United Lodge of Theosophists, London, UK

The Theosophical Movement 1875-1950


In 1925, just fifty years after the founding of the Theosophical Society in New York, the first accurate and thorough history of the Theosophical Movement was published. This volume, entitled The Theosophical Movement, 1875-1925, a History and a Survey, was compiled by the editors of Theosophy, a monthly journal devoted to the original objects of the Theosophical Movement.

It provided theosophical students and others interested in the subject with a detailed and documented study of the lifework of H. P. Blavatsky and other leading figures of the Theosophical Movement. Encompassed in the 700 pages of the book were careful accounts of all the major events of Theosophical history, with enough evidence assembled for every reader to form his own conclusions regarding matters of controversy; or at least, sufficient to place serious inquirers well along on the path of individual investigation.

While the 1925 volume will remain as the more detailed work of reference on the initial cycle of Theosophical history, its existence made possible the publication of another book, briefer in some respects, and covering the later phases of the Movement to 1950.

from The Preface

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PREFACE   . .     . .      . .     . .      . .     . .      . .     . .      . .     . .      . .     . .      . . v

CHAPTER I.   THE PATH OF PROGRESS    . .      . .      . .     . .      . .     . .      . . 1

Steps in achieving freedom of thought—the nineteenth century era—the impact of Darwinism—the function of Spiritualism—the decline of religious faith—the perspective of the theosophical Founders—higher evolution—the cyclic law of progress—great reformers—the discovery of Oriental philosophy—the Eastern heritage.


CHAPTER II. NINETEENTH CENTURY SPIRITUALISM   . .      . .     . .      . . 12

Beginnings of Spiritualism—the London Dialectical Society and its Report—early pioneers in psychic research—the experiments of Prof. Crookes—the scientific “wall of belief”—the appeal by Alfred Russel Wallace—atheists and materialism—Mesmer’s mission—animal magnetism and hypnotism psychic stirrings in America—evidence from Neoplatonism.



H. P. Blavatsky’s arrival in America—meeting of H.P.B. and Olcott—the Eddy brothers—H.P.B. defends honest mediums—the “lamasery” — W. Q. Judge joins the Movement—H.P.B.’s earliest articles—first hints of theosophical purpose—the “Hiraf” letter—Occultism: a “positive science”—Magic and Spiritualism compared—the Spiritualists’ dilemma—H.P.B. instructs Olcott and Judge—Judge describes first meeting with H.P.B.—H.P.B.’s “demonstrations”—the founding of the Theosophical Society—Olcott and the “occult”—T.S. organization.


CHAPTER IV. OBJECTS AND LITERATURE.     . .      . .     . .      . .     . .      . . 44
The Three Objects of the T.S.—the “Brotherhood plank”—the true Founders—H.P.B. declares aims of T.S.—the publication of Isis Unveiled—Adepts and their philosophy—the need for ancient religions—ten basic propositions.


CHAPTER V. INDIA   . .       . .     . .      . .     . .      . .       . .     . .      . .     . .      . . 56

Indian center established of Theosophy in India—the problem of caste—Arya Samaj—The Theosophist launched—forces of opposition—how the T.S. took hold in India—Sinnett’s Occult World—the Adepts and modern science—intent of the Adept Fraternity—Hume’s proposal discussed by Adepts—science devoid of philanthropy—in roads of materialism—a “soul-satisfying” philosophy offered—Esoteric Buddhism—the Indian National Congress.


CHAPTER VI. THEOSOPHISTS IN INDIA   . .      . .       . .     . .      . .     . .      . . 72

Spirit of The Theosophist—what are the Theosophists?— the T.S. a “Republic of Conscience”—no concern with politics—attitude of Missionaries—origin of Caves and Jungles of Hindustan—Theosophical activity in Ceylon—Damodar and Subba Row—the break with Arya Samaj—the “Kiddie incident”—the Coulombs—the Missionary Attack—H.P.B. demands trial—Olcott’s compromise—H.P.B.’s resignation as Corresponding Secretary—members weak in trial.



The Theosophist welcomes the new Society—investigation of theosophical phenomena begins—the first S.P.R. Report— Theosophy’s appeal to “Occult persons and methods”— H.P.B. declines to disclose occult laws—Mr. Hodgson’s Report—results of ex parte investigation—opposed motives of T.S. and S.P.R.—S.P.R. avoids challenge—involuntary mediumship vs. voluntary theosophical phenomena—basis for Committee’s conclusion—Judge discloses Coulomb plot— the handwriting “experts”—collision of theories between T.S. and S.P.R.—what was H.P.B.’s motive?


