Practical Occultism by William Q. Judge

Theosophical University Press Online Edition

Letters from February 1886 - May 1886

35 Broadway N. Y.
Feb. 5, 1886

My dear Brother Padshah:

I have received from you the Report of the P. S. Socy. For this I am much obliged as I was just then wanting one and despaired of getting it.

And is this the investigator from whom you asked me to get evidence. Why I wouldnt give him the facts of a mere horse stealing case. He has too much perverting ingenuity. All through he shows ignorance and merely a spirit of denial. He had no desire to investigate, but only to prove the absurdity of everything. In my opinion he has not succeeded.

The chief thing in his argument is "differences between witnesses." But for ages that has been called the true test of a witness's value when the differences do not amount to absolute contradiction. He says that Mohini disagrees with Damodar in that M. said the figure melted away, while D. said it appeared to go over a tree "and disappeared." I always thought "melting away" and "disappearance" were synonymous terms. And so he goes all through. Then he lies when he says (1) that there was an aperture behind the shrine. There was not. I examined it, had it all torn down and fully exposed what was there. He never examined me. How do you know that I did not leave India to give him a good chance to hang himself on his own rope; (2) that "Mr. Judge an Am. Theos. was there and desired to see the shrine etc. but was not permitted." This is false. I went there with full authority and from the first moment saw all, had all the keys and took complete charge; (3) that the partition in Damodars room was not examined. It was examined and no marks were found on it. Besides it was I who put the Shrine in there when we tore down curtain etc. to examine the wall.

If he thinks his analysis of writing is conclusive he is welcome to that.

I have a lot of letters not in H. P. B. writing but in writing similar to my own that came to me through myself. It proves nothing. You and I know (at least you ought) that an adept does not always write in his own hand but if he uses another person's organs the writing will resemble theirs.

Then as to Massey. I wrote him some letters from London which he said he would think H. P. B. had written if he did not know I had been the writer.

The whole Report is valuable. It will be of use from time to time. It is however defective in that it does not contain all the facts nor all the witnesses.

And I shall always remain obliged to you for it.

Believe me to be
as ever fraternally yours,

P. O. Box 2659
N Y.
April 27 1886

Dear Olcott:

I want to write you about an important matter concerning the Board of Control, so that you may be in possession of inside information when the time comes, and this is all confidential and of course I do not call it a charge against anybody, for when I make that it will be done formally and with proofs. This is between you and me, for I know you have only the Cause at heart no matter how much carping critics, selfseekers, may find fault with you, and you ought to know me by this time.

When you created the A B of C [American Board of Control] in 1884 it did not have E. Coues upon it. You added him after. I suggested Cables as secy and Page as Presid't. They so decided and remained till July '85. Coues came back here highly recommended by you. They met in 1885 while I was here and Coues became Pres't and Page Secy — Cables remaining a simple member. Certainly the Board's functions are only administrative and Executive — a small copy of the Council. I did not care to be on the Board satisfied to work unceasingly on the lines we so well understand, and satisfied with you, that any dogmas and mystery are dangerous. I could have got on the Board.

Well, in July they passed those absurd resolutions about being censor of the Psychical Socy and Coues was deputed to explain all to the members. This was and is a real nigger in the fence or woodpile and C had an object which the others did not foresee.

Buck, Cables, Page, Doubleday and the rest are all right. As good as gold; but if this Coues stays in it especially at its head, he will wreck the whole movement, by means of dissension, Jesuitical practises, phenomenalism and all sorts of folly, as you will see. Personally, I am convinced he is a Jesuit agent and has worked to that end.

Well, from his return here until I got things in shape here with Gebhard and everything booming in Boston and elsewhere he did absolutely nothing but organize what he calls a Gnostic Branch which has never held a meeting and to which he talks about astral bells, bodies and what not. He wrote to as many members as he could find to join it in all parts.

I didnt mind him at all and got my branch in good order holding meetings, printing books at cheap prices, establishing a library etc etc, when one day comes a telegram to our place of meeting commanding the Aryan Branch to close its doors, admit no one, and listen in the silence for the astral bells — in the name of K H and H P B. It was addressed to the Soc'y. Same night he telegraphed to same address to Dr Dean one of the Gnostic Br. the same thing. I saw that and have a copy. He also wrote me personally "You are making too much noise in NY. Close your doors, listen in the silence for the voice. Admit no one. K. H." Needless to say I am not a fool, and didnt comply.

