Helena Blavatsky on Masons and Rosicrucians in American Revolution full response to Chhabigram Dolatram.
Blavatsky, Theos. Glossary, 1892: ‘Illuminati’ def. (Lat.). The “Enlightened”, the initiated adepts.
Adepts and Politics and Response by H.P.B.
By Chhabigram Dolatram (Dikshita)
[The Theosophist, Vol. V, No. 3(51), December, 1883, pp. 79-80]
The perusal of an article headed “The Adepts in America in 1776,” published in the October number of The Theosophist (*[This article was published in The Theos., Vol. V, No. 1(49), October, 1883, pp. 16-17. It is signed by “An Ex-Asiatic,” which was one of the pseudonyms of William Quan Judge. It is dated at New York, June 25th, 1883.—Comp.]) has suggested the following doubts, which, on account of the extraordinary felicities of personal communication, which you seem to claim with the Adepts, you are specially fitted to solve. The article [by William Q. Judge] is no doubt written on his own responsibility by the writer, who is particularly careful to inform his readers that his statements have been made “without the knowledge and consent—as far as he knows—of the Adepts.” The views advanced, however, fall in entirely with those held in general by the Theosophical Society, and the Editor of The Theosophist is the sole authority on a subject of this sort.
The gist of the article referred to above is contained in the concluding paragraph. It seems to create the impression that the Adepts, as a natural consequence of their universal sympathy for the well-being of the human race, participated in the great American Revolution and brought about its happy results through, as it were, the medium of Washington and others. In short, it is intended to say that Thomas Paine, Brother (?) Benjamin (by the by, history has kept us entirely in the dark about his connection with Theosophy) and a host of other leaders of this Revolution worked in the particular manner, they are said to have done, simply because they were moving under the guiding inspiration of the Adepts. In fact the article means that the necessity of a Revolution in America, and, for the matter of that, a rough plan of all the subsequent operations, were preconceived in the minds of these Mahatmas long before the so-called Freemason brothers had an earthly existence. The principle involved, evidently, seems to be that the first conception of all such Revolutions, as are, in the opinion of the writer, in their ultimate results, beneficial to humanity, and the subsequent selection of human agency for working them out, have invariably had their first origin in the laudable solicitude of the Adepts for the progress of humanity.
Will the writer, therefore, or the Editor, undergo a little trouble to satisfy our curiosity, which a perusal of the article very naturally raised as to the part which the Adepts took in the English Revolution of 1649? Was President Bradshaw, who, in a self-constituted Court of Justice, tried and condemned to death, his lawful sovereign Charles I, under the celestial influence of the Mahatmas, as Citizen Paine subsequently was?
Was Cromwell then no more than a mere puppet dancing to the pulls of the string, which the Adepts, of course, kept in their own hands? Why were they, poor souls, who did everything but in strict obedience to the inward dictates of superior spirits, allowed, then, by the all-powerful Adepts to suffer the indignity of having their dead remains (may they rest in peace!) disinterred and hanged by the public executioner ?
The French Revolution of 1789, too, which has been fruitful of such vast consequences, could, by no means, be conceived to have taken place without the Adepts having lent a powerful helping hand to it Citizen Paine had no doubt long since been prepared for the work; but it was to Danton, Robespierre and Marat, who have acquired so world-wide a notoriety by their deeds, and to whose influence the French Revolution is chiefly indebted for the turn it subsequently took, that the Mahatmas must have turned with a peculiar feeling of gratification as a set of instruments incomparably superior to Paine, Washington and all the other American Revolutionists. Will you, then, enlighten us how much of this rare inspiration, under which they acted, they owed to the Mahatmas?
Were Victor Emmanuel and Garibaldi, while working out the revolution in Italy, doing no more than carrying out the wishes of the Tibetan Brothers? It cannot, I think, adopting the line of arguments the writer has adopted, be denied that all these revolutions have been brought about by, and the agents employed in them have been mere instruments in the hands of, these Mahatmas. It is said, of course, as a proof of the actual share the Mahatmas had in the work, that Thomas Paine saw or at least thought he saw “a vast scene opening before him,” and in another place that “some thoughts bolt into the mind of their own accord.” If these simple things are sufficient to entitle Paine to a claim to supernatural visitations, is it unreasonable to argue that Lord Byron was also actuated by the same benign influence when he, with a self-abandonment of worldly comforts and conveniences, and a voluntary submission to physical hardships and privations which merit the highest praise, repaired to Greece to take an active part in the work of its liberation and at last died amidst the swamps of Missolonghi? How far this is correct you alone are in a position to say, as you alone enjoy a familiar intimacy with the Mahatmas.
To prevent misapprehension, I should conclude with the remark that as an orthodox Hindu I do believe in the existence of Mahatmas, though I must candidly confess that such arguments as have from time to time appeared in your very interesting journal in proof of the existence of the Mahatmas, have failed to bring convictions home to me.
27th October, 1883.
