The Last Straw

Mr Daniel Caldwell, brought out a letter of HPB to W Q Judge (undated but envelope post-marked London June 5, 1888) (in his  bn-study on 9 Dec 2003) where certain matters pertaining to the seeming differences between HPB and TSR were mentioned. The letter is reproduced here verbatim, with compiler’s comments and remarks.

            My Dear Judge,

            A few words but most serious. Subba Row, Cooper-Oakley, N Cook have resigned from the TS and left Adyar.

Comment: TSR was not living in Adyar. Perhaps what was meant is that he left the Adyar TS. TSR was an advocate practicing in the High Court of Judicature and lived in a rented house in Triplicane – till almost the time he died (1890).

             Olcott with his usual tact having, on SR’s request, to announce this in the Theosophist, wrote to say in a brief para “non committal as possible” as he expresses it that the reason for it is “strained relations between him (SR) and yourself(HPB). Well, that is probably done.

Comment: The main reason for the ‘strained relations’ seems only be that TSR felt that HPB was revealing ‘too much’ for the profane.

The strain is mainly because of ‘the third parties’, as was felt by HSO, (mentioned in his obituary note published in the Theosophist; and later in the preliminary pages to the text ‘Esoteric Writings of T Subba Row’ (TPH, latest edition 2002

The popular notion even today is that the differences are due to the 7 and 4 principles tussle. HPB, later, explained in a Chapter in ‘The Secret Doctrine’ (Vol.ii, p.        The Mysteries of Hebdomad - 1888) and her ‘Key to Theosophy’ (1889 that the 4 fold division may be adopted, profitably, by the future generations. Her assertions were very clear:

            Our chief point in the present subject, however, has been to show that the septenary doctrine, or divisions of the constitution of the man, was very ancient one, and was not invented by us.

            It ( the 7 fold classification) is no more the property of the Trans- than it is of the Cis-Himalayan Esoteric Doctrine, but is simply the common inheritance of all such schools, left to the sages of the 5th Root-Race by the great Siddhas of the 4th.

The matter more current here, is the refusal of TSR ‘not to have anything to do’ with the Secret Doctrine, as against his original proposal of rendering ‘assistance’ to the author (HPB).

The Secret Doctrine was not published by then.

All I know is, that (at the) first word about SR or CO or any of the SR will come down heavily upon myself, Olcott and the Secret Doctrine. It will be a new scandal worse than that of Coulomb. It is your address to me in the “Path” that broke the last straw. Well, I ask you in the name of the Masters for my sake & that of the Cause, not to mention their resignations by a single word in “Path”. Let it pass unnoticed. He is ready to pounce on us, supported by CO & MC & others. I will not say one word in Lucifer, just as if he had never existed.

Comment: TSR did not write a word about the Secret Doctrine after its publication, though he was alive for 1 year and a half.  The only word we have is that he ‘liked the Proem”, that too in one of HPB’s letters to HSO. This was earlier to the publication.

You know that SR claimed for the two past years to be in communication with my Master, actually with M!!! That he showed Sanskrit letters from Him (no handwriting no indiscrete calligraphy – in Sanskrit!) to himself, & translated them to CO. The letters were to the effect that he SR had to reform the Society, & hinted that I, HPB had been given up by the Masters!! CO who has chosen SR for his guru, who worships him as does N Cook believes in him explicitly. What are the “Muslin & bladder Mahatmas” of the Coulombs compared to such doings!! Bus, bus – I must say nothing, however much I may be disgusted.

Comment: Whatever be the source/information for HPB on this, TSR did not do anything of the sort ‘to reform’ the Society. There is no further information to collaborate that TSR spoke ‘bad and derogatory’ about HPB. CO and NC may be treating TSR as their guru since he was imparting them some sort of esoteric knowledge. TSR maintained cordial relationship with HSO and the TS, even after he left the Society and until his end.

But, as the ranks thin around us, & one after the  other our best intellectual Forces depart to turn bitter enemies – I say – Blessed are the pure hearted who have not only intuition for intuition is better than intellect. I will copy your paper [&] send it to you this week.

Yours ever, HPB

Comment: HPB is really sad that ‘Intellectual Forces’ are leaving the Society, one after the other. Saddest part of that is perhaps ‘they turn bitter enemies’. Here, again, she makes the clear distinction between the ‘intellect’ and ‘intuition’. The ‘pure hearted’ should have only ‘intuition’ and guard against the sweep of ‘intellect’. This is the ‘Great Blessing’ one should earn and achieve.


Mr Caldwell had two more postings:

1)      Jerome Wheeler’s quote from a letter from “Letters of HPB to A P Sinnett, p.95-96” where HPB indents TSR’s reply thus:

You have been guilty of the most terrible crimes. You have given our secrets of Occultism – the most sacred and the most hidden. Rather that you should be sacrificed than that which was never mean for European minds. People had too much faith in you. It was time to throw doubt into their minds. Otherwise they should have pumped out of you all that you know.

            Again, a letter dated June 14, 1885 from C W Leadbeater (in India) relates what TSR told him  about ‘the remarkable complex character’ of HPB. The letter ends with this remark: Poor old lady! Her life has truly been a wonderful one, and who can say what will still come of it!

2)      The second one is an extract from a letter of HPB to N D Khandalwala, dated July 12, 1888. This gives a rebut to Mrs. Ookley’s claim that her husband  was receiving letters from the Master through TSR.

Whatever be the claims and counter-claims, TSR though he has his own ‘crystallized opinions’ on ‘revelations of Occult Science’ did not at any time work against the TS, nor did he speak ‘derogatory’ about HPB.'

                                                                                                                                     Dr N C Ramanujachary


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