Personalities from the Thesophical Society

Talk given

by Fritz Kunz

at Indralaya - August 6 1957


I want to say something first of all I wanted to say the other evening - I probably don’t have to point it out - what strikes me as a very wonderful thing, the facility that Helen has with her voice and with the instrument itself. Have you noticed that? She’s not sort of bringing the guitar in at the last minute with a few plunks, it runs right along as she goes - it’s a beautiful performance. Another thing - it’s been on my mind since this morning, and that’s one thing I want to say. It seems that Dulcie, when she saw all those stomata on the bottom of the leaves - you know, their mouths, she said “If I see any more mouths I’ll scream!”


I have something I want to say as a sort of introduction - with what will be the substance of my remarks. It’s this. You know that anything that is difficult to do must depend upon persons of talent who have some ability in that direction and who give themselves to it wholly. I mean that’s obvious with an art or something - you can’t just fiddle around with a difficult art and think it will come out alright somehow. And this is very true of The Theosophical Society. It’s an extremely difficult thing to launch and to manage, and to carry forward with any degree of success - in fact in recent years it hasn’t been very flourishing, hasn’t made much headway - certainly not many new developments. But in general it is difficult. Because it is an attempt to restore a philosophy which has been lost to view, let alone - lost to respect - utterly forgotten practically until our crowd began on it some 80 odd years ago. Now the result of this is that it depends upon an element, a process which also has been somewhat lost to sight. And that is what I like to call the living tradition. You know you can read a great deal about the philosophy out of books and many people have no access to it other than that. And you may also go to gatherings like this and you can go to Olcott, and if you’re lucky, you can go to Adyar and so on; but the question still remains - will you then contact people who have this same commitment that the genuine promoters of the movement have always had? There are not so many people who are in this right down to the bottom of their souls, and who don’t have any other kind of life, not in a fanatic sense - I don’t mean in the least - but who have somehow “broken through” - I use this phrase often - so that the connection of the philosophy with their actual existence is immediate and constant and intimate. That’s not so common. Now, that being rare, it follows that what I called a moment ago the living tradition, is a strange thing. The more it is a truth, the more difficult it is to communicate it in words. I don’t credit myself with any ability in communicating what little I have had to do with this living tradition. But it will be very helpful to me, and maybe to you, if you realize that there is such a thing as a living tradition. That is to say, that the Founders of The Theosophical Society associated with a number of people with a small number of people who became just as committed as they were. C.W. Leadbeater was an example of that. You all know he came in touch with the T.S. by reading one of Sinnett’s books - I forget what one it is - Occult World, or Esoteric Buddhism, it’s the one that ends “Register, register, register” in the T.S. you see, and Leadbeater read this out in the country, and Mr. Sinnett didn’t give any address where you could register. This was efficiency the British style. And so Mr Leadbeater wrote to the publisher and he got in touch with Sinnett, and the moment Sinnett heard of him he said “Come up and have dinner with me”. He took the next train up and dinner was prompt - he instantly joined the T.S. - hung around in London all he could. Of course he had his duties . . . and he was in London when Madame Blavatsky blew in one night at a lodge meeting. He said it was exactly like a thunder storm arising, and she recognized him immediately for what he was - he had received a letter from Master Koothoomi, a very short letter which he carried on his person all the rest of his life - wore it almost to shreds just carrying it, the only letter he had ever received or needed to receive I might say, and within a few more hours he had decided to follow her to India. She was leaving almost at once, and he had to cross Europe to catch up with her, I think it was at Marseilles and - he had gone back to London and sold everything he had and closed up his obligations and left the Church of England, you know not resigned from it, he just left it in act as it were, and he was on his way into this cause which he never forsook. Not a lot of people like that, you see, they just don’t come by the dozen. Now the result is that those of us who had some contact with that generation to which C.W.L. belonged have a kind of experience - I don’t know how to put it exactly - a kind of quality of this work which it has been our privilege to acquire and try our best to, I would not say live up to, but I would not know how to say it exactly, but to prize, to evaluate, and to work out. We have a kind of obligation to communicate what we can of this. But I want to say very plainly in conclusion that it cannot be done by words. It’s quite futile to think that by explaining, by telling some stories, and so on, that you can grasp what the situation really is. It’s as if somebody who had never had any parents had family life explained to them artificially , you see from outside.

