A Few Months Before Dying, H. P. B. Is
Attacked From Adyar and Gets “Tired of All”
Attacked From Adyar and Gets “Tired of All”
Helena P. Blavatsky
William Q. Judge talking to Henry S. Olcott (left) and H. P. Blavatsky (right)
A 2013 Editorial Note:
The present chapter transcribes one letter from H. P. Blavatsky to W.Q. Judge which was published in “Theosophical History” magazine, October 1996 edition, pp. 129-131.
The letter is dated November 19, 1890. Chronologically, it is the last one belonging to the Andover-Harvard letters from Blavatsky to Judge.
By November 1890 the three main founders of the theosophical movement were also its main “political leaders”. They led the theosophical effort in Europe (H.P.B.), in America (W.Q. Judge) and Asia (H. S. Olcott). There was a vivid tension between H.P.B. and Judge, in spite of their long-term loyal friendship and cooperation. The situation regarding H. S. Olcott was worse.
Looking at events from a historical perspective, however, one must avoid simplistic generalizations. Individual emotions and motivations include complexity and even paradox. It is correct to take into consideration the high levels of stress, the continuous suffering due to health problems and other severe obstacles the three founders had to work with during their heroic endeavor to help the cause of universal brotherhood. The three of them deserve profound gratitude from theosophists of later generations; the depth of their noble sacrifice for the common ideal is difficult to calculate. They worked under severe karmic fire, and few could have done better. Yet they were also human.
In the present letter, H.P.B. shows to Judge that Olcott is not only trying to deny her central historical role in the foundation of the movement, but quickly opening room for the circulation of slanders against her. H.P.B. is also unhappy with her best ally, Mr. Judge, and presents him with an ultimatum:
“…Unless you stand by me in this business, I am ready to do with America that which I have done with India, namely, to part company with it by means of a circular as the one I sent to India to the members of the E.S. Shall this suit you? And if you do not refresh Olcott’s memory in a serious private letter to him, & unless he stops his little game on me, I will do so, I swear.”
In the following transcription, underlined words are thus in the originals and in the text as published by “Theosophical History”. Sometimes, they are underlined with a double line in the transcription made by Mr. Michael Gomes. We don’t take that into consideration. A word between square brackets is an attempt by the transcriber to understand the original handwriting.
(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)
Letters Between Blavatsky and Judge – 19
[London] Nov.19, 1890
My dear W.Q.J.
I send you this as a warning for all of us the whole – Society in fact. Read carefully Olcott’s last editorial in Theosophist: “The first leaf out of the History of the T.S.”  – & you will find perhaps, as I did where he is driving to. His position is that the T.S. was not founded as a result of Master’s “order,” that in fact he never received any “order,” but the whole thing came to him spontaneously. Well, you know that he almost lies. Six months before we were talking & preparing for such a thing, I going against his “Miracle Club”  & he unable to find any other name. He calls me in [his ?] article “a hypnotizing agent,” puts himself to the front desperately, from the first line to the last, & mentions me in a very suggestively casual way. Now I will tell you why he does so. It is in consequence of Bert’s putting him squarely the question: Is he going to stick to the Master’s programme or is he not? If so, how can he say he is devoted to the Masters but that he has lost absolutely every confidence in me? And this he says ever since I was placed by unanimous vote at the head of the European Section. The fact is, he is desperately jealous of me!!! And it is that infernal Harte  who brought him gradually to such a feeling. For it is he who made him doubt me, made him believe that I was ambitious, vain, & sought to take his place as President! The fool!! If the whole T.S. demanded that I should step into his shoes (as T. Tatya  does) I would refuse, as I refused him. Olcott now tries to gradually cut my throat by diminishing in the eyes of the world my participation in founding of the T.S. He goes back on himself forgetting what he had been constantly repeating to his audiences for the first ten years, repeating the same in print in his Lectures & articles. He will end by showing himself a liar, if we (you especially who know all) do not stop him. You know how many letters he already wrote with mild hints in them that I was only a medium hence irresponsible. It was his way of getting his own personality out of difficulty by throwing in time a piece of my reputation to the hungry beasts that pursued us, in order to save his skin. And now he emphasizes & crowns all. Look at the last page of the last Theosophist : one of the most malicious articles against me is republished & quoted without any reason or cause, unless it is to contradict the sentence “priestess of theosophy” or “High Priestess.” A whole tub of dirty water poured on my head for the sake of taking exception to one word! It’s Harte, but it is also Olcott because he permits such things & damns himself thereby. Would I ever permit a para from the Tribune or the N.Y. Sun against Olcott to appear in Lucifer? But the editorial is a far graver blunder.
