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Charles Webster Leadbeater 1854-1934 
A Biographical Study
by Gregory John Tillett
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Chapter 11:   Return to the Society

          Those who believed that what was known as "the Leadbeater affair" had been resolved were mistaken:  it continued as a subject for argument within the Society.  As Josephine Ransom noted in her history of the TS:

          "For about two and a half years the Society seethed over this affair.  Masses of 'evidence' against Mr Leadbeater were accumulated.   Every admission of his to the Advisory Board was made the basis of endless argument.  Many held that spiritual capacity and greatness went together with observance of certain conventional physical moralities." [1]

          When Olcott visited Chicago in 1906 "there was much violent discussion about Mr Leadbeater's case", and in the United States the "violent discussion" was encouraged by Dr Weller van Hook, an ardent disciple of Leadbeater, who was elected General Secretary of the American Section. [2]

          Leadbeater was beginning to take the role of a martyr, remaining quietly remote from the Society that was being increasingly torn apart by argument about him, ant patiently awaiting the re-instatement which he had doubtless


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foreseen. His relationship with Annie Besant, whatever it may have been (and critics have offered some remarkable suggestions [3]) was too strong to be broken either by scandal or separation.   As Mrs Besant's biographer Nethercot noted:

          "However strongly she may have felt about Leadbeater's teachings and their effect on the Society, her heart had never turned away from her friend even though her face may have done so.  The period of their estrangement was brief.  His persistence, his humility, his constant reminders of the many astral meetings they had been privileged to attend with the great Hierarchy from the lowest rank to the very Highest, were too much for her to stand against." [4]

          And even Olcott, perhaps giving a hint that he, too, was preparing for a change of heart, informed the International Congress at Paris that he had once been rebuked by a Master for judging the inward and spiritual character of a member by his outward and worldly behaviour.  In a letter of January 3, 1907, Olcott reinstated Jinarajadasa, declaring that a "serious although unintentional injustice" had been done to him.


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          Olcott's health was failing and his condition was aggravated by worry about the state of the Society and its division over the Leadbeater affair.  On the night of January 5th, whilst he was at Adyar, the two Masters Morya (M) and KH visited him "plainly visible, audible, tangible", in the presence of Mrs Besant and Olcott's private secretary, Mrs Marie Russak. [5]  According to the reports of the meeting, the Masters declared Mrs Besant was to be Olcott's successor as President, and ordered her to go to Benares to complete some urgent business.  They reappeared on January 11th to rebuke Olcott for his behaviour in the Leadbeater case, especially for allowing the matter to have been made public.  They instructed him to write a letter to Leadbeater, which they returned on the 13th to read.  He was also instructed to write an article for The Theosophist, some of which was dictated by the Master M.

          Olcott hastily despatched the letter to Leadbeater:

          "My dear Charles,

          "The Mahatmas have visited me several times lately in their physical bodies and in the presence of witnesses. [6]  As my life seems to be drawing to a close, they have wished to discuss with me matters which they desired arranged before it was too


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late.  They asked me to set right the dispute between you and Annie concerning the glamour question and I enclose what they said about it, which Mrs Russak took down at the time.  I am glad to know it was no glamour, for I have always felt that she [Annie] made a mistake in saying that it was.  Concerning the other matter about the disturbance your teachings have caused, both Mahatma M. and Mahatma K.H. assured me that you did well to resign, that it was right to call a council to advise upon the matter, and that I did right in accepting your resignation, but they said we were wrong in allowing the matter to be made so public, for your sake and for the sake of the Society.  They said you should have stated in your resignation that you resigned because you offended the standard of ideas of the majority of the Society by giving out certain teachings which were considered objectionable. [7]  Because I have always cherished for you a sincere affection, I wish to beg your pardon, and to tell you before I die that I am sorry any fault of judgment on my part should have caused you such deep sorrow and mortification, for I should have certainly tried to keep the matter quiet, had I not thought that it would have reflected on the Society if I did