CHAPTER VIII. FAREWELL TO INDIA   . .      . .       . .     . .      . .     . .      . . 106

H.P.B. departs for Europe—India minus H.P.B.—an Adept’s view of Olcott—Olcott’s organizational fervor—why H.P.B. did not return—H.P.B. begins movement in the West— Indian culture and English prejudice—T.S. accomplishments.


CHAPTER IX. THEOSOPHY IN AMERICA      . .       . .     . .      . .     . .      . . 116

Early days of T.S. work in America—Judge’s time of preparation—Judge visits H.P.B. in Paris—Judge witnesses Coulomb conspiracy—membership increases in America—establishment of The Path—Path keynote: brotherhood—Judge’s genius for application—Judge’s helpers—Letters That Have Helped Me—H.P.B.’s five messages to Americans.


CHAPTER X. LUCIFER AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE . .      . .     . .      . . 127

H.P.B. in London—the Blavatsky Lodge—H.P.B. and Lucifer function of Lucifer—Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky published by Sinnett—The Secret Doctrine appears—H.P.B. the transmitter—H.P.B. and the Secret Doctrine—the three sections of the T.S.—ordeals of chelaship—formation of Esoteric Section—Judge’s articles on occultism—occult status of H.P.B. and Judge—Olcott’s opposition to the E.S.


CHAPTER XI. THE COUES-COLLINS CHARGES       . .     . .      . .     . .      . . 143

Ambitions of Prof. Coues—claims of Mabel Collins—the disputed inspiration of Light on the Path—Mabel Collins’ “gifts”—the New York Sun prints Coues’ attack—H.P.B. sues for libel—preliminary victory—death of H.P.B.—the Sun’s retraction—Judge on “The Esoteric She.”


CHAPTER XII. H.P.B.’s DEATH AND AFTER    . .       . .     . .      . .     . .      . . 156
Mrs. Besant joins the T.S.—London and European branches protest “orders” from Adyar—H.P.B. avoids autocracy— the passing of H.P.B.—Judge and the E.S. problem—first worldwide Convention held—“autonomy” of the London Lodge—activities after Convention—Annie Besant’s reputation—Olcott’s position—Mrs. Besant’s proclamation on H.P.B.—Mrs. Besant claims messages from Masters—H.P.B. the Messenger—Col. Olcott on “idolatry”—Judge speaks for impersonality—the famous Path message—“Jasper Niemand”—Judge strikes at dogmatism.


H.P.B.’s devotion to Movement—Olcott’s attitude toward H.P.B.—the Adepts’ view of H.P.B.—H.P.B.’s support of Olcott—the Subba Row controversy—Richard Harte and the Theosophist—the T.S. a new Rome?—H.P.B.’s “interference”—Harte’s attitude toward the E.S.—Judge takes issue with Harte—the real “Centre”: H.P.B.—H.P.B. loyal to CAUSE, not place—theosophical societies autonomous—H.P.B. appeals to colleagues.



Charges against Olcott—Olcott resigns Presidency—Judge voted Olcott’s successor—Mrs. Besant violates E.S. neutrality—E.S. and T.S. distinct entities—progress of American Section—Judge’s declarations in Path—Sinnett’s quarrel with the S.D.—Sinnett asserts “independent” occult teaching—H.P.B. the only agency for Masters’ letters—Olcott on H.P.B.’s “defects”—Old Diary Leaves—Judge’s counsel on Masters—the T.S. and the World’s Parliament of Religions—Chakravarti and Mrs. Besant—Annie Besant prefers charges against Judge—Olcott’s ultimatum to Judge.


CHAPTER XV. THE CASE AGAINST WILLIAM Q. JUDGE      . .     . .      . . 206

Judge denies charges—no basis for having investigating committee—how to judge Mahatma Letters—protest by Keightley and Mead—can the T.S. decide on “Messages” ?—American Convention of 1894—T.S. cannot fix a dogma—resolutions upholding Judge—Council proceedings in London—Judge acted not as Vice-President—judicial enquiry begins—Olcott switches the issue—Olcott admits impropriety of “charges”— Olcott revokes Judge’s suspension—Committee decision: Judge case not within its jurisdiction—Judge’s silence.


