BY WANE Kell
Bahman Pestonji Wadia was born on October 8th 1881. He was the eldest son of Pestonji Cursetji Wadia and his wife Mithabai. The Wadia family were originally from Singapore, near Surat, some 230 miles north of Bombay. They were famed as shipbuilders, the frigate Trincomalee, renamed "Foudroyant" which they built, is still preserved in Portsmouth harbor. It was not a large family and the four children were Bahman, a younger brother named Jehanghir, and two sisters: Manijeh (married Sir Rustum Masani), and Jerbai who never married. Bahman went to the "New High School" conducted by J. D. Bharda and K. B. Marzban in Bombay and took the matriculation examination, but never entered college. Instead, his father (who had stopped shipbuilding and had started a textile business) arranged for him to have experience in and learn about the textile business as an apprentice in a large British owned textile firm. This relation begun in the year 1900 was short lived, as the young Bahman refused, in the course of business to tell any untruth, and when this had been demanded of him, he protested and resigned. He then joined his father's textile business just four weeks before the latter's sudden death.
BPW's father, Pestonji, was highly respected among textile merchants in Bombay. His premature death (Bahman was only 19 years old) placed this young, seemingly inexperienced man, in charge of his father's large business. He became responsible for the maintenance of his widowed mother, younger brother and sisters. With the help of a close family friend experienced in textiles, he promptly learned to manage, and prospered in that business.
He had already made the acquaintance of Mme. Blavatsky through her writings. An old family friend, J. D. Mahaluxmiwala, a member of the Bombay Theosophical Society, had introduced him as follows: Every day Bahman would travel some 8 miles to work from the family home in Parel (North Bombay) by tram, to the office in the "Fort," in South Bombay. Finding Bahman (hereafter BPW) sincerely interested in philosophy and other serious subjects, Mahaluxmiwala "gave" him a 2 volume set of Mme. H.P. Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine (and a bill for forty rupees.) BPW was then 18. Reading The Secret Doctrine, he said, was like "coming home."
H.P.B. opened the doors in this life, he said, to reacquire knowledge gained in past lives. He secured an innate confirmation of his own moral sense. He resolved that as soon as he could, he would devote his life to sharing Theosophy with all whom he met. He then set to work to sell the family business and provide a good income for his mother and the rest of the family.
By 1904 BPW had made even a greater success of the textile firm he had inherited, and, then he freed himself from further business engagements. The capital so acquired was carefully invested so as to take care of all his family from then on.
He joined the Bombay Lodge of the Theosophical Society in 1903, and Mr. Mahaluxmiwala initiated him into the secrets of editing, and made him sub-editor for the periodicals: The Theosophic Gleaner and Theosophy and New Thought, edited from the Bombay Lodge of the T S.
On April 15th 1904 he offered his services to Col. Olcott, the President-Founder of the T.S., and they were accepted. After the death of Col. Olcott, on February 17th 1907, he renewed that offer to Mrs. Annie Besant, who succeeded Olcott in the responsibilities of the Presidency of the T S, and she accepted him. Wadia also offered to come to work at Adyar, near Madras. This was also agreed to.
In 1907 BPW mentioned sailing 7 miles out into Bombay harbor to see the Elephanta caves on the island of that name. It was a well known ancient temple, said in Hindu chronology to be over 350,000 years old. It had been excavated from the igneous porphyry rock which covered the island at the time of king Rama. Thus, ages ago, a gigantic stone statue of the Trimurthi: Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva, had been carved out of the original rock of the island and around that a cavern had been chiseled so that a space of about an acre under the stone roof formed the whole monument. The Portuguese who had occupied the island Mumba-devi nearby (now Bombay) had named it Elephanta, because of the two cyclopean stone elephants that decorated the approaches to the cave. He spoke of this to several friends, saying that it was there that he had a "vision," concerning the antiquity and universal value of Theosophy. Also, he met one of the Great Initiates of the Hindu tradition.
He left Bombay on February 3rd 1908 for Adyar. There, working for the T S, Mrs. Besant the President, soon made him manager of the Theosophical Publishing House; and later, assistant editor under her, of the daily New India. At the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Adyar he was recognized to be a powerful and constructive worker.
His responsibilities widened to include being the assistant editor of The Theosophist under Mrs. Besant. Under her direction he began to work in the Home Rule Movement, and soon was renowned in the political circles of the day, and among the members and leaders of the Indian National Congress (this had been earlier started by Mr. A. O. Hume, a retired Secretary to the Government of India, and an early Theosophist of 1880, who was also a pupil of H.P.B. and of the Mahatmas. Later, under Gandhiji, Nehru, and many others, the Indian national Congress served to win political independence for India in 1947. )
BPW knew all the great figures of India in his time, literary, philosophical and political, and was often visited by them when they came to Bombay. Among these were Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan the first President of Free India, Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, Dr. Bhagwan Das, Pundit Bhawani Shankar. When visiting Bombay, they would often stay with him as guests and friends. Valuing his integrity and the instinctive love the masses had for him, they would, from time to time urge him to return to politics, saying that a person of his worth was much needed, especially after Gandhi's murder. He gently but firmly refused, saying that aspect of his life was over, and that he was working on something far wider and deeper reaching: Theosophy, which he urged them to investigate and learn about. (1936 - 1957) Sadly, few took this advice.
His early activities of a political nature, in Madras in the Indian Home Rule Movement, promoted by Mrs. Besant and George Arundale earned for all three of them an internment order from the Government of Madras. Accordingly they were deported from Madras city to Ootacamund ( a "Hill Station," some 300 miles West of Madras city ). There they were interned together from June 16th 1917 (a kind of house arrest). The place chosen was named "Gulmarg ("rose-field"), a cottage, built earlier by Col. Olcott on land he had bought in 1888 4 miles away from Ootacamund, in the Nilgiri (Blue Mountains) Hills. It was at an elevation of 7,000 feet and compared to the sizzling temperatures of Madras (100-115) was very cool. This internment lasted till September 7th 1917
BPW, after some time spent working in Adyar had realized from his study of HPB's writings in The Secret Doctrine, Isis Unveiled, and the many articles found in early issues of The Theosophist, and Lucifer that the TS was no longer promulgating pure H.P.B. Theosophy.
He discussed this with Mrs. Besant, Mr. Leadbeater, and with other co-workers at Adyar, who appreciated his fundamental devotion to H.P.B. and the Masters' teachings. Many a discussion was held on what could be done to bring the Society out of the dominance of psychism (the 3rd Object). This object held the interest of the greater number of members. Mr. Wadia felt it was also the duty of the T S and its officers to encourage the kind of study and work which the 1st and 2nd Objects was embodied in the Original Impulse of the Movement, as defined in the doctrines promulgated by HPB and the Masters since 1875.
Later, conversing with friends, BPW mentioned that he had a vision in Adyar in November 1918 of H.P.B. He said that "vision," and the earlier one in 1907 of the Master at Elephanta had inspired his whole life with the certainty of Their reality, Their existence, and the power and worth of Theosophy as a living and practical philosophy to be used in daily life.
The T S, he used to say, had been founded to establish a basis from which practical and philosophical hope and help to all mankind could be extended at the juncture of this cycle, and, to restore to individuals a knowledge of practical idealism. For this reason the Unity of all Beings, the Brotherhood of Man, Karma and Reincarnation were shown to be doctrines which each one could prove to himself. Those had an extreme antiquity in the literature of the Ancients, and they formed the root basis for all religious systems once accrued creedal and dogmatic claims to uniqueness were cut away.
The "Eternal Philosophy," Sanatana Dharma, was being restored. Universality, Immortality, Law and Brotherhood were to become the standards for the general membership of the T S to know, understand, and aspire to practically. But the modern membership of those days had quite forgotten those objectives. The marvels of spiritualism and psychism had distracted them.
The value of the Theosophical Movement as refigured by Mrs. Besant and other "leaders" of the T S, had caused these great ideas to be almost totally lost for students of those years. BPW and these friends of HPB looked for the methods that could be used to institute an internal reform, a return to the Original Lines. Then, if this could not be done internally, could it, or would it have to be done from outside?
Many plans were formulated, reviewed and revised. These included:
To have a permanent home for this six pronged plan in India, he negotiated the purchase 4 miles out of Ootacamund in the Nilgiri mountains, of an old estate of 100 acres of eucalyptus, fruit orchards and potato fields, on the "Old Mysore Road." It had been named "Brookhampton"--and was renowned for its library, which he also bought. The property was renamed by him: "Gurumandir," (Temple of the Guru).
-- T. L. Crombie, Friend of India, by E. Beswick, pp 2 - 4; Pub.: International Book House Ltd., Bombay.)
"Mr. Wadia stated that as time passed and he and his friends tried to bring about some reforms in the TS in Adyar, but the minds and actions of the chief officers and members seemed to become directed more towards psychism and sensationalism. They tried to direct the mind of the leaders of the Society "back to Blavatsky, and her Theosophy, and that of the Masters." It was a continuous gentle pressure, firmly unrelaxed, that was used. In the meantime other events had matured and an alternative opened."
In the course of his political work under Mrs. Besant, BPW became acquainted in 1917 with the plight of the textile workers in the local Madras mills, as some of those who labored there came to him at the offices of New India. He investigated their working conditions and found them to be oppressive and inhumane: extremely long hours with no reasonable rest periods, low pay, and other conditions of duress. Preliminary meetings were held in the fall of 1917, and in the spring of 1918. The first Labor Union, the Madras Textile Workers' Union, was organized on April 27th 1918. Mr. Wadia was asked by the workers to be President and represent them.
The building in which the Madras Labor Union is housed in Madras is known as "Wadia House;" it faces "Wadia Park." On the parapet at the top of the two storied building, over the front door, a bust of BPW is installed. On entering the front door one is greeted by a large photograph of BPW as a young man -- as he was when he was President of the Union in 1918. His desk and the stationery he used at work are still carefully preserved there, and shown to visitors with great affection and reverence.
The British Parliament was aware of increasing labor unrest in India, but it was unable to understand the nature of the conditions that had brought this about. In 1919 a Commission to investigate this was formed, and it summoned Mr. Wadia, as President of the Madras Textile Workers Union, and others, to come to London, give testimony, and answer questions before that Parliamentary Commission. This Commission was to consider not only the Labor situation, but also various other matters which were to be addressed a year later and embodied in the "Montford Reform Act of 1919."
BPW left India on May 8th 1919, sailing in the company of Mrs. Besant, Mr. P.K.Telang and Mr. Jamnadas Dwarkadas, who were going to visit T.S.Lodges in Europe. This trip for him was to be partly political and partly Theosophical.
BPW's testimony given to the Parliamentary Commission was well received and listened to with attention. A pamphlet embodying his statements was printed and circulated. A White Paper issued officially by Parliament at that time, includes a transcript of his cross-examination and answers.