Judge Higley — a fine man — who had waited 8 mos for his diploma, decided to join in N Y, asked me to see about it. I wrote Coues so that Higley could get his demit from Gnostic. Coues replied to Higley in a long letter saying my Branch was dead, dead, dead, and referred me to that letter. I explained to Higley who said "For the present I will not withdraw."

Meanwhile my Branch hard at work on the proper lines, eschewing phenomena and preaching Universal Brotherhood and trying to spread Theosophy.

Next, on April 13th, he wrote Parsons and others here "Am coming to N Y on important business for T. S. There is great dissatisfaction in N Y on the facts regarding the SO CALLED Aryan Branch. I am coming to organize a new Branch etc etc." He knew then by letter from me our exact condition and all had been duly reported to Page. He (C) then wrote me a letter I was sure not to get demanding that I come to Higley and prove status of A T S, and bring charter, not telling me of the proposed new Branch. I found that out though. It was on the same night as our meeting. I went at 10 p.m. They had already signed application for new N Y Charter and did not tell me anything nor any of our members.

I do not object to any new, needed, Branch, but one has hard work to get along as yet here. To get one room rent is horrible.

I protested after to the Board and it is all pending. Parsons joined application as he said to me "to find out what the fellow is after."

I have demanded, privately, from C his resignation from the Board so as to give him a fair chance and shall then ask the Board to consider it, so it may reach India unless they settle it.

He is either a Jesuit, or a self seeking ass.

There is no dissatisfaction here at all, except with him, and when Parsons asked him that night: "What is the matter," he replied, "there is nothing at all the matter; there is no dissatisfaction."

The Cause now has a big start here, but if he goes on in that way it will be wrecked, unless he is dropped from the Board. As a mere member I do not mind him at all.

So much for my side that I can prove. I received a telegram from Baltimore when he was there, addressed to my house, saying: "a woman has again betrayed you. Now you know why the Masters did not cure you in India H. P. B." I think this was from C; if not then Mrs. Holloway. It is all damned rot. Mrs. Judge opened that message. . . .

He [C] writes and tells everybody that we must keep all secret; and seems to think that the whole work is astral body business, bells etc etc of that kind. His talk to the women he had that night in Higley's house was disgusting. Not a word of philosophy: all his power to see in the astral light, of which I discredit every word. But I said nothing then.

Now don't imagine I have a quarrel with him. I have not. But good sense and good management seem to point to the propriety of getting him out of the Board in some way. You ought to write me in time for July meeting (4th) of the Board your firm views on the line of T. S. work, the proper scope of the Board and its officers' powers and duties and that Branches should have delegates to its meeting. I am perfectly harmonious with the Board. Do not let the Council give separate rights (autonomy) to U. S. If you do you cannot regulate them and the Jesuits will have us. Now Olcott if I am wrong Master will say so. I have lost personality and while I am hard at work here for T. S. I would to god that I were out of the devilish country and in India.

As ever your brother

My Branch is called "Aryan Theosophical Society of New York." So in charter. That other name is a misprint and lapsis plumae.

P. O. Box 2659, N. Y.
April 29 1886

My dear Friend:

No excuse will, I am sure, be needed from me in addressing a few lines to you in your present sad bereavement, not only because you feel that I write out of sympathy, but also because we both saw the light under the same skies in the same country. Your long absence similar to my own from poor Ireland which is at once the despair and the destiny of its rulers, has not removed from us the common tie which should unite those of the same race; and all the more true is this when we know that that race is, in Europe, sui generis: a people not cognizant of their isolated position, of their strange peculiarities, of their strange history, of their immense past. Nor have I the least doubt that you and I in the far distant past knew each other well and we engaged in the same pursuits. Aside from any other proofs, I find confirmation in the peculiar sympathy and profound understanding which exists between your son Z---- and myself, although when first we met in 1884, the prospect of any understanding whatever seemed very far distant from possibility.

What I want to speak about is regarding poor X---- and Y----. I do not deem it possible for me to enter into a mother's feelings, but I have been a father from whom a daughter was snatched away in two days while she was in the flower of health.