I’m very glad to talk about some personalities in the T.S. from this point of view, and I will start with C.W. Leadbeater himself because I knew him first among the principle people I have known in the Society. I knew him best, and he was infinitely kind to me, and helpful and it was due to my having met him first after having begun to read the early books in 1896, I first read the theosophical books, that gave me the chance to move right into the middle of this thing and I’ve been in it ever since. I don’t have any other kind of life, and I’m not interested in any other kind of life than that which .... with.


Now he was a very extraordinary person in many ways that you would not so much hear about. He was a man first of all not at all gifted with clairvoyance or any such habits by birth. He had a tremendous charge inside him of the will to know and the will to do. But he was not what you ordinarily call a sensitive person - sensitive in the psychological sense. It was ...?... the name is originally French ...?... and a very old family. A family of great distinction in England actually but not important historically. It’s one of those families you hear about that has a banshee tradition. Whenever the oldest son dies, a certain phrase has been heard way back to Norman times - and you know I lived most of my life in expectation to hear this banshee personally or reported by someone else when C.W.L. died. I lived a disappointed man. He died alone in a hospital in Firth. And if there were any nurses that heard any banshees, they didn’t speak of it. But I mention this only because it was the kind of thing he used to talk about, and it was in the family, well he belonged, you see, to kind of a strange line in a way. Norman-French and some kind of I don’t know what occult tradition. And his father long before was a theosophical society knew of occultism. I mentioned this afternoon - I was talking about Bulwer Lytton wasn’t it? Yes. And many of you have heard me say that C.W.L.'s father knew Bultwer Lytton in the 1850'. This was at the time the Master Koothoomi was actually traveling in Europe and studying European higher education with a view to seeing what should be done about it. And this is part of the work we are now doing. And C.W.L was present one night when Edward Bulwer Lytton, the first Lord Lytton came to dinner and he actually saw with his own eyes an occult phenomenon. How many of you have heard me tell that story - put your hand up fearlessly. Did I never tell you this? Well, it’s really very interesting. You understand that the elder Leadbeater was an English gentleman of absolute first rank. He, for instance, got a lot of people involved in investments in South America to build a railroad in Brazil and some people ran away with the money so Leadbeater, the older Leadbeater, sold everything he had and finished the railroad with his own money. And ended up bankrupt. That’s the kind of persons they were, see? Well, when Leadbeater, C.W.L - I’ll call him Charles - when Charles was a small boy, Edward Bulwer Lytton was invited to dinner and you know in proper families in England in those days - perhaps still - the women are gathered up by the hostess with a sweep of her eye, then the gentlemen are left behind to buzz ...C.W.L - Charles - was asked to come in for dessert, and that also was proper in some families, and he had dessert with the ladies and was supposed to leave the ladies and go in the drawing room, but he slid down under the table cloth under the table, leaving the elder Leadbeater and Edward Lytton sitting out there quite by themselves, having a few extra whatever it was. And Charles was under there playing his own game the way children will, you know, and suddenly he became aware of a kind of tenseness in the room and then he began to listen to the voices of the men speaking to one another, and he heard Bulwer Lytton say to his Father: “Well, look, down there on the sideboard where there was, oh, I suppose meat and stuff had been cut, there was something white lying and it looks like a piece of paper - if you watch it I will show you what I mean”. This was the way the conversation started as far as Charles was concerned. And all of a sudden the little boy was under the table - they didn’t know that he was there - he saw this piece of paper .. ?.. a little puff of wind and it blew to the ground. And then, along the long dining room, little puffs of wind blew it toward them, and by the time it came almost to him, you know, the next puff of wind would have blown it - it wasn’t wind at all, you see. This was too much for little Charles and he came up from under the table with his little white face and he said “What is going on here?” Of course Lytton quieted him, and that was the end of the phenomenon anyhow. And his Father took him on his knee and talked to him a little while and then dismissed him to the ladies where he should have been long ago. And thus he saw, when he was a little boy long before there was a Theosophical Society - this was way back in oh, I don’t know, maybe 1860, something like that - perhaps ‘47, oh, about ‘55 somewhere in there .....he was introduced to occultism by an act of occultism. What actually happened was that Bulwer Lytton had prodded this piece of paper along by an act of will.

