THEOSOPHY, Vol. 14, No. 7, May, 1926
H. P. BLAVATSKY died May 8, 1891. As a person she ceased to be on that date. All that survives is a name, a memory, one of countless other names and memories, the remains of a generation almost extinguished and fast fading into the indistinguishable monument we call the past. She is now a mere episode in written and unwritten History -- the occidental term for the Skandhas of the human race and the personal human being. As a body, as a mind, as an actor, she has played her part, passed from the stage and been replaced.
But the play goes on. The great drama of life and death, of good and evil fortune, is not of yesterday and to-day only but of all time, and each new person, each incoming generation must perforce become both spectator and actor in the Mysteries. Like many another, H. P. Blavatsky was one who purported to speak from behind the screen of time, to bear witness and to teach of things hidden from mortal sight, even that of the wisest among us. What are the credentials of H. P. Blavatsky, Messenger of the Masters of Wisdom, Elder Brothers of the human race, to us Their younger brothers in the School of Life?
Nearest to us of all such Messengers, the claims or credentials of H. P. Blavatsky are of vital moment to all searchers for truth and are more readily and searchingly possible of examination. To determine between claims and credentials is the prime necessity of the student of life and action. As matters stand from generation to generation the average searcher for truth is bewildered by the cloud of witnesses, by the apparently hopeless contradictions in their testimony, by his own inability to distinguish the true from the false in witnesses and in their testimony. The experience of the race is that of a continual alteration and alternation of opinion. We reach a decision one day, one generation, only to reverse it the next, though all men are aware that the essential facts of life never vary, that Truth must be in its own nature changeless.
Unless we are prepared to admit, and to ourselves act upon the admission, not only that Truth exists but that we are capable of discerning the truth in all things, we but stultify our Self in giving any attention at all to the search for Truth as reflected in such mighty subjects as philosophy, religion, ethics, science. If we contradict the terms of our own inmost Being, if we render our Self foolish, incompetent to prove all things and to hold fast to that which is true, if we allege our Self insane and incapable of determining Truth, who or what can validate the Truth to us, can make us reasonable?
But, granting that we are "open to reason," it must follow that we are bewildered, that we err and wander in our search for Truth, not because credentials and evidences are lacking to us, but because we do not examine them in the light of reason and experience.
The all-inclusive credential of H.P.B. as messenger and witness is that she addressed herself exclusively to the intelligence of mankind -- that is to say, to the universal experience, the common sense, the innate reason of all men, therefore of every man. Her teachings were put forward as in no sense a revelation. She appealed to the Truth in us, to the truth as known to us, to our capacity to assimilate additional truth -- to what the Masters have in common with us, to what all men have in common with the Masters, as the bridge of progress, the Antaskarana of spiritual, as of all other evolution.
What she knew that is to us unknown, she put forward as a theory, as a working hypothesis which every man is invited to examine, test, verify for himself, step by step, proceeding from the known to the unknown.
Compare and contrast this credential with those submitted by the revealers, the prophets, the priests of every religion and of every sect. Always it is a revelation of one sort or another from a higher to a lower being -- a revelation which demands belief, which in its very nature is impossible of proof or disproof by the ones to whom it is offered, and which promises rewards or threatens penalties to those who do or do not accept it out of hand on the ipse dixit of the revealer.
Compare and contrast the credential of H.P.B. with the "working hypotheses" so freely offered and accepted in modern "exact" science -- working hypotheses which do not "work," and of which there is not a single one submitted by any scientist that other equally eminent scientists have not exposed as faulty, incomplete, contradicted by known facts. Not a theory or hypothesis propounded by H. P. Blavatsky has ever been upset philosophically, logically, historically or evidentially. Hundreds and thousands have tried it, as invited first and foremost by H.P.B. herself. The most that any have achieved has been a "Scotch verdict": "Not proven." This is an admission of her impregnability; a confession of their own inability to impeach her testimony after rigid cross-examination.
Invariably the religious or scientific investigator of the credential of H.P.B. has tested her theories in the light of his own. If her propositions agreed with his, well and good; if not, they must be false or erroneous, "not proved," -- that is, "not approved." Assume for one moment that her theories are true, and the inverted logic of these investigators is instantly self-evident. They did not, and they do not, compare and contrast theory with theory, hypothesis with hypothesis, for relative consistency and synthesis, for relative accord with known facts. It stands to-day as it has stood from the beginning; no known fact conflicts with or discredits a single theorem advanced by H.P.B., while her propositions do shed the light of reason on all the problems of life, all the missing links in science and religion; do bring into order and relation, into ethical and moral purposiveness, all the otherwise bewildering and confused mass of the facts which constitute the experience of the race and the individual; do point out the causes of those failures and miseries which our religions and our sciences seek in vain to explain or alleviate.
The individual and personal credential of H. P. Blavatsky to every sincere searcher for truth is the spiritual fact that her mission is educative. She was and is a Teacher of truth. It is through the Hall of Learning alone that we can hope to arrive at Wisdom on our own account. Not miracle, not prayer, not revelation, not even the devotion of implicit faith can ever bring any of us one step nearer to the Masters of Wisdom, to real Knowledge. Her life, her labor, her writings, constitute a School of Life, into which may enter whosoever will to acquire instruction in the mysteries of Self; instruction in Self-knowledge, Self-discipline, Self-control -- and prove out to himself and for himself the same credential of The Wisdom.