Claiming to be Jesus
The Path, November, 1895
In one of the letters written by the Master K.H. and printed by Mr. Sinnett it is said the world [including doubtless East and West] is still superstitious. That this is true can hardly be denied, and in America the appearance of many who claim to be Jesus and who thus gain followers, shows how foolish and superstitious people yet are.
A man named Teed appeared in New York and is now in some western city, who said he was Jesus. He had a theory of our living inside a hollow globe. He induced a wealthy woman to give much money, and still has followers in his present place.
In Cincinnati a Mrs. Martin declared herself to be the Christ, and immortal. She gathered believers. But unfortunately in the summer of this year she died. Her coterie refused to believe in her demise and kept her body until mortification compelled a burial.
Out in New Mexico, in 1895, a German named Schlatter rises on the scene and at last says he is the Christ. He is one who takes no money, eats but little, and it is said he cures many of their diseases. At any rate great excitement arose about him and hundreds came to be cured. He then went to Denver, a larger city, and is still there posing as Jesus and claiming that his cures constitute the proof. And there are others scattered about; those cited are merely examples.
The posing of these claimants is due to partial insanity and to vanity. They do not like to pretend to be anything less than God. But their having followers shows how far superstitious and gullable other people are. Theosophists will doubtless laugh at both. But are we so free from the same defect? Has that folly exhibited itself or not among us, though perhaps under a different name? What of that “superstition” which sees in every dark-skinned Hindu either an Adept or a teacher, or at least a high disciple of some Yogi through whom occult favors may be had? Why it is known that this nonsense went so far in one case that the adorer devoted large sums of money to the crafty young fellow who posed as “just a little less than a Mahatma.” We are not quite clear of the beam we have seen in the eyes of others.
A safe rule will be that those who say they are Jesus or the equivalent of Christ, are not so, and instead of either following them or looking about for wonderful beings we will follow the ancient saying: “Man, know thyself.”