Well, as I said earlier, he got connected with the Society, went bang into it, and went out to India, and there got in touch with this person whom we call the Master Koothoomi psychologically and later on in person. And from there on, from the time he made this resolution he never faltered, he never hesitated, he never drew back until the end of his days he was one of the great forces in the Society. Now, people say, traveling with him and so on, must have been a wonderful experience with respect to occultism - and, you know, phenomena. But by 1884 you must remember, the Masters had withdrawn, they had drawn the curtain down on all that, they’d had enough of that through the difficulties that arose through Madame Blavatsky’s use of these powers, and Leadbeater’s principal interest was that nobody saw anything, if possible. Nevertheless now and then one did see things like that, and as I don’t write about these things and don’t have a chance to tell you, let me just exemplify by a single example the kind of powers that he possessed, and that were bottled up in him and he was using all the time in his own way. I’ll just tell you a single story among the few that are significant and you’ll see what he was really like.


First of all, I must tell you that he was physically a magnificent specimen. He had a chest like a barrel ....legs like a grand piano, and tremendous vitality and resource. I’ve never seen a man so fearless in my life with regard to moral and psychological matters of that kind ....What was to be done, that he would do. And therefore when I speak of this particular episode you are dealing with a man who was just a cauldron of powers, and his walk was cat-like. All that he did was evidence of tremendous pent-up power but well controlled and well directed. He was always there, I’ll put it that way, you know - at any time and in any thing that he did, and we must not suppose that we are dealing with somebody sort of negative - right? But I’ll just show you the kind of things that could happen and occasionally did happen.

About 52 years ago, I was in Honolulu with him and we were staying with a lady by the name of Mrs Hendrickson. She had a house out on the slopes of Diamond Head - you understand 52 years ago Honolulu was a civilized place, there were practically no Americans, and it was mostly Hawaiians and there was a street car line but it didn’t even get out to Diamond Head. Mrs Hendrickson was a woman of wealth, and she kept a carriage and a pair, and it was the duty of the Chinese coachman to take us to the street car and then it was a long drive into Honolulu - it’s quite a long ways - and then we’d get on the street car and go to the meeting and then we’d come out and he would be there to meet us with the carriage. Well, this night - a bright moonlight night it happened to be - and we got off the streetcar and there was no Chinaman. So we waited about a minute or two, and it was a beautiful bright moonlight, you know what the Hawaiian Islands are like - so we decided we’d walk. In front was Basil and Mrs Hendrickson, and in back was C.W. Leadbeater and I myself. And he was as usual carrying his hat. He hated hats, but he usually carried one to show that he had one (laughter) because he felt that The Theosophical Society should be correctly represented, you understand? If he went without a hat in those days that was peculiar. He also carried gloves - he didn’t really much care to wear gloves, but gloves were proper so he carried them. And sometimes he put them on when had to shake hands with people - and this caused great offense I may tell you! (laughter) I admit - it’s really funny, but not if he puts them on when he’s going to shake hands with you, you understand - especially ladies! He was still going through various aspects of his self training and education.


Well, anyhow, we started to walk thinking that the carriage would meet us, and as we walked along, my hand just brushed against his in passing, and as it did, I heard in my head galloping hoofs of a horse from where we had come from, namely from the direction of the street car, from the end of the street car line. I thought it was the Chinese Coachman who got there later from some other route. There weren’t too many routes, but I thought that, and he was galloping to catch up with us, you know. He knew he was guilty. And I turned around and started to say something to C.W.L about this, and he took me by the wrist with his iron grip, and the galloping hoofs had, I should explain to you, for a moment died away - I thought maybe for a moment the coachman was walking the horses. But when Leadbeater took hold of my wrist the galloping was nearer and it was much nearer by now. And he hung on to me and he said something very sharply to me about not saying anything, and the galloping horse galloped right along and galloped right through us - there was no horse!

