Practical Occultism by William Q. Judge

Theosophical University Press Online Edition

Letters from August 1888 - September 1888

Aug 16 1888

Dearest Keightley

Yours at hand. I am officially in the mtn's, actually here for a day. Much obliged for your newsy letter. Wish I had it viva voce from you. Do send me copy of all that your bedevilled stenographer takes down. I can make lots of the least of it. I want the clear report and make my own explanations.

Am glad you are in charge. Keep the business tight from Occultism and theosophy. They dont mix and the trouble has been that they have hitherto been mixed.

Do you really believe H S O is coming? I dont. He writes me July 14 and dont refer to it. He says he hopes to force Europe to Convene and have organization like Amer. Sec! Theres your chance take it call a convention and put Gen Secy and Pres't in London. Make H P B Pres't of European Section. Notify L. L. Blv L. Dub L Paris [London Lodge, Blavatsky Lodge, Dublin Lodge, Paris Lodge, etc.] etc etc you have the votes. If you do it and they dont respond why then form it with what you do get. By management you can get Johnston and certainly Paris. Let L. L. slide if it desire. Those are my sentiments. Bus!

As I am in awful hurry for train I must close and ask you to excuse these ancient sandstone bird tracks. My love to all and my blessing rest on your Theosophical heads and especially the liver. The latter is an important organ.

As Ever

Aug 16, 1888

Dear Harte:

I have yours of Aug. 4th . . .

I dont know Mrs. Galindo from Adam. I hope her paper will not be full of error of any sort.

Nirmanakaya. It is old. H. P. B. has written of it before in the Theos't. It is a fact; but it dont explain all that you refer to. Certainly it does not have to be mixed up with shells etc. Persons a short time in Kama L (except Suicides and wicked) do not have to do with the problem, Sinnett to the contrary. No one explanation will do for phenomena. I dont believe Sylphs etc have to do with Seances except as agents — call them Elementals. They have to do with every seance. I dont see that it is mixed. Nirmanakaya is for totally different purposes.

Glad they have the stenographer. I would like to be there. What's this about H. S. O. I dont believe he is coming at all. Did H. P. B. say so. He writes me July 14 and doesnt refer to it. Hence I care not. If did 'twould do no good. H S O and I are as different in idea and temperament as onions and squash. Take your choice.

Have been away a week and return again to mtn's today for another. All the London theosophists should be duly spanked. Keep your courage and dont mix oil and water unless you have a mediator.

As Ever yours

Aug 25, 1888
Ctsse C Wachtmeister

My dear Friend:

I have your kind letter. I would like to write for the T.P.S. other matter, but am too busy. Were you here and could see the load I have to carry you would wonder how I do anything. This I say merely as a fact. The work gets done though by some power beyond me. It is not possible to write well under such a strain on a subject that you have [indecipherable] in mind. My correspondence is enormous, and if Bro. Fullerton were not helping I would simply throw into the waste basket some 3 pounds of correspondence per day. Since Harte was here the work has increased 7 fold. We are free from the turmoil you experience in London and in that respect are fortunate, and yet you are fortunate in that you are all so near the extraordinary person who seems to cause the whirlpool although she does not. It is the whirling water that makes a whirlpool and not the rock around which it rushes.

Lucifer's last no. of Vol. 1 ends the year in a blaze of glory. It is a good no. Am glad that Blossom and Fruit is ended and fitly so in the grinning skull of a corpse. On the lines adopted by the writer the career of Fleta could not have been chronicled in five incarnations.

Our little T. S. hd'qrs here is quite a success. Can you not send me your photograph for the Album?

I had hoped to meet Olcott in London and have the pleasure of seeing you all, but the fates are presently against it.

Sincerely yours

Aug. 31, 1888
Dr. J. M. Borglum
Omaha, Neb.

Dear Sir and Bro:

I duly received the book from you which I lent to Bro Wing. I am glad to hear that it has been of service to you: it has done me good also. As you say, the road to truth is at times very hard, but the resolute man can accomplish the work if he only keeps at it, but we should not forget that the great enemy — nature — is always ready to prevent us, even up to the gate of peace.

As ever sincerely yours,

Aug 31, 1888
Mrs. L M McCann
Santa Cruz Cal.

Dear Madame:

. . . . Regarding psychic development asked of by you. Our 3d object is not the development of psychic power, it is the investigation of it. At the same time the doctrines and philosophy of the T. S. give explanations of the psychic facts all about us. The only book I can recommend is Patanjali's Yoga Philosophy. People who come in to the T. S. desiring phenomena will be disappointed and will leave. Such is my experience. The T. S. is meant for a great reform and not for the helping of people to be clairvoyant, etc. Patient and earnest seekers come to the conclusion that all the phenomena are wonderful illusions of other planes and that they lead directly away from spirit; and also that mediumistic or spiritualistic doings are distinctly injurious to both the living and the dead.

