A Hidden-Hand: C.W. Leadbeater’s ideas about an Inner Government of the World

“(…) Before the appearance of modern Theosophical literature it was ‘Spirits’ and ‘Controls’ that were ever in the mouths of these folk; now the living ‘adepts’ are served up with every sauce. It is ever and always Adepts here, Hierophants there (…)” (H.P.B., “The Year Is Dead, Long Live The Year!,” Lucifer, London, January, 1889.)

Here’s the interesting material for you book writers digging for plots to use. There are theosophists who have believed the idea, this “Brethren of the Shadow” have been behind the fall of the Theosophical Society†. The appeal to some idea about it, an irresistible itch is attributed to the very odd switch in tone between the correspondents with A.P. Sinnett, H.P.B. and A.O. Hume, and with the supposed high “Masters,” Charles W. Leadbeater, Annie Besant, Alice Bailey and others say they were communicating with.

† I attribute it to delusion, fraud, and incompetence.

Some Theosophists have noted this long before, but there are those that ignore it, and can be deceiving you about it. Don’t let them.

“We must now be realistic,
or we do the cause great harm.”
(Edward L. Gardner, in 1963)

If, for generations we have “shut out the world from the Knowledge of our Knowledge,” it is on account of its absolute unfitness; and if, notwithstanding proofs given, it still refuses yielding to evidence, then will we at the End of this cycle retire into solitude and our kingdom of silence once more. (…) It is our mission to plunge and bring the pearls of Truth to the surface; theirs – to clean and set them into scientific jewels. And, if they refuse to touch the ill-shapen, oyster-shell, insisting that there is, nor cannot be any precious pearl inside it, then shall we once more wash our hands of any responsibility before human-kind. For countless generations hath the adept builded a fane of imperishable rocks, a giant’s Tower of INFINITE THOUGHT, wherein the Titan dwelt, and will yet, if need be, dwell alone, emerging from it but at the end of every cycle, to invite the elect of mankind to co-operate with him and help in his turn enlighten superstitious man. And we will go on in that periodical work of ours; we will not allow ourselves to be baffled in our philanthropic attempts until that day when the foundations of a new continent of thought are so firmly built that no amount of opposition and ignorant malice guided by the Brethren of the Shadow will be found to prevail…” (K.H., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Letter no. 9, India, July 8, 1881)

Interesting. They have adversaries

As said of C. Jinarajadasa on the Hidden-hand Theory, similarly in Leadbeater’s Theosophy, Gregory Tillett remarks, in his 3rd Appendix to the Biographical Study of Charles Webster Leadbeater:

the existence of an unseen “occult bureaucracy”, known as the Hierarchy, was of great importance. Leadbeater claimed personal acquaintance with all members of it, and declared that the authority of the Theosophical Society and its subsidiary bodies derived from this hierarchy.

The diagrams are based on Leadbeater’s The Masters and the Path, and Jinarajadasa’s First Principles of Theosophy.

“The existence of perfected men, and the possibility of coming into touch with them, and being taught by them, are prominent among the great new truths which Theosophy brings to the western world. Another of them is the stupendous fact that the world is not drifting blindly into anarchy, but that its progress is under the control of a perfectly organized hierarchy, so that final failure even for the tiniest of its units is of all impossibilities the most impossible. A glimpse of the working of that hierarchy inevitably engenders the desire to co-operate with it, to serve under it, in however humble a capacity, and some time in the far-distant future to be worthy to join the outer fringes of its ranks. – A Textbook of Theosophy, 1971:5

The world is guided and directed to a large extent by a Brotherhood of Adepts to which our Masters belong.” – The Masters and the Path, 1953:25

“Among the many startling ideas which confront the inquirer into Theosophy; one of the most significant is that there is an inner Government of the World….. Here on this globe of ours which spins round the sun, Mighty Beings guide every event; and the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind, as, too, their heroisms, sacrifices and dreams, are used by Them to achieve that particular part of the Plan of the LOGOS which is intended for fulfilment as the days and months pass, one by one. The facts as to an inner Government of the World have been long kept as the most precious secrets in the ancient Mysteries….” – C. Jinarajadasa, First Principles of Theosophy, 1928:204-5

So much deceit…

We have to be able to identify the differences.

