Theosophist, February, 1883
The Psychological Review, kindly taking notice of our misguided journal, has the following in its November number. “The present number [of The Theosophist for September, 1882] is rich in interesting matter, which, whether one agrees with it or not, is good reading. The letters of ‘A.P.S.,’ originally contributed to ‘Light,’ are reproduced.” The words in italics call for an explanation. “A.P.S.’s” Letters, written at the express desire of his friend and Teacher “Brother” Koot Hoomi, with a view to disseminating esoteric Arhat doctrines and giving a more correct insight into the said abstruse philosophy, were not “originally contributed” either to Light or the Theosophist alone, but simultaneously sent to both, to London and Bombay. They appeared in our Magazine three or four weeks earlier than in our English contemporary, and were so timed as to avoid interference with each other. Thus, since “A.P.S.’s” Letters under notice appeared in Light nearly at the same time as the Theosophist reached London, they could not have been “reproduced” from that paper (though, certainly, much of the Light reading is worth copying), but were printed from the writer’s original manuscripts. Had it been a question of any other article, we would not have gone out of our way to contradict the statement. But since it concerns contributions doubly valuable owing to the source of their original emanation, and the literary eminence of their writer—a most devoted and valued Theosophist we feel it our duty to notice and correct the misconception.
Another and still more curious mistake concerning our paper is found in the same excellent periodical. Among the advertisements of Works published by the Psychological Press Association, we find a few lines quoted from our Journal’s review of “The Perfect Way,” and, after the title of our publication, an explanatory parenthesis in which our periodical is described as a—“Buddhist organ!” This is a puzzle, indeed. As every reader of our Magazine knows, of all religions Buddhism has been the least discussed in the THEOSOPHIST, mainly from reluctance to seem partial to our own faith, but in part also because Buddhism is being more elucidated by Western scholars than any other ancient religion and has therefore least of all needed our help. The Northern Buddhism, or esoteric Arhat doctrine, has little in common with popular, dogmatic Buddhism. It is identical—except in proper names with the hidden truth or esoteric part of Advaitism, Brahmanism, and every other world faith of antiquity. It is a grave mistake, therefore, and a misrepresentation of the strictly impartial attitude of our paper to make it appear as the organ of any sect. It is only the organ of Truth as we can discover it. It never was, nor will it ever become, the advocate of any particular creed. Indeed, its policy is rather to demolish every dogmatic creed the world over. We would substitute for them the one great Truth, which—wherever it is, must of necessity be one—rather than pander to the superstitions and bigotry of sectarianism, which has ever been the greatest curse and the source of most of the miseries in this world of Sin and Evil. We are ever as willing to denounce the defects of orthodox Buddhism as those of theological Christianity, of Hinduism, Parseeism, or of any other so-called “world religion.” The motto of our Journal, “There is no Religion higher than Truth,” is quite sufficient, we think, to put our policy outside the possibility of doubt. If our being personally an adherent to the Arhat school be cited, we repeat again that our private belief and predilections have nothing to do whatever with our duty as editor of a Journal, which was established to represent in their true light the many religious creeds of the Members of the Theosophical Society; nor have we any more right as a Founder of that Society or in our official capacity of Corresponding Secretary—with which office we have been invested for life—to show greater partiality for one creed than for another. This would be to act upon false pretences. Very true, we sincerely believe having found the Truth; or what is only, perhaps, all of the Truth that we can grasp; but so does every honest man with regard to his religion—whatever it may be. And since we have never set ourselves up as infallible; nor allowed our conceit to puff out our head with the idea that we had a commission, divine or otherwise, to teach our fellow men, or knew more than they; nor attempted a propaganda of our religion; but, on the contrary, have always advised people to purify, and keep to, their own creed unless it should become impossible for them to make it harmonize with what they discovered of the Truth—in which case it is but simple honesty demanded by a decent sense of self-respect to confess the change and avoid shamming loyalty to defunct beliefs—we protest most emphatically against the Psychological Review’s making our Magazine an organ for Buddhist priests or any other priests or pedants to play their tunes upon. As well call it a Russian Journal because of the nativity of its editor!