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To Jerome Wheeler, Editor of The Aquarian Theosophist: Mr. Aveline's Comments about My Book

Oct 02, 2005 11:47 AM
by Daniel H. Caldwell

Sunday, October 2, 2005

To Jerome Wheeler,
Editor of The Aquarian Theosophist.

Dear Mr. Wheeler:

Knowing that you are a fair minded person and
Theosophist, I'm sure you will want your AT readers to
know about the following especially since Mr.
Aveline's comments as found in a previous issue of
"The Aquarian Theosophist" are so one-sided and

I am hoping that you will publish my letter/article
[see below] in the next issue of "The Aquarian
Theosophist" so your readers will be better informed.


My Reply to Carlos Cardoso Aveline's Comments 

In "The Aquarian Theosophist", Vol. V, #10, August 17,
2005, pp. 4-5, Carlos Cardoso Aveline in an article
titled "The Embellishment of Truth: Understanding
Self-Delusion in the Esoteric Movement" described my
"disgusting volume"! :)

He wrote in part:

"In the year 2000, the Theosophical Publishing
House/Quest Books published the unfortunate volume THE
This 452 pp. book is a collection of testimonies,
false and true, about the life of H.P. Blavatsky. 
With this book, Daniel Caldwell inaugurated a new
'editorial policy' adopted by the Adyar Theosophical
Society in America, [see his footnote below] which
consists of publishing lies and libels invented by the
old enemies of H.P. Blavatsky and of the theosophical
movement as if they were authentic documents. The new
editorial 'policy' also includes publishing these
false accusations scattered amidst authentic
documents, which makes it harder for the inexperienced
student to identity the falsehoods whose effect - if
unresisted - would be killing HPB's memory and
destroying its spiritual vibration at the moral,
ethical and occult levels, which are inevitably
interconnected....In the disgusting volume THE
the editor has selected truthful documents -the reader
will bump into many of the lies written against HPB. 
There he will see two texts by Emma Coulomb ... with
no word from the 'editor" Daniel Caldwell admitting he
is publishing documents which have no trace of truth
in them whatsoever."

"Caldwell's book also contains two texts by Mr.
Solovyov with attacks against HPB; one false testimony
by Mr. Richard Hodgson, several false accusations
against HPB made by Moncure D. Conway and many other
HERSELF. The disgusting material includes utter
disrespect for two Sacred Teachers and Their names, in
one of the libels signed by Emma Coulomb. Its
reproduction by a Publishing House which calls itself
'Theosophical' is something which surpasses and goes
relatively far beyond the limits of absurdity...."

"It is true that the editor of THE ESOTERIC WORLD OF
MADAME BLAVATSKY wrote at the preface of the book:
'These reminiscences by her relatives, acquaintances,
friends, co-workers, and enemies give a vivid
portrayal of Madame Blavatsky's personality and allow
the reader to enter into the historical milieu of her
time.' But he forgot the profound difference between
an enemy and a liar. An enemy, says the dictionary, is
an adversary or an opponent - often an honest person.
A liar is a person who tells lies - or who KNOWINGLY
HELPS PROPAGATING THEM. Enemies may say unpleasant
truths and we should be able to learn from them. The
problem is not with enemies, then, but with FALSE
MADAME BLAVATSKY wrongly called "reminiscences" the
old, well-known falsehoods and proven lies. He and
TPH-Wheaton considered them beautiful enough to go to
the public."

[Footnote by Aveline: "This Editorial 'policy' does
not have the approval of the International President
of the Adyar Society, Mrs. Radha Burnier, as she
clarified in a letter addressed to me and dated 24
June 2004."]

I find that Mr. Aveline's above comments contain a
number of misleading and inaccurate statements.

In regards to Aveline's comments about the adding of
negative accounts by Coulomb and Hodgson, etc. to the
TPH Wheaton edition of my book THE ESOTERIC WORLD OF
MADAME BLAVATSKY, it was MY decision and only MY
decision [not TPH Wheaton] to add them so that readers
could see what the charges against HPB actually were,
ESPECIALLY since many of the other accounts by
"friendly" witnesses refer to these charges, and even
make comments about the charges, etc.

I saw no good reason to hide the "negative" accounts
from readers....One might conclude from his various
comments that Mr. Aveline doesn't want readers to read
these accounts for themselves and come to their own

Also by giving these accounts in my book, the reader
can start to UNDERSTAND the RELEVANCE of what the
other witnesses say in their accounts.

Furthermore, I was motivated to include them in light
of what Madame Blavatsky once wrote:

"...Contrast alone can enable us to appreciate things
at their right value; and unless a judge compares
notes and hears both sides he can hardly come to a
correct decision." H.P. Blavatsky. The Theosophist,
July, 1881, p. 218.

I wanted the reader to be able to compare notes and
hear both sides. What is wrong with that? Doesn't Mr.
Aveline want readers to do their own comparing of
notes, etc.?

And CONTRARY to what Mr. Aveline writes, some of the
editorial notes in my book do call the reader's
attention to the conflicting testimony and even to the
falsity of the charges against HPB.