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so.  I feel sure that the Blessed Ones are striving to calm the present turmoil and hold together our Society from dividing itself and I also feel sure that you will be called upon to help, and to forget the self for the good of the whole.   There is nothing I think that would tend to quell the present turmoil so much (and I should die happy if I knew you had done it) as for you to bow to the will of the Divine Ones behind the movement and save the situation.   Certainly Their wisdom is your law as it is ours, and They have told both Annie and myself that your teaching young boys to masturbate is wrong.  I do implore you from my death-bed to bow to Their judgment in the matter and make a public statement that you will give Them and us your solemn promise to cease giving out such teachings. [8]   It might be that if you did this the Masters would open out the path of reconciliation to the Society, and you could take up the great work you were obliged to give up, because you unwisely placed yourself in the position of being unable to defend yourself against charges that gravely offended the accepted moral standards of your country, thus bringing upon the Society you loved a great blow which shook it to its foundations, because you were so


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universally loved and respected.  Once more, my dear friend, I beg you to consider what I ask.  With all good wishes,

                                 Yours sincerely,

                                                 H.S. Olcott, [9]

          It was a curious and ambiguous letter, and suggested a curious and ambiguous position on the part of the Masters.  Leadbeater was nowhere rebuked because his teachings were wrong, although this was the interpretation placed upon the letter by Mrs Besant and others, but only because he had given them out, and because they were "considered objectionable" by society and by the majority of members of the TS.  And he was only required to promise not to give them out in future, not to accept that they were wrong.  The Masters had settled the question of glamour:  they declared that both Mrs Besant and Leadbeater had been working with them on the higher planes, that neither was under a glamour, and that because perfect instruments did not exist through whom they could work, they had to take what they could get.  And they rather ridiculed the Theosophical moralists, who

          "with an exaggerated moral sense, believe that the Teachers of mankind cannot employ agents who are not above the weaknesses of the physical body, and contact with whom would be supposed to morally


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taint them." [10]

          They also argued that Theosophists ought to shield one another from "being held up unnecessarily to general public condemnation and ridicule", as well as trying to prevent their Brothers from wrong doing.  The Masters could not interfere with disturbances arising from the karma of individual members, but suggested "Brotherly Love" would solve such problems:   "Are not your Bother's sins your own"" [11]

          The Masters KH and M continued to visit the Colonel, now accompanied by the Master Serapis, until his death on February 17th.  Further dissension was stimulated within the Society by the publication of Olcott's statement that the Masters wanted Mrs Besant as the next President;  Sinnett, as Vice-President controlling the Society during the interregnum, considered her "misled by the Dark Powers".  He also argued that the appearances at Olcott's bedside were not the Masters.  Mrs Besant, meanwhile, had issued a statement entitled "The Basis of the Theosophical Society" in which she argued that the Society did not possess any moral code which could be regarded as binding upon its members.

          On February 14th, 1907, Leadbeater had written to


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Mrs Besant assuring her that he would heed the Masters' decision and not repeat the advice:  he was, not unexpectedly, quite certain that the Masters had appeared to Olcott, and rejected Chakravarti's opinion that they had not.

          "If I may be allowed to speak quite frankly Mr Chakravarti's theory that the appearance of the Masters to the Colonel was a masquerade by black magicians seems to be ridiculous.  I know exceedingly well how closely evil entities can simulate the appearance of the Masters, but I am quite certain that such a test would not be permitted at the death-bed of the President-Founder, an old faithful and devoted servant, even though, like all human beings, he made mistakes in his time.  Besides a black magician would not put in power a person like yourself, whose whole life is such as to make it impossible for him to influence you:  he would obviously choose a weak person who could be swayed by his will like poor Bertram [Keightley], with points in his past life that give the dark people power over him." [12]

          He suggested that Mrs Besant being elected President would


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be the "salvation of the society", but stated that he had no wish to be reinstated in the Society.

