain-racked body, and yet
somehow or other with each year my affectionate remembrance of her does but increase, and
I ever look back to her and her work for inspiration to revive the feeling of greatness
and large-heartedness, and that fresh atmosphere of freedom from conventionality which
meant spring-time, and growth, and a bursting of bonds, and a flowing of sap, and the
removing of mountains as the young shoots burst from their tiny mustard seeds and shook
the earth heaps from their shoulders. It was the virile life in her, the breadth of view,
the quick adaptability, the absence of prudery and pietism, the camaraderie, the
camp-life as it were of those earlier days, that made the blood circulate in the veins,
and the muscles tense for strenuous hardship and advance into regions ever more and more
But why do I, who am no hero-worshipper, allow myself thus enthusiastically to write of
my "occult mother-in-law," as she humorously called herself? I know not, except
that these are Stray Thoughts on Theosophy, and my thoughts not infrequently stray to her
who set my feet on the way, and that in writing about her I have revived some deeper
feelings than I had intended to arouse, for my main object was to lead up to a suggestion
concerning White Lotus Day, a suggestion which has already been adopted by the
President-Founder at the last General Meeting of the Society. This paper, however, was
written before I received the Report of that meeting, and when I had already written as
As the years roll round, on May the 8th, the day of her departure from her
body, many gatherings of Theosophists celebrate H.P.B.s memory, and we call it White
Lotus Day, though why precisely I know not. Perhaps it might have been better to have
followed the Platonists and have chosen her birthday for this keeping of her memory green;
but be that as it may be, it was never intended by her friends to be a day of lamentation
- and, indeed, I do not think that any so regard it, and sure it is that H.P.B. herself
would have screamed out against any such absurdity. Equally would she, I think, have cried
out, against any attempt at making such a gathering an occasion for pietism or
hero-worship. Indeed, I know no one who detested, more than she did, any attempt to
hero-worship herself - she positively physically shuddered at any expression of reverence
to herself - as a spiritual teacher; I have heard her cry out in genuine alarm at an
attempt to kneel to her made by an enthusiastic admirer. But would H.P.B. desire to keep
this day for herself, and thus to inaugurate the idea of starting a sort of calendar of
Theosophical "saints," and of adding to May 8th many other dates of
departures of distinguished colleagues? I think not; I have somehow never been able to
persuade myself that H.P.B., could approve of White Lotus Day as it is. But since it does
exist, I would suggest that its utility might be vastly increased by keeping it as the day
on which we specially call to mind the memory of all our well-known colleagues who have
left the body - not only of H.P.B., though of her first and foremost, but of T. Subba Row,
of W. Q. Judge, though he did grievous wrong, of Piet Meuleman of Holland, of many others.
Let us make it a time of keeping clean the memory of the links of the chain, a day of the
history-making of those who are as yet comparatively the few, but who will ere long be the
great majority of our Theosophical Fellowship. White Lotus Day if you will, but
Commemoration Day as well.
At the same time our President-Founder was settling it all at Adyar on these lines, and
the suggestion is now a fact accomplished. But enough for the moment of these Stray
Thoughts concerning H.P.B.
(1) When some of her bitterest foes were attacking her -
men and women who previously had poured forth their confidences into her unwilling ears -
she explained to me: "God! how they must respect me! They knew she would not
make use of their confessions against them.
(2) Indeed, her favourite habit was to count on
her fingers. On one occasion when she was engaged on a chapter of The Secret Doctrine,
she called her niece into her room and addressed her somewhat as follows: "Here, my
dear, you are a mathematical pundit; where does the comma go? I am certain of
the figures but cant see where the confounded comma comes in." This was the
value of the circular measure of two right angles, and anyone who has read the learned
disquisition of the matter in The Secret Doctrine will be somewhat puzzled to
account for the fact that the writer knew so little of mathematics as to confuse the
decimal point with a comma!