BPW's visit to England and his well known capacities as a writer and speaker resulted in his being invited to visit and speak at a number of the T S branches in England and on the European Continent.
At this time, Indian Government appointed him a delegate to attend the First International Labor Conference under the League of Nations to be held at Washington D.C., during November-December 1919. After finishing his tour of the European Lodges he sailed in autumn for New York. His position was as a technical advisor to the India Delegation.
Having discharged his responsibilities in Washington, he was asked to tour American and Canadian Branches of the T S, lecturing on The Secret Doctrine, on H.P.Blavatsky and her message, and on the need for every FTS, as an individual, to acquire for himself knowledge, and then study and apply Theosophy individually.
When in Washington D.C. he met Eugene Debbs to with him, he visited the tomb of Abraham Lincoln, one of his heroes, and laid a formal wreath upon it. His itinerary included a trip to California. In Los Angeles he stayed at the Krotona T S in Hollywood.
The T S in America was then undergoing some difficulties in connection with the establishing of Krotona as a headquarters instead of Chicago, and there was a change of Presidents. Mr. Wadia recommended a "Back to Blavatsky" effort, stating that in his opinion the T.S. was no longer following the lines laid down by H.P.B. and was in danger of failing in its mission. He interested himself in the views of a "Towards Democracy League" that had been formed in the T S to restore democracy in its governing.
Mr. Rogers, the president of the T S Section in America was disturbed by his support of this movement in the T S and sent a cable of protest to Mrs. Besant on May 21st 1920. At that time Mr. & Mrs. Bailey, who occupied positions of trust ( as respectively, National Secretary, and Editor for the American Section's magazine: American Theosophist ) were arbitrarily removed from office by Mr. Rogers, on the grounds that they were out of harmony with his administration. On July 12th at the National Convention of the American Section T S other changes in the administration were made arbitrarily. Mr. Wadia was thanked for his work on the platform, but the protest against his attitude, demanding freedom from coercion for the members, was endorsed by the Convention pressured by Mr. Rogers, and sent to Mrs. Besant in Adyar where she was the International President for the T S.
While in Los Angeles, visiting Krotona, he came upon a Times newspaper advertisement of lectures on Theosophical subjects that were sponsored by The United Lodge of Theosophists.
He paid a visit to hear what the ULT offered, and listened to the talk given. Earlier, his fame had attracted members of the ULT to attend his talks under T S auspices. They appreciated his point of view in regard to HPB, and as a result he held a number of talks with the supporters of the ULT. He then learned of its aims and objectives. He saw they had been reprinting in Theosophy magazine Mme. Blavatsky's articles, and, those of Mr. W. Q. Judge - with whose works he was not familiar.
He accepted an appointment to speak from the platform of the ULT on the subject of Mme. Blavatsky and The Secret Doctrine.
He then read with great attention Mr. Judge's books: The Ocean of Theosophy, The Epitome of Theosophy, Echoes from the Orient. This made him realize what a gap had been created in the minds and knowledge of those in the T S by having no access to Mr. Judge's writings for nearly 25 years; and, in being given a false picture of him as a renegade, who had been expelled for his misdeeds from the T S, along with the majority of the members of the T S in the American Section by Col. Olcott, the President Founder in 1895.
He attended more meetings of the ULT, then held at the Metropolitan Building, in downtown Los Angeles. He held long talks with Mr. John Garrigues, Mr. Westcott and Mrs. Grace Clough, and many of the ULT associates who had known and worked with Mr. Robert Crosbie, founder and energizer of the "pure Theosophy" program of the impersonal U.L.T.
Mr. Wadia said he was thrilled to read the Declaration of The United Lodge of Theosophists, and to realize that a group of students already existed, who had banded together, without any political or official structure, on the basis of a practical application of HPB's Theosophy. He found that the principles of brotherly work and unity had survived, and those were being applied practically and impersonally. All ideas of "successorship," of "leadership," of "politics" and "personal" authority had been excluded from this association.
It now remained to see, he said, whether an agreement with the present T.S. "leaders," Mrs. Besant in particular, could be arranged to implement a similar program that would bring about an internal adjustment, and would return the T S to the Original Lines, and Objects, and to the Original Program of the Masters.
It was November 1919 in Los Angeles. Mr. Crosbie had died only five months earlier: June 25th 1919. His loss, BPW observed, seemed to have left some feeling of despondency among the workers at the ULT. Mr. Wadia dissuaded them from this.
He affirmed his belief in the need for the ULT, and the practical application of those principles its Declaration stood for. Mr. Crosbie, speaking just before his death to his friends who felt this despondency said: "they would not have too long to wait" for some help to arrive. From that discussed and understood between them and BPW, it seemed that this "help" was at hand. Certainly there was a great meeting of minds.
They began to plan what ought to be done, in all fairness to Mrs. Besant, to the T S in Adyar and elsewhere, and to the defining of Mr. Wadia's future position and the discharge of his continued responsibilities to all of those before he would be free to join the ULT. He promised those at ULT that if he was not successful in instituting a change and a reform in Adyar, he would return in a short while. His duty required that he continue his tour, complete his work in the T S, and for the Labor Union Congress, then return to India.
He would in addition work on what he had found and learned; study Judge and Crosbie; and, when in Adyar, he would fight for the restoration of true Theosophy. He would try to secure from Annie Besant a public reversal of the unfair attitude maintained against Mr. Judge and his work in America, for nearly 25 years.
He did try this, as will be seen from Professor A. H. Nethercot's biography of Annie Besant, [Vol. II, p. 328, The Eight Lives of Annie Besant, Publisher: University of Chicago Press ]; but was unsuccessful in securing from Mrs. Besant a public reversal from her. To him, privately, she admitted that Judge had been wronged, just as earlier, Col. Olcott had admitted that to Laura Holloway, whom he had met in New York shortly before his death, but he did not make this public.]
In going through some of the older magazines published in Bombay and Adyar, during the period when he was with Col. Olcott and Mrs. Besant (1906-1921) one will come across a number of statements of support made by BPW for the policies of those in charge of the T.S.: Mrs. Besant, Mr. Leadbeater, Mr. Krishnamurthi, etc... These appear to be at variance with his later words and actions after his resignation from the T.S. As he explained this, they were sincere statements made by him within the framework of his knowledge at that time.
BPW knew Mr. Judge, one of the original founders, was no longer well known among most of the membership of the T.S., or in India since 1895. He, along with HPB and Col. Olcott had remained faithful to the Masters' Cause. BPW saw that his writing formed a bridge between HPB, who provided the metaphysical base and Judge offered the practical applications. He was distressed that such an important and valuable asset to the T.S. had been lost and a memory of its existence had been buried and obliterated so far as the membership was then concerned.
BPW saw in the nature of the work that Mr. Judge did for Theosophy in America, a fiery devotion which had in a few years, brought an enormous increase of public interest in, and respect for, Theosophical principles and doctrines during the ten year period between 1886 and 1896, the last being the year in which Judge died. [The membership grew from about 350 to over 4,000, and the number of Branches from about 20 to over 400.]
It was similar to the flowering of the Theosophical Society in India during the five year period 1879-1884, when, fired by the devotion and energy of Col. Olcott, and HPB. Theosophy had burgeoned and spread over the East to Ceylon, Burma, Japan, Thailand and other Eastern countries. But there was a difference between Judge and Olcott. Col. Olcott was healthy and also became famous in India as a magnetic healer, until warned by the Master to stop. Judge, on the other hand had contracted Chagres fever (back-water fever which attacks the liver) in Columbia or Mexico where he went between 1876 and 1883, as a young man, for some of his New York clients who had mining interests there, and he was frail physically ever afterwards. The lingering disease was known to carry off the person in the course of some 21 years. The last three years of his life were noticeably those of a very sick man. His energy was spent as an organizer and as a writer. The magazine The Path contains most of his extensive writings.
BPW attempted during over two years (1920-21) to bring a change in the attitude of the "leaders" of the T S at Adyar and elsewhere. He kept pointing to the true Lines that were indicated in the Theosophy of HPB, and the S D. In this effort he worked with Annie Besant, and other leaders of the Theosophical Society in Adyar, trying to secure their understanding of the wrong that had been done to Mr. Judge and to the whole of the Theosophical Society in America, as well as to members everywhere within the T S, from 1895 onward. BPW determined to find out if the breach could be repaired, and if the unity of the Theosophical Movement could be restored by Mrs. Besant, joining with him, and others, to mend the misunderstandings that had caused the unbrotherly break of 1895. After several heart to heart conversations in 1920-21 with Mrs. Besant, BPW found that while she admitted to him in private that what had been done against Mr. Judge and the "Theosophical Society in America," 25 years back, was wrong, she refused to make a public retraction and restore Judge's fair name in T S Theosophical circles.
In July 1920 BPW, as a delegate from India, attended the Convention of the American Section T.S. in Chicago. By this time, he had become a member of the American Section of the T.S. A question arose about the authority of the officers, particularly the President in the administration of the American Section T S; Resolutions were framed to permit the President of that American Section's Administration to expel members who criticized its officers for "autocratic and underhand methods of administration." Mr. Wadia opposed such resolutions as that would muzzle free speech. The President of the American Section T S, at that time desired to apply this to suppress and quell criticism of certain actions he had taken without securing the prior approval of the Council of the American Section. [see O. E. Library Critic issues 1919-23 for more details about the forcing on the T S membership in America of mandatory membership in the Liberal [Old] Catholic Church, the Star of the East, and Co-Masonry.]
Mr. Wadia's opposition to the high-handed methods of the President of the American Section T S, galvanized a great measure of opposition to this objective, and the thwarted President then wrote to Mrs. Besant (as the International President T.S., at Adyar) complaining of Mr. Wadia's "interference" in local affairs. Mrs. Besant replied, upholding Mr. Wadia's stand on principles, (since he was a member of the American Section also) while deploring his possible "interference." She said that her acquaintance with Mr. Wadia for many years had confirmed her entire trust and respect for him. But, she added, they did not always agree. From Adyar on Sept. 20th 1920, Mr. Wadia wrote a letter that answered points made publicly by the president in the American Section, and sent copies of it to members of the T S Section in America. He wrote, in summary:
Criticism should never be grounds for expulsion of any member. Majority vote should rule all matters of administration. While in America and staying at Krotona, Hollywood (now moved to Ojai), he encountered evidence of wrong principles and wrong methods apparently used by certain administrators in the American Section. He was then slandered by those officials, and a complaint had been lodged in Adyar with Mrs. Besant, International President T S. Mr. Wadia proceeded to expose publicly what was going on. He stood for the principles of clear speech and an exposure of such matters, as it concerned all members who were free to vote.
He returned in 1920 to Europe, and traveled to Paris to attend the World Congress of the T S there. Thereafter he was asked to visit a number of countries where T S Branches were active; he visited Belgium, lecturing in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Ostend, Liege, Charleroi, Marianwelz. 19 lectures delivered, two at the Universite Internationale. He was enthusiastically received and listened to by those engaged in labor reform and by their members, the workers themselves.
