Rosicrucian Writings Online

[H. Spencer Lewis]

[From The Rosicrucian Digest January 1938]
THE remark is often made by students of mysticism, mystical philosophy and universal brotherhood, that it would seem that all of the great masters and great leaders in this special field of human thought and endeavor have been of the masculine sex and that for some strange reason women seem to have been disqualified or unable to attain the same great heights.
Such an idea is essentially wrong and is based merely upon the assumption that since famous women leaders have not allowed themselves to be publicized to the same extent that men have been, that few women indeed have attained the same great heights as their masculine companions. But there are sufficient notable examples of women among the great leaders, avatars and Messengers of the Masters to prove that from the Cosmic point of view, and in the consciousness of the Great Masters and the Great White Lodge, there is absolutely no distinction made in regard to race, sex or color.
Notable among the great leaders who attained magnificent and sublime heights, was Madame Blavatsky. Her achievements and attainments are as inspiring and as effectual today as they were fifty and sixty years ago. In fact, the passing of time has tended to elevate her character, her attainments, and her profound development to a higher degree, and I dare say that among the leaders of mystical philosophy representing or presenting the true spirit of universal brotherhood, Madame Blavatsky receives today, justly, more homage, more respect, more admiration, and more love than she received even at the close of her life. And this, despite the fact that the later years of her life were ones of persecution, of bitter criticism, prejudice, hatred, envy, and malicious attack upon her from every conceivable source. In fact, it was the opinion of her enemies, and perhaps the opinion of a vast portion of the public, that preceding her physical and spiritual transition there was a complete dethronement of her character and reputation, and that these had been more deeply buried in the tomb of infamy than was her body in the soil of the earth. But her critics--always those who were unfamiliar with the real principles and spirit of mystical philosophy--were unacquainted with the great fundamental law. It is the lot of every great leader of revealed truths and spiritual law to suffer bitter criticism and crucifixions, and through these things to ascend to greater heights. Such persecution never does more than to wrack and tear the heart of the truly great, while it creates an immortal monument to their memories.
Perhaps no other human being in the last hundred years or more has enjoyed such intimate companionship, such close instruction and guidance, and such personal revelations and demonstrations on the part of the Great Masters of the Great White Lodge as did Madame Blavatsky. Her old-time critics and many of her present-time critics point out the errors in her early youth, the weaknesses of her early character during its process of molding, the human equation in her personality, and the errors and mistakes that she very naturally and logically made. But Madame Blavatsky never claimed for herself any special degree of divinity or any unique physical constitution or superior objective consciousness and character. She never really understood how she, of all creatures, came to be selected by the Great Masters as their special channel and special instrument. I know it was one of the great puzzles of her life, and although the Great Masters often answered her questions vaguely in this regard and assured her that there was a reason and a purpose back of the unique association, she gradually learned to yield to their impulses, to follow their instruction, to offer herself hourly and daily to the Cosmic wishes; and though stumbling, falling and struggling, to persist along the path and up the mountainside to the heights to which the Cosmic and the Masters seemed to direct her, doing the best she could and accepting the little thanks, the little praise, and the much suffering and torment as the working of the great law.
It was believed by a great many in her day, and is still believed by a great many, that she invented or created or established the first philosophy that was ever named Theosophical, and that this term in some way or other was unique with her, and represented a strange and hitherto unknown idea or group of ideas. But there were Theosophical studies and Theosophical movements, Theosophical ideas and ideals, long before Madame Blavatsky was born, and long before her parents, grandparents or great grandparents were ever born. But what the Great Masters did through Madame Blavatsky was to bring to the world--or only that portion of the world that was ready to receive it and understand it--a new revelation in the principles of Theosophy. And I am only one of many thousands of workers in behalf of universal brotherhood and mystical philosophy who acclaim her as the greatest revealer of philosophical and divine truths that God and the Cosmic has given to this world in many centuries. My love, respect and admiration for her may cause me to exaggerate her greatness, or it may be that there were many others a little greater than she; but I doubt if there were ever, in the past few centuries, any who were more sincere than she, and more worthy of being remembered periodically in the present-day and future schools, than she, simply because her memory has been trampled upon, her ideals and teachings, writings and philosophical expressions have been so altered, so twisted, so maligned and so commercialized, and even deliberately and extremely defiled and perverted.