CHAPTER XVI. AFTERMATH OF THE JUDGE CASE. .     . .      . .     . .      . . 228

London Convention of European section—”Jury of Honor” proposed—Mrs. Besant’s charges against Judge—Mrs. Besant discusses transmission of Messages—why Mrs. Besant changed—Judge repeats denial of “charges”—H.P.B. on “precipitation”—Judge case “settled”—Mrs. Besant consults with ‘W. R. Old in India—Westminster Gazette attack—calumnies against Judge spread broadcast—Judge’s circular of Nov. 3, 1894—Chakravarti’s influence on Mrs. Besant—Judge deposes Annie Besant—Mrs. Besant’s counter-circular—the “Judge case” again—Mrs. Besant publishes “charges” and “testimony”—H.P.B. quoted on Annie Besant.


CHAPTER XVII. THE T. S. IN AMERICA  . .      . .       . .     . .      . .     . .      . . 250

American Convention of 1895 forms Theosophical Society in America—Judge the Life President of T.S.A.—Judge’s letter to European Convention defines Theosophical Movement—the Prayag Letter—Besant and Olcott deny Prayag Letter—Sinnett’s private suspicions of H.P.B.—causes of animus toward Judge—Leadbeater’s removal—J. D. Buck’s testimony for Judge.


CHAPTER XVIII. THE DEATH OF WILLIAM Q. JUDGE  . .      . .     . .      . . 264

Judge’s associates allege a “successor”—the “occult successor” heralded—Convention of 1896—“Promise” identified as Mrs. Tingley—Theosophical World Crusade—Point Loma headquarters established—Hargrove repudiates Mrs. Tingley—1898 Convention and splits in T.S.A.—Fussell contradicts himself—Dr. de Purucker claims “succession”—gesture of “fraternization’‘—“succession” of Col. Conger—publicizing of esoteric teaching.


CHAPTER XIX. AFTERMATH IN AMERICA   . .       . .     . .      . .     . .      . . 279

E. T. Hargrove’s theosophical group—the “Temple of the People” A. Neresheimer’s affidavit—J. H. Fussell a faithful witness—Mr. Ryan’s case for “successorship”—H.P.B.’s own statement on apostolic succession—Judge’s “orderly succession’‘—the so-called “occult diary’‘—Mrs. Cleather’s disclosures—psychic origin of Tingley succession—new “explanations” of succession.


CHAPTER XX. THE ADYAR SOCIETY       . .     . .      . .     . .      . .    . .      . . 290

Leadbeater case—Olcott’s death—Mrs. Besant invites Leadbeater to return—Mrs. Besant creates orders, organizations, and “Liberal Catholic Church”—the “Star” Congress of 1925—“Arhats,” “World-Mother,” and “Messiah”—Krishnamurti’s defection—the passing of Mrs. Besant and Leadbeater—Mr. Arundale recommends the S.D.—Jinarajadasa and “God”—Letter of warning to Mrs. Besant—Mrs. Besant and Olcott admit privately wrong done Judge.


CHAPTER XXI. CONTINUING CURRENTS     . .       . .     . .      . .     . .      . . 301

The prolific year 1898—Theosophical Society of New York—the Word—Dr. Wilder—Mrs. Langford—Dr. Dower’s “Temple of the People”—Francia LaDue: “Blue Star”—Alice Cleather—writings by students on H.P.B.—Steiner’s Anthroposophy—G.R.S. Mead’s Quest Society—Max Heindel—split-off branches of T.S.—Manly P. Hall—the Ballards and the “I Am” movement—AMORC—Lemurian Fellowship—“swamis” and “yogis”—Æ faithful to Judge—other phases of Theosophic influence—“Yoga” and Western psychology—Gerald Heard—Judge’s warning on Hindu “teachers’‘—Theosophical Movement a tidal phenomenon—the genuine successorship—H. P. Blavatsky still “alive”—stand of the Canadian Theosophist—impartiality of the Peace Lodge ( Eirenicon )—the platform of U.L.T.—the contribution of Robert Crosbie.


CHAPTER XXII. PRESENT AND FUTURE.      . .       . .     . .      . .     . .      . . 319

The outlook in 1950—predicts psychic cycle—psychic vulnerability increasing—psychic factors in politics—H. P. Blavatsky’s purpose—effect of Theosophical Movement on world history—return to Nature and Community movements—influence of Gandhi—war-resistance—evidence of new growth—developments in psychiatry and psychology—progressive and adult education—the real Theosophical Movement.


NOTES.      . .       . .     . .      . .     . .      . .    . .      . .       . .     . .      . .     . .      . . 333

INDEX.      . .       . .     . .      . .     . .      . .    . .      . .       . .     . .      . .     . .      . . 345

The Theosophical Movement 1875-1950 by ULT

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