It seems to me that there are in the present sad circumstances to be found means of finding comfort. If one were able to look with ease into the astral world, of course then one could see without the need of argument, just what had happened, how it came about, and what the result is now.

My own opinion I will give you, assuring you that for me it has no defects, and I think it probable that you will be able to find reason in it.

Going back to X----, I believe that the act he committed became so to speak a picture in the place of its commission. It was however, more than a mere picture. It, that is the act, became so to say a living being inhabited by either an elemental or an elementary. Every thought becomes that, its power depending upon its intensity. And in his case the elementary would not be his own but some wandering, gross, elementary. So every one of us each moment creates these living things. Now in X----'s case why should he be held by any one personally directly responsible for the effect of such a picture or rather, extraneous creation. For being out of this plane altogether he can not see nor control these things while we, living beings, are present to the sight to remove doubts and to be proof to others that what they may see in dreams and visions are not what they know us to be. We are so to say, constant protests against the lying or otherwise acting, other self. But if I did not know this and should see what in dreams I took to be X---- I might think it was X---- himself when in fact it would be only the picture which he produced when he passed away. Those cases of suicide where the deceased may have incited to that act are always those of very depraved persons. In the present case I can see nothing to lead me to suppose it was X----. Nothing whatever.

Not even do I think X---- can be said to have incited to it unconsciously, for, if the picture seen by Y---- was only that which the act of X---- in its performance produced in the astral light then it cannot by the slightest possibility be laid to the door of the boy X----. If so then of course anything which a psychometer may see could be likewise laid at the door of the person who was the cause of the picture. Again when consider the fact that Y----'s dreams were not at all like the thing done by X---- we see at once that it was this irresponsible creation which caused — if anything did — the act of Y----. Why if we were to permit ourselves to argue that X---- himself incited Y----, why then of course in every case where a parent or a friend died disgusted with the world by some disease, leaving a child, friend or lover and thinking perhaps that that child friend or lover were better out of the world also, we must also conclude that the one remaining would be incited to die — for you can die voluntarily without knowing it — by the other who has so passed away.

In cases of suicide the dying thought is very strong and makes a strong picture which is totally removed from the control of the person who caused it to be made. How then can we possibly say X---- incited anyone.

These dreams prove nothing. For dreams are caused, by many different and slight causes. When I was a boy I saw every night my own Father as a vindictive and bloodthirsty animal who desired to harm me. Yet he was a most kind and devoted parent who loved me dearly and always was with me in everything. Yet the dreams occurred nearly every night for several years.

These things are difficult to explain. But in many cases the explanation lies in some obscure part of the person himself which he does not know about nor anyone else either.

Now, although I believe that in cases of suicide, the person remains a longer time in the state called Kama Loka, yet that there are great differences in that state I fully believe. A very bad, morose, or dissipated person would be in a very different condition from one who suddenly commits the deed while living a good life and being a person of happy disposition and good family.

So here Y---- necessarily is on a plane where while we know he is in Kama Loka we know he is not necessarily in a terrible state. The same differences are observable there as here. Here in life we are just on the plane into which we projected ourselves from the preexisting conditions, and we see around us great variations of state. So there, no matter how we die, there are also great variations arising from this life which is the preexisting condition for that.

No doubt we can in some way influence persons there by our sympathy, strength and aspiration. Such is our duty. And that would lead us to be strong, to hope, to rely on the Supreme Soul of all which knows and feels all things.

Now I sincerely trust that what I have written may be of some service to you. And that you and your family have my sincere sympathy and help you may be, and I know are, sure of.

With my fraternal and eternal friendship
I am to you and yours as ever

P.O. Box 2659
May 5 1886
Mrs. Robbins, N Y.


I have yours of the 2d enclosing subscription to the Path for which, thanks.

To join a Branch of the T. S. and thus declare you are one is to add another to the ranks of a great movement thus increasing power and sympathy. One's next step is to try to comprehend the doctrines and then to theosophise as much as possible your friends and neighbors; not necessarily to convert them into members but to show them what one himself believes to be true. That is the aim of Theosophy for the society was started to try and get people with one accord to find out truth by first cultivating the idea of Universal Brotherhood. In the Path we are trying to point out the road to all sincere thinking people, if studied with care one should gain from it. No one can really be told anything; they may be told a thousand times and not being ready do not understand. We must try to understand with the heart, and from within a light will begin to shine which will clear up doubts and darkness.