Now the funny thing was that I had the feeling that he was galloping higher than we were, that is to say that he galloped at the top of us - he didn’t gallop at the level at which we were walking. And he disappeared in the distance, his hoofs died away, and Leadbeater let go of my hand and I heard no more, see? Well, I realized that it was something that he had been observing clairvoyantly and looking into, and I didn’t say much because I knew already that he didn’t like to talk about these things to Tom, Dick, and Harry - or Mrs Hendrickson - and so he kept quiet. And then presently from the direction of the house the Chinese coachman with the two horses and the carriage came trotting along from the opposite direction. Well, when we got home I asked him about it. And he said “Well, you know, I was looking into the records of the Islands” - the psychic records, what people call the Akashic record, that’s the only way that Akasha is applied in most modern literature, he said “I was looking into the record of the early days here when the Europeans came here”. And you know you can run over a record like that very rapidly apparently clairvoyantly. And he said: “I was observing when the missionaries first brought horses and what effect they had. It just happened that there was on this trail - “ this was before it was a road, you understand, and it was higher too, they had cut the road down to make a new road - he said “there was an episode when there was some violence and the chief had sent the man by horseback along this trail. I was just watching it when you brushed against me”. His clairvoyance, you see was so tense, was so powerful that it sort of poured over by the fact that I just brushed against him. And of course when he hung on to me it all came in very powerfully. I didn’t see anything, I just heard. Clairaudience is much easier for some people than clairvoyance.


Well, these are the kind of gifts that he had - he was really a very extraordinary person, and now and then one ran into things like that more or less by chance. When he was unguarded as we would say, things that would turn out to be quite ..?.. quite evidential. And one picked up over the years - I did anyhow - over scattered years that I knew him I picked up a great deal of information incidental and direct about the working of these things. It was a very wonderful thing to know him. But what was most remarkable about him was his devotion to this work. That really was the stunning thing - just impossible to convey it. I said that earlier - and it’s true.

He was once, for example, the guest of some people in a certain city in this country, and if you’ll excuse me I will speak rather frankly of certain things. And there was a boy in the house who had gotten into certain difficulties in the high school along certain lines, and the mother was married to a man who had no interest in these matters. She knew that Leadbeater’s advice was very valuable along many lines, and she knew that if this fact came out about this lad’s behaviour and way of living and so on came to his father’s attention, it would be simply terrific - he was a man of most violent tempers. So she appealed to her guest, C.W. Leadbeater, who undertook to straighten this boy out - and he did. And that was passed over and the father knew nothing of it and the boy was helped very markedly. Well, years later the second son, the younger boy, got into other difficulties, and by this time C.W.L was in India and I was there with him - as a matter of fact we were in Benares - and this boy, instead of standing up to his own troubles, accused Charles Webster Leadbeater of being the real origin of his difficulties. Now you would expect that - there were other things, I won’t go into all of them, I know them all and nearly all the people involved - you would expect that in ordinary life a man like that would immediately begin to clear himself. But the question is AT WHOSE COST? You see, that, at whose costs? That, to him, was the important thing. At whose cost? We wont go into all the details - I just want to say this, that the moment he heard of these problems, they were rather complex - they came in the mail - he swept all the mail together and went straight into Mrs Besant who was his great .....?......all through his life, laid all the documents and stuff in front of her - the whole business - and they spent two or three hours, I shall never forget that day, he was wearing his raincoat. It was winter and I tell you in Benares it can be awfully cold - he was wearing his raincoat and we’d see them occasionally - he would be walking up and down and they were talking. And he had what he thought was an arrangement with her that she would join him in London and they would deal with this matter face to face together - face to face with his accusers. Well, I don’t know whether he had such an understanding or not. I don’t want to say yes, or no, but I’ll only say this, that when we