Observations on London Lodge Letter
This is a letter from T Subba Row, dated January 27, 1884, addressed to the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society and through Madame Blavatsky, in reply to some comments made by the President and Vice-president of that Lodge on the book Esoteric Buddhism of A P Sinnett. The President and Vice-president were Dr (Mrs.) Anna Kingsford and Mr. Edward Maitland respectively; and their contention was that the teachings contained in the book were inconsistent, illogical and unscientific. T Subba Row expresses his views and as he says, ‘in accordance with the order of the Mahatma’s and the desire of the Council’. He wanted these observations to the London Lodge ‘for consideration of its members, with such additional remarks as you may think proper.’ HPB had not given any additional remarks as such except few foot-notes, and forwarded the papers to the London Lodge, the same day.
The letter is of importance as it makes some helpful comments as to the ‘Relationship of the Himalayan Brotherhood to the Theosophical Society’ and the ‘peculiar circumstances under which the book was written’. This also shows the reverence TSR had to the Masters and the Society; as well as his unstinted support to the author A P Sinnett.
At the outset, T Subba Row refers to the rules of the Society, and says the following:
Rules clearly indicate that the society is at full liberty to investigate any philosophical system, ancient or modern, with a view to ascertain the broad fundamental principles which form the basis of every school of religious philosophy, properly so called, and thereby ‘promote the principle of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race or creed.’ --‘The Society does not constitute a body of religious teachers, but it is simply an association of investigators and inquirers.’
TSR then explains:
After Messrs. Hume and Sinnett were introduced to, and put in communication with, the Mahatma’s, they commenced asking them questions on various subjects, first to satisfy their own curiosity, and probably also to gauge the depth of the knowledge, possessed by them, respecting religious and scientific subjects. It was not, and could have been, their, intention, at first, to construct a complete system of philosophy from the meager answers elicited. ---- The Himalayan Adepts have never professed to instruct any particular section of the Theosophical association.
Mr Sinnett, I may here state, had from the mahatma’s, in addition to their letters bearing on the planetary evolution, the Law of Karma, the nature of Devachanic Existence, the Seven principles in Man, and other cognate subjects discussed by him as fully and as clearly as he was able, a few letters of communications touching the nature of Purusha and Prakriti, the commencement of cosmic evolution, the septenary constitution of the manifested Cosmos, the nature and evolution of the germs of the primary elements in nature (Maha-bhutas), and some isolated subjects connected with the physical science. But not one solitary subject among the last named class had he ever received, except in bare outlines. As to the details and their direct bearing upon other and far more important subjects, closely connected with the rest they have never been even remotely approached by the Masters – revelations of this nature belonging strictly to the mysteries of Initiation. --- With these meager materials, he undertook to write a book, and give the public in general, and the theosophists in particular, an approximately correct conception of the system of Esoteric Science and Philosophy in the keeping of the “great Teachers of the Snowy range.” That he didas well as he has , is as surprising as it is highly creditable to his acute intelligence. --- Under such circumstances, when religious prejudices are yet so very strong, and when the public is not scientifically prepared to test the correctness of the views of the Himalayan Mahatma’s – it is not desirable to publish them in any other but a fragmentary form. ---
It is merely intended to be an important contribution to the mass of information, which, it is the object of the Theosophical Society to accumulate, for the purpose of leading ultimately to the evolution of a complete system of philosophy.
Then he, point by point, repudiates the objections raised by the President and Vice-president and explains his reasons. It is not considered necessary, here, to reproduce them. Readers, anyway, are advised to go into the whole essay (letter) for a fuller understanding. But a mention about the ‘Dhyani Chohan’ will be of absorbing interest. TSR, again, cautiously states that his object is to “simply to offer food for reflection, and to lead our Brother-members to more active and independent investigation.” He says these views are in accordance “with the Hindu, or rather the Advaita standpoint – the latter being identical with Esoteric Buddhism.”
The Dhyani Chohan when incarnating himself as a man, at the first appearance of humanity on our planet, is referred to as Manu Svayambhu (the self-existent) who begets the seven Risi-s uncorporeally, they being known as his manasaputras – the children of manas or mind – and who, therefore represent the 5th principle of the planet. --- These Dhyani Chohans, as the guardian spirits of this world, are known as Dikpalas (the keepers of the different points of the compass), a name under which, it will be found, they are constantly referred to in the earlier Buddhist writings.
--- the Dhyani chohans are the Elohim of the Western Kabalists.
TSR concludes thus:
His book (Esoteric Buddhism) forms part of a complete system of Esoteric Science and Philosophy which is neither Hindu nor Buddhist in its origin, but which is identical with the ancient Wisdom-Religion itself, and which forms the basis or foundation of every system of religion conceived by the human mind since the time when the first Dhyani Chohan appeared on this planet to plant the germ of Esoteric Wisdom it s form may appear indistinct, and the conceptions put forth may be under the necessity of being expanded or modified, when the whole system in its completeness is given out. Until then, it would be improper to form any hasty ideas as regards the highest aims and objects of the said system, or its insufficiency to serve as “a perfect system of thought and rule of life.”
Referring to the administrative problems of the London Lodge, TSR says: the President-Founder, who will be in London within a short time of the receipt of the present, will be best competent to deal with them, in accordance with instructions received by him from the Mahatmas – his, and our guides and MASTERS.
Dr N C Ramanujachary