Impersonality and anonymity
Sep 24, 2003 05:09 PM
by W. Dallas TenBreoeck
IMPERSONALITY AND ANONYMITY
For several days discussion has been held on this subject.
It might be a good idea to let Mr. Crosbie who originated the UNITED
LODGE OF THEOSOPHISTS to say what he thought necessary on these
From: The FRIENDLY PHILOSOPHER 189
“Strange, they do not see, if some human beings know the existence of
the most important message to the world in untold centuries, and bring
the fact and the message to their attention, leaving it to be accepted
or rejected without drawing any attention to themselves, that an act of
self-effacement has been performed in order that the Message may be
judged on its own merits. They are evidently not aware that it was the
prominence of persons and their claims of personal knowledge that drew
the attention of enquirers from the Message itself. Nor does it seem to
be understood by them that the "anonymity" adopted was for the very
benefit of such as they and all others who desire to obtain that message
at first hand with no intermediate distractions.
As persons concerned with the Message and its propagation, we certainly
are not “hiding,” for we exist and can be found; but as “persons” of
intelligence, character and self-sacrifice, we desire most of all to
place the Message of Masters in the hands of those who wish to learn and
know, without attracting attention to ourselves or seeking any
For many years this has been done at a tremendous cost of time, money,
and effort; for with us it has been a constant and consistent giving and
we have asked for nothing in return. Nor can it be said that we are
seeking recognition or fame of any kind, since no names are presented to
which fame may be attached.
How does anyone suppose the Teachings of Theosophy pure and simple as
given by the Teachers of Theosophy have been carried forward intact?
Blind alleys have been spread in every direction by persons who have
been and are accepted by the un wary as true Theosophical exponents; the
original teachings have been obscured and a flood of speculations arc
put forth as Theosophy, to the detriment of Theosophy and those who
would learn and understand. How else could such a condition be remedied
save by some who knew the truth, knew the Teachers, knew the right
lines, and had sufficient experience in the Movement to avoid the rocks
that split the original society into a number of fragments?
The policy and methods of U. L. T. were instituted to avoid
personalities altogether and make the effort dependent upon a body of
students who desire no recognition for nor of themselves, thus putting
the Teaching directly in the hands of those who would know, to be
studied and applied; hence the “anonymity.” Another critic once said
that U. L. T. was “hiding behind Theosophy.”
The reply was, “That is much better than standing in front of it and
hiding Theosophy.” The U. L. T. does not “hide” behind anything; it is
simply holding Theosophy up so that all can see without let or
hindrance. Whether it is persons or a number of “two-by-fours” that hold
Theosophy up in plain view does not matter; in either case, it could be
said with some show of justice that Theosophy was hiding them from view.
But there is no complaint from that quarter nor thought of any—as you
Mr. B. does not appear to distinguish between anonymous communications
from enemies or would-be friends, which, as he justly remarks, are
cowardly, and an impersonal presentation of Theosophy without placing
persons in the lime-light—-all of it for the undiluted benefit of those
who seek to know Theosophy. The point is that we stand in our own per
sons for Theosophy, and, while presenting its principles, defend it
against any kind of attack.
F P 189-191
>From the FRIENDLY PHILOSOPHER p 368:
“The basis of successful work is Unity: this is the constant cry of H.
P. B. and W. Q. J. To be able to afford a basis for Unity to individuals
or organizations, without demanding any relinquishment of affiliation or
belief, is no small thing. The Declaration of “U. L. T.” does just that:
it is not a theory, but a carrying out of the spirit of the Messengers.
Paraphrasing a saying of the Master, we might say:
“All Theosophy is before you; take what you can.”
The part we play, major or minor, does not concern us at all.’ We might
say, as Judge once did, “sometimes a minor agent is used by the Lodge to
call the attention of greater ones to a proper course.” Our work is to
call attention to the true basis for Union among Theosophists—and at the
same time to set the example. People need, whether new students or old,
to grasp the message of Theosophy for itself—not because of belief in
any person or organization. If students succeed in grasping and applying
the Philosophy, they will have true clairvoyance as to men, things and
methods, and their gratefulness will include all that contributed to
their opportunity; this gratitude will find expression in their doing
the same for others.
