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Besant and Judge and HPB

Sep 01, 2003 12:02 PM
by Katinka Hesselink

Hi Dallas,

I know, HPB wrote a lot of positive stuff about Judge. But she also 
wrote a lot of positive stuff about Annie Besant. Weirdly enough 
though, only the positive stuff on Judge gets a lot of press. 

The fact is though, that these two people, both often praised by HPB, 
got into a fight. History shows Judge walking out of this fight 
without defending himself (that is - he got of on what is clearly a 

Now I am not saying Besant never made a mistake in her life. She 
probably made many. And perhaps the Judge case could have been 
handled better. But there was clearly something to 'handle'. People 
should really read the biography recently published by Ascella 
Publications about Walter Old. He was a stalwart theosophist, in 
HPB's days and when she died, he was holding her hand. Now 
theosophical history as usually told, has very little to say about 
him. Yet he wrote articles, held lectures, set up lodges all over 
Great Britain, etc. For a more full acount of the book (and where you 
can order it) see:

The point is, there is more than one side to the Judge case. Now if 
somebody, however close to HPB they had been, were saying they were 
receiving letters from the Masters, these days, we would all want the 
most stringent tests performed, before believing them. Yet with 
Judge, people just did. Untill Walter Old brought damaging papers to 
Olcott. I can't really go into details here, as I really don't know 
that much about this. What I do think, based on my reading, is that 
the story of the Judge Case has not yet been written. Maybe it never 
will. And perhaps we shouldn't even care that deeply: HPB, Judge and 
Besant all three of them, wrote very interesting stuff. Both Judge 
and Besant have details here and there that I can't get around to 
believing, but who cares. It is very unusual that a person gets 
things right in every detail. 

But I do want to (just for the sake of creating an even playing 
field) quote material published in Theosophical History Magazine 
written by Countess Wachtmeister. Now as those know who've studied 
theosophical history even superficially, she lived with HPB during 
those final years in London and Ostend and Wuerzburg. I dare say she 
was closer to HPB (at least physically) than anybody else. And it 
turns out, she has some things to repeat that apparently HPB said 
about Judge. Now these things aren't too positive, so I want to go on 
record as having said also: Judge's writings are superb in many 
places. I've published quite a few of his stories and articles on my 
website for that very reason. But apparently:

>> During H.P.B.'s residence in Wuerzburg and Ostend she was in 
continual correspondence with several Europeans and Americans, who 
were under her tuition at that time. I knew that Mr. Judge was one of 
her pupils. I had met him for the first time at Engien, as mentioned 
in my "Reminiscences of H.P.B.," and feeling a personal friendship 
for him, I asked H.P.B. whether he would be the one to replace her 
when she left us - her reply was NO, he would never be her successor; 
she had a high opinion of his knowledge as a lawyer, also of his 
remarkable executive faculties and his power of organisation (all of 
which she sensed beforehand, because they had not yet come into 
play), yet, from an occult point of view he would never progress much 
in this life, having failed in one of the trials placed in his path 
on the occult road. Then she added: "Poor Judge, he is his own worst 
enemy," Another day she called me into her room and showed me a 
letter, written by W.Q. Judge to her. It began with his own 
handwriting, which suddenly changed into the handwriting of H.P.B., 
and so perfect was the imitation, that I could not detect a single 
flaw; then he went on with his own handwriting again to the end of 
the letter. I looked at H.P.B. aghast and said, "But surely this is a 
very dangerous power to possess," to which she replied, "Yes, but I 
do not believe Judge would use it for wrong or evil purposes." >>
>> H.P.B. always told me that her successor would be a woman, long 
before Annie Besant had become a member of the T.S. She made various 
attempts with different people, hoping to find one, but was quite 
unsuccessful, so that she became terribly depressed and downhearted, 
saying, "There is nobody left to take my place when I am gone." It 
was only when Annie Besant joined the movement that her hopes 
revived, for she seemed to feel that in her she would find a 
successor. >>
The Countess was a clairvoyant. She goes on to write about what she 
saw in Annie Besant's aura:
>> One day I saw Annie Besant enveloped in a cloud of light - 
Master's colour. He was standing by her side with his hand over her 
head. I left the room, went quickly to H.P.B., and finding her alone, 
told her what I had witnessed, and asked her if that was a sign that 
Master had chosen Annie Besant as her successor. H.P.B. 
replied, "yes," and that she was glad I had seen it. >>

Now I can't go and quote the whole document. It can be found in the 
april 1989 issue of Theosophical History, pages 51-61. Very 
interesting material. 

I am not sending all this out in order to bash Judge. He contributed 
to the Theosophical Movement quite considerably. But perhaps his 
saddest contribution, was when the truth was no longer as important 
as the power of the office he held, and the movement was split as a 
result. I don't know whether that conclusion is the truth of the 
matter. I do know that Annie Besant hasn't been done justice at all. 
Perhaps because her accomplishments are so obviously many, do so many 
feel it necessary to pull her down. Whereas Judge, he died a martyr. 
Either in self-delusionment, or sorrow, I don't know. But it is far 
more romantic to worship a martyr. 

Well, I could not resist that. I hope I haven't offended anybody. 

Katinka Hesselink 

--- In, "Dallas TenBreock" 
<dalval14@e...> wrote:
> Aug 26 2003
> Dear Katinka:
> Re: Judge and Besant
> You wrote: on Aug 24 2003 (in part)
> "Though the material offered here is of value in studying
> theosophical
> history, it is far from impartial. It defends W.Q. Judge at the
> expense of Annie Besant consistently. Unfortunately not many of
> Annie
> Besant's friends have taken it upon themselves to defend her, but
> that does not mean that Judge was guiltless. Nor does it mean
> that
> the TS is supposed to be the Blavatsky and Judge admiration
> society
> that one might think it ought to be after reading the below (if
> one
> can get through it - personally I could not get through the book
> based on this, but I read enough to feel I should say this.)"
> Allow me to send herewith some bio-notes prepared from original
> documents (and to which I have added my comments)
> Since they speak for themselves, I will be glad to answer any
> questions on them, if asked.
> Best wishes,
> Dallas

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