A LION-HEARTED COLLEAGUE PASSES
The Path, June, 1891
“On the shore stood Hiawatha,
Turned and waved his hand at parting;
On the clear and luminous water
Launched his birch canoe for sailing,
From the pebbles of the margin
Shoved it forth into the water;
Whispered to it, “Westward! Westward!”
And with speed it darted forward.
And the evening sun descending
Set the clouds on fire with redness,
Burned the broad sky, like a prairie,
Left upon the level water
One long track and trail of splendor,
Down whose stream, as down a river,
Westward, Westward Hiawatha
Sailed into the fiery sunset,
Sailed into the purple vapors,
Sailed into the dusk of evening.
* * *
Thus departed Hiawatha,
Hiawatha the beloved, . . .
To the Islands of the Blessed.
That which men call death is but a change of location for the Ego, a mere transformation, a forsaking for a time of the mortal frame, a short period of rest before one reassumes another human frame in the world of mortals. The Lord of this body is nameless; dwelling in numerous tenements of clay, it appears to come and go; but neither death nor time can claim it, for it is deathless, unchangeable, and pure, beyond Time itself, and not to be measured. So our old friend and fellow-worker has merely passed for a short time out of sight, but has not given up the work begun so many years ago—the uplifting of humanity, the destruction of the shackles that enslave the human mind.
I met H.P.B. in 1875 in the city of New York where she was living in Irving Place. There she suggested the formation of the Theosophical Society, lending to its beginning the power of her individuality and giving to its President and those who have stood by it ever since the knowledge of the existence of the Blessed Masters. In 1877 she wrote Isis Unveiled in my presence, and helped in the proof reading by the President of the Society. This book she declared to me then was intended to aid the cause for the advancement of which the Theosophical Society was founded. Of this I speak with knowledge, for I was present and at her request drew up the contract for its publication between her and her New York publisher. When that document was signed she said to me in the street, “Now I must go to India.”
In November, 1878, she went to India and continued the work of helping her colleagues to spread the Society’s influence there, working in that mysterious land until she returned to London in 1887. There was then in London but one Branch of the Society—the London Lodge—the leaders of which thought it should work only with the upper and cultured classes. The effect of H.P.B.’s coming there was that Branches began to spring up, so that now they are in many English towns, in Scotland, and in Ireland. There she founded her magazine Lucifer, there worked night and day for the Society loved by the core of her heart, there wrote the Secret Doctrine, the Key to Theosophy, and the Voice of the Silence, and there passed away from a body that had been worn out by unselfish work for the good of [not only] the few of our century but of the many in the centuries to come.
It has been said by detractors that she went to India because she merely left a barren field here, by sudden impulse and without a purpose. But the contrary is the fact. In the very beginning of the Society I drew up with my own hand at her request the diplomas of some members here and there in India who were in correspondence and were of different faiths. Some of them were Parsees. She always said she would have to go to India as soon as the Society was under way here and Isis should be finished. And when she had been in India some time, her many letters to me expressed her intention to return to England so as to open the movement actively and outwardly there in order that the three great points on the world’s surface—India, England, and America—should have active centres of Theosophical work. This determination was expressed to me before the attempt made by the Psychical Research Society on her reputation,—of which also I know a good deal to be used at a future time, as I was present in India before and after the alleged exposé—and she returned to England to carry out her purpose even in the face of charges that she could not stay in India. But to disprove these she went back to Madras, and then again rejourneyed to London.
That she always knew what would be done by the world in the way of slander and abuse I also know, for in 1875 she told me that she was then embarking on a work that would draw upon her unmerited slander, implacable malice, uninterrupted misunderstanding, constant work, and no worldly reward. Yet in the face of this her lion heart carried her on. Nor was she unaware of the future of the Society. In 1876 she told me in detail the course of the Society’s growth for future years, of its infancy, of its struggles, of its rise into the “luminous zone” of the public mind; and these prophecies are being all fulfilled.
Much has been said about her “phenomena,” some denying them, others alleging trick and device. Knowing her for so many years so well, and having seen at her hands in private the production of more and more varied phenomena than it has been the good fortune of all others of her friends put together to see, I know for myself that she had control of hidden powerful laws of nature not known to our science, and I also know that she never boasted of her powers, never advertised their possession, never publicly advised anyone to attempt their acquirement, but always turned the eyes of those who could understand her to a life of altruism based on a knowledge of true philosophy. If the world thinks that her days were spent in deluding her followers by pretended phenomena, it is solely because her injudicious friends, against her expressed wish, gave out wonderful stories of “miracles” which can not be proved to a skeptical public and which are not the aim of the Society nor were ever more than mere incidents in the life of H. P. Blavatsky.
Her aim was to elevate the race. Her method was to deal with the mind of the century as she found it, by trying to lead it on step by step; to seek out and educate a few who, appreciating the majesty of the Secret Science and devoted to “the great orphan Humanity,” could carry on her work with zeal and wisdom; to found a Society whose efforts—however small itself might be—would inject into the thought of the day the ideas, the doctrines, the nomenclature of the Wisdom Religion, so that when the next century shall have seen its 75th year the new messenger coming again into the world would find the Society still at work, the ideas sown broadcast, the nomenclature ready to give expression and body to the immutable truth, and thus to make easy the task which for her since 1875 was so difficult and so encompassed with obstacles in the very paucity of the language,—obstacles harder than all else to work against.