From a Letter of an Old Friend and Theosophist
Journal of The Theosophical Society, February, 1884
Letter from G. L. Ditson | Reply by H.P.B.
. . . Well, my dear friends, I read with boundless satisfaction of your triumphal march, for it seems like a continual triumph in all your walks and ways. Who but yourselves could have established such a paper as The Theosophist? Probably no other two people in the world! And what is very gratifying is, that you are receiving recognitions as you go along (not common) of your valuable services. People, who have been illustrious in life, have had monuments raised to them after their departure, but you are greeted everywhere as veritable gods who have come down from heaven to save the nation. Your work is noble indeed, and your names will live in the annals of the Orient, yet to adorn the ages, as few others, less than that of Buddha himself.
As I said in a former letter, I believe, tears have more than once come into my eyes when reading of your splendid receptions; I have as often wished that I could have been present to add my humble gratulations.
I have seen in The Theosophist lately, some of the Occultist ideas about the Sun. Would it sound egotistical for me to say that for many years, I have had similar ideas? I say similar for I do not recall all the views expressed in your paper. I will state my own view which, I think in respect of heat, is not Buddhistic or of the Brothers. I believe the sun to be only a focus of the Supreme Light and [that it] has no heat; that the heat we get is from the friction of the rays of light, making more warmth as it approaches the earth (the air becoming denser), for as we ascend toward the sun the colder it grows. If self-producing then it is simply the expression of its magnetic forces, evolved from its vast evolutions, or from reverse currents of magnetism surrounding it.
. . . I have been reading your “Reply to an English F. T. S.,” and find in its first column and a quarter exactly what is generally, I think, wanted by European Theosophists, and which Mr. Sinnett has failed to afford. Indeed here it is clearly shown why he could not fulfil the promises some of his statements led us to expect. I have always felt, and I may say, known, from my own experience, that it was not “selfishness” on your part, nor that a “Chinese wall” had been erected around esoteric Buddhism, that its great truths were not imparted to all. The many merely “curious” and even the “earnest seekers” are not always prepared, by courage, self-denial and perseverance, to swim the dark stream that could land them on the bright shore of sublime spiritual knowledge. They look earnestly, think earnestly, but dare not make the plunge. Mr. Sinnett could not convey what is implied in your 2nd paragraph. “The inability to reach them lies entirely with the seekers”; for, as you further say, “It rests entirely on the impossibility of imparting that, the nature of which is beyond the comprehension of the ‘would-be learners,’” etc. etc. Exactly so. And this is the reason why I wrote a couple of articles for Light (of London). Not, as I think you will see, that I distrusted the powers of the Brothers, nor that I disbelieved in the possibilities lying behind what they were enabled to convey to the outer world—if I may so name it . . .
G. L. DITSON
We are sincerely glad to find our old and true friend, Dr. G. L. Ditson, addressing us the above explanatory remarks in respect of his two letters to Light. Knowing him so long, and so well, we have never believed he had written his objections to Esoteric Buddhism in any other spirit but that of frankness and kindness. We were pained beyond measure to find him, as it were, siding with our enemies; but now, we are glad to see, it was a mistake; having given his own peculiar views upon the subject he now explains his position. Only why should our old and trusted American friend address us as though we were the author of the “Replies to an English F. T. S.”? It was explained, we believe, and made very clear that the letter of the English F. T. S. being addressed to the Mahatmas, it was not our province to answer the scientific queries contained in it, even if we had the ability to do so, something we never laid a claim to. In point of fact, however, there is not one word in the “Replies” that we could call our own. We preserved packs of MSS. in the handwriting of our Masters and their Chelas; and if we got them sometimes copied in the office, it was simply to avoid desecration at the hands of the printer’s devil. Nor is it right to say that Mr. Sinnett has failed to convey the Esoteric doctrines; for their broad features have been outlined by him with an accuracy unapproachable by others. By this time, we hope, it is abundantly clear that the Mahatmas are willing to allow the doctrines of Esoteric Buddhism in their general outline to rest upon their authority, as in the course of their long replies to the questions arising out of those teachings, they have been nowhere disclaimed. No doubt there are more than one mistaken notion, here and there, throughout the volume, and a few false inferences, more than warranted by the meagre details received; but the misconceptions, false rendering and the fallacious conclusions arrived at by his many critics—are far greater still. This, we hope, will be amply proved in a pamphlet now in preparation. We hope our friend and brother will understand the teachings better some day and retract much of what he had said in his two articles to Light.