Jinarajadasa and C.W.L.’s ideal, unsuccessful, was an esoteric autocracy.

Those acquainted with the criticism of Alice Bailey put before you, we see it is the same pattern in Bishop Leadbeater’s writings, and others influenced by him. Information about the exact locations, past lives, hierarchical structure and positions, names and roles, and initiatory grades, were never divulged. The later influences do that, on the authority of the trust placed on them; and secondly, claims that they have a link to commune with the “Masters of the Brotherhood.”

Leadbeater and Besant often used the term, “Great White Brotherhood” to differentiate from the “Black Adepts.” Whatever be the case, attempts of theosophical members to absolve these two by selectively choosing quotes, and ignoring their underlying motives does not take it out of the context of their ideology, and plans.

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, The Minuet.

◊Post-Blavatsky◊

Leadbeater on the coming of the new Messiah, which failed

“The great purpose of this drawing together is to prepare the way for the coming of the new Messiah, or, as we should say in Theosophical circles, the next advent of the Lord Maitreya, as a great spiritual teacher, bringing a new religion. The time is rapidly approaching when this shall be launched – a teaching which shall unify the other religions, and compared with them shall stand upon a broader basis and keep its purity longer.” (Charles W. Leadbeater, The Inner Life, Vol. 1, pg. 114)

“As to the approaching advent of the Christ and the work which He has to do, you cannot do better than read Mrs. Besant’s book on The Changing World. The time of His advent is not far distant, and the very body which He will take is even already born among us.”  (ibid., pg. 16)

Annie Besant on the New Christendom 

“There is slowly growing up in Europe, silently but steadily, with its strongest centre perhaps in Holland, but with its members scattered in other European Countries, the little known movement called the Old Catholic with the ancient ritual, with unchallenged Orders, yet holding itself aloof from the Papal Obediance. This is a living Christian Church which will grow and multiply as the years go on, and which has a great future before it small as it yet is . It is likely to become the future Church of Christendom when He comes.'” (Annie Besant, The Theosophist, Editorial, October, 1916)

“And now I have to give to you, by command of the King, I have to give you His message, and some of the messages of the Lord Maitreya and His great Brothers (…) so that what I am saying, as to matter of announcement, is definitely at the command of the King who I serve (…) our hope is (…) that very many from the Theosophical and Star organizations, and the growing Co-Masonry and the great fellowship of teachers may recognize their Lord when He comes, so that we may keep Him with us for many years, and not make his own world impossible for Him save in seclusion as was done on His last coming.” (Annie Besant, The Theosophist, November, 1925, pp. 150, 160)

Obvious subversion.

But, don’t be hopeless. It could be fixed. The first step is honesty.


“There is a hero-worshipping tendency clearly showing itself, and you my friend are not quite free from it yourself. . . . If you would go on with your occult studies and literary work, then learn to be loyal to the Idea rather than to my poor self. When something is to be done never think whether I wish it, before acting; . . . I am far from being perfect, hence infallible in all I do. . . . You have seen that even an Adept when acting in his body, is not beyond mistakes due to human carelessness.” (The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Letter no. 55, Barker ed.)

“Far from our thoughts may it ever be to erect a new hierarchy for the future oppression of a priest-ridden world.” (The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Letter no. 87, Barker ed.)

“By pandering to the prejudices of people, and especially by adopting the false ideas of a personal God and a personal, carnalized Saviour, as the groundwork of their teaching, the leaders of this ‘swindle’ (for such it is) are endeavoring to draw men to them and in particular to turn Theosophists from the true path.” (H.P. Blavatsky, Esoteric Instruction No. 1., 1889.)

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