He received, then, an invitation to attend the First World Congress of Psychical Research, to meet in Copenhagen; and another from the Third World Brotherhood Congress, to meet in Prague. As he was not able to go to either of them he sent papers, which were received and read with satisfaction.
Following Belgium, he visited Holland, where he worked for 2 weeks, 56 meetings were held. Copenhagen was next visited where 4 talks were given to various groups. Then, on to Sweden, Malmo, Goteborg, Gefle, Stockholm; then to Oslo, Norway, where the Annual Convention of the Norwegian T S was held. Next to Helsinki, Finland. A tour which began in Marseilles in the South of France on February 20th ended October 20th 1920 in Finland. He then sailed back to India.
Meanwhile, the Government of India in 1921 appointed Mr. Wadia a member of the Indian Delegation to the Second International Labor Conference under the League of Nations, which was to meet in Geneva, Switzerland, October 25th, 1921 and this was to be continued for a month. This necessitated a second trip to Europe, and In November 1921, after the conference, Mr. Wadia again sailed for America and thereafter he returned to make his final efforts in Adyar--and these being unsuccessful, he resigned in July 1922.
B.P.Wadia resigned from the Theosophical Society on the 18th of July 1922. He broadcast his reasons for this resignation widely to members of the TS. He also advised them of his joining the U L T because of its impersonal policy, and its one-pointed work focussed on Original Theosophy, as taught by H.P.Blavatsky.
He stated there that he would be working thenceforth for Theosophy through the United Lodge of Theosophists, which of all existing Theosophical bodies, was the one that he had found to be closest in ideal and practice to the original program of the Theosophical Society as started by the Masters, with, Mme. Blavatsky as Their Agent, Col. H.S.Olcott as President for Life, and with Mr. W. Q. Judge as Counsel to the Society, and later as General Secretary of the American Section T.S.
BPW, stated that he did not "look back," nor did he mention or apologize for what he had written earlier in support of the policies of Mrs. Besant, and others of the leaders of the Theosophical Society in the period when he was a member between 1903 and 1922. That door was closed. He thereafter directed the whole thrust of his energy and work into the United Lodge of Theosophists, which was effectively using methods of work that exemplified the principles outlined in the original program of the Masters. These are embodied in the Declaration of the U L T.
He further spoke of his finding that W.Q.Judge had been wronged in the period of 1894-96 by those in the T.S. who had attacked him on flimsy and insufficient evidence.
The 18 page pamphlet he issued stated: -
TO ALL MY FELLOW THEOSOPHISTS
AND MEMBERS OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
A statement by B. P. Wadia
His letter of July 18th 1922 to Mrs. Annie Besant as President of the TS, and the General Council.
A letter of explanation about the divergence from HPB's Theosophy and the Original Program by the TS; how he had found the ULT which was dedicated to that.
His letter of resignation dated 18th July 1922 addressed to the General Secretary of the Indian Section TS resigning from the Indian Council and the T S.
After his resignation he returned to Los Angeles. As an associate of the ULT, he worked thereafter for Theosophy in company with that body of students dedicated to the promulgation of original Theosophy as it was to be found in the writings of H. P. Blavatsky and W. Q. Judge.
Oct. 1st 1922
In response, the T S, Adyar, issued: "An Open Letter to Mr. Wadia" by J. Nityananda and J. Krishnamurthi. This was reprinted by Krotona, Hollywood in America, Oct. 1st 1922 and circulated to the American T S membership.
Many members of the T S all over the world who were interested in HPB's Theosophy as she taught it, separated themselves from the T S and became associates of the ULT.
This influx of new associates necessitated the formation of a number of new ULT Lodges in the Eastern seaboard of America: New York; Philadelphia, Pa.; Washington, D.C.; also several Study Groups were formed in other towns : Reading, Pa.; Chicago, Ill., some of these later became Lodges.
A period of intensive education into the principles and fundamentals of Theosophy ensued. The impersonal practical work of teaching and spreading pure Theosophy, using the ULT methods, began for these new lodges and new associates. Mr. Wadia and other older students of the Los Angles Lodge threw themselves in to this work, and spent long months in various new centers that had been formed, so the work flourished. But the need for Lodges, so associates could meet for mutual study and work went beyond America and soon Lodges were formed in London, England (1925); Paris, France (1928); Amsterdam and The Hague, Holland; Antwerp, Belgium, and elsewhere.
Writing about the period from 1925 to 1928, we have these notes written by one of his co-workers: -
"Those who have known him in those early days felt the power and thrust of his will to work for the Great Lodge through the ULT.
As it was essential to make a clean break with "Adyar Theosophy," he adopted an almost rigid attitude of exclusion to their works and writings. He advised students to concentrate on what Theosophy was, in terms of the actual wording used by HPB, WQJ and the Masters. He used to say that we ought to devote all our energies to that, the rest was unessential and was of interest to "just the present incarnation" and as such it would be "lost" when this personality "died." The other, Theosophy, was for "all time." And, that was where we ought to be placing our efforts.
His work was to consolidate those old students of Judge and of the TS who desired to get back to the study of original Theosophy, and meld them with the new students who desired to learn, and had no background in Theosophy. A series of intensive study classes was started. Exercise and criticism for those who wanted to learn to do platform-work was instituted. He prepared and used for the Guidance of ULT Platform Workers a number of points they had to apply if they wish to work in that way for ULT."
In New York, the U.L.T. used a large auditorium on the ground floor of the "Hotel des Artistes," at 1 West 67th ST., just off the Central Park, and near Columbia University campus. Meetings were held on Sunday: Theosophy School before noon, and a public lecture in the evening. Wednesday evening Study Class, Question and Answer Meeting; Friday: Ocean of Theosophy Study Class and then a Practice Class for new students and those who desired to do platform work. Other meetings were held during the week.
Mr. Wadia conducted one of the Theosophy School Classes. Transcripts of 5 years of his work in this class exist. Students would meet in the evening, informally, several times a week at individual homes, to discuss Theosophy and various aspects of the work. This developed a large-hearted camaraderie and was an active manifestation of an active brotherhood which gathered in all ULT associates.
Mr. Wadia, working at the New York Lodge had an office in the building and a large volume of correspondence was handled. Students from England came over to the New York Lodge to familiarize themselves with the program ULT had evolved of methods of work.
ULT associates from Europe: France, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, etc., visited New York for the same reason, so methods of study and of promulgation of Theosophy were learned that could be used in their own ULT Lodges being soon were opened in England, France, Holland and Belgium. It was a whirlwind time when everything seemed to be happening at once, and the great influence to learn and promulgate spread over all those who served as the "seeds" around which future ULT Lodges and ULT work for the future would grow and flourish.
The photographic plates needed to reprint The Secret Doctrine, Isis Unveiled, and A Key to Theosophy, were prepared and in this way the original writings in their pristine form were again made available for students. This was one of the most important things done. HPB's major works could be again studied in unedited original.
Mr. Wadia always held that it was dangerous to approach the study of The Secret Doctrine through the use of an "abridgment." Any such "filter," however impersonal and good, inevitably set up some "barriers" between HPB and the student.
He also held that Isis Unveiled ought to be first studied and read. Its contents formed the most valuable introduction to Theosophy and to The Secret Doctrine. The Secret Doctrine then, ought to be approached slowly and following a steadily held determination, it ought to be read slowly, and time should be taken to comprehend what was read. It ought to be read a few pages a day, notes should be taken of the subjects covered, and gradually one should build up one's own reference books on the subjects covered in various places. Some held that HPB had "flitted" from subject to subject, apparently at random, but a careful study showed that there always was a cogent reason for those abrupt changes of subject. This reason ought to be looked for.
The enthusiasm, intensity of study, of learning and practicing Theosophy, inspired by Mr. Wadia in the period between 1922 and 1928, seems to parallel the period when Mr. Judge worked between 1886-1896 in New York as a center and influenced Theosophical growth in the rest of America. Margaret Thomas, for instance was inspired to prepare and publish Theosophy or Neo-Theosophy so students could compare the differences made in presenting Theosophy by Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater, writers for the T S, after the death of HPB, and Mme. Blavatsky's original writings.
Many articles for Theosophy magazine were written by BPW, and he used to say that several writers for that magazine were like brothers, one could write the first part of an article and the other finish it and no discernible change in style or handling. Or they would share the burden of writing a series of articles, each writing alternately. Certainly he had a unique rapport with those ULTers in Los Angeles who bore the responsibilities that Mr. Crosbie had passed on to them. It is there and in consultation with those students, that the plans were laid to return HPB Theosophy to Europe and India, to open a ULT Lodge in London, Paris and later in Bombay were worked out. Thus it was hoped the three areas (America, India and Europe) where HPB had laid foundations would be revived and original Theosophy would be again made available there.
New York work followed that which had proved successful in Los Angeles: lectures, the answering of all questions, study classes, a library was started, and the lending of the more expensive books to students was provided for. The conduct of Theosophy School was at first a training ground for those who would be teachers, and weekly reviews were made of the work done by all teachers, co-teachers and reporters in turn. A meticulous and constant attention to all details of the work was supervised and carried out by him, so that within the brief space of 4 years a cadre of capable and knowledgeable volunteer students arose.
Other Lodges were started on the East Coast of the US: Washington, Philadelphia, Reading, and several Study Classes were all attended to; they adopted and used the same pattern of intensive study and application, and attracted the attention of individuals who were interested in Theosophy to the focus of purposive, constructive work.
Periodically Mr. Wadia used to take trips, visiting Lodges on the East coast and then swing back to the Los Angeles area, visiting San Diego, San Francisco and Lodges clustered in between those cities. Visiting senior students from Los Angeles would then come to the East Coast and work with the several Lodges there. There was a constant give and take that cemented the brotherhood in the common work.
When Mr. Wadia mentioned his intention to take HPB's original teachings, using the ULT work and method to India and establish ULT in Bombay as such a basis, several students became enthusiastic about this. Preparations were made each on their own, but in collaboration with others to sail for Bombay, so as to reach India towards the end of l928. There, they planned to spend the next few months locating a suitable place to hold meetings, and also make residential arrangements for themselves and another group of student workers that was to follow, coming with Mr. Wadia early in 1929. Along with BPW, several New York students intended to come. Later on, Mr. T. L. Crombie of London planned to help in the editing when the magazines were to be started.
In the establishment of the ULT in Bombay and the individual conduct of those students from America and Europe who offered their help, Mr. Wadia laid stress on the need for the most correct of personal demeanors by those who would support and work closely with him in there, as local customs were quite different from those prevailing in the countries of their birth. He made it clear that there would have to be a molding of the private life of the visitors to fit and agree with the cultural customs of the Indians, rather than with those of the "ruling British" and other "whites," including Americans, who, in business or as missionaries, when living in India had adopted an aloof attitude of life from the Indians, an attitude borrowed from the British rulers of that conquered country.
