MODERN APOSTLES AND PSEUDO-MESSIAHS
Apr 08, 1998 00:47 AM
by Daniel H Caldwell
FOOD FOR THOUGHT, Part IV
MODERN APOSTLES AND PSEUDO-MESSIAHS
by H.P. Blavatsky
[Selected extracts from the article first published
in Lucifer, July, 1890.]
There has probably never been a period within our
recollection more given to the production of "great
missions" and missionaries than the present. . . .
With the spread of the spiritualistic cult, the Messiah
craze has vastly increased, and men and women alike have
been involved in its whirlpools. Given, a strong desire
to reform somehow the religious or social aspect of the
world, a personal hatred of certain of its aspects, and
a belief in visions and messages, and the result was sure;
the "Messiah" arose with a universal panacea for the ills
of mankind. If he (very often she) did not make the
claim, it was made for him. Carried away by the magnetic
force, the eloquence, the courage, the single idea of
the apostle pro tem, numbers, for very varied reasons,
accepted him or her as the revelator of the hour and of
all time. . . .
No one denies that there are aspects of Spiritualism
which have been useful in some ways. With this, however,
we have nothing to do. We are pointing now to the way
in which it has accentuated a common illusion.
. . . To distinguish the white rays of truth from
influx from the astral sphere, requires a training which ordinary
sensitives, whether avowed spiritualists or not, do not
possess. Ignorance emboldens, and the weak will always
worship the bold.
Some of these apostles denounce alike Spiritualism
and Theosophy; some accept the latter, but weave it anew
into a version of their own; and some have apparently
arisen, independently of any other cult, through the force
of their own or somebody else's conviction.
No one can doubt the poetical nature of the inspiration
of Thomas Lake Harris. He had an intellectual head and
a heart for poetry. Had he kept clear of great claims,
he would have ranked at least as a man of literary ability,
and a reformer with whom other reformers would wish to
shake hands.. . . But the assumption of personal
privilege and authority over others, and "affinity" theories,
have stranded him on a barren shore.
There is an avowed re-incarnation of Buddha in the United
States, and an avowed re-incarnation of Christ. Both
have followers; both have been interviewed and said
their best. They and others like unto them have had signs,
illuminations, knowledge not common to men, and events
pointing in a marked way to this their final destiny.
There has even been a whisper here and there of
supernatural births. But they lacked the clear-seeing
eye which could reduce these facts to their right
order, and interpret them aright. . . .And the result
is sorry to behold, for each seems to be putting the
crown upon his own head.
If Theosophy had done nothing else, it would have
made a demand on human gratitude in placing the truth and
falsehood of these psychic experiences, unfoldments,
or delusions as the case might be, plainly before the
people, and explaining their rationale. It showed a
plane of manhood, and proved it unassailably to a
number of persons, which transcends any powers or
capacities of the inspirational psychic who may
imagine himself or herself to be a messenger to
the world at large. It placed personal purity
on a level which barred out nine-tenths
of these claimants from all thought of their
presumed inheritance, and showed that such a
condition of purity, far transcending any popular
ideal of such virtue, was the absolute and
all-essential basis of spiritual insight and
attainment. It swept the ground from under the feet
of those poor men and women who had been listening
to the so-called messages from the angels, that
they were the chosen of heaven, and were to accomplish
world-wide missions. The Joan of Arcs, the Christs,
the Buddhas, the Michaels, were fain to see truths
they had not dreamed of, and gifts they had never
possessed, exercised in silence and with potent
force by men whose names were unknown even to
history, and recognised only by hidden disciples,
or their peers. Something higher was
placed before the sight of these eager reformers
than fame: it was truth. Something higher than the
most purified union between even one man and one
woman in the most spiritual of sympathies, was
shown; it was the immortal union of the soul
of man with God.
Wherever Theosophy spreads, there it is impossible
for the deluded to mislead, or the deluded to follow.
It opens a new path, a forgotten philosophy which has lived through the
ages, a knowledge of the psychic nature of man,
which reveals alike the true status of the Catholic
saint, and the spiritualistic medium the Church condemns.
It gathers reformers together, throws light on their way,
and teaches them how to work towards a desirable end
with most effect, but forbids any to assume a crown or
sceptre, and no less delivers from a futile crown of
thorns. Mesmerisms and astral influences fall back,
and the sky grows clear enough for higher light.
It hushes the "Lo here! and lo there!" and
declares the Christ, like the kingdom of
heaven, to be within. It guards and applies every
aspiration and capacity to serve humanity in any man,
and shows him how. It overthrows the giddy pedestal,
and safely cares for the human being on solid
ground. Hence, in this way, and in all other
ways, it is the truest deliverer and saviour of our time.
To enumerate the various "Messiahs" and their
beliefs and works would fill volumes. It is needless.
When claims conflict, all, on the face of it,
cannot be true. Some have taught less error
than others. It is almost the only distinction.
And some have had fine powers imperilled and
paralyzed by leadings they did not understand.
Of one thing, rationally-minded people,
apart from Theosophists, may be sure. And that is,
service for humanity is its all-sufficient reward;
and that empty jars are the most resonant of sound.
To know a very little of the philosophy of life,
of man's power to redeem wrongs and to teach others,
to perceive how to thread the tangled
maze of existence on this globe, and to accomplish
aught of lasting and spiritual benefit, is to
annihilate all desire or thought of posing as
a heaven-sent saviour of the people. For a very
little self-knowledge is a leveller indeed,
and more democratic than the most ultra-radical
can desire. The best practical reformers of the
outside abuses we have known, such as slavery,
deprivation of the rights of woman, legal
tyrannies, oppressions of the poor,
have never dreamed of posing as Messiahs.
Honor, worthless as it is, followed them unsought,
for a tree is known by its fruits, and to this
day "their works do follow them."
. . . With the advent of Theosophy, the Messiah-craze
surely has had its day, and sees its doom. For if it
teaches, or has taught, one thing more plainly than
another, it is that the "first shall be last, and
the last first." And in the face of genuine spiritual
growth, and true illumination, the Theosophist grows
in power to most truly befriend and help
his fellows, while he becomes the most humble,
the most silent, the most guarded of men.
Saviours to their race, in a sense, have lived and
will live. Rarely has one been known. Rare has been
the occasion when thus to be known has been either
expedient or possible. Therefore, fools alone will
rush in "where angels fear to tread."
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