In July Path is an article "Culture of Concentration" which, if studied, will give the Key to a great deal of this question, and if Patanjali is studied and practised success will ensue. But a phenomena hunting is selfishness and leads to failure. If one leaves spiritualism and attempts the practise of Occultism he enters a hard and dangerous Path and leaves a path (that of Spiritualism) which while not hard is injurious because it obstructs the souls real advance, and alluring because full of pleasant mirages. This at least is what I think. Many thanks for your photo. Can you get me some of your members?

Sincerely yours

Aug. 31, 1888.
J Ransom Bridge Esq

My Dear Bridge:

As I was away in the country I have been unable to reply to yours. The affair you refer to is now long in the past and time rushes in this part of the cycle with amazing rapidity. I did not look at it as "utter submission" at the feet of H P B at all. She is not an "instrument" only but is at the same time a great deal more, but what and how much more each one has to find out for himself. He who finds out early is the better off, but at the same time he who does not find out is not blamed — he is merely a loser. It is a thing that I cannot explain in a letter. When she is dead then perhaps it will be better known but even then not to a great many. At the same time as she is the founder of the T S it has always seemed to me that what she asks to be done ought to be done. And I have never and do not now agree to the statements so often made by those who do not know that she has "made mistakes": I do not think that she has made any and I do not think that there [is] any member in the Society who has the knowledge to be able to judge in the matter of her actions or so-called mistakes. It is not at all like the pope. But in these matters each one must judge for himself and he is not informed of any consequences or penalties for refusal: he is only asked to say yes or no.

Ever Sincerely yours,

Aug. 31, 1888.

Dear Bro. Hoisington:

I do not know if that sermon was ever preached or not. I will try and find out for you. It is not impossible.

There are many errors in "Esoteric Buddhism" and perhaps this is one of them to which you refer. I am writing this at home and have not the Epitome at hand. It is my opinion that the chain of planets is a different thing from what Sinnett supposed. He was giving out a thing that was strange to him then, and fell into a lot of errors, but in the main he is correct, and I am now giving you the opinion of Mme Blavatsky on the value of his book. It is of the greatest value and we must thank him for what he has done. He is not now in the same frame of mind, but has come to think that he can determine the mystery that is forever about Blavatsky.

Ever Sincerely Yours,

Box 2659
N.Y. Sep 1 1888.
Madame A. C. Rasche
University of Va., Va.

Dear Madame:

Your letter remained unanswered in consequence of my absence on vacation.

I could not reply to yours fully in one letter as the subject of Karma is too great. "Karma" is not only a law that governs us but is also used to designate the operations of the law and also the facts and circumstances of life. It also means action of any kind. You see therefore that is a word of very wide significance, and that it should not be limited in any way. It is The Law. The Universe is called also Karma. The word used to designate the lesser operation of law is the word Dharma which also means religion and duty in the widest aspect. As, it is the dharma, or duty, or law, of fire to burn.

Sincerely yours

Sep. 19 1888
Dr. W. P. Phelon

Dear Phelon:

Much obliged. Am glad to tell you all I know. Olcott is in London to try and get up a European council on our plan, and himself needs the request from America to make H. P. B. head West of India, in order to back him up with his blessed Adyar Council. Hence these tears and requests. You see the U. S. is now strong and its voice counts for something in either war or peace. The resolution affects not us and merely asks that H. P. B. be declared to be what she really always was. She intends nothing here just now except to always help us, but has a design to better the European status. I have heard from there within a week and know that the above gives the exact thing. Olcott has a desk beside her now and they are in complete accord.

Bro. Harte, one of my old members, goes to India on the 20th to be beside H. S. O. there and to help him in his manifold labors. That makes the 3d from N Y not counting me who planned to go but whom circumstances prevented.

Regards to Mrs. Phelon

As Ever

Sep. 19, 1888
New York

Miss Mary E. Comstock,

Your interesting letter of today (dated 20) is at hand. Am sorry you have been so bothered by the formalities, but think all can be smoothed out.

It would probably be unwise to see the persons named, except perhaps Mrs Longstreet whom I know slightly. Perhaps if you can call here at the T. S. Hdqrs No 117 Nassau St, Room 45-46 and see me the matter of the application can be arranged. I am generally here at 9 a.m. but can meet you at some other hour, say 1. And in my absence Mr. Fullerton is always here. The Hdqrs are for inquirers as well as theosophists, and you will be welcome.

As to Mrs. Longstreet's sapient advice, I may say that no society can benefit one who will not work in it, since cooperation demands effort from all. If one is working in it for his or her own salvation there is not much benefit either. And in Theosophy especially the benefit comes from unselfish effort and is not conferred in exchange for dues nor to those who sit calmly with mouths open. The "great teacher" you speak of was a simple Calcutta hindu, one of the thousands of Bengali babus to be found there.