London saw the inauguration of the ULT Lodge there on November 17th, 1925. A group of seven of BPW's friends from his Adyar days had resolved on this and established study classes, a library, and a regular monthly schedule of meetings. The Bulletin of the London ULT began publication in 1930.
In London Mr. Trevor Barker, an old acquaintance of BPW, had already published The Mahatma Letters to A.P.Sinnett. In regard earlier to publishing this, Mr. Barker had written Mr. Wadia and told him of his intention of printing those letters. Mr. Wadia replied that he did not think it was advisable to do that. Mr. Barker disregarded this advice and went ahead and had them published. Later when he met Mr. Wadia in London, he is said to have again asked: "Did I do right in publishing them?" To this BPW answered: "You should not have published them, but I am glad that you did it." At that time he was engaged in a fresh project, the editing of H. P. Blavatsky's Letters to A. P. Sinnett.
A group of students active in France and in Paris wanted to take advantage of Mr. Wadia's visit to establish their own ULT in Paris. Their Lodge was founded and the first meeting held on September 21st 1928. Since 1925, under the inspiration of Mr. Wadia, two members of the T S in France who had left it, feeling dissatisfied, and they had started a monthly magazine named Theosophie. The duties of editing the monthly, and later on, translations into French of Theosophical books was done. HPB and WQJ's writings were published.
Prior to the end of 1928, together with Mr. T. L. Crombie Mr. & Mrs. Wadia visited the Netherlands in October, staying at the home of Mr. T. F. Vreede near The Hague. He had been instrumental in bringing back pure Theosophy as presented by the ULT in that town and in Amsterdam. BPW gave a number of talks and conducted study classes.
Between January and the end of April 1929, Mr. Wadia lectured for the London ULT at the Victoria Hall, Bloomsbury, to packed audiences (300 +). The London Lodge was then housed in rented premises in a building a couple of blocks from Marble Arch. [ During the 2nd World War, that building was bombed, a large number of books were destroyed, and while temporary repairs enabled meetings to be continued, it was apparent that the London Lodge would have to seek for new premises. When a building was purchased at 62 Queen's Gardens, near Paddington Station, the Lodge made its move.] The London Branch of the Aryan Path magazine (begun in 1930) worked out of the building; and in the floor devoted to the Library, meetings were held for the London Branch of Indian Institute of World Culture (started in 1945 in Bangalore, India by Mr. Wadia).
In March 1929, Mr. and Mrs. Wadia were in London. They were visited by many students from Europe. They, in turn, visited a number of the ULT Lodges there before beginning their trip to India. A ULT Study Group was started in Amsterdam under the inspiration received by some of its residents from their visits and talks with him. The Antwerp Lodge was inaugurated on November 17th 1956. Lodges were also started in Amsterdam and The Hague.
Bringing original and pure Theosophy back to India, was next. Those students who had gone ahead, had established themselves there, and had found a suitable hall for meetings in the "Fort" the business district of south Bombay, at 51 Esplanade Rd., Flora Fountain. They had located a suitable residential complex at 17 Bomanji Petit Rd. in Malabar Hill, 4 miles away, where apartments were available for all those who were coming. The Wadias had a small detached bungalow in the same compound. Mr. and Mrs. Wadia landed in Bombay on May 31st, 1929 just before the monsoon rains of that season arrived.
The Bombay branch of the ULT was opened on November 17th 1929. The inaugural meeting found the ULT hall full and overflowing. Mr. Wadia was well known and soon Sophia Wadia, an excellent speaker was also appreciated. Speaking engagements asked for by various social and communal groups poured in, asking them to lecture on Theosophy or on some aspect or other of the ancient tenets of that faith. As the reputation of the ULT grew, so did the regular membership, and Study Classes, Question and Answer Meetings, a Theosophy School for children on Saturday afternoon kept everyone busy most of the week. The Library was kept open for the public every day except Sunday from 10.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
January 1930 saw the first issue of The Aryan Path (the noble path) magazine, supported by articles and editorials, by Mr. Wadia and Mr. T. L. Crombie, who acted as sub-editor. Mme. Wadia allowed her name to used as "Editor." Mr. Wadia was of the opinion that the future of Theosophy in its presentation to the world would be, in one way, through the work of the future writers and poets of the world. Accordingly he and Sophia Wadia had earlier became members of the International P.E.N. Club. They organized its Indian chapter and maintained offices for it, a monthly magazine called The Indian P.E.N. was started.
November 17th 1930 saw the issuing of the first number of The Theosophical Movement. All articles were unsigned therein, except those that had been written by H.P.B., W.Q.J. or others who had made signed contributions in the older Theosophical magazines.
A publishing program was started in Bombay, to reprint articles and the shorter texts written by HPB and WQJ. These were issued in both book and pamphlet form.
A large, house was purchased for the Wadias and several other active families of associates to live in. It was located at the foot of Malabar Hill, on the shore of the Arabian Sea facing the West. Some 20 ULTers lived in "Aryasangha" for 25 years in great harmony and friendliness. The Wadias occupied the upper floor of the main building, and whenever some visitor came, or some event of theosophical significance presented itself, associates from all over the area were always invited to come. Many important persons, prominent in the Movement, were thus met, and important events occurred in which Mr. Wadia arranged that we could participate.
In 1938 a sister Lodge of the Bombay ULT was opened in Matunga, about 11 miles to the north of the original Bombay ULT. The reason for this was that a number of students living there desired a permanent Study Class and meeting hall. Mr. Wadia gave the inaugural talk there. Two weekly meetings and a public library were maintained there.
After the death of Mr. Crombie, the original co-editor of The Aryan Path, Dr. Eleanor M. Hough and others assisted Mr. Wadia in his editing task for this magazine. Mme. Wadia continued to lend her name to it as its "Editor" until it ceased publication, soon after Mr. Wadia's death. [See T. L. Crombie - Friend of India by Ethel Beswick, published, Bombay, Nov. 1958.]
In 1941 equipment was bought to set up a printing press for the Bombay U.L.T. One of the students, an experienced printer, who lived in Baroda, some 260 miles North of Bombay, offered to equip the "Sadhana (responsibility) Press," so that the three magazines and other theosophical books could be printed reliably and without strain.
During the second World War, several students of ULT were suddenly transferred by their employers to new locations in the country. A number of them set up Study Classes and drew to themselves others who became in their turn students of Theosophy. Such Study Groups were formed in their homes in New Delhi (which in l960 became a Lodge), Calcutta, Poona, Baroda, and Madras.
On the 12th of August 1942, the Bangalore Lodge of ULT was opened. A building named "Maitri Bhavan" (Abode of Friends) at 15, Sir Krishna Rao Rd., Basavangudi, Bangalore 4, houses a central hall for meetings, lectures, and study classes; a library devoted to Theosophical reference books; and also residential quarters for visiting students. It conducts a publishing program that is complementary to, and in harmony with that which the Bombay Lodge runs. In this work it has reprinted the many pamphlets that make the articles of HPB and WQJ available to students at low cost following the pattern adopted earlier by the Los Angeles Lodge.
In 1945, on August 11th, the Indian Institute of Culture was started by Mr. Wadia, with Dr. L. S. Doraiswamy, as its first Secretary. This was to be an extension of Theosophical work, in line with the 2nd Object of the Theosophical Movement.
This was designed to bring to Bangalore learned persons from many countries who were visiting India, who were asked to lecture or give short courses in their specialties there. It also served as a forum for prominent Indian specialists to lecture on their investigations and findings. Later the name of this institution was changed to The Indian Institute of World Culture. It houses a large library, sponsors many regular programs of talks, musical recitals, seminars. And, it has a substantial publishing program of books, transactions and pamphlets in addition to its regular monthly Bulletin. The inaugural meeting and many subsequent meetings were held at No. 1, North Public Square Rd.
Some years later over an acre of land was acquired at No. 6, North Public Square Rd. for the IIWC Institute, and buildings were erected. These include a lecture hall, the Wm. Q. Judge Hostel for students, a Library, and other buildings. In 1959, following Mr. Wadia's death ( Aug. 20th l958), North Public Square Road was renamed by the Bangalore Municipality and citizenry: B. P. Wadia Road.
On the 18th of February 1955 Mr. Wadia laid the corner stone for the present home of the ULT in Bombay at 40 New Marine Lines, (Theosophy Hall). 328 persons from several countries attended this foundation ceremony.
November 9th 1957, in Bangalore, saw the opening of the New Lecture Hall of the Indian Institute of World Culture by the Maharaja of Mysore, (he was also Mysore State's first Governor in Independent India) at 6 North Pubic Square Rd. in the Basavangudi quarter of Bangalore. At that time Mr. Wadia, who welcomed the Maharaja, renamed the Institute so that it now included the word: "World."
On November 17th 1957 Theosophy Hall in Bombay was inaugurated at 6.15 p.m. by Mr. Wadia. The auditorium and balcony built to accommodate 500 was overflowing and people stood in the aisles. Over 700 were counted. ULT associates from all over India and several foreign countries came for the event.
The building houses on two floors the main auditorium, above are two more floors devoted to the ULT offices and the Reference Library - (over 120,000 books and pamphlets available). The Indian P.E.N. has another floor devoted to its offices. The top two floors are apartments for associated who work at the Lodge.
August 11th 1958 was to be the Foundation Day lecture at the IIWC. It was to be given by Mr. Wadia, who had been ill for some days. He had prepared a talk under the title: Our Soul's Need (later reprinted). He began reading it, but his voice grew weaker, and he turned the reading over to Mrs. Wadia, who finished it, while he waited in a chair at the back of the auditorium. A copy of this had been mailed earlier to Bombay, where on the same day at 4.30 p.m. a number of students gathered in the Library to read it.
August 20th 1958 early in the pre-dawn of Bangalore, the intimate friends of Mr. Wadia received an emergency call. The time was 2.20 a.m. He knew that he was approaching death and desired to speak to them of the future. He spoke of the changes that the cycles had brought to him. He reviewed some past incidents in his life. His first meeting with the Master in the "Brahma-Vishnu-Siva Cave" in 1907; his vision of HPB early during his stay in Adyar (November 1918), which two events he said had inspired his life. He indicated that there would be changes now, and that responsibility would thenceforth have to be shared among those who had been near to him in the work, and who would survive him.
It was not until that evening, that he actually passed away. The time of the death of his body was 7.17 p.m. His friends met immediately after the event and read from the devotional books he loved: the Bhagavad Gita, Voice of the Silence, and Light of Asia.
Cremation was the next morning at Chamrajpet, a suburb of Bangalore.
B. P. Wadia - Additional Notes
Memorandum from Wane Kell (Extracts from a letter 1992):
"B.P.Wadia was a friend of my parents when I was born (Los Angeles, Dec. 1922). I have lived close to Mr. Wadia, and worked with, and for him, directly and indirectly, until his death in 1958. I hold him in the highest respect, and have studied his life and his works for all these years; also, comparing his writings with those of HPB and WQJ on Theosophy. Here was a man who lived to help others--in the sense that Tom Paine wrote: "His country was the World, and "to do good" was his religion."
