Madame Blavatsky and Her Opinions
The Ceylon Observer, May 31, 1880
Mme. H. P. Blavatsky, who “professes to be a Buddhist,” and who—thinks the Observer—had better explain the outrageous deception of professing to have willed one glove of a pair, from Bombay to London, presents her compliments to the Editor of the Ceylon Observer who professes to be a Christian. At the same time she begs to remind the pious gentleman that the benignant English law deals impartial justice alike to Heathen and Christian; especially now that public opinion has so changed that rank atheists like Bradlaugh are chosen to Parliament. She therefore suggests that her critic of the Observer should moderate his fiery gush lest he find himself in the unpleasant predicament of being made defendant in an action for defamation of character. Such expressions as “outrageous deception” when applied to a private individual, a lady who is neither a medium by profession, nor a juggler, and can therefore have no object in “deceiving” the public, are insults for which British law provides a remedy.
Since the forty learned bishops and clergy of Protestant England who have just completed their work of revising the Old Testament (edited by the Queen’s Chaplain) degraded the latter from its prior eminence to the simple character of a Jewish National Record (see article “Speaker’s Commentary” in the January number of Quarterly Review), pious gush becomes quite an anachronism, and can find room but in such far away places as Ceylon.
No doubt that the propagation of such a religion (as Buddhism) “shows equal impertinence and stupidity” in the eyes of bigoted Christians. But the Buddhists and Theosophists may return the compliment, and find it equally impertinent and stupid on the part of the Christians, in this century of enlightenment and scientific research, to come and preach a religion claimed to be founded on “miracles” and blind faith to Buddhists, who have their own, to say the least, as noble a code of ethics and far stricter principles than the Christians.
The ignorant may perhaps ascribe to Mme. Blavatsky “the power of working miracles;” but “miracles” we, Theosophists, leave to fools and believers in a personal god. We reject with the contempt of admirers of science everything “supernatural.” It is also to be regretted that the Right Honorable Lord Lindsay, F.R.S., and President of the Royal Astronomical Society of London, who has had the great misfortune to fall under the ban of the influential and world-famed Ceylon Observer, should thus have had all his prospects in life blighted, and his “once honoured name” pronounced with prudent compassion by the pious Colombo Editor for having joined the Theosophical Society. But the fact of His Lordship’s being in the good company of a number of English and other European aristocrats and men of science and high Indian officials—Generals, Colonels, Deputy Collectors, Magistrates, English Editors (many of them with their wives), who have also joined our Society, may afford some little consolation to the unhappy nobleman.
The “Occult Sciences” based on a knowledge of the natural forces in the universe may be “of the devil” only in the opinion of the Ceylon Observer, and a few well-meaning but ignorant padris; and if “the devil is not an idiot” we may perhaps account for the fact, by inferring that this much maligned, mysterious gentleman in black has generously ceded his full share of idiocy to some Editors, who despite the conclusions of the 19th century still believe in this interesting though grim Christian myth.
H. P. BLAVATSKY,
Corresponding Secretary, Theosophical Society.
May 29th, 1880.