got to Bombay later, she did not come. And I shall never forget watching him stand on the car-rail of the boat when the boat pulled out and she neither came nor was there a message from her what she would do. And he went off to London to face his accusers - very unpleasant people, I’ll just tell you that. I knew them all. The principle man they sent over there was a man of just no account whatever, let me assure you. And there the various things said about C.W.L of which I am sure he was quite innocent. And then a dreadful thing happened. I just want to tell you this for the moral value that’s in it. Col Olcott presided over the investigation, over this hearing - it wasn’t a proper hearing - and there were all of the people who had been jealous of C.W.L. because of his closeness to Mrs Besant and who believed that they were the right heirs to H.P. Blavatsky and all the rest of it you see. And at one stage Olcott, he was old, he was senile, he was to die in a year or two, said to Leadbeater “Look Charles, if you would just resign from the Society then our friends here would just drop all this and everything would be alright” - see? Well, this was too much for Leadbeater and he said “I don’t think this is the right way to go about this, let’s have this out, if you like, as a formal hearing and we’ll get done with it ...” He knew what the facts were, you see. But I must explain to you that he was a man of extraordinary loyalty to leaders, if he ever gave a promise to anybody or any kind of undertaking, he would keep that no matter what might happen to him. Well Olcott turned on him and he said” Charles, I just want to ask you whether you wont oblige me in this matter. If you’ll just quietly resign from the Society, then our friends will just drop all this and the Society will be better” Oh my God! Excuse me, that’s my language! You can’t get anywhere like that! I’m not challenging Olcott, he was very old he was always managing things anyhow instead of going straight out. “Well” Leadbeater said “if you insist. You are our President”. I can’t tell you how he reverenced office of that kind, and so he introduced his resignation and the moment he did so, all these jackals whose word had been given that they would drop the matter, then really began to attack him, and said his resignation is proof that he’s guilty. But not at any time he has ever charged these people or fought them back. I will tell you something - when one of these people who was in the United States, that was most evil of all, fell afoul of the law for the very thing that had been attributed to Leadbeater, and of which this other man was guilty, I got a letter from Charles Leadbeater saying “You’re the only person in the United States that I know who might go and do all you can for so and so” - on his behalf, see? Now I tell you this because you are dealing with a man who has moral standards of a height I needn’t explain - indeed they cannot be explained; but whose ethical standards, you see, which are just as high, are mixed up with his - are involved in his criteria about occultism - about the welfare of the Society - about the good of the work and all that kind of thing, you see. It’s quite impossible to explain that, that overrode any personal considerations whatever - anything whatever. And unless you are on the inside of all these stories you cannot possibly estimate what kind of person he was. Well, I happen to know what kind of person he was. Now, just to finish this particular episode -later on Mrs Besant realized what had transpired, and she came to the United States in person - she was heroic in her way - she came to the U.S. in person. And I’ll never forget her confronting all these people at one of our national conferences - conventions. I might tell all of you who go to our national conventions now, you ain’t seeing anything . . . She was as big as he was, she was a tremendous person you know, and she came to this country to do the right thing. And she did it. She did it. Very wonderful to see. And she invited him to Adyar and he came. Of course he rejoined the Society. Of course his resignation was a nominal thing, you can’t resign from what you are , you know. He was the Society - a piece of the Society - And that is where he got in touch with Krishnamurti’s father and the two boys - I told you about that the other day . . . .and so you see A.B’s inviting him to Adyar had that very important outcome - the discovery of Krishnamurti - if you think that’s an important thing. And I wish to say that I do, in case anybody has any question about that! One of the most important that the Society’s ever managed to do. It’s nearly killed itself off, like mother giving birth to a child under trying conditions and so on, but it is without doubt one of the greatest things that has ever been ventured. And it is having immense effect, and it may have more effect, if we ever have world peace - if Krishnaji lives on into world peace.