Common-sense and decency demand that no one person, or cabal dominate others for whatever pretext through coercive means, especially in the T S where Brotherhood is the only object that all members have subscribed to. If one could not tolerate an emergent abuse of principle, the first and only recourse of a "pledged" person is resignation. This can only, after strenuous attempts at reconciliation, be done individually, not as a group.
A "group" is not essential for the kind of help and support that the world needs, but there is no reason why any student who is devoted to Masters, to HPB, and to Their Theosophy, cannot start where he is and organize a study center with whatever persons Karma may bring around him. It is all in the will, the motive, and a matter of sincerity, of an inner devotion to HPB, to the Masters, and to Theosophy, and above all, a grand, embracing and all-inclusive love for Humanity as a whole.
Mr. Judge, in the expansion of Theosophy in America, after 1886, took advantage of the wave of interest that arose, and which, in many places, he stated was the result of Adept influence felt all over the country by those individuals whose karma made them sensitive to it.
Recently a fine biography on the life of HPB, and bearing that title, by Sylvia Cranston has been issued, the first printing sold out in 6 weeks time, with little advertisement. [By November 1993 over 10,000 copies had been sold. Over 1,800 were distributed to University Libraries in the USA. A 6th printing is being made and 1995 will find that a paper back edition is to be issued. French, German, Dutch, Italian, and Russian translations are being arranged for.]
Students of Theosophy could take advantage of this. The participation of Theosophical bodies at the Centenary commemoration of the Parliament of Religions in Chicago (Aug/Sept. 1993) underlines the significance of Theosophy, now, as it was in 1893. I enclose a "bio-chronology" on Mr. Judge, showing the enormous value of his contribution to the Movement, if you will review the synopsis of Annual Reports he issued as "General Secretary, Amer. Sec. T. S.," included therein, you will see how he caused the work to expand, employing many fine ideas, and the energies of many volunteers.
There is early evidence of a type of misunderstanding in T S history in Adyar, that which relates to "authority," to an expectation that individual members and Branches of the T.S. would accept and comply with, in docile conformity and acceptance, to such "orders" as the President, Col. Olcott, PTS might issue from "Adyar." HPB will be found to have been one of the first to protest and resist this authoritarianism. In her article: "A Puzzle from Adyar," (HPB Articles, Vol. II, p 217; U.L.T.) she points to the ethical and personal principles of Theosophical application every member can employ.
These she declares are transcendent to any "orders" issued from Adyar, whether by the President, or any other person or body that claimed authority, to direct the activities and thought of the membership. She claimed that the essence all effort as also of Theosophical application, was the self-induced and self-devised decisions made by individual members. It was a putting into effect the ethics of Theosophy based on the independent understanding and choice of each member. This is how Karma operates. This is how all mankind and every being in the Universe progresses: on their own independent decisions at whatever their level of intelligence or consciousness.
The first "sin against Brotherhood" openly committed after HPB's death, was Olcott's action in declaring that Mr. Judge and the "American Section T.S." as a whole, had seceded, when, in April 1895, it elected to become an affiliated, but independently administered "T.S. in America." He seems to have forgotten that earlier he had indicated that he had no objection to such an independence. Now, in seeming retaliation for his loss of direct control he refused to consider the further actions of the "T.S.in America," which, had registered its desire to remain in fraternal affiliation with the T.S. Sections, Branches and Fellows in Adyar and elsewhere.
He then presented at a General Meeting of the European Section T.S. resolutions (in 1895) excommunicating the membership of the T.S.in A, naming Mr. Judge, its President, and all other members "seceders." The principle of local autonomy had been agreed to years earlier by him. First, Mr. Sinnett insisted since 1883 that the London Lodge of the T.S. should remain entirely independent of his control, to which he agreed. Later, he wrote to Mr. Judge and to HPB that he had no objection to the formation of independent Sections. The implementation of local independence had been arranged by the formation, in turn of the "American Section," the "British Section," and the "European Section" of the T.S.
The reason for the creation of these several "sections" was the rapid expansion of the membership of the T S, and, so as to avoid the delays and the slowness in administrative matters of detail, when those were concentrated in the President's office in Adyar, India - also, because he was frequently absent on tours of duty. Mail was slow and thus detail suffered, as correspondence with Judge and HPB reveals. Certain problems had also arisen in Adyar among the staff there which led to inaccuracy and delays.
Legally, it could be treated as a secession of the T.S. outside of America, as a whole, led by its President: Col. Olcott, from its original and legal source and center, which had never changed: in New York. This is a fact in History!
In every case, the imposition of "authoritarian" rule coupled with the failure to apply fair ethical principles in administration has led to ill feelings among members, and a failure in the moral/ethical integrity of those involved became apparent. Both the enforcers and those who accepted enforcement, without insisting that common-sense ethical principles be rigidly upheld, have caused the debasing of the esoteric and the exoteric bodies. Most struggles have revolved around money and power, which True Theosophy has nothing to do with...
Clear speech on sound principles is the only way that any TS "organization/association/group, etc." can run. The "conference method" is the only one in which a reasonable consensus can be gained. We are long past the era of authoritarianism, or rule by right of royal, or of "apostolic succession," the laying on of hands, etc. All those things open the doors to some form of sectarianism, and generally an abuse of power for personal benefit. Pity the future of those people who follow blindly self-seekers and claimants of various stripes. We need to apply our knowledge of Karma, reincarnation and derive from Theosophy such moral and ethical bases for our decisions as will revolutionize the world in a true sense. Brotherhood in practice will alone do this.
Essentially, administration in a truly Theosophical body, ought to be a form of practical, cooperative "anarchy." Local units establish a bond of mutual trust, based on common-sense principles that are universal and impartial. It is a total elimination of any personal or "partisan" interest. If such a situation is not possible, then the eventual spiritual and material failure of any T S organization can be predicted with invariable accuracy.
It is for this reason that Mr. Wadia in 1919-20, after finding how Judge had been treated by the conspirators (Olcott, A. Besant, B. Keightley, Olds, Edge, and others ) of 1893-6, on his return to India and Adyar, first protested directly to Mrs. Annie Besant (who privately agreed that he was right. But, she said to him that although Mr. Judge had been unfairly treated she was unwilling at that time to make any further public redress beyond what she had already written in her article "Theosophical Worthies" in 1909 in the Theosophist. If one refers to the book entitled The Theosophical Movement (1875-1925), and 25 years later, an updated edition covering the period (1875-1950), all the documents issued, and the sequence of events will be found given. There are no mysteries left. Most of what has been written pro- and con- the doings of the individuals involved in the T S can be independently reviewed using documents. It now becomes the responsibility of those who read these statements to verify them for themselves and then to decide how to act individually.
One might be led to conclude that when individuals abandon the impersonal application of the philosophy of Theosophy for the sake of an Organization, they get nothing but a seared and dried-up shell. Thereafter, they may be assuming the dangerous Karma of misguiding their contemporaries and misleading millions of people still unborn. A heavy Karma rests on even minor decisions made by any student of Theosophy at a time such as this. If we take it to be true, as the Great Master stated, that the "TS was chosen to be the corner-stone for the future religions of humanity."
We are now living hardly 125 years since the repromulgation of Theosophy and therefore are privileged to be involved in this formative, foundational work. We may assume that the tests and the decisions that rest on us are of great magnitude and we should be most careful. Whatever we are, and however we may rate ourselves, it is a Karmic opportunity for us.
Loyal adherence to a "power group" is like backing the Church Fathers of the early centuries of Christianity, as they went cutting, paring, twisting, interpolating and adjusting their selections from current, and from ancient scriptures, and the Gospels, to fashion a Credo, and a Church that would serve the needs of black magic to enslave the masses for many centuries into the future, right up to about 300 years ago, when the Reformation began in various centers of Europe. They were so clever that they succeeded in almost entirely concealing their work. In preventing their descendants by taboos, from discovering the traces of their malefactions, they condemned millions of faithful but ignorant adherents to be duped by impossible and absurd explanations, rites, ceremonies and promises which are entirely illogical and certainly not verifiable â€“ the creeds and beliefs (so called rites and sacraments) of the Christian Churches.
The publication, in 1896 of the "Third and Revised Edition of the Secret Doctrine," [with over 40,000 alterations from the "Original Edition" of 1888 - which, needless to say HPB had not authorized or supervised], and the addition to that of an entirely spurious "Third Volume," [ this 3rd Vol. contrary to HPB statements made in The Secret Doctrine, Vols. 1 and 11, gives adequate indication of the seriousness of the disease.] Â A careful reading of the 2nd Vol. of Isis Unveiled will show so many parallels, historically, to this creedal trend, that one should not be surprised, but only feel deep sorrow, that so many have failed to abide by their pledged "word of honor." How can anyone who breaks that, be thereafter trusted?
If one desires to write a biographical apercu of Mr. Wadia' life and work, with emphasis on his work in the U S and Canada, the Canadian Theosophist for the months of 1919/20 carried the most detailed reports of his lectures. When in America, the American Theosophist did the same. As soon as his resignation from the T S became known, they dropped further mention of him.
Miss Jeanne Sims of Los Angeles might know more of Mr. Wadia's life and work. She was helpful in providing copies of her work compiled from Mr. Wadia's writings. I would say, by and large, that the record left us, in writing, is the most reliable of those of individual worth. We have, fortunately had some great personages who have supported and worked for Theosophy in those remnants of the T S that ought to be vigorously pursuing the work that HPB died to give to us. In the ranks of the anonymous ULT students who have patiently and perseveringly carried on the work of preservation, of study, and of promulgation of the original teachings of Theosophy very little is known or referred to. Emphasis is given to those teachings, not to the people who have made U.L.T. successful in its work, so far.
If you have not seriously studied the work of the ULT, you ought to do that. It gives no eminence to anyone. It responds to the need of those who wish to study and to work for Theosophy. Those who seek no recompense or personal stature, and who are moved only by a sense of the debt they owe to HPB, to WQJ, and, behind them, stand the Masters, and to their brother men--humanity. They are especially grateful to all the Great Ones who have kept the grand ideals alive. And, understanding Their love for Humanity as a whole, are those who support and work for it. They abandon (while not being ignorant of) any "official" considerations such as those offered by organizations like the various T.S.'s or their offshoots.