          "Now that I am not a member of the Society, I have no wish to be reinstated, for I am much freer as I am, but my whole life is devoted to Their work, and if I can serve you I am always at your command, though at the moment I do not quite see what I can do.  But you know that you can always thoroughly depend upon me to the uttermost - and that is a useful quality in these days." [13]

          During his time in exile, Leadbeater's correspondents included A.P. Sinnett, with whom he exchanged critical remarks about Mrs Besant.  On February 16th, 1907, Leadbeater commented in a letter to Sinnett that Chakravarti (whom he suspected of being about to move back as Mrs Besant's guru) was not an advanced initiate, and was not "attached to any Master we know."  Sinnett, on July 5th, responded by noting that there were "cunning black powers at the back of Mrs Besant".  Neither Sinnett. nor Leadbeater were averse to making disparaging remarks about fellow Theosophists with whom they maintained cordial relations in public, including Mrs Besant and Weller van Hook, whom Sinnett called "this absurd creature".   Sinnett, criticizing Leadbeater's ready acceptance of what had come to be known


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as the "Adyar manifestations", noted that the supposed Master were unclear on the question of "your behaviour with the boys", and commented on Leadbeater's "evasion of any repudiation of your famous teachings."  Leadbeater, on October 27th, declared that he had "not changed in any way whatever" as a result of the "severe test", and that he "never for a day lost continuous touch with the Masters".  He believed that Mrs Besant was suffering from a glamour;  Sinnett, however, diagnosed her problem as megalomania. [14]

          On June 28th, 1907, Mrs Besant was declared President of the Theosophical Society, having received an overwhelming majority of the votes:  of 12,984 members 7,072 had voted for her, 153 against her, and 5,760 had not voted.   She immediately asked Sinnett to relinquish his office as Vice-President for doubting that the Masters has appeared to Olcott, and appointed Sir S. Subramania Iyer, an eminent Indian judge, in his stead. [15]

          By August, 1907, Leadbeater and Mrs Besant were together again, working on their occult investigations at Weiser Hirsch in Germany;  accompanying them were Jinarajadasa, Miss Bright, Mrs Russak, Mrs van Hook, and her son, Hubert. [16]  The devoted most of their time to continuing the occult investigations of previous years, before the "Leadbeater affair", and frequented the forest


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where they would examine nature spirits and molecules, the latter as a continuation of their explorations into the nature of matter and occult chemistry.  Jinarajadasa busily drew diagrams of what they saw, and these were included when the material was published in The Theosophist, between January and December, 1908.  They also continued their investigations into past lives, focusing once again on Miss Willson ("Arcor") and looking into the past of Esther Bright ("Bee").

          One of the problems associated with occult chemistry investigations in the past had been that of actually obtaining specimens of the chemical elements to be examined.   Through Sinnett's influence some specimens had been obtained from Sir William Crookes, with whom Leadbeater had been initiated into the TS, but there were difficulties in obtaining the rarer elements.  Jinarajadasa acquired various samples from local chemists and grocers.   For less readily available material, Leadbeater and Jinarajadasa visited the nearby Dresden Museum, and Leadbeater found that he could "picture" the elements without having to hold them in his hand, and, better still, once having seen an element could use the "distance-flash-line" method to recreate the image at will so that he and Mrs Besant could examine it at their leisure.  Initially they worked separately, but found this created complications when they each saw the same


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element differently.  A ready solution was forthcoming:  Mrs Besant had been examining them sideways, Leadbeater from the top.  Notwithstanding these practical problems, the pair examined and recorded the structures of fifty-six elements and six isotopes, although they did not regard this as the end of the occult chemistry investigations. [17)