So, the effort should be to get those interested to participate, to
associate themselves with the Work and share in its responsibility—not
by proselyting or urging, but by keeping the idea before them in various
ways. As with anything else, every method has to be tried, but without
making the line too hard-and-fast. The main work is to convey ideas.
No doubt the “successorship” and organizational proponents will do some
squirming over the “U. L. T.” Declaration. Any thing that might be said
will not prevent their thinking and saying what they like—nor will their
squirming affect the facts
If the Declaration shows itself to be directly in line with the
teachings, the teachers, and the original lines laid down, it will make
the observant think. Doubtless the Declaration could be amplified, but
would not amplification detract from attention to the points made by it?
It is direct and it is short, therefore quickly grasped. All can make
their own deductions, but with us it is “a firm position assumed out of
regard for the end in view.”
Our purpose is to draw attention to the Teachers and the Teaching, not
to any others; hence it is conservation, safety, to maintain the
impersonality of “U. L. T.” Its aim, scope and purpose are shown in the
Declaration, and besides, attention is called to the great underlying
Movement which compels such alterations from time to time; so, as the
declared policy is followed out and the Teaching is studied, the
practical amplification will come of itself. Until each one clarifies
his own perceptions he would not know gold of Ophir from base metal.
What we have avoided is the prevailing tendency to say too much.
Let “U. L. T.” flourish on its moral worth alone.
The work we have to do, the knowledge we have to give out, depends on no
other names than those of the true Teachers, H. P. B. and W. Q. J.
Associates must learn to look to Them, to point to Them and to the
Masters whom They served. Nothing else will restore the Movement. Unity
is the key note of our attempt, and. living persons, if made prominent,
will detract from that at tempt, will be attacked, to the injury of the
Movement. So we will keep their names out of consideration. Let the
curious and the antagonistic surmise all they want to—the really earnest
will then judge by the fruits, not by persons.
Theosophy does not emanate from any society nor from any living persons.
So far as the world and all Theosophists are concerned, Theosophy comes
from H. P. B. and W. Q. J., or rather, through them. So, to avoid
misconceptions, we get back of living persons to the Message and the
W. Q. J. was not the “successor” of H. P. B.; he was her Colleague and
Co-worker who retained his body a few years longer than she remained in
hers. He was the “stone that was rejected by the builders,” who desired
to pose as successors to H. P. B.—to the confusion of all who depended
The real foundation of the “successor craze” is the itch for more
instructions; this begets the hunt after anyone who will promise fresh
What was given out by H. P. B., and applied by W. Q. J., was not and is
not studied by Theosophists at large, or it would have awakened a fuller
thought and realization by the students.
All the theosophical follies are the result of ignorance, superstition
and selfishness, which knowledge alone can overcome.
Our efforts may seem inadequate, but they are in the right direction,
and “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” We will do what we can
and all that we know how to do, enduring the evils of the present while
attempting that which will work for greater good in the future, here a
little and there a little, thus leading the minds of Theosophists of
every degree and in every society to as broad a conception of the
Philosophy as possible. And all these efforts will be educational for
us, too, for we will have to meet all kinds of minds from ignorance to
arrogance, and so speak as to leave an impress that will stick.
H. P. B. once wrote:
“If anyone holds to Buddha’s philosophy, let him say and do as Buddha
said and did; if a man calls himself a Christian, let him follow the
commandments of Christ—not the interpretations of his many dissenting
priests and sects.”
The moral is—If anyone desires to be a Theosophist, let him study
Theosophy as it was given by those who enunciated it.
For one to accept as true what any teacher chooses to tell him, without
any means given him by which to verify the statements made, or without
verifying for himself the facts alleged—is simply to believe on blind
faith, as do so many others.
Our own difficult task is to avoid all semblance of authority of any
kind, while being at the same time sure of our ground and not afraid to
say so. We have, like the Founders, to give everyone an opportunity to
see for himself that what we have to say is well founded.