In that impersonal principle and its strict application lies ULT's inherent strength. Its Declaration, and the implication of self-discipline and of cooperation with ones' fellows as embodied there, preclude any personal aggrandizement. It enshrines a self-cleansing nature which combs out those who prove to be unfit to keep its vitality alive. If this is applied successfully by our descendants, then it will continue constructively for a while. But I can anticipate that eventually it may fail. From 1909 up to now (1995) is 86 years. The greatest barrier to those who might desire to "join" the ULT is the lack of recognition of a personal nature that they will receive. They will have all the responsibilities and none of the advertising ! But consider the fact that we are all immortals - they will have to pick up from where they left off in the next life -- we always do. There is a real power in a strenuous life for Theosophy. But this cannot be confined by anyone. It has to be diffused, and the wider, the better. So long as the ULT retains its independent-dependence it will serve as the "Voice of Conscience" for Theosophists in the world. The hot flame of truth in action burns away all useless chaff from the "golden grain" of duty. Its main purpose is to see that the original teachings of Theosophy are faithfully made available to inquirers. When this task was first entrusted to the other "societies," it was soon noticed that "Editorial changes, emendations, deletions and alterations" crept in, so as to obscure those originals, and make more difficult to find those instructions which those who are innately esotericists seek. This is a great danger. It is, in effect, the arrogation to ones' self a knowledge that pretends to transcend that of HPB and the Masters. Even the ULT has, and will undergo "shocks." There are constant attempts to cause minor and major disruptions. Only the Declaration (and its constant use and study) provides a "shield" for these to glance off of relatively harmlessly. Now consider with me the action that Mr. Wadia chose to take, and make of his capacities a part of the supportive understructure of this "shield," and add to the penetrating work of "true Theosophy."
This does not mean that an independent T S -- as all Branches were deemed to be, and as, for instance, the Edmonton Lodge in Canada is -- cannot use and apply identical principles. It was originally intended that the individual T S es would be exactly like the free and independent but confederated states that entered into the same Union as the USA did. No one state could rule another and the Federation was intended as administrative expediency and coordination, not rule. This has been the source of abuse of all democratic states. where the central federation has made of itself, and of some of its more powerfully conniving units (persons) rulers. Unfortunately Olcott in his zeal to administer problems fairly, made it autocratic.
It is said that the Mission, the work of HPB was to "change the Manas and the Buddhi of the Race." [W.Q.J.LETTERS THAT HAVE HELPED ME, p. 72] This is a peculiar phrase, but one which is vibrant with the effort of the spiritual will--how best to move millions of minds and psyches to a consciousness of their own worth, to the sense of the independence that an immortal, eternal Being has inherently? That, destroys ignorance and "blind servitude" to any personal authority. We are now watching the unfolding of this process all around us, and all over the world.
How can we best help? Precept and example do this. Keeping the purity of Theosophy alive and active in the world is the most essential thing that anyone can do. Reviving old corpses, is an exercise in wasting good energy. In effect it is an attempt to reverse the past; whereas a fresh beginning usually, under Karma, attracts those minds and hearts that are searching for Theosophy. The old group, if they wanted Theosophy would not have let the organization flounder! The failure to apply brotherhood is that which has caused all the failures in the recent revival of the Theosophical Movement. It is time now for self-healing, if possible. Establishing new bodies for work takes time, but if the old cannot be brought back to the original lines, then that is what has to be done. Hence the establishment and support of the ULT activity, where such delays ought to be precluded.
Mr. Wadia made a personal change to devoting his life-work and energy to the ULT method - for those strong reasons. Did he submerge himself in it? Yes he did, and he always kept himself behind the ULT, pushing it, its purposes (Theosophy, Brotherhood, Promulgation), and the wider work in the world that the Theosophical Movement entails: The P.E.N., The Indian Institute of World Culture, and The Aryan Path magazine.
[You could well ask why he did so. If you consider the various T S organizations around the world, then, and today (1994) you will realize that the ULT affords a totally free and responsible environment where independent study, cooperation, and non-authoritarian interdependence flourishes. So long as the ULT remains true to its Declaration it will offer a safe harbor to all who desire to truly work for humanity in brotherhood without any selfish motives of their own. The masthead of the monthly Program of Activities published by the ULT says it in brief: To Spread Broadcast the Teachings of Theosophy as Recorded in the Writings of H.P.Blavatsky and William Q. Judge.]
In America, as another example of this kind of strenuous, impersonal, and wholly devoted work for the betterment of humanity, you have had: Manas magazine, a weekly magazine, edited up to the time of his death, by Henry Geiger - another ULT student for whom Theosophy represented the beacon-light of the Supreme Goal. He was its anonymous editor for over 40 years of devoted, disinterested but intensely practical service [1948-1988]. This magazine complemented and supplemented the work of the older already established magazine The Aryan (Noble) Path, which was started by Mr. Wadia and edited from Bombay from 1929, till his death in 1958 for 30 years.]
For a moment, let me ask you to suppose that an Adept, or "HPB," returned, (and Mr. Judge wrote that She would, as soon as it was possible--see WQJ Articles II 214), and desired to work for Theosophy through the existing Theosophical Societies, bodies or groups -- do you think They (around 1920), would struggle with all the "political" posturing, and all the "contorted mind-sets" in the T.S. that currently exist, are partisan, and have the least to do with real Theosophy? Or would he try to work through some body which was non-political, non-structured, and which insisted on perpetuating the work in original of both HPB and WQJ? And, at the same time, held the personal nature of each individual student to the lowest possible point of interference in actual work. [Read, for instance, Mr. Judge's article: "On Funds and Property, Path, Vol. 8, p. 354.] In other words, would not the U.L.T. present a basis for the culling out of the T.S. of those who remained sincere students and friends of H.P.B. and the Masters?
In Theosophy, work is always available for those who want to work. Many hear the call, and in their hearts they respond, but when it comes to doing, they find reasons why they should refrain or abstain. It is this inner barrier that each has to study, because our success or failure for the present incarnation is to be found, there. Do we work for it, or do we hinder it by rejection, by distortion, or through tamasic indifference and inaction ? Each answers this to himself. The personality that we are, is placed by our karma directly into the Hall of the Two Truths. This is to be found in ancient Egyptian symbology of the after-death state of Amenti, where the Soul is judged, by the "heart" of the defunct being placed in the pan of the scales opposite the "feather" of Truth. Here, we judge ourselves: the Lower Self is that personal self. It is now judging itself in the Light that streams from the Atman our Higher Permanent Self.
Mr. Judge in "Letters" uses the symbology of "the inside of a glove," as representing that Lower Self. Some meditation about that word and idea produce interesting results.
The cycle that begins around 1975 has come, and is almost passed, as this is written in 1996, the evidence of power and change for the better surrounds us. How could the political, Theosophical, and human changes in Russia and Eastern Europe have come about - virtually bloodlessly â€“ the great revolution in physics towards a use of mysticism and philosophy in describing inter-related disciplines such as chemistry, astronomy, physics and mathematics? Do we need new and sweeping religious brooms? We have Theosophy. But, are we making the best use of it ? It is the duty of the "companions," Judge said, to rediscover and to employ it. Both HPB and Judge prophesied that she might return. Are we sure she hasnâ€™t? Â She as Ego Sum is just as immortal as we are in our inner essence, so why presume She is dead, or has abandoned those who work in the movement that she and The Masters commenced? We are all under Her eye, whether we know it or not, or, like it or not!
You ask about Mr. Wadia and his function. Do you not think that it was one of sustaining and lending strength in the only area (1919-29) where original Theosophy could be still broadcast? The reprinting of the original texts: Secret Doctrine, Isis Unveiled, Key, Voice, Theos. Glossary, Modern Panarion, 5 Years of Theosophy, HPB and Judge's Magazine Articles -- this was a responsibility assumed by the ULT as those pioneer texts went out-of-print, and when the light of original effort seemed to have waned and paled to a great low for the original T S.
ULT has thus served to keep that "beacon light"--the "Phare de l'Inconnu"-- alive and vibrant with some of the original energy. Since then, others, active in the T Ses have picked up their torches. lit them again at that Source, and are carrying on as best they can. It is always and for ever the self-effort that counts. In some cases it is noticed that an appreciation of the functions of the U.L.T., and of each other's contiguous work has paved the way to brotherliness and greater cooperation among all those who employ the word Theosophy to designate their interests.
This work of reprinting the "original teachings" was started under Robert Crosbie in Theosophy Magazine, which began its publication in November 1912. It was dedicated to reprint the articles of HPB and Judge that were, by then, out-of-print and unknown to the majority of those that formed the new generation of Theosophists. It is in this area that one can notice by a regular perusal of magazines issued by the various Theosophical bodies, that they have lost contact, as a whole, with the Original Teachings. Such a lack has allowed them to stray from a course originally set for them to pursue.
Another of Theosophy magazine's functions was to clear away the confusion and vagueness as to what had actually happened in Theosophical chronology, and make the history of the Theosophical Society and its chief actors (H.P.B., Judge, Olcott and Annie Besant) a matter of public, and accessible record, to students and all other inquirers, and thus, strip away false secrecy, innuendo, hearsay, calumny and other confusions, such as false "authority," by quoting from original documents available to all inquirers.
When Mr. Wadia broadcast his resignation from the T S and gave there his reasons, he combed a large number of sincere students and devotees of HPB and WQJ out of the T.S. into centers where the ULT and its "straight HPB Theosophy" would be used and studied by them. It was determined by him, and those others, who had responsibility for the guidance of the ULT work, that an intensive study of what Theosophy actually was, would be the first and most valuable tool to be used by all students. The promulgation and publishing work of the ULT was set to that objective, and continues to be.
The study of the "Three Fundamentals" (Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, pp. 13-19), of the "Ancient Source of Theosophy" (Secret Doctrine, I, p. 272, #1) and of the "Ten Propositions of Oriental Psychology" (Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, pp. 587-8) was done at all study-class meetings as a preliminary. The intensive study of THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY by HPB, and of THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY by WQJ was then pursued; and the special study of the BHAGAVAD GITA was undertaken.
The republishing in photographic format of HPB's larger books (The Secret Doctrine and Isis Unveiled) was then taken up. The rest of the T.Ses have, since then, been forced to tag along, eventually, when they found that what they were then serving was not nourishing the deeper aspirations of their membership; and, further, they were accused of publishing distorted and obscured versions of HPB's original teachings (when their offerings were compared with the originals). They then reprinted the originals themselves.
This has proved a real blessing to inquirers, as everyone now has easy access to those important books and facts through their wider diffusion.
A further indication of Theosophy having "arrived" in the circles of Academia is the fact that a number of "graduate students" are found to be studying various aspects of theosophical history and the development of the applications of theosophical principles through the literature available, such as work with and for children. In the departments of Religious Studies in a number of Universities a Professorial Chair has been set up for the study and preservation of Theosophical material, and this has been done all around the world.
It is amazing how many minds and hands try to "improve" on HPB. Or say, casually, "Well, if HPB were here now, she would say--this, or--that," and seek to modernize and up-date her, while unconsciously, perhaps, putting themselves forward, either as critics or as equals to HPB and the Masters! Fortunately, science and good scientists know the value of the S.D., and use it. Those who are in the forefront of mathematics, physics, astronomy and philosophy (not to mention the social sciences, and the sciences that involve the mind, psychology and consciousness) are using it, and are familiar with its teachings and ideas.