EDITOR’S NOTE.—Our Journal is open to the personal views of every Theosophist “in good standing,” provided he is a tolerably good writer, and forcing his opinions upon no one, holds himself alone responsible for his utterances. This is clearly shown in the policy, hitherto pursued by the Magazine. But why should our correspondent make so sure that “the views advanced fall in entirely with those held in general by the Theosophical Society?” The Editor of this periodical for one disagrees entirely with the said views, as understood by our critic. Neither the Tibetan nor the modern Hindu Mahatmas for the matter of that, ever meddle with politics, though they may bring their influence to bear upon more than one momentous question in the history of a nation—their mother country especially.
If any Adepts have influenced Washington or brought about the great American Revolution, it was not the “Tibetan Mahatmas” at any rate; for these have never shown much sympathy with the Pelings of whatever Western race, except as forming a part of Humanity in general. Yet it is as certain, though this conviction is merely a personal one, that several Brothers of the Rosie Cross—or “Rosicrucians,” so called—did take a prominent part in the American struggle for independence, as much as in the French Revolution during the whole of the past century. We have documents to that effect, and the proofs of it are in our possession. But these Rosicrucians were Europeans and American settlers, who acted quite independently of the Indian or Tibetan Initiates. And the “Ex-Asiatic” who premises by saying that his statements are made entirely upon his own personal responsibility settles this question from the first. He refers to Adepts in general and not to Tibetan or Hindu Mahatmas necessarily, as our correspondent seems to think.
No Occult theosophist has ever thought of connecting Benjamin Franklin, or “Brother Benjamin” as he is called in America, with theosophy; with this exception, however, that the great philosopher and electrician seems to be one more proof of the mysterious influence of numbers and figures connected with the dates of the birth, death and other events in the life of certain remarkable individuals. Franklin was born on the 17th of the month (January, 1706), died on the 17th (April, 1790) and was the youngest of the 17 children of his parents. Beyond this, there is certainly nothing to connect him with modern theosophy or even with the theosophists of the 18th century—as the great body of alchemists and Rosicrucians called themselves.
Again neither the editor nor any member of the Society acquainted even superficially with the rules of the Adepts—[the former individual named, disclaiming emphatically the rather sarcastic charge of the writer to her being “alone to enjoy or claim the extraordinary felicities of personal communication with the Adepts”]—would believe for one moment that any of the cruel, blood-thirsty heroes the––regicides and others of English and French history—could have ever been inspired by any Adept—let alone a Hindu or Buddhist Mahatma. The inferences drawn from the article “The Adepts in America in 1776,” are a little too far-fetched by our imaginative correspondent. President Bradshaw—if such a cold, hard and impassive man can be suspected of having ever been influenced by any power outside of, and foreign to, his own soulless entity—must have been inspired by the “lower Jehovah” of the Old Testament—the Mahatma and Paramatma, or the “personal” god of Calvin and those Puritans who burnt to the greater glory of their deity—“ever ready for a bribe of blood to aid the foulest cause” (fn. *See The Keys of the Creeds, by a Roman Catholic Priest) alleged witches and heretics by hundreds of thousands. Surely it is not the living Mahatmas but “the Biblical one living God,” he who, thousands of years ago, had inspired Jephthah to murder his daughter, and the weak David to hang the seven sons and grandsons of Saul “in the hill before the Lord”; and who again in our own age had moved Guiteau to shoot President Garfield that must have also inspired Danton and Robespierre, Marat and the Russian Nihilists to open eras of Terror and turn Churches into slaughter-houses.
Nevertheless, it is our firm conviction based on historical evidence and direct inferences from many of the Memoirs of those days that the French Revolution is due to one Adept. It is that mysterious personage, now conveniently classed with other “historical charlatans” (i.e. great men whose occult knowledge and powers shoot over the heads of the imbecile majority), namely, the Count de St. Germain—who brought about the just outbreak among the paupers, and put an end to the selfish tyranny of the French kings—the “elect, and the Lord’s anointed.” And we know also that among the Carbonari—the precursors and pioneers of Garibaldi there was more than one Freemason deeply versed in occult sciences and Rosicrucianism. To infer from the article that a claim is laid down for Paine “to supernatural visitors” is to misconstrue the entire meaning of its author; and it shows very little knowledge of theosophy itself. There may be Theosophists who are also Spiritualists, in England and America, who firmly believe in disembodied visitors; but neither they nor we, Eastern Theosophists, have ever believed in the existence of supernatural visitors. We leave this to the orthodox followers of their respective religions. It is quite possible that certain arguments adduced in this journal in proof of the existence of our Mahatmas, “have failed to bring conviction home” to our correspondent; nor does it much matter if they have not. But whether we refer to the Mahatmas he believes in, or to those whom we personally know—once that a man has raised himself to the eminence of one, unless he be a sorcerer, or a Dugpa, he can never be an inspirer of sinful acts. To the Hebrew saying, “I, the Lord create evil,” the Mahatma answers—“I, the Initiate try to counteract and destroy it.” [William Quan Judge published a brief answer to C. Dolatram’s letter in The Theosophist, Vol. V, No. 9(57), June, 1884, p. 223. It is signed with his pseudonym “Ex-Asiatic.”—Comp.]