Well, that’s the kind of person he was on the moral and ethical side, if you like to put it so. On the side of his occult duty, and so on; and it was this that gave him his stature. He held nothing back; and the work of the Society, the work of the Masters, that was his life and the highest indications of what might be done or should be done, that he would do - and he didn’t care what happened. If I may use a phrase he would never have used - Hell could freeze over, but he would go on.

Now as a result of this he had all sorts of extraordinary powers and insight, and I might add one more - I don’t want just to tell stories - I don’t think that’s the best thing, but I will tell a story which some of you have heard but many of you are new, and it’s a fascinating item and the kind of thing you don’t come by very often because of this interdiction you see in 1884, to this use of extraordinary forces. In 1906 I was in North India with C.W.L. and we visited in Agra. You know Agra is the place where the Taj Mahal is - and I must explain this too otherwise you wont get the point. In those days we were very popular with the Indian Rajas, and the Maharaja of . . ? . . had put a little private carriage at our disposal. You mustn’t have any vision of sumptuosity, you understand, it was a little carriage with coupe and another compartment with some water in it and a fan and that’s all - hard benches and so on - but the advantage was, we left all our luggage in it and we traveled all the way from . . .. very nearly to Bombay in this. Never had to take our luggage out, it was marvelous you see - “shunted” as the British say in their ignorance - “switch” to a side line in the railway station points, and we were now in Agra with this and we left the carriage in the morning to go to see all the sights - Taj Mahal and everything, and came back in the evening to get it again. Well, we were tired with all we’d done, and had fruit to eat in the carriage and C.W.L. always had - it was hot in the sun you know - an umbrella in his hand, and he had a couple of marble Taj Mahal’s in his arm - you know in boxes, everybody buys them and they always come home broken, and oh we were laden down and so on, and then a very strange thing happened. It was dusk. And really gloomy in the railway station. A great covered thing reverberating with the noises of the engines and things, and we came in on one side believing that our carriage was over there - it had been spotted over there. And as we came along - quite a long way, it was an immense station - C.W.L. was behind, and I was in the middle, and Basil - he was a long legged fellow - in front. And C.W.L saw Basil cross over like that he called to me to ask whether that was the carriage, you see? At least that’s what I thought he called. And I started to cross like that. But it seems that he had added something in the reverberation I didn’t hear - whether it would be alright to cross, whether it would be safe to cross. Why did he ask that, I don’t know, but he did it seems. So, you see, Basil crossing at right angles and me obliquely and Leadbeater more obliquely like that, we started to converge on this carriage. Basil was very close to it, he was nearer to it – when I had a tremendous sort of uneasy feeling and I looked around in the gloom just in time to see C.W.L ...?... like this, he couldn’t help himself, save himself - step into what is called a clinker pit, you know? You know a hole between the tracks where you could pull an engine over and get the clinkers out - you must have seen things like that in the early days. Anyhow, they exist. He fell in! Just fell down! Now the first thing is that he didn’t fall over on his head and bash himself to death on the opposite rail. And then, behind him I saw coming up a switch engine, shunting engine on the same line. Well I’ll tell you I just nearly died of fright and paralysis! And then with my own eyes I saw one of these phenomena's that you see very seldom. C.W.L. arose out of this pit all in one piece - he was breast high in it you understand - all in one piece complete with parcels and umbrella. Put his foot out on the opposite side of the hard ground from the air - that’s all I can tell you - and marched past me - just as if he were made of steel! Put his foot on the lower step which was high up you know the kind of steps that are at a landing platform, stepped up there, marched up exactly like a man of steel - one of these automatons you know, went in - I was then by the steps and I could see inside - put down his parcels, collapsed in the corner - and I tell you collapsed! He looked exactly like jelly and he shook like jelly. Basil had been in there trying to light the gas light - I don’t know whether you are old enough to know about gas light in carriages - and he had seen nothing of what had transpired out there, but he was shaking so that he couldn’t get the match over the little orifice by the gas - he had never seen anything at all - but something had happened! And C.W.L said in a sort of low tone: “It just isn’t fair, just isn’t fair” - meaning that the use of such energy is entirely out of order. And he was very sharp with me, if I may tell you, in his gaze, for though a jelly-fish he was all there! And I went out and sat on the carriage step for a little while until everybody calmed down.


Well, I don’t say that I know very much about these things, but when you see with your own eyes you know, and you feel with your own drained vitality, because everybody around there was used to compensate for this episode and so on, and you know what you’re talking about from a philosophical point of view and so on, it’s just no good anybody telling you any different. And it’s on such things as that - mixed with the stature of the man - that one estimates as he really was - had a chance to estimate him, don’t know whether I really estimated him properly. And I certainly put him very high indeed.

