Sympathy from the Founders of the Theosophical Society
The Philosophic Inquirer, July 23, 1882
To the Editor, Philosophic Inquirer.
My dear Sir and Brother,—I send you the enclosed letter from Colonel Olcott—who has just left for Ceylon—to be inserted in your journal. It is addressed to “Theosophists,” and I hope sincerely may do you good, were it but by showing them the sympathy their President feels for you—the latest victim of the Expurgatorial Bull of the Freethought Union’s Pope. I also trust that our numerous Fellows of Madras and other parts of India, will not, after reading it, remain indifferent to the appeal, but will endeavour to show that our Society is a real, not a nominal “Union”; and that it stands on too high a moral platform for them to permit to any of its members expressions and acts so redolent of sectarian intolerance and wretched bigotry as those we find in the abortive little stranger, called Thinker, the organ of the Madras “Freethought Union.” Yes, as free—I fear, as Roman Catholics are to join a Masonic Lodge or take communion in the Methodist Church. Enviable freedom indeed! Free to move, and think and have their being, within the narrow circle of that marvellous Union’s By-Laws and Rules; but forthwith excommunicated, the moment they dare to step outside that circle, to think for themselves, or forget their slavish allegiance to these great champions of mental freedom. Oh, poor sheep of the Panurgean flock; docile animals, obediently trotting in the track of their leading ram! And now your benighted Madras can fairly claim to have made itself a rival to old proud Venice, for it also has its “Dravidian” Council of Ten. Fancy only, a Council of hardly bearded Inquisitors and Senators, of lads masquerading as stern judges, inexorable as Fate itself, sitting in midnight Council and refusing to accept “the resignation,” but “removing”—like a cancer from a healthy body (?) —the resigners. Such delinquents as Mr. P. Murugesa Mudaliar, our Brother, who have profaned the sanctity of the Madras H.F.U. by adding to the appelation of Freethinkers that of F.T.S., i.e., who have become real, broad Catholic freethinkers, instead of remaining the humble “personal attendants”—a kind of secularistic javan—of a “V.V.N.,” ought to feel more proud than grieved at such a “removing.” The word removing is good, and really ought to be adopted by all the freethinking “B.A.’s” of the H.F.U. We have several real not bogus Freethinkers in our Society at Bombay—the most inexorable among whom, as regards “ghosts” and “spirits,” is Dr. Dudley of America, now its Vice-President and for two years its President. Upon reading that we were “dubbed with the significant appellation of ‘Pseudo-Mesmerists’”—“significant” in its insignificance, of course—they laughed over the H.F.U. to their heart’s content; but doubted whether our American Freethinking F.T.S., some of the most prominent among whom have been Fellows of our Society from the beginning, would feel very proud of their Madras colleagues.
Thus, I hope, Mr. P. Murugesa Mudaliar will survive the shock, and console himself with the thought that there are even more “pseudo” freethinkers than pseudo-mesmerists in this world of Maya; for the true Secularist has never yet aped the ways of the Romish Church. And the Free-thinking editor of the Philosophic Inquirer may well take example from such noble-minded, liberal freethinkers as Mr. H. G. Atkinson, notwithstanding his utter disbelief in Ghosts, and spiritual communications—a disbelief in which the Founders of the T.S. follow suit, and concur entirely with him—this broad-minded gentleman, sent to Mr. W. H. Harrison, the editor of the London Spiritualist, who does believe in Ghosts—the following which we copy from Psychê, formerly the Spiritualist.
Mr. Atkinson, the author of Letters to Miss Martineau, writes for publication:
My dear Harrison,—You are quite welcome to use my name; it may indicate that non-spiritists are your friends, and appreciate your scientific purpose and philosophical freedom. I have always said that your conduct in editing The Spiritualist was almost fair, enlightened and praiseworthy. Wishing you all success.
Very truly yours,
HENRY G. ATKINSON.
Boulogne-sur-Mer, May, 1882.
Our firm belief is that Mrs. Annie Besant and Mr. Charles Bradlaugh, one—whose great intellect and remarkable steadfastness of purpose has made her respected even by her enemies, and the other—himself the victim of unprecedented bigotry—would rather side with Mr. Atkinson than the “V.V.N.’s” and his coadjutors of the H.F.U.
H. P. BLAVATSKY
Corresponding Secretary, Theosophical Society.
Bombay, July 14th, 1882.