Unfortunately, there are still many who cannot distinguish Leadbeater divagations from the Esoteric Philosophy of the Ages. But that is another story. Do you have a copy of Margaret Thomas' Theosophy or Neo-Theosophy? If you can get a copy you will soon see how much Leadbeater and Annie Besant have departed from the sources of pure Theosophy. --- WK
FURTHER NOTE (from WK):
In regard to your question about instituting the practice of providing a "Summer retreat for students of Theosophy."
I can only think of the instance of Mr. Wadia, who owned, before he joined the ULT, a property in Ootacamund in the Nilgiri Mountains of South India.
I think that the history of this place is adequately given in my bio-chronological notes on Mr. Wadia.
The summer climate in Madras, of daily over 100 degrees and almost 100 per cent humidity, and little or no air-conditioning available, makes this a most punitive climate. The Nilgiris are over 7,000 feet high and the climate there is "an eternal Spring" --average 55/75 degrees. This explains why the property was bought by him. Earlier, HPB and Olcott had purchased near the "Snowdon" mountain a small cottage. Olcott named it "Gulmarg," and he said he would eventually retire to it, but, he never did. [During World War I, when Mrs. A. Besant and Mr. Wadia were interned by the Govt. of Madras for about 3 months, they were confined to the use of this cottage.]
When the active season of the ULT in Bombay came to a close (usually after May 8th) and the pre-monsoon heat and humidity was heavy there, Mr. Wadia would go to Ooty and stay there for several months, and from time to time he would invite other students to visit and stay for a while. He used to say that he could do twice as much writing in Ooty as in Bombay--articles, letters, poured out under his hands. All the correspondence of the Bombay U.L.T. and the I.I.W.C (other than routine) was sent to him daily. This he returned immediately, with instructions on handling, or with fully written answers. In other words, his self-assumed burdens did not lessen when he went there. All during his life a 12, 14 or even 16 hour days were habitual work-time for him.
After the opening of the Bangalore Lodge, which was only about 190 miles away from Ooty, he generally cut short his stay in Ooty to come and work intensively with the Bangalore Lodge until the active season brought him back to Bombay around mid- August. Bombay is about 800 miles North West of Bangalore.
Even then, there was no such thing as a general invitation to associates to come for a joint vacation, joint study, etc. as the TS seems to do in America (Krotona, Ojai. England. Switzerland, and other countries.)
So I have had some doubts about the practice, as it is seems to me to be physically and psychically "pleasing" to the personality, but lacks a certain feeling of the intensive work and discipline directed to perfecting the personality connected with it.
If you read WQJ's Practical Theosophy (Judge Articles, Vol. II, p. 395...) you will see that Mr. Judge recommends the promulgation of Karma and Reincarnation as being our primary tasks. That is active, not passive.
If you study Mr. Judge's work, he was constantly encouraging his friends to work, to promulgate, to seek for those souls who might be interested in the message of Theosophy.
All of Mr. Judge's time and all the money that came to him for Theosophical use was employed in this. The funds of the T S in America were spent right away in this work of promulgation, and they provided great results.
In letters written to Col. Olcott, Judge states that the money received ought to be translated into active work for Theosophy immediately, and not "laid up" in a "fund" for some future use. [see WQJ - "On Funds and Property," The Path, Vol. 8, p. 354]
Was Mr. Wadia beginning a revolution in Adyar in the period around 1918/20? This you say has been rumored and where there is a fire there is smoke, etc... ?
ANSWER by WK:
In November 1958, Miss Ethel Beswick, who had been working with Mr. Wadia and Mr. T. L. Crombie in Adyar during the period around 1918-1920 wrote a short biographical sketch of the late Mr. T. L. Crombie's life. From this we read: -
"...as the years passed he (Crombie) became increasingly dissatisfied with the part played by the T.S. in the world, for he realized more and more that Theosophy pure and simple was not being taught and the great mission of the Theosophical Movement of our century was being lost sight of. The psychic pronouncement of Mr Leadbeater were ousting the works of Madame Blavatsky, and the great ideal of the Masters of Wisdom was being degraded. Living in Adyar itself he continued his friendship with B.P.Wadia and his respect grew. He recognized Shri Wadia's integrity of character and devotion to H.P.Blavatsky and Theosophy, and they discussed what could be done to bring the Society once again in line with the Original Impulse of the Movement..
Could a change be brought about within the Society? If not, then it would have to be done from outside. Plans began to be made so that if all efforts to bring the change from within the Society failed another effort could be made which would bring Theosophy pure and simple back into the world.
These plans included the founding of an international magazine in which writers of the world would be free to express the their views, in which Theosophical principles could be expounded, and where writers who were struggling to pierce through the ordinary levels of thought into the universal could find expression.
Further, H.P.Blavatsky had said that it was the duty of the Society to see that its members were kept in touch with the organization, and a magazine The Vahan had been started in her time and sent free, at first, to members. Something along this line would be needed for those Theosophical students who wished to study Theosophy, and though it would not be sent free to all, the cost would be kept down to the minimum.
One other very important thing had to be done. One of the Founders of the Theosophical Society in 1875, Mr. William Quan Judge, the faithful pupil and co-worker with H.P.B., who had died in 1896, had to be brought from the disgrace into which he had been thrust to his true position in the Theosophic world.
If, as H.P.B. had stated in her first book Isis Unveiled it is the duty of a Theosophist to remove the slur on "calumniated reputations," then it was surely a Theosophic duty to clear up the position as regards Mr. Judge. If this could not be done, after strenuous efforts, within the Society, then it would have to be done outside.
To have a permanent home in India the present house [originally named "Brookhampton," renamed: "Guru Mandir" by Mr. Wadia] in Ootacamund was bought.
Possibilities of a change in India looked poor in 1921 when Shri B.P.Wadia left India for Europe and America--his second visit. By July 1922 he had lost all hope of any such change and resigned his membership...Some months later Mr. Crombie left Adyar and resigned from the Society...
From 1922 to 1928 Shri B.P.Wadia was in the United States working with the United Lodge of Theosophists, a body of students of Theosophy devoted to studying the works of Madame Blavatsky and Mr. Judge, without officials, dues or regulations.
In collaboration with the parent Lodge at Los Angeles, founded by Mr. Robert Crosbie in 1909, he founded Lodges in New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia. Plans were made for republishing the writings of H.P.B. and W.Q.J., and in 1925, the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Theosophical Movement of this century, an edition was published of The Secret Doctrine ...unaltered in any way...
Mr. Crombie visited Mr. Wadia in New York and the plans already formulated took firmer shape...
In 1928 Shri Wadia's work in the U.S.A. being finished he left for India via London...the U.L.T. was founded in Paris and plans were made for one in Amsterdam...
[This is quoted from pp 2-4 of Theodore Leslie Crombie, Friend of India, by Ethel Beswick -- Nov. 1958,, Pub.: International Book House Ltd., 9 Ash Lane, Bombay 1, India]
Further Extracts from a Private Letter - WK -
"...similarly, the work of Mr. Wadia. His faithfulness to HPB, WQJ, and to the ideals of Theosophy, and function of the ULT are all reflected in his writings.
Originally, when he knew only of the TS and made himself into a student of HPB through his study of The Secret Doctrine, and of Isis Unveiled, he followed faithfully the policies of the T S, so long as he was in it and had responsibility to it.
When he entered Adyar to work there, Col. Olcott was still alive. He gave his pledge then to that venerable (though often mistaken) man to work for Theosophy under him. Olcott accepted this offer. After Olcott' death, he gave the same pledge to Annie Besant, believing her to be the one primarily responsible for carrying on the work of HPB. [He knew nothing at that time of W. Q. Judge, or of the history of the split in the TS in America after HPB's death. Those matters had been, by then, covered over and largely forgotten in the TS in Adyar, in India.]
When, in 1919, he went to America and learned of the work and the principles of WQJ through associates of the ULT, and of the true history of the modern Theosophical Movement, he realized that a change was to be made by him to be true to his primary vow: to HPB, and to the support of her work and of the Objects of The Work in the World that the Masters had instituted through Her.
It had been made clear to him how the T S had failed. He knew that the T S ought to be restored to its original objectives and work, but he did not know if Annie Besant would agree to do that. In any case he was faced with a trial: whether to stay on with the T S, which he now knew to be false to its origins, or whether he should try to redress it, by going directly to Annie Besant, and asking her to publicly redress the wrongs done to Mr. Judge, and thus begin the hard process of swinging the whole T S back into the channels that HPB and the Masters had originally designed it should follow.
When he returned to India in 1921-22, after his work in Europe and America, he told Annie Besant what he had discovered about Judge, and about the band of students in the ULT who were following the Original Program. He asked her to make it public that the wrong done to Judge was to be redressedâ€”as she agreed had been done, to him, privately. But, Annie Besant refused to do this publicly, or to start altering the course of the TS. He then resigned, and, getting out of the TS, wrote a magnificent open letter to all Theosophists where he exposed the situation, his own decision, and advised them of his joining the ULT and his reasons for that: to "spread broadcast the writings of HPB and WQJ."
[The following is from the pen of Mr. Wadia's long time friend and devoted companion: Winifred E. Whiteman of the London, U.K., U.L.T. Miss Whiteman served as his literary "agent" in Europe, securing articles for The Aryan Path magazine (1930-1960); and also serving as European representative for The Indian Institute of World Culture, which he had launched in Bangalore, India, in 1945, and for which she organized a London branch. ]
B. P. Wadia and the Theosophical Movement
"The mighty Theosophical Movement" was a phrase that 'B.P.' often used, and the adjective seems to match him also--even to his sense of humor. We owe the creative and inspiring guidelines, that reinforce and augment those of Robert Crosbie, the founder of the United Lodge of Theosophists [U.L.T.], to the breadth as well as the depth of his outlook.
In the opening Editorial of Volume I of The Theosophical Movement, 17th November 1930, (exactly a year after the Bombay Lodge had started up the U.L.T. work in India) appeared the following, that echoed the idea that 'B.P.' had himself expressed.
There are two aspects to the Theosophical Movement, the abstract and the concrete.
The first is diffused and expansive. Wherever thought has struggled to be free, wherever spiritual ideas, as opposed to forms and dogmatism, have been promulgated, there the great Movement is to be discerned. This aspect can rightly be named the Republic of Conscience; for, wherever human conscience is ac6M3 ive, in honesty and sincerity, there the potency of Theosophy is present. The Aryan Path (founded January 1930) is the vehicle of this aspect of the Movement, while it also presents teachings of practical value to the aspirant for the Higher Life and to the students of the esoteric science.
The other, the concrete and visible aspect of the Movement revolves round the Teachings of H.P.B. known to the world as H. P. Blavatsky. Accepting the cooperation of others she founded the Theosophical Society in 1875 in the city of New York, under the direct guidance and inspiration of the Masters, who by birth and affiliation are Indians.