Now Sue has asked about his life in Australia. I’ll talk a little about that - you could get more from Dora. In 1914 he went to Australia for certain reasons of his own. And there he joined forces with a man named T.H. Martin who had been a severe critic of his in earlier days. But Leadbeater made nothing of those things - he was for the Society rather than for himself. And the movement in Australia prospered from that point on very remarkably, very remarkably. And Leadbeater drew around him quite an extraordinary group of young people. He loved these children and they loved him and they respected him. And he had a way of putting steel in people’s backbones. Now I must be very plain with you - it was not all beer and skittles - living with him was not just cake and ice-cream you know - that’s the equivalent of beer and skittles. You worked for what you got, I want to tell you that! And the more you responded to what he believed you could do, the more he went after you! Now I must explain to you that he never lost his temper. But he could put on a display of temper that you could not tell from the real thing. Now I’ll show you the kind of a thing he would do - I’ve seen him do this thing quite often, he did it to me too until I got old enough to see through it, see! And then I wasn’t being kidded any more and then he stopped, see? It was always to get you going, to get you rooted, I mean unrooted - get you loose from the rut you’re in. He would, for instance, have ..? .. that’s one of the boys that was down there at that time, he would have him already to catch the mail - catching the mail was a sacred ritual with Leadbeater. He knew when every mail left, and he would calculate exactly the ferry that would cross to Sydney in time for the boy to get up to the Post Office just in time to catch the mail - right? He much preferred it so - he could have an hour to space but that wouldn’t be catching the mail, see? Alright. Well, . . ? . . would be there with the letters in his hand, you see, and maybe only 5 minutes to spare to catch the ferry and if you don’t catch the ferry you don’t get across the bay, if you don’t get across the bay you don’t catch the mail, see! So C.W.L would talk to ....... he would engage him in conversation, and then all of a sudden he would turn on him and say: “Do you realize you’ve very nearly lost that ferry!” And . . ? . .would turn tail and dash out of there for the ferry a mile a minute. Why did he do that? He was a funny bag of tricks. This was one way of getting at people, see? And, as I say, if you came to a point in your maturity when you found out that he was trying to get a rise out of you, you see, make you lose your temper, make you annoyed or something, and you quietly departed with the mail in good time no matter what he said to you, then he would never do this. He did that to me when I was growing up. I caught on fairly soon, and that was that - no more. What was he after? Well, he was trying to find out from the people who went through his hands, the kind of people who might be willing to take hold of themselves and become responsible for themselves in this work. He didn’t find very many. I won’t discuss the group in Australia - very few of them survived because of that fact. Dora’s the only specimen who’s there with all four feet.


Now this did not prevent them from learning wonderful things. And that boy is in fact all the better for what he went through. But karma and all kinds of things affect people and maybe they go on with the work and maybe they don’t. That was not Leadbeater’s business. And he had exactly the same attitude toward Krishnaji and Nitja - Krishnaji writes in one of his early books that Nitja was there and joined in this remark - Leadbeater drove us just like mules. And he wasn’t angry about it. It’s just that he realized that they were put through a course of sprouts. You know Krishnamurti didn’t become what he is just by going to the movies or something. He had opportunities and he lived up to them. Magnificently I would say . . . if I am a judge of any of those things. Well, this was the man. He had this intense love for young people, this hope for them. BUT, the overriding thing was, could they get into this big thing, this, this, what would eventually save mankind. That’s what really governed him.

He was so wonderful in his affections in addition - his non-professional life - wonderful in his affections. This Basil I think he loved as much as he loved anybody in the whole world. Basil died as a result of wounds in the First War, and we can’t say what might have come of it all, but all during his middle years when he was at Oxford and so on he lived a happy, good, worldly life and so on, and Leadbeater’s love for him and devotion to him never altered by one bit, nor to the very end. And he had the same feelings for all the other people whether they did well or did ill in the Society. If any of them came in on him afterward, he would bounce up full of affection and delight, you know, even though he felt, well, we haven’t got anywhere with him. He was a very complex person.


I’d like to say something about Mrs. Besant. Should I?

Voice: Please

Other Voices: yes , yes ...


Most of you heard a good deal of this before, but never mind. She was three-quarters Irish, you know. And she looked - she had a long upper lip, and very beautiful eyes. Altogether a beautiful person. We don’t need to go through her story - you know she married an orthodox English clergyman at her mother’s urging so to speak, and went through an awakening . . .through orthodoxy and then was a friend of Bernard Shaw and . . .Webb, and all those celebrated people, and later on she reviewed The Secret Doctrine and joined the Theosophical Society. And once she had committed herself to it, she was in it as deep as Leadbeater, once and for all. She went to India in 1893, and her great work in India was doing in India what had been attempted in the 1880's unsuccessfully. She picked it up in 1893, and it had to be done differently. She did it by stages. And Annie Besant is just as much responsible for India’s freedom as Gandhi, in certain ways and more so. She didn’t rouse the villages, but it was she who did the difficult task of getting the cultured Hindus to unite. They were very disunited, you know. She got them to unite - stage after stage from 1893 to 1914. Then she pitched into politics, and she kept that up till about, oh intensively until about 1922, and then with considerable activity for many years afterward. Now she was a very different kind of person. She was dramatic, and gifted with speech in an unequalled way. A woman just as whole-hearted as Leadbeater was whole-hearted for the work but her talents delivered themselves differently.