The real Ski, if that is the one you have, is a splendid man. I have often spoken with him and think his sentiments are noble. However I never judge as to any particular case. His urging you to take the Path is a good thing for I think in it will appear much that will do us all good. Give him my respects, and ask him if he has any words to say to me, for in the past he said many things, and I would like to hear how he is and what he has now to say.

Believe me to be fraternally yours

May 6 1886

Dear Page:

Yours recd and the registered package is in P. O. according to notice recd.

I wrote fully to Buck the other day and asked him to confer with you, as I was too busy to write again.

You are I know with us heart and hand. We have, in our Cause, a good and a reasonable thing. We should therefore carry it on properly. No autocrats can exist in it in office, although privately there may be autocratically disposed members.

With the private character of no man do I propose to concern myself unless it is vital for all. If C were a bad man I would not care so long as he carried on our T. S. business properly. But I am convinced he is not the man to be on our Board and I have so told him and shall try to get him off of it. I consider him on it as a detriment to all.

He intends to claim that the Board is a fixture and that no changes can be made on it. This is bosh. It is contrary to the genius of the T S. The T. S. has a regular council and elects officers annually. My plan is and I think you will second it, and I ask for suggestions, to have an American Theosophical Council, which annually elects a Pres't, Secy and Executive Com., all subject to the Parent Society and Council. The Am. C'l to be elected by delegates from each Branch, or by proxy from the Branches. Drop then the name of American Board of Control. It is not a good name but leads to erroneous ideas. This C has assumed to be the autocrat and all because of that name. And he induced you and Buck to agree to that resolution in 1885 about his being the censor of the Am. P. R. Socy — more Rot — so that he might have more authority. We must have harmony, and we cannot as he proceeds.

I do not object to a N. Y. Branch No. 2, as such, but I do object to his going at it in that way. Why up to date the Aryan T. S. has not heard a word about any such new thing. This is irregular and not frank.

If some N Y people do not like publicity, let them plainly say so and ask for a private Branch and then keep to themselves. To that I do not object. I would let in cranks, Jesuits — anybody — for I know that if the leaders keep the objects plainly in front, the cranks and Jesuits will be nil because they can find no place for their plans. But if we have autocracy, secrecy and concealed knowledge only for selected souls then we go to pieces.

Theosophy is strong just because in India there is no secrecy and those only get secrets who compel them and who know how to keep them.

Read and return the enclosed, via Buck.

As Ever

May 28, 1886

My dear Mrs. Waters:

I have been thinking for some days of two serious things. Now that Arthur [Gebhard] is going away I am left so to say with no one to act near to me, and so perhaps my mind may be getting active.

The thing first of importance is the question, What do our members think of the Cause and how far are they willing to turn that into practice? I know that you are willing to and do as far as you can turn it into practice, for you teach your daughter the things you learn yourself, as far as she is able to take them. So also does Dr Buck, whose entire family of six are brought up in that way. This is a most important point, and I feel very strongly that it is one we should have impressed upon the minds of all. There are many persons studying with us who do not say one word to their children, but allow them to go on imbibing the false theories of the current religion, weakly hoping that when the children shall have grown up, the errors can be corrected. How unjust this is to the children who are thus filled up with obstacles to future progress. Surely, if members believe there is anything in Karma or Reincarnation, how easy to tell the children. They ought to hold weekly meetings for the benefit of the latter where they might be offered proper spiritual food. The good done in this way is not to be calculated. Of course I do not mean that you ought to rush out and establish schools, but I just tell you what I think so that you may tell others whom you know and then perhaps after a while many people will think in the same way.

It will tend to correct many errors which I see already springing up through the misdirected notions of theosophists who are leaning and longing after psychic culture. For I know that a good many persons are so hankering after what they call "knowledge and light" but which in reality is a desire to find occult power, that they are willing to hunt all through the Theosophical Society for it but are not willing to put the society publicly on its true philosophical and moral basis, nor do they say ought to their children. Many of them say "we will not belong to an organization," but we want to study occultism, and some theosophists are not willing to lose what seems possible material for the Cause. But the children of today are the adults of a few years hence, and if in some way they can be put on the right track, so much the better for the race of which they will themselves in turn be the guides.