          In addition to discoveries in the scientific field, Leadbeater also "discovered" some of the evidence upon which he had been charged in 1906.  A copy of the famous "cypher letter" was sent to him, together with the name of the boy to whom it was allegedly sent.  Leadbeater commented that he feared it was not a copy of the original, but one in which words had been "transposed to distort their meanings".   He also claimed that there seemed to be insertions which he did not remember or recognize.  All these denials were sufficiently vague or imprecise to be largely meaningless, and instead of either affirming or denying that he had written the letter or a letter in code to this boy or another boy, Leadbeater merely hedged.  One wonders what sort of transposition could have been made to produce the passage which most readers found offensive.  The whole matter remained clouded with mystery.  Josephine Ransom noted:

          "It is on record in the Archives that at least one person was sure that the 'cipher' [sic] letter was


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not a correct copy of the true original." (18)

          This person was Johan van Hanen, who suggested that Alex Fullerton had forged the letter;  however, van Hanon went on to ask why Leadbeater did not either affirm or deny the genuineness of the letter. [19]

          Yet these minor difficulties seemed insignificant at the time, and feeling was widespread that Leadbeater had been wronged, and should be reinstated.  This feeling was encouraged by the increasingly important role of his psychic powers, especially in the investigation of the past lives of important Theosophists.  The explorations at Weisser Hirsch began a long and complex series of investigations into past incarnations which became known as "the Lives", and involved the tabulation of past lives for all the major figures, good and evil, in the Society's history. [20]

          Leadbeater's occult powers were also impressing members as the series on occult chemistry was published, and even Sinnett was appealing to him to employ his psychic powers to investigate the nature of aether.  Sinnett was engaged in an argument with Sir Oliver Lodge on the nature of matter, and sought Leadbeater's views. [21]  In a letter to Mrs Besant in April, 1908, Leadbeater noted that the whole universe was built out of "fragments of force",


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"bubbles which seem empty to the highest sight we can bring to bear" but which were actually filled with "the force of the Logos". [22]

          By the end of 1907 Leadbeater was answering questions in The Theosophic Messenger, the American journal, despite the strong objections of his enemies in that section.  The objections became so vociferous that Dr van Hook, the General Secretary, felt obliged to conduct a referendum, resulting in an overwhelming vote in favour of Leadbeater's articles:   1,245 in favour, and only 285 against.  This led, as Josephine Ransom notes, to "The malcontents banding into various groups and hoping to find enough support to form independent organizations." [23]

          At the annual convention of the TS at Adyar in December, 1907, the issue of Leadbeater's return to the TS was the burning question.  Dr van Hook, inspired, so he said, by the Masters, issued a series of letters in support of Leadbeater, calling for his reinstatement.  The first of these appeared in April, 1908, and was titled The Enemies of Mrs Besant are the Enemies of Charles W. Leadbeater, of the  Masters and of the Future Religion of the World.  It began:

          "It must be clearly seen by all that the defence of Mr Charles W Leadbeater is closely associated with,


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and indeed, involves the defence of Mrs Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical Society, who for many months has been the object of insinuations, innuendoes and open malicious charges of unfairness, duplicity, cavillation, lying and greed of power." [24]

          Van Hook went on to note that Mrs Besant was following HPB in insisting that the Society had a role in the establishment of a new world religion, and further, to encourage acceptance "of the validity of the evidence furnished by sixth sense perception" and the fact that "all religions have their esoteric occult side".   He went on to link the "Adyar manifestations" (that is, the Masters appearing to Olcott on his death-bed) with the defence of Leadbeater, noting that those who believed in one believed in the other.  And he clearly linked the defence of Mrs Besant and the defence of Mr Leadbeater:

          "It must have been seen by all that it is Mrs Besant's desire to stand or fall with Charles W Leadbeater.  How can he be an Initiate and not be acknowledged as such by her.  At Munich, at Chicago and elsewhere, she has boldly stated in no uncertain terms that he is her fellow-Initiate.  And in Chicago she made in addition this


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awe-inspiring statement:  'Let me assure you in all solemnity that the Initiates who are disciples of the Masters do not press their presence upon the Theosophical Society or any other society in the world.   We stand on other ground.  We offer our services.  You may reject them or take them, as you will, but after the experience that H.P.B. endured, that he and I have endured, let me assure you that there is not anxiety in the ranks of the Initiates to come forward and offer services which you do not desire to accept." [25]