You may say, did she have no effect on the younger generation? She had a powerful effect. And the effect she had was this - when she came into contact with younger men, like George Arundale when he was just a young fellow out of university life - she had an effect on them which amounted really to invoking in them a kind of devotion. They were ready to do anything she asked of them whatsoever. And many people were affected by her in that way. And Raja Jinarajadasa, used to say “She makes men out of young men” She had that power. She was very wonderful.


Question: Fritz, don’t you think she had the power of doing that to people who had never even met her?

Fritz: Yes, I knew a man in Kansas City, he told me this story. He had met her, but you’ll see how slight it was. He was at a lecture, and she came down the aisle with Max Wardall - you know, Ray’s brother - and Max singled this man out and called him to the aisle, a couple of seats to the aisle and he introduced him; and Mrs Besant lifted her . . .eyes and she looked at him. She never said a word, see? She just looked at him. And then she put her hand lightly on his shoulder and went on. That’s all she did. This fellow said that he never was the same again. He was a business man, married to a Catholic. This completely altered his whole life, you see that? And in spite of all of the problems of the Society he never faltered. She was really a magical person, actually a magical person. I never met anybody who could perform such instantaneous miracles. Later on I knew her well because when Leadbeater was in Australia I was a Principal of a College in Ceylon and later was a Journalist on her paper New India. I wrote editorials and things like that, and I was with her when she had to confront Gandhi because she knew if he were not checked to some extent it would be the French Revolution over in a worse way. On account of the poverty and starvation in India. I’ve been with her when she came down from a platform - they wouldn’t even hear her speak, they were so angry that she had dared to challenge Gandhi, and we had to surround her and protect her from excited people. We mustn’t judge them, they were just patriots. I’ve had my shirt torn off and all that sort of thing, you know. Hot stuff! But the most marvelous thing - I’ll conclude with this - about her that I had anything to do with, really a dramatic story.


She was, you know, interned by the Indian government for demanding Home Rule during the war. She kept on pressing on it through New India, and she got the King to say that New India was the objective of his government. But anyhow, before she did that, she was interned by the Indian government - British government of India. Well, before she left Adyar, she gathered us together and she said “If you do your work well, I will be out of internment in three months”. She was out of internment three months and one day. That’s how exact she was in her guess, if you like to call it a guess. But here is a fascinating thing - when she and Waddia and George Arundale were interned up in . .? . . the station on the Western side of India in the Nilgiri Mountains - you’ll be shocked when you hear this - as the Masters need all Their force to pour into India, it was just as if the tap that connected with Them was cut off and she just dwindled away into an old woman. It’s impossible to convey to you the shock that Mr Jinarajadasa had when he went up to see her and found her too feeble to walk - all shrunken in, a little old lady, you would have said. Alright. We made hell for the British government I want to tell you. I wrote some editorials that should have put me in jail. And we all went to town. Three months and one day from the time she was interned, she was released. Now I want to tell you what happened. We had such dreadful accounts three or four days before this release of her state, that we took a wheel chair down to the railway station in Madras because we were sure we’d have to take her home in that - her private secretary and I, we went down with a wheel chair, thinking we would have to bring her home in that, you know. And when we got down there we couldn’t get to the carriage anyhow, the mob had filled the station, filled the roads and everything. We didn’t get busted, but the chair did! But do you know that in those two days or so she came back to her full vigour! Her face filled out, and when she returned she was more plump than when she went! But it took her about 24 hours or something like that to get all her normal vitality and reactions together, and the very next day she went down to New India and started just where she left off. You see, it’s the sight of these things, together with the knowledge of what these people are like and the whole technic and so on that makes you realize that you are dealing with something right out of this world.

Now how has it gone on since then? Well, that is a long and complicated story, and not perhaps the correct thing to pursue, especially late at night like this. But all I want to say is that all my personal experience in this movement has shown me the miraculous fashion in which these extraordinary personages who founded the Society managed to find a few people - not too many - a few people who see the light in this matter, and then don’t kid themselves - too much at any rate - and then somehow or other pick up the threads and keep it going on and growing a little bit and so on. And that is why we’re quite certain, you know - from that, in intellectual reasons, why it really is what they call in India the Bodhi, the undying tree of Truth, which has been planted again.


 


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