H.S.O. threatens to resign, maybe will resign, and he seeks to throw the whole blame upon me! Last year when here, he boasted of theosophy & its branches going up higher than sky, in India. All was flourishing then, all promising, the people’s devotion as great as ever, 150 Branches strong & happy. And what’s the truth & what does Bert find there? Out of the 150 Branches only 40 alive. No one approaching Adyar at 5 miles distance. Theosophy rapidly dying. Why? I say because of Harte’s reigning supreme at Adyar for the last two years, & especially Olcott going away for a year to Japan, where he did not establish a single Branch, but caught chronic dysentery, & made incurable his old illness in the testes which has now so enfeebled him as to have entirely altered the man. The unfortunate man can no longer even deliver a lecture. From a fascinating speaker, a good orator, he became a dull lecturer & his lectures in England last year were miserable failures. He has no energy; lost his love for the work, became indifferent to the T.S., lazy & incapable any longer of fighting our way & struggling. And because of that he seeks to throw the blame upon me, tells Bert & every one that it is I who killed the T.S. owing to the Coulomb-Hodgson affair, etc. etc. Is this fair, I ask you?
Well, my dear W.Q.J. if you don’t look out it is HSO whose Yankee vanity & personality will kill the T.S. – in India, at any rate, & thereby weaken America & Europe. I have done my duty & have no responsibilities except with my own people here, a group that will be true to me till death.  And really outside of this I have no other ambition. Nothing can shake me with those whom I teach in dead earnest, for they know that I know. And, unless you stand by me in this business, I am ready to do with America that which I have done with India, namely, to part company with it by means of a circular as the one I sent to India to the members of the E.S. Shall this suit you? And if you do not refresh Olcott’s memory in a serious private letter to him, & unless he stops his little game on me, I will do so, I swear. It is not my personality that I care for but I tremble for the whole Society. For, if the “President-Founder” goes back on us, then will the death-knell of the T.S. ring in dead earnest. Answer me all this.
W.Q.J. I am tired of all, disgusted unto death. Think of this seriously and tell me what you would have me do? H.S.O. speaks in his editorial of his Masters & Teachers as if They had come to him independently of [me ?], had dropped me and stuck to him alone from first to last. Well – don’t take the above for a threat to you or the American E.S. – which heaven forbid. I will never forget your loyalty & devotion, your unswerving friendship – but I am afraid that H.S.O. will so weaken the T.S. by his mad (present) caper that I shall not be able to do anything for anyone.
Yours to death
H. P. B.
 “The Theosophist”, Adyar, November 1890 edition. (CCA)
 Michael Gomes, the transcriber, writes in a note: “An attempt by Olcott in the spring of 1875 to test psychic phenomena under the aegis of a group of credible investigators. Mme. Blavatsky remained uninvolved.” (CCA)
 Bertram Keightley. (CCA)
 Richard Harte, then the assistant-editor of “The Theosophist”, whose main editor was H. S. Olcott. (CCA)
 The well-known theosophist and editor Tukaram Tatya wrote this to H.P.B. in Oct. 1, 1890, as Michael Gomes reports: “A great change in the staff of the Headquarters is necessary. Many of the old Theosophists are in favor of your coming to India to live among them and work. I am of the opinion that the Headquarters be removed to Khandala or Loreell, near to Poona, and the property at Adyar be sold.” (T.S. Archives, Adyar). H.P.B. wrote at the end of this letter’s original: “T.T. is the only man in India who is earnest, intelligent and truly theosophical. There is not a more reliable man than he.” (CCA)
 “The Theosophist”, Supplement to the edition of November 1890, as the transcriber reports. (CCA)
 “…a group that will be true to me till death.” In this the main founder of the movement was wrong. Soon after H.P.B.’s departure in May 1891, Mrs. Annie Besant would make most of the London group betray H. P.B. and abandon the original teachings of theosophy. (CCA)
On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.
Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.