It was sixty-two years ago this fall of 1937, that Madame Blavatsky came to New York and the Western World to bring her light, her love, her understanding and her service. And it is only sixty years ago that she made a contribution to the world--the most monumental and inspiring to the field of mystical literature--Isis Unveiled. In fact, it seems but yesterday that Madame Blavatsky was still among us, writing and laboring, teaching and manifesting the laws and principles, and yet in the intervening hours and days things have occurred that I thank God she never anticipated and never lived to see. Not only has her character continued to be torn asunder, not only have her ideals been twisted and perverted, but the very foundation she laid for a universal brotherhood has been seized upon by schemers, by claimants to successorship, by self-appointed bearers of her sceptre. Highly commercialized reprints of her books have been issued in which the most beautiful and glorious passages have been eliminated in order that sectarian, limited, narrow, bigoted ideas and principles could be established in connection with the society which she founded, and which she gave to the world as her wonderful heritage. In the name of the Theosophical Society, all sorts of doctrines, practices, and principles have been offered to the world, and some of the most astonishing contradictions, infractions and perverse explanations of her beautiful teachings have been scattered throughout the lands.
But still there remains this eternal immortal monument to her memory and her greatness, and as is always the case, sane, sensible, rational and clean-minded and aspiring human beings have come to notice more and more that invisible yet highly tangible monument; one by one they have come to kneel before it in mystical prayer and allegorical adoration. So, we find today throughout the world a rapidly growing organization called the "Back to Blavatsky" movement. In it are to be found thousands of men and women who have separated themselves from the many forms of reorganized Theosophy, with diverse and opposing opinions and teachings, but who now insist upon studying and benefiting by the original and beautiful teachings of Madame Blavatsky, as given to her by the Great Masters, or as revealed to her from the Cosmic records, or discovered by her through diligent and strenuous practice of the principles and the conscious attunement of her mind and heart with the divine consciousness and the mind of the members of the Great White Brotherhood.
It is generally conceded by these thinking men and women that not in any Theosophical Society of modern reformation or modern modification, or not in any tangible group organized and controlled by self-appointed successors and leaders, are to be found the great truths that Madame Blavatsky brought to the world; and not in the fiascoes and outstanding absurdities and artificial programs of these same self-appointed successors and leaders are to be found that helpfulness and development and progress that they seek. They have discovered that in reading her books and in following her ideas and ideals in the privacy of their homes and in the silent hours of personal meditation and thought, they can derive more benefit from the revelations of the Great Masters who taught and spoke to Madame Blavatsky. And thus there is being created an invisible brotherhood of true Theosophists, larger in number, stronger in power, more loyal in thought, than any other Theosophical Brotherhood that existed during her lifetime or immediately thereafter. These students are to be found working in and through other organizations, but finding in Madame Blavatsky's books and writings not the practical instruction, not the practical guidance, not the systematic and carefully organized instruction and help which they find in various worldly movements, but that spiritual food, that Cosmic enlightenment, and that deep and sympathetic understanding of human problems, that made Theosophy at one time the ideal movement, the ideal channel for the certain work that the Great Masters wanted to accomplish during her lifetime.
It is doubtful if a Theosophical Society of any name or under any leadership and in a material organized form will ever attain the heights that such a society once attained under Madame Blavatsky's immediate direction and control. It appears to be very manifest that the Great Masters themselves no longer consider such a tangible, materialistic body of workers necessary or advisable. This probably explains the failure of the self-appointed successors and leaders to emulate in recent years the work that Madame Blavatsky attained, and it probably explains also why these same leaders have fallen continuously into error, into quarreling among themselves, into making serious mistakes of policy, principle and idealism, and have lost continuously more followers than they have gained.
But there is a vast distinction between an invisible brotherhood composed of thousands of lovers of the true Theosophical teachings, guided and instructed by the occasional and well-prepared instruction of Cosmically chosen leaders and advisors, and a small and impotent, tangible "brotherhood" composed of men and women seeking truth and finding untruth or misunderstanding, and meeting constantly with bickerings and suspicion and misrepresentation and crude invention.
Ever since I have been chief executive of AMORC I have taken occasion, as our various magazines and past publications will show, periodically to pay homage and respect to Madame Blavatsky. And I hope that as long as my memory continues to function in my earthly consciousness, I shall never fail to express my esteem and love for Madame Blavatsky.
And my high praise for her attainments and service to mankind is not because she was also a Rosicrucian, and passed out of this life happily wearing the Rosicrucian emblem as the most important symbol in her life. I admired and loved the work and achievements of Madame Blavatsky for years before I knew the truth about her Rosicrucian connections. She will not be remembered so greatly as a Rosicrucian, as she will be remembered as a companion and messenger of the Great Masters, and as a Light Bearer among men and women throughout the world. The Great Masters had chosen her as their instrument, their channel, their chief representative, long before they led her to the portals of Rosicrucianism, and long before they had revealed to her the great truths that constituted the Theosophical presentation of divine principles. Having accepted the call, having given herself to the service of the Masters, she adhered to it, persisted in it, and gave her life to it, in the utmost suffering and malicious persecution. She was a martyr of the Great White Brotherhood, and for this reason all Rosicrucians, all true Theosophists, all lovers of truth and human brotherhood and Light, Life and Love will remember her and continue to place fresh flowers at the foot of her invisible and immortal monument.

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