Hoping to see you, I am, yours truly

N Y Sept 26 1888
My dear Doctor:

I must apologize to you for short letters, but the fact is that I have a very large official and business correspondence and so cannot devote as much time to my friends as I would wish; then there are many of the questions already answered in the Path, and for that reason it is not necessary to go all over the ground again. Indeed I may say that all the articles in the Path are written to be read carefully and more than once. I do not think that a man can hope to attain the full perfection of concentration in this bustle, but that is no reason for not trying to get as much as our nature and the circumstances in which we live will permit. For if a beginning is not made the struggle is only put off to a later life, whereas if we do something towards it now as best we can then so much is gained for the next earth life — we are thus so much ahead.

The fact that we are born in this kind of a place and time shows that that is our karma and it is our duty to make the most of it for if we win to any extent in such difficult circumstances then we have acquired more actual strength than if it had been our fortune to be born in a nation or time which to our short sight seems a better fortune. But it is a mistake for a man to ever suppose that any other sort of fortune than the one that is now his is a better one; that which is now ours is the best because it is the only one that by any possibility could be ours, and if we long for any other we commit a grave error and give ourselves trouble in the future, for we set up certain tendencies that MUST at some time be overcome. By working out our duty with a single heart we unconsciously acquire a large degree of concentration. I hope I am clear.

Sincerely yours

Sept 28, 1888
Miss Mary Musaeus
Washington D C

Dear Madame:

I have read with care your letter and that of Mr. Higgins, and return the latter.

In my capacity as General Secretary I only deal with the exoteric business of the Society, and that is so onerous that I have but little time to write about such an important matter as chelaship, yet as you have done me the honor to address me on the subject I have to reply.

I have no authority to take pledges from would be chelas, and know of no one who can speak with authority on that subject outside of Madame Blavatsky. Chelaship is an affair of the inner nature and not a thing about which one can apply to an office or to such a person as myself. The "accepted chela" is one whom no one knows save the Master, and to become one often takes many incarnations of ceaseless effort for the good of others. Hence it follows that to aspire to that without having performed those actions and developed that character which ensures acceptance is a wrong position to assume. I do not judge however, that you have not performed those actions and attained that development. Sages like the Masters cannot "accept" mere aspirations for the simple reason that the latter still are living on a plane of development so much lower than the Master that there is a natural barrier, the same that prevents the child under a preparatory master from being instructed by the head professor.

I ask your perusal of the article entitled To Aspirants in the copy of Path now sent you. It is all true; and you and Mr. Higgins are not alone in your desire. It is supposed that the work of merely preparing oneself for being a mere chela on probation takes many years. That effort and work you can make and do, for none can be refused or prevented. But it must be made. The rules formulated after the experience of thousands of centuries cannot be broken for the aspirations of the most devoted person.

May I ask if you and Mr. Higgins are members of the Theosophical Society?

Sincerely yours

Box 2659, N. Y., Sep. 29, 1888

Mary B. Horton
Los Angeles

Dear Madame:

Your letter in regard of Mr. X---- came duly to hand.

You say that he was "virtually expelled" before the action of the Branch was had. Expulsion is something which cannot be virtual, it must be actual.

In this case there has been committed a very grave irregularity such as would not stand in any society whatever, let alone in ours. The member was expelled as the record sent me by the President shows without notice and without a trial; for a trial which takes place in the absence of the accused and without notice to him is no trial, and indeed there is no accused person either unless the charges have been given to him. This was not done in the present case. If it should stand it would be our first and most dangerous precedent. I am not now announcing any decision but only giving you my own opinion.

It seems to me as a fellow member of yours that the most proper course and the most dignified one would have been to ask for the resignation from the Branch of a member who is not agreeable to the others, and surely no one would want to stay among you in such an event. It is true that we should defend one another but it is also true that we should act with discretion and not in such a way as to fasten on our friends charges and aspersions which otherwise would be vague and not referring definitely to any particular person, and further we should be careful to exercise the broadest charity where there is a possible chance — and all the more in the case of a fellow member.

None of the Committee know Mr. X---- personally, and all they have before them is the record showing irregularity that vitiates the whole thing. . . .

After the decision of the committee if against the expulsion the Branch can take up the case again and proceed in a judicious manner even if it be a pursuit of a person who, from your own account, seems to need Charity — on the part of his fellow members. Theosophy demands not only loyalty but also JUSTICE which is the rule of the Masters in Their dealings with us, and we must all admit that if They were as strict with us as we are so often with our fellows we would have been condemned long ago.

I have written to you thus freely because you were so good as to write me on the subject and you will not misjudge the spirit in which I address you.

Fraternally yours,

October 1888 - February 1889