          The second statement appeared in May, and began with a brief account of Leadbeater's early life, his meeting with HPB and Theosophical career in India.  Van Hook noted that, after the death of HPB, it was Leadbeater and Mrs Besant who, "practically alone, carried the burden of teaching for the Society", Olcott being wholly engaged in administration.  Leadbeater's work of psychic investigation, "his ability to functionate [sic] upon the higher planes and to bring back perfect records of his experiences", his work on thought-forms, the aura and life after death, all these were mentioned as clear evidence of his vital importance to the Society, and of his status as a disciple of the Masters.  A highly emotional account of the attacks on Leadbeater and the procedures of the "farcical mock-trial", together with


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other indignities he had suffered at the hands of "bitter and jealous enemies who for years had carried in their hearts the most unjust suspicions", followed.  The Committee hearing became a "venomous and deeply acrimonious cross-examination designed to entrap him into incriminating admissions which might be used to slay his life-long reputation for personal purity and decent living".  Van Hook directed the attention of "any unprejudiced reader" to the transcripts of the trial, in which the innocence of this "dignified gentleman who had given the ripest of his years to unceasing activity for the Theosophical Society" could clearly be seen.

          Van Hook then went on to consider the actual charges and Leadbeater's reply to them, repeating very much Leadbeater's own explanation.  Being able to see clairvoyantly the sexual desire tormenting the boys, Leadbeater had advised masturbation as a solution which would eliminate the possibility of incurring karmic consequences demanding many incarnations for their expiation.  Although presently misunderstood, this procedure would someday be widely recognized.

          "The introduction of this question into the thought of the Theosophical world is but the precursor of its introduction into the thought of the


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outer-world.   Mr Leadbeater has been the one to bear the persecution and martyrdom of its introduction." [26]

          Van Hook concluded:

          "No mistake was made by Mr Leadbeater in the nature of the advice he gave his boys.   No mistake was made in the way he gave it.   Nor did he make any mistake in the just estimation of the consequences of any other solution of the terrible problem which was presented to him.  If any mistake was made it was a mistake of judgment in trusting too much to the confidence of the parents of the boys who, he thought, knew and loved him so well that they would accept his judgment on matters about which ordinary people have little or no knowledge and about which he, by the nature of his occult training, had a full comprehension." [27]

          This second letter was duly followed by a third on theoretical aspects of the will, the ego and evolution.

          These letters had been inspired by Mrs Besant who, according to a letter she published in the journal of the ES, had been told by HPB (on the inner planes) that a


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defence of Leadbeater must be prepared, but that she was not to do it personally. [28]  Van Hook initially said only that the letters had been inspired by the Master M, although he later claimed that they had been dictated verbatim. [29]  No explanation was forthcoming for the contradictions between the Master's opinion in conversation with Olcott and dictation to Van Hook, although critics of the letters and of Leadbeater were not slow to point them out.

          The American Theosophists were generally very impressed with the letters and took them seriously.  They had already been warned by Jinarajadasa of the dangers of opposing the work of an Initiate:  in the Theosophical  Messenger for July, 1908, he noted that such opposition would lead to complete loss of "occult privileges" for three or four lifetimes. [30]

          The British Theosophists were less impressed.  The 1906 transcript was published and sent to all members, no doubt in an attempt to discourage them from following the strange logic of the Van Hook letters.  At the annual convention of the British Section, a motion allowing for the reinstatement of Leadbeater produced violent arguments.  A special committee was appointed to prepare a report on the matter;  it consisted of Mrs Maude Sharpe (the General Secretary of the British Section), Edith Ward, G.R.S. Mead,