At present, the initiative is in our hands as the pioneers. We have to
strike the key-note for those who come after us; once struck, it will be
followed by those who take hold. The others will find it “too absorbing
and too lofty” for them, and will not attempt it. In other words, we
have to show the raison d’être of “U. L. T.” so that others may seeit
as clearly as we do.
We have undertaken a high mission and a heavy task—not because we think
ourselves so eminently fit, but because we see the need and there is no
one else to do it; and we also know that we will not be left alone in
the doing. So, what we have to give are the salient points, clear and
definite, as well as concise in statement, so that thought shall be
directed to them; to make the points so striking that they cannot be
passed over, even by the careless reader; and that they shall stand as
facts, and facts only, before the mind, verifiable by anyone who cares
enough to do so.
F P p. 368
>From the FRIENDLY PHILOSOPHER p. 405
“The orthodoxy of Masters, or that of men?” This question is raised in a
communication signed “A Student.”
We care nothing for the identity of our correspondent, but we have
respect for an honest expression of opinion, and are glad to make
answer. Not that we desire to change “A Student’s” opinion but that she
(or he) and others of like conceptions, may gain something of an insight
into the causes and reasons for the methods pursued by the Associates of
The United Lodge of Theosophists. We quote from the communication the
“Providing we remember that Theosophy is not a dogmatic presentment of
the Wisdom-Religion—a system delivered for once to the Saints—but a
progressive system of Religion.” p 405
There is some confusion in this statement, for if there is such a
knowledge as the Wisdom-Religion, it is the result of the observation
and experience of the Masters of Wisdom, and as such stands for itself;
it can neither be enlarged nor improved upon by its students.
Furthermore, what was named “Theosophy” by Mme. Blavatsky is that same
Wisdom-Religion so far as the latter has been promulgated by the
Teacher. In regard to the latter statement H. P. B. herself has written:
“The Secret Doctrine (or Wisdom-Religion) is not a series of vague
theories or treatises, but is all that can be given out in this century.
It will be centuries before much more is given.”
A similar statement by Wm. Q. Judge is as follows:
“It (Theosophy) is not a belief or dogma formulated or invented by man,
but is a knowledge of the laws which govern the evolution of the
physical, astral, psychical and intellectual constituents of nature and
In the face of such statements and similar ones made by Those who
brought Theosophy to us, the assumption that it is a system of
progressive religion can only proceed from ignorance of the facts, and a
false conception which can only lead to confusion on the part of any
Theosophy is not a religion, but Religion itself in the truest sense;
even the use of the term “religion” without any qualification is
misleading, for Theosophy is not “a belief” as religions are generally,
but rather Religious Science, Scientific-Religion, and an all-inclusive
As to “a dogmatic presentment,”
Theosophy has never been put forth as a Dogma, but as a relation of
facts which have been gathered through observation and experience, which
any one can accept or reject without condemnation or praise. One might
as well call the only exact science we use, viz., Mathematics, dogmatic
or a dogma because it is presented as an assemblage of facts which the
student can study, apply and prove for himself. Theosophy stands in
exactly the same position: a presentation of Knowledge gained through
aeons of time; it is not to be con founded with the speculations of any
of its students, who at best are subject to their personal prejudices,
predilections and weaknesses. It should also be clearly understood that
all theosophical writers or leaders—except Those who brought Theosophy
to the world—are students of more or less proficiency in the Science,
and are therefore liable to misconceptions and erroneous applications.
The only possibility of discerning such errors lies in a comparison with
the Science as originally presented.
In the same communication we are taken to task in the following words,
“you are doing no good by ‘barking against the bad’ as Emerson would
say, about what is going on in the Theosophical world. I believe you
over-emphasize the evil that is being done, while minimizing the good.”
It is admitted that evil is being done. Can it be wrong to point out
where and how such evil comes about? How else can any sincere student
who desires only to warn against pitfalls help his fellow-men?
As to the “good” in any presentation, it stands for itself, and is the
only reason why error or evil has any possibility of acceptance; it is
the mixture of Truth and Error that confuses and misleads the ignorant
and the unwary. Remove the error and its sequence, evil, and the Truth
stands out all the more clearly; there is no “minimizing the good” in
such a course.
