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Mrs Besant's "leading men"

Sep 29, 2004 00:42 AM
by gregory

As George Bernard Shaw said of Mrs Besant that she always need a "leading 
man" to play to. 

In her Theosophical career these included:

Madam Blavatsky
Gyanendra Nath Chakravarti (?-1936) whom she (for a time) believed for a 
time to be a "Master in the flesh" and whose daughter she accepted (also 
for a time) as the reincarnation of Madame Blavatsky.
Bhagavan Das (who was unenthusiastic about playing the role of her guru)

Her problems arose when competing "leading men" had her attention. The 
best example occurred with the "Huizen Revelations" of 1924 when Mrs 
Besant announced various extravagant and extraordinary "messages from the 
Masters", "received" via Arundale (and to a lesser extent by Wedgwood) 
but proclaimed as if they came via Mrs Besant herself. Krishnamurti 
rejected the "revelations", as did Leadbeater (who was in Australia at 
the time of the great Huizen excitment); but both did so privately to 
avoid a public split.

In 1926 Arundale "brought through" a message from the Mahachohan telling 
Mrs Besant to resign in Arundale's favour. Krishnamurti responded by 
urging her to expel Arundale; Leadbeater told her it was not her Master's 
wish that she resign.

It is possible that Mrs Besant's psychological decline, which began in 
1925, was a consequence of conflicting loyalties to her "leading men" 
and, more specifically, from her final discovery that Krishnamurti 
repudiated all the "revelations" from Huizen (the "Twelve Apostles", the 
World University, the World Religion, the World Mother, the visit to the 
Master's castle, and such like). I was given, by one who was involved at 
the time, a detailed account of how Mrs Besant was told of Krishnamurti's 
rejection of the revelations. Krishnamurti was unwilling to directly 
confront her on the matter, and sent Professor Marcault (of the World 
University) to convey his views. Mrs Besant was physically and 
psychologically ill for some time thereafter.

It is probable that Leadbeater's return to India in Mrs Besant's 
declining years was an attempt to prevent Arundale assuming control over 
her. Following her death, Arundale produced a number of "messages" from 
the post-mortem Mrs Besant and published these in a (now very rare) 
pamphlet. Ironically, I had a copy of that pamphlet with me when I met 
with Mrs Rukmini Devi Arundale at Adyar to be told by her that Arundale 
had never claimed to have received any messages from Masters or anyone 

Dr Gregory Tillett

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