The U.L.T. activities, and the magazine Theosophy (started November 1912) and The Theosophical Movement were founded to serve the needs of student-servers of 'Theosophy pure and simple.' The Aryan Path brought in contributors, many of them prominent in their own fields, whose writings and general outlook were significantly part of the more diffused aspect of the Movement, so much so that The Theosophical Movement, in its section 'Theosophical Activities' gave it equal mention with those of more specific Theosophical import.
The same ideal and purpose were behind the founding of the Indian Institute of Culture (as it was named at first) at Bangalore on 11th August 1945 (H.P.B.'s birthday) thus affirming again the link between the two aspects of the Movement. The word "World" was included later in its title to emphasize the breadth of the ideal.
The need to recognize the relationship between the two fields of Theosophical service continued to be referred to periodically in The Theosophical Movement. An article published in its 17th of December 1935issue. entitled "The Aryan Path" emphasized its dual purpose. It was to make the East and the West aware of the beauty and value of each other's culture, and also to give help to the "very large body of aspirants to the higher life outside of Theosophical circles" in avoiding the dangers of sectarianism and psychism. Secondly, that purpose included Theosophists also, for, as a Master wrote:
"The sun of Theosophy must shine for all, not for a part. There is more of this movement than you have had an inkling of, and the work of the T.S. is linked in with similar work that is secretly going on in all parts of the world."
The article further warned:
"The Theosophical student of this generation has to guard himself against two extremes: one is to limit the freedom of thought and to live like a frog who looks upon his pond as the world, with nothing outside; the other is to expand and embrace indiscriminately--in the name of brotherhood and fraternization--falsehood, ignorance and humbug."
The Aryan Path enables the Theosophical student to learn what able minds in East and West alike are thinking and how many among them understand propositions of the philosophy of Theosophy even better than himself and his companions. It will also show him how the race-mind is unfolding and in what ways humanity is getting ready for the cycle of 1975. If The Aryan path takes Theosophy to the thinking public, it brings in a compact form to the Theosophical student from the world of science, philosophy and art, ideas and views and even inspiration which he sorely needs and so helps him to live and to labor for his Cause in a better fashion.
A further article "Local Theosophists" (The Theosophical Movement, 17th Nov. 1938) quoted from H.P.B.'s Five Messages that "although there must be local Branches...there can be no local Theosophists."
The world is wider than any Theosophical organization, and if we would be universal in character, we must fight against narrowness and keep our interest in what is going on in the outside world. And we shall find that there we have our friends and allies...is the "local Theosophist" going to pass by unheeded a book like Mr. Aldous Huxley's Ends and Means, simply because H.P.B. is not quoted from or mentioned, therein? Is the power of the Spirit in man to be limited to "Theosophical organizations" only? Perish the thought! We have to look for Theosophical ideas, ideas which, largely owing to the life of sacrifice of H.P.B. have percolated (albeit unconsciously to themselves) into the minds of our great thinkersâ€”and welcome them whenever and wherever we find them.
The magazine, however, was only the starting point, for, once the last World War was over, the same aim and purpose was further developed, spreading out into the broader field of the Indian Institute of World Culture. This, in addition to its publications, offers a wide range of talks, exhibitions, drama, dance, film shows and other demonstrations, in furtherance of its objectives. In his Inaugural Address at the opening of the William Quan Judge Hostel for students (the Institute's first unit) B.P. declared that "in the great and immemorial records of the thoughts of Sages and Seers certain definite principles of fundamental value are to be found."
Poets are better social builders than politicians, and the thoughts of philosophers make a deeper impress and last longer in influence than deeds of social reformers. Ideas rule the world and they primarily emanate from poets and philosophers, from mystics and occultists. These great ideas make most suitable foundations. Once their efficacy is experienced in application by an individual he leaves behind the world of chaos and strife and begins to glimpse a world of order, understanding and peace...the Hostel is part of a larger plan, through which the Ancient Culture which is neither of the East nor of the West but is universal, will, it is hope, become manifest. In the spirit of fraternity and brotherhood men and women must learn to live in freedom and liberty.
But the heart of B.P.'s efforts was his 'concern' (in the Quaker sense of the word) for those student-strivers who sought more ardently for greater power to help the Movement. Only those who know fully the range of his personal contacts and widespread correspondence could evaluate the measure of the effects on these of his advice, encouragement and profound heart wisdom. The bringing together of some of his articles from The Theosophical Movement in the little book Living the Life can be summed up in a sentence from the ending of the first article, a mantram that B.P.'s own life embodied: The living Power of Theosophy must become the power by which we live.
W . E. Whiteman
In 1981 by Jehanghir M. Tijoriwalla, Bar-at-Law, of Bombay at Bangalore.
Oct. 16th, 1981
This day marks the birth-centenary of Bahman Pestonji Wadia.
He worked in the cause of labor and the Home Rule Movement of India, leaving plain Theosophical traces on all causes he espoused. This he did through the Theosophical Society, then for thirty years thereafter he lived and labored for the Cause of Those whom Theosophists call The MASTERS, and in whom they recognize the successors of the ancient and far-distant Rishis.
B.P.'s student days took him up to the "matriculation examination." Thereafter, for a short time the young B.P. worked for an English firm, but resigned when he found that service in its business house meant at times a deliberate departure from the Truth, on occasions when business interest demanded it.
Sometime, during the ninety of the last century, he received a present of the two volumes of THE SECRET DOCTRINE written by Mme. H.P.Blavatsky. The fates act sometimes thus. This birthday present gave his life a fresh and more profound orientation. As he read and studied his soul awakened to deeper purposes for living. He deliberately chose H.P.B. as his guru. His daily contact with THE SECRET DOCTRINE remained unbroken throughout his life. Did She not speak to him, guide and admonish him through the pages of her book? Her body had died in 1891, but to him, She lived, She was a Living Force.
Looking around for a suitable organization through which he might channel his efforts he could find none better than the Theosophical Society. To its venerable President Founder: Col. H. S. Olcott he made application, was accepted and worked thereafter in the Bombay Branch of the T.S. Shortly after Col. Olcott's death he went to work at Adyar.
The plight of the laborers in the Buckingham and Karnatic Mills textile mills came to his attention when a delegation of these called upon Mrs. Annie Besant, asking for assistance. She asked him to attend to that for her, as her delegate. Having espoused with success the cause of the laborer, B.P. observed India now found itself involved in the fortunes of Britain engaged in World War I. India had been promised a gradual increment in political responsibility by the English rulers. When this was shelved, Mrs. Besant indignantly launched the Theosophical Society behind the Home Rule Movement in an effort to secure the implementation of those promises.
As an aside to this narration of the work and life of BPW it becomes necessary to write of the events in 1894-1896 involving Mr. Judge, Mrs. Besant and Col. Olcott after the death of HPB, so that the perspective is clear and some understanding of what Mr. Wadia found out is had as of 1919-1922.
BPW determined that in 1894-6 Mrs. Besant, and Col. Olcott, were the prime cause of a serious problem caused by their misunderstanding of Mr. Judge's stand and function for Theosophy. He was accused by them ( Mrs. Besant taking the position of a "prosecutor)" of fraudulently imitating or copying the Masters' handwriting when providing them with certain "messages" which came from Them. Mrs. Besant and other recipients admitted that the content of the messages was not being questioned, only the fact that they seemed to be written in scripts that were used before H.P.B. died. She, of course, was no longer there to use them. This was a puzzle. How did Judge figure in this?
The original founders of the T S, in 1875, being more interested in spiritualism, rather than in philosophical and religious investigation, soon dropped away from membership in the T.S. Only HPB, WQJ AND Olcott remained steadfast until their death to the work of the Masters and to Their Cause.
In terms of time it should be remembered that Mrs. Besant had contacted HPB and Theosophy late in 1888, or 13 years after the T.S. was established. This occurred because after she had been asked to review The Secret Doctrine she was so struck by the wisdom to be found therein, that she determined to meet Mme. Blavatsky. Shortly thereafter she joined the T.S. in London (May 1889). As she was an accomplished thinker and writer, and as her sincerity in adopting the Theosophical outlook and life was evident, Mme. Blavatsky asked her to assist in editing her magazine Lucifer as co-editor.
Mrs. Besant had only had about two and a half years experience in the T.S. in this incarnation, before HPB, her teacher, "died." Whereas Mr. Judge, and Col. Olcott had been in it, and with HPB since the outset, or 19 years earlier, when in 1894, accusations against Mr. Judge were made public by Mrs. Besant and Col. Olcott.
Mr. Judge stated openly at that time, that he was in frequent touch with the Masters and that the said messages were Theirs and not his; nor had he written them. He offered to prove this, but none of the accusers took him up on this offer to demonstrate, as history reveals. [ Both HPB, WQJ and others had, earlier, published a number of articles in Lucifer and The Path concerning the rationale of letter "precipitation"--how a "matrix" impressed and long established in the electro-magnetic substance of the astral light could be repeatedly used to save psy6M3 hic energy--in sending new communications. Such a matrix did not extinguish with the "death" of any one person, but could continue to be used, as in these cases, where another person might be used as the focus for that work to be done, as, apparently, Judge was so used. It was the context and the content, as well as an interior code impressed in the "message" by the sender which certified to its authenticity. No "seal" or other external physical appearance could be used by unconcerned parties to make a determination of its authenticity. These criteria alone would not serve an inquirer in verifying the genuineness of the letters, or other artifacts, precipitated from the astral light. It may be recalled that earlier, suspicions had been entertained in HPB' life time of the genuineness of certain letters from the Mahatmas, like the "Prayag letter." She, and Damodar K. Mavlankar had been the targets of such suspicions by Sinnett and Olcott.]
Judge had warned Col. Olcott in advance that in his esteem, an attempt in the T S to make a ruling on such a question would establish a "belief in Masters" as a dogma of the T. S.--which specifically disavowed any dogmatism. On this point the "Judicial Committee" convened by Col. Olcott in London in July 1894 agreed; the "charges" against Judge were dropped, and amity was ostensibly restored. The membership of the T S were sent a report by Col. Olcott entitled "On the Neutrality of the T S." For some unfortunate reason this setback rankled with those who had made themselves accusers of Mr. Judge. These accusations were renewed in the beginning of the next year, 1895 with increased rancor.
Col. Olcott. on Sept. 7th 1895 excommunicated, in effect, the whole American Section of the T.S., which had, by his, Col. Olcott's earlier suggestion, [see his letter written in 1893 addressed to W. Q. Judge--quoted in Canadian Theosophist, 1923, Vol. 4, p. 1, and March 15th p. 11.] reconstituted itself at its Annual Convention held in April 1894, "The Theosophical Society in America," in full fraternal association with all Theosophical Societies anywhere. This excommunication goes against the first object of the Society: brotherhood.