It is an unfortunate fact that there are more misconceptions and
misapplications of Theosophy among its would-be students, than there is
of real understanding. Most of this is due to the self-acclaimed leaders
of societies who are very prominent in the public eye, and who proclaim
and issue their own ideas, interpretations, and speculations as
Theosophy pure and simple.
One would expect from such exponents the false and misleading idea that
“Theosophy is a progressive system of religion,” for such a statement
beclouds the facts, and serves to draw attention to their own
lucubrations as “progressed” Theosophy, and to themselves as having
progressed farther and as knowing more than the original Teachers.
No one would have a word to say if these exponents chose some other name
under which to promulgate their ideas, but to
present the latter as Theosophy,—the Message delivered to the world by
Masters—is to our mind the greatest imaginable crime against humanity.
Every presentation of Truth given to the world in the past has been
vitiated in a similar way, being filtered through the minds of the
original disciples to the disciples of the latter, and so on for
generations, until but little was left of the spirit of the Message—and
that little obscured by systems of materialistic concepts under the name
of religion. Under the conditions of past periods, this could not be
helped, because there existed no way by which the “written word” could
be so duplicated as to place it within the reach of every human being
who desired it.
The present period, however, made it possible for every enquirer to
obtain or study Masters’ Message as it was written by one qualified to
do so. This was done in order that there should be no need of
intermediaries between those who would know and the knowledge itself.
But, sad to say, many who drew their inspiration and ideas from the
delivered Message, and had the great Karmic opportunity of presenting
and promulgating that Message pure and undefiled to the world-at-large,
turned the eyes of men to their own personalities as “successors” and
“teachers” and have not only misled thousands of adherents, but have
made the name of Theosophy stand for everything that is undesirable in
the minds of humanity at large.
H. P. B. and W. Q. J. knew well the probability and the danger of such a
sequence, but They could only warn. H. P. B.’s last message to
Theosophists in Convention assembled contained the following words:
“Never is there greater danger than when vanity, ambition and a desire
to lead, dresses itself up in the peacock feathers of altruism.”
What is at the root of the schisms that have disrupted the Theosophical
Society that H. P. B. left? Personalities every time. ‘What is the
opposite and corrective of Personality? Nothing less than Impersonality
which seeks nothing for itself and every thing for the Cause of
Theosophy pure and simple.
There is no worldly fame, glory or profit in such a course, yet it, and
it alone, removes every obstacle that might intervene between the
Message of Theosophy and those who desire to study and apply it on its
For that reason, and that reason alone, are the magazine Theosophy and
“The United Lodge of Theosophists” conducted anonymously. The mind of
the race is still obsessed by the idea that it is important and
essential to know who the active agents are, whereas the important thing
is the merit of the thing done. The injunction by the Man of Nazareth,
“Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth” is as binding as
any other injunction of His, but do Christian peoples follow it, or
regard it as of any importance?
Do theosophical exponents exhibit a regard for the above injunction, or
for that more explicit one they well know, “that power which the
disciple shall covet is that which shall make him appear as nothing in
the eyes of men”? Let them answer. If they excuse themselves, it will be
on the ground that men will not listen unless the personality of the
speaker is under intimate inspection; but have they tried it? Truth is
not dependent upon the one who utters it, but upon its own self-evident
nature, and whether spoken by the wicked man or one who is esteemed as
righteous, it is neither debased by the one nor enhanced by the other.
If Theosophists or Christians recognize that the world has gone mad on
personalities, can it be made sane by glossing over that madness or
pleading expediency? They know it cannot; but they are the creatures of
their generation and have not the courage to do that which puts
personality out of court in their own cases, and sets the example of a
truer, less selfish line of effort. Yet if the change is to be brought
about, someone must make the beginning; it is the first step that begins
the count, and if the goal is a right and true one, the results can be
left to time and Karma. We rest on that."
(all from the FRIENDLY PHILOSOPHER , Robert Crosbie, founder of the
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application