Here are some of my notes to the readers:

p. 185: "Her phenomena and the reality of her teachers
were both controversial matters, eliciting both
believing acceptance (sometimes with independent
confirmation) and skeptical rejection, as the
following selections will illustrate."

p. 205: "Emma Coulomb later claimed that she
collaborated with HPB at Adyar, as she had earlier in
Bombay, in producing false phenomena; however, her
descriptions of what she did are not consistent with
the observatations of others, who witnessed the
phenomena, both Indian and Westerners, as some of the
following selections demonstrate."

p. 263: "Meanwhile, a vicious attack on Blavatsky by
two of her staff members at Adyar, Alexis and Emma
Coulomb, was rapidly building up....She wished to sue
the couple, already dismissed from Adyar for their
gross libel concerning her supposedly fraudulent
production of psychic phenomena...."

p. 264: "The Coulomb attack, as was later evident, had
no solid foundation whatsoever. It was based on forged
and partially forged letters, purporting to have been
written by H.P. Blavatsky, with instructions to
arrange fraudulent psychic phenomena of various

p. 264: "In 1963, Adlai Waterman....refuted Hodgson's
contentions against Madame Blavatsky....Another
refutation of some of Hodgson's charges against HPB is
Vernon Harison's article...."

p. 406: "In May 1884, the Coulomb couple were expelled
from the Theosophial Society for theft, attempted
extortion and slander...."

p. 415: "At first, relations between the two were
friendly but Solovyov turned against HPB and wrote a which he attempted to protray HPB as a
fraud."....Hasting, SOLOVYOFF'S FRAUD....

One might conclude that Mr. Aveline either didn't
carefully read my book to know about these notes or
else he didn't want his readers to know that I had
added such comments.

Surely the perceptive reader of all of these notes,
etc. in my book will be able to see that one should
take what these writers [Coulomb and Hodgson] say with
a grain of salt.

Readers of Aveline's article should also know that the
ONE selection by Solovyoff in my book is NOT an
"attack" on HPB contrary to what Aveline contends. 
Did Aveline even read this selection by Solovyoff?

Furthermore, I specifically selected the material by
Coulomb and Hodgson to put in JUXTAPOSITION with other
accounts which show that what they (Coulomb and
Hodgson) say about, for example, the appearances of
the Masters, must surely be off the mark, to say the
least or as I believe.....wrong...false.

If anything, the accounts by the above "enemies" of
HPB found next to other accounts will make the reader
.... THINK .... about the charges and their validity.
And if they are perceptive at all, they should (at the
very least) conclude that the Coulomb/Hodgson charges
should not be taken at face value WITHOUT carefully
considering other material which is also found in the
book or what can be found in greater detail in the
Waterman and Harrison books.

Some of the thoughtful readers of my book may actually
dig deeper and try to determine for themselves what
really happened....instead of believing either Aveline
or me!!

One more point.

Mr. Aveline wrote about "karma":

"The disgusting material includes utter
disrespect for two Sacred Teachers and Their names, in
one of the libels signed by Emma Coulomb. Its
reproduction by a Publishing House which calls itself
'Theosophical' is something which surpasses and goes
relatively far beyond the limits of absurdity....
As to this kind of action, there are two levels of
karma: the karma of actively publishing lies 
against the Masters and HPB, and the karma of anyone
who knows about this and does nothing. This will not
be the karma of earnest students...." [FOHAT, Summer
2005, p. 32]

Trying to understand Mr. Aveline's "reasoning" in this
matter, I wonder if his above comments about "beyond
the limits of absurdity" and the creation of karma
("bad" I assume) would ALSO apply to a 1995
photocopied "reproduction" of Emma Coulomb's

In 1995, the Edmonton Theosophical Society (who is
also the publisher of FOHAT where similar adverse
comments by Aveline have appeared about my book)
REPRINTED the ENTIRE 112 pages of Madame Coulomb's
"disgusting" (to use Aveline's description) pamphlet.
I only reprinted 3 or 4 pages of the Coulomb pamphlet
in my book! :) 

It should also be noted that there are no publisher's
comments or notes appended to this ETS reproduction to
indicate to readers that this pamphlet contains "old
well-known falsehoods and proven lies" (again to use
Mr. Aveline's phraselogy). At least I added some notes
warning the reader! :)

So would Mr. Aveline ALSO conclude that the
"reproduction [of the Coulomb pamphlet] by a
Publishing House [ETS of Canada] which calls itself
'Theosophical' is something which surpasses and goes
relatively far beyond the limits of absurdity...."????

Furthermore, would Mr. Aveline also agree that the
Edmonton Theosophical Society as publisher of this
reprint has generated "karma" for "actively publishing
lies against the Masters and HPB"?

If Mr. Aveline can make the kind of comments he has
about the Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton,
Illinois, USA, is he also willing to castigate the
Edmonton Theosophical Society for similar if not worse

These are just some of the questions and thoughts that
came to me as I seriously pondered on what Mr.
Aveline's statements and reasoning actually mean.

Unfortunately, there are a number of other misleading
statements to be found in Aveline's article. I will
save my comments on these statements for possibly a
future pamphlet concerning Mr. Aveline's views,
research methods, statements, etc. as found of late in
various articles published in both "The Aquarian
Theosophist" and "FOHAT".

In the meantime, I suggest that your readers might
want to actually read my book and judge it on its own
merits instead of simply believing what Mr. Aveline
has written about it.

Daniel H. Caldwell
Blavatsky Study Center


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