Your words on this subject to the Boston Theosophists and to the liberal minded among your friends, have great weight and might cause large and wide spreading trees of deed and thought to grow up.

For myself I must wait. I would that I had naught to do but to continually go about among Theosophists and others spreading these doctrines. But I must wait in patience I suppose.

The next question is regarding many people in Boston who have not joined the Society for various reasons. Is there any possibility of their joining the N Y Branch while they are waiting the Coues developments? They could do this and remain unknown if such was their wish, and at any time withdraw for the purpose of forming a body of their own in Boston. I thought perhaps if I could solidify all theosophists and inquirers by these notes of ours — now small but easily enlarged — much good would be done. I shall write all the Branches to try and get a fund started for a general monthly Abridgment: all questions and replies and discussion notes to go to one place, say here and then to be printed after proper editing and distributed to all. I printed 300 last month and they are all gone now, such is the demand.

I suppose the task of editing say 8 pages per month would be putting too much on your shoulders. But Baxter could do it. — We here are not striving to claim the honors, we only wish the work done. It seems well to do it here; but I must confess it is rapidly assuming larger proportions than I dreamed of — and am satisfied that very soon so many questions (replies are nil) will come along that 4 pages will not do.

There is a Los Angeles, Cal. member who proposes a genuine headquarters out there. What do you think of it. I told her to go ahead.

The Coues affair will be all right in July. He will not be pres't after that. The result will be all right then I think.

Regarding vacation, I never take any. It is impossible for me to be one moment still. I have many invitations to all parts of the world and some I would like to accept. One was to Europe from H. P. B. It had to be shelved.

I do not know that it is possible for me to explain to you how I feel. An immense irresistible current drives me on, and continually I feel that I am wasting, losing or playing with valuable time. But of course I am not. Many people misconstrue me, and perhaps often I fear that I am unable to see into the darkness of my own self. The self is like a glove. You see it; you take it off, and yet there is the darkness of the inside, and inside there is the darkness and also the inside surface, all unknown.

I have sometimes gone away but when in the country I have felt lost, for no one cared to think or speak of the higher things, the immensely greater things there are than the foolish current that surges around us. Then again, you know I am married and I cannot go off to pleasant places leaving Mrs Judge behind. She is cultivated enough, but not a theosophist, and I fear has a prejudice against it hard to be overcome. Mrs Cushman invited me to Bar Harbor but it seems to me that I cannot go there.

Taking everything all round, I will say frankly to you in confidence, that very often I feel a great longing to escape from all this, from America, from Europe from all. The world has no charms for me and I have many things it seems in my character that grind upon people. It may be my intense convictions, my intense beliefs and the sure confidence I have. Did I not have it I could not stay with these people, for with it I know that all is Karma and that Karma is divine, intelligent and just above all things. In Karma then I put my trust. One man accuses me of objects of ambition, another of tyranny, another of harshness. But I cannot please them all and so must go on in my way for "death in the performance of your own duty according to your own way is preferable," and I cannot do either the duty, or according to the dictates of the duty, of another. I suppose this year Mr. Olcott will give me a week's vacation — when I do not know and have no plan made for such an event. Last year I had a week at Christmas and spent it with Buck where a society of 25 now has sprung up.

I never wished Arthur to do anything on S----'s promise and advised against it. I think I know the reason for the curious acts you refer to. It may be something else besides insanity — perhaps a temporary result of something. She is sick and takes much medicine and perhaps it had a bad effect. Do not fear I will incur any expense on any body's promise. I have seen too many broken, as is usual.

There is a sanscrit grammar by one Gunn or Ginn published in Boston. Will look at my copy tonight and send you the name and address on the card. Whitney's grammar is very advanced and seems difficult.

Hoping to have the advantage of a conversation with you in the near future — perhaps the wheel of fate will make a sudden, wild erratic turn — I beg to remain

Fraternally yours

Regards to Mr. Waters, Hope and Miss Guernsey.

June 1886 - August 1886