[On “The New Dispensation”]
Theosophist, August, 1881
Under the heading of “Forgiveness and Chastisement” the New Dispensation, comparing its members to Jesus when whipping out the money-changers from the temple, takes us in its confidence, and proceeds to enumerate its painful but unavoidable duties to the world in general, and the infidels and skeptics especially.
“To remove,” it says, “the plague” of infidelity and skepticism with which it feels “bound to remonstrate, Jesus-like” (!)—“however painful the task, is a bounden duty, which no believer can shirk. The sharp knife of the surgeon must cut open the festering sore. The New Dispensation must chastise and heal all its enemies, of whatever class, and by administering strong medicines make them clean. This is not personal resentment, but healing and correction (!). He who does not ply his healing art, under God, is one of the worst foes of society and an opponent of the New Dispensation. Burn up every paper that breathes resentment as so much anti-Dispensation trash. Destroy also the entire literature of spurious toleration which flirts with infidelity and corruption, for it too is an enemy of God and . . . of the present Dispensation.” ! !
The italics are ours—of course. But, oh, Cerulean Powers! . . . Has Calcutta established then—not even an internuncial see, for that would be only modest—but another R. C. Pontificality, with its Pontifex Maximus, the infallible Pope, with its Index Expurgatorius, its In Cœna Domini, its Ipsedixit and the whole lugubrious cortège of Papal appurtenances? for their women Hapless Babus, and still more unfortunate Brahmos, who gave up Sutti, but to accept auto-da-fé for themselves at some future day! It really would be worth learning though, how the Dispensationists come to such an infallibility and power. “Burn up every paper that breathes . . . anti–Dispensation trash”; “Destroy the entire literature . . . that flirts with infidelity” . . . “which is an enemy of the present Dispensation”! Forsooth, we have to be prudent, it seems, with these modern “Princes of Peace and Apostles of Forgiveness,” of “God’s Dispensation”! We know, for we are told so by themselves, that they have “no vindictiveness”; and being full of “forgiveness and love,” and rice and water, if they chastise at all, it is not out of “malice” but with the sole object of destroying “God’s enemies.” This is the language of the late Holy Inquisition—happily defunct. Our Dispensationists being prevented by law to burn their heretics, they proceed—always in a spirit of charity, of course—to chastise the “enemies of God” through little vile and slanderous attacks upon the enemies’ private characters and even those of their daughters, attacks epitomized in “filthy and obscene correspondences,” in organs “under the distinguished patronage of the Prophet of the New Dispensation”—if we have to believe the Brahmo Public Opinion (July 7th). The magistrates who may or may not be anti-Dispensationists recognize the libel and chastise in their turn the weapon, the hand remaining prudently invisible. Thus acted the Consiglio dei Dieci—the terrible “Council of Ten” of the Venetian Doges of old, whose members remained ever invisible behind their masks in the presence of the accused to be “chastised,” brought before them in the secret hall of the Dogal palace, and who unveiled their faces, but when praying and glorifying God—publicly. . . .
The cycle is running down and brings back to us in its vortex the things that were—by faithfully reproducing them. So we had the Mosaic Dispensation, the tables of stone “written with the finger of God,” a charter signed and sealed by Jehovah himself. Then came the Christian Dispensation, written by authors unknown, and chartered byMissio in partes infidelium that Mission to the unbelievers, the clear perception of which makes our Calcutta Prophet assume an authority and issue
Constantine. But our century presents us with two New Dispensations at once: the “Spiritual”—chartered by the “Angels,” and the “Babu-Keshubians,” also claiming a charter as the rest. Only our Dispensation, No. 4, is an evident improvement upon its predecessors, as its “Apostles” inform us; and a kind of Re-Revised Bible, with Renan’s Jesus in it, lined with Chaitanya and propped by Mohammed and Socrates. It is written on something as durable as the “tables of stones”—and as transcendental, namely, on the overheated tables of the grey matter of the “Minister’s” cerebellum. The sensory ganglia being abnormally excited at the expense of the hemispheres of the brain, hence—the delusion of a Missio in partes infidelium; that Mission to the unbelievers, the clear perception of which makes our Calcutta Prophet assume an authority and issue Bulls as if he had a whole host of celestial Sipahis with flaming swords behind his back to enforce them. Indeed, his newly established rite, that of baptism in a Calcutta “Jordantank” was a brilliant idea. Nothing can prove more beneficent to the members of the “New Church” than daily and full immersions in ice-cold water. The Arlington Co. ought to enter into immediate negotiations with the “Apostles” for furnishing them with pneumatic ice machines.
[Note: in the September edition of The Theosophist, H.P.B. includes the following sarcastic comment relating to the above subject:]
The Sunday Mirror objects to the name of Kali-Yug, given by the Hindus to our age. “It is a misnomer,” it sayd, “let it be called the Satya-Yug rather, for that would be expressing the truth.” Of course, the age which witnessed the birth of the New Dispensation, a church, which, like Pallas—Athena-Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom—came out all armed and grown up from her father’s brain the Babu-Jupiter of Calcutta, cannot possibly be any other age, but that of Absolute Truth.