On the Status of Jesus
Theosophist, July, 1883
Selections from a letter by a correspondent named Vera | Notes by H.P.B.
Under the teachings of the beneficent and sublime Wisdom-Religion now being given forth by the blessed Mahatmas, one learns to place even the world’s Great Ones in the light of Truth; where the meretricious greatness caused to grow up around them by the delusions of ignorance, and the enthusiasms of fanaticism, sink away into insignificance before the glories of their true status,—the achievement, through a more rapid evolution, of souls who have gone in advance of the plodding millions of laggard in the race.
In that light, the Great Theurgist, upon whose life and teachings the Christian Religion has been founded, becomes one of a group of Avatars; a Brotherhood deserving the dignity of being lifted to the rank of Gods and sublime in the comparatively isolated grandure of that divine exaltation.
. . .
I do not think, however, although I may be mistaken, that Buddha can be so greatly beloved, by his followers, as is Jesus,—or that his name inspires so much enthusiam and devotion. The long procession of martyrs, who we may say died for the love of Jesus, is, so far as I know, unknown in the history of Buddhism.1
1. “There is often greater martyrdom to live for the love of, whether man or an ideal, than to die for it” is a motto of the Mahatmas.
The great power for good which has attended the name of Jesus on this earth [I leave out of question the perfidious profanation of his name in their evil actions by many who call themselves Christians] cannot be the work of mere chance . . . would it be amiss to say that it is the result also of the watchfulness of his uplifted Spirit since his death . . . so far as that is possible for one who is now, I presume, in Nirvana? . . .
I would ask (if such an enquiry be permitted) what is the exact position given to Jesus, by the Mahatmas, in the sacred order of adepts departed from the earth.2 Do they give him the same rank as Buddha? Did he too obtain to the glory of the sixth Round by the same mysterious process as Buddha? Would Jesus now be termed (by our Masters, who absolutely know these facts, and whose reply, for me, would be conclusive) a Dhyan Chohan, a Buddha, or a Planetary Spirit? And is he now, with beings of his order, interested or concerned at all with the progress of humanity on the earth?3
2. The position They give to Jesus, as far as we know, is that of a great and pure man, a reformer who would fain have lived but who had to die for that which he regarded as the greatest birthright of man—absolute Liberty of conscience; of an adept who preached a universal Religion knowing of, and having no other “temple of God” but man himself; that of a noble Teacher of esoteric truths which he had no time given to him to explain; that, of an initiate who recognized no difference—save the moral one—between men; who rejected caste, and despised wealth; and who preferred death rather than to reveal the secrets of initiation. And who, finally, lived over a century before the year of our vulgar, so called, Christian era.
3. We do not know which of the Buddhas our correspondent is thinking of, for there were many “Buddhas.” They recognize in him one of the “Enlightened,” hence in this sense a Buddha; but they do not recognize Jesus at all in the Christ of the Gospels. Such questions, however, can hardly be answered in a public journal. Our correspondent seems to be ignorant of the fact, that though we live in India, surrounded by 250 millions of human beings, whose devotion and reverence to their respective avataras and gods is not less intense or sincere than that of the handful of Christians who grace this country to their Saviour, yet while it is deemed respectable and lawful to laugh at and abuse by word, and insult in print every one of the gods of our heathen Brothers, that journal which would presume to deny the Godship of Jesus and speak of him as he would of Buddha or Krishna, would immediately lose caste and have a hue and cry raised against it by its Christian subscribers. Such are Christian ideas of justice and Brotherhood.