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Herbert Whyte and Herbert Burrows. [31]  Numerous pamphlets were circulated giving the broadest possible publicity to the opinions of the special committee's members.  All the details of the 1906 trial were resurrected, copies of letters to and from Leadbeater were re-published, and emotions ran high. [32]

          Herbert Burrows drew attention to the discrepancies between the Masters talking to Olcott, and the Masters dictating to Van Hook, and demanded that

          "the last vestige of this foul teaching which audaciously calls in the Masters to its aid, must absolutely disappear from the Theosophical Society." [33]

          Burrows was supported even more vehemently by G.R.S. Mead, who declared that the TS was on "the brink of an abyss" into which it would be "inevitably plunged, if an imperative halt is not instantly called".  And he declared:

          "At all times of great spiritual revival, the foul reflection, the distortion, the perversion of the most Sacred Mysteries accompanies it;  at all such times the true Mysteries have been surrounded and besmirched with the foulest of sex crimes.  For the


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High Mysteries have to do chiefly with the Mystery of Regeneration." [34]

          An amendment was moved to the motion calling for Leadbeater's reinstatement, and it demanded "the repudiation by the Society of this pernicious teaching", the Council declaring

          "its abhorrence of such practices, and in view of its incalculable harm to Theosophy, and of the disgrace which this teaching must inevitably bring upon the Society, earnestly calls upon its members, especially the President and the members of the General Council, to unite in putting an end to the present scandalous state of affairs..."(35]

          The amendment was overwhelmingly carried, and conveyed to Mrs Besant.  She replied with a long letter "To the Members of the T.S." on September 7th, 1908, in which she reviewed the "Leadbeater Case". She noted that

          "...occultism condemns "Neo-Malthusian practices" as tending to strengthen the sex passion... it condemns the medical advice to young men to yield to their 'natural passions';  it condemns solitary vice as only less harmful than prostitution;  all


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these things are degrading, unmanly, unwomanly.  It exhorts man to remount by self-control the steep incline down which he has slipped by self-indulgence, until he becomes continent, into incontinent, by nature. [[sic]]   On all this, Mr Leadbeater and myself are at one. [36]

          She dismissed the 1906 Committee hearing with ridicule:

          "The so-called trial of Mr Leadbeater was a travesty of justice.  He came before Judges, one of whom had declared before hand that 'he ought to be shot';  another, before hearing him, had written passionate denunciations of him, a third and fourth had accepted, on purely psychic testimony, unsupported by any evidence, the view that he was grossly immoral, and a danger to the Society..." [37]

          She similarly dismissed the suggestion that Leadbeater had ever given the advice to boys who had not sought it, and likewise dismissed the "cypher letter", saying that, when he had seen a copy of it, Leadbeater had "repudiated it in its present form";  Mrs Besant did not explain what that phrase may have meant.


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          She concluded by calling for his reinstatement, and asked that the convention of each Section of the Society should request her to invite him back to membership.  She also challenged the Society to disapprove of her own position by demanding her resignation, in which case she would seek the Master's permission to resign.  Mrs Besant concluded with the assertion that the trouble was confined to "a small number of American and a considerable number of British members".  She called upon all the members who had overwhelmingly voted for her as "chosen by the Masters" to lead the Society, to accept her direction.

          Meanwhile, the British Section continued as a centre of dissension.  The special committee prepared its report, which the General Secretary and the Executive Committee then suppressed by a vote of nine to five.  The nine who voted to suppress the report then also resolved that, having considered all the evidence in the case, there was no reason why Leadbeater should not rejoin the Society.  Much was made of this Executive resolution in later years, when it came to be interpreted as a re-hearing of the 1906 charges, and it is therefore important to note who were the members of the British Executive Committee voting in Leadbeater's favour:  Miss Bright, Miss Green, Mrs Larmuth, Mr Leo, Miss Hallett, Mr Hodgson-Smith, Mr Wedgwood, Mr Whyte and Mrs Sharpe. [38]


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          In December, 1908, at the annual convention of the TS, the Leadbeater Case continued to provide material for endless debate.  Argument encouraged argument, and the debating became increasingly fierce, both sides producing large quantities of "evidence" to support their cases.

          Pamphlets were produced in quantity, notably in India, in the USA and in Britain. [39]

          On December 26 the General Council of the Society debated the issue of Leadbeater's reinstatement, and passed a lengthy resolution declaring, amongst other things, that Leadbeater had resigned to preserve peace and "undesirable controversy".   It went on to declare that the TS affirmed

          "inviolable liberty of thought of every member of The Theosophical Society in all matters philosophical, religious, and ethical, and his right to follow his own conscience in all such matters, without thereby imperiling his status within The Society or in any way implicating in his opinion any member of The Society who does not assert his agreement therewith." [40]

          The General Council therefore resolved:


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          "That in pursuance of this affirmation of the individual responsibility for his own opinions, it declares that there is no reason why Mr C.W. Leadbeater should not return, if he wishes, to his place in the Society which he has in the past served so well." [41]

          The resolution was carried by a vote of twenty-three out of twenty-five for the general motion regarding liberty of thought, and twenty-one out of twenty-four for Leadbeater's reinstatement.  Thirteen of the national General Secretaries were in favour, and one abstained;  of the other members of the Council, one abstained and two voted against the resolution.  These were Bertram Keightley and Francesca Arundale.  Curiously enough, in the light of later events, the council also resolved that belief in Mahatmas was not

obligatory and that the T.S. remained neutral "as to authenticity or non-authenticity of any statements issued as

from the Mahatmas". [42]

          At the Convention, Mrs Besant had already referred to Leadbeater as a martyr, wronged by her and by the Society, and she declared that "never again would a shadow come between her and her brother Initiate". [43]  A ready explanation was found for the difficult events of 1906-7:


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          " ...this dreadful ordeal which he had to undergo was the symbolic crucifixion through which every candidate for the Arhat Initiation must pass." [44]

          Leadbeater himself later explained the occult significance of such a trial:

          "It is one of the features of the Fourth (Arhat] Initiation that the man shall be left entirely alone.  First he has to stand alone on the Physical plane;  all his friends turn against him through some misunderstanding;  it all comes right afterwards, but for the time the man is left with the feeling that all the world is turned against him." [45]

          Leadbeater had also to endure the evil thought-forms which his enemies directed, consciously or unconsciously, towards him;  in most cases, he told his pupils, the thought-forms had been so weak as to provoke nothing more than amusement or pity in him.  Sometimes, however, when they were really unpleasant and he did not feel they should be allowed to wander about, he would transform them through his own power into positive and good thought-forms, sometimes sending them


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back to their originators in the hope that they might be inspired with brotherly love.

          However torn the TS may have been by the arguments and dissension, Leadbeater himself remained placid and serene, chasing to ignore his critics and the attacks they made upon him.  To his friends this represented spirituality and detachment;  to his enemies it was an indication that the charges were all true and he dared not try to answer them.  He arrived back at Adyar on February 10th, 1909, accompanied by Johan van Manen, his Dutch secretary, and re-occupied the same octagonal room in which he had previously played host to the Masters.   To welcome him Mrs Besant wrote in her Adyar Bulletin:

          "Welcome, thrice welcome is he, and most glad shall I be of his help, both in writing and in teaching work." [46]

          Adyar had so changed that he barely recognized it, for although the old estate remained, Mrs Besant had added more property.  To the original twenty-seven acres some eighty-three were joined when she purchased a property from


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the Prince of Arcot, and another twenty-one acres were added along the Indian Ocean.  The former property was known as Blavatsky Gardens, and the latter Olcott Gardens.  In January, 1909, another twenty acres were added, and called Besant Grove. [47]  To Leadbeater, the extended estate was even more glorious than the smaller original.  As he was to write a few years later:

          "Nowhere else in the world at this present moment is there such a centre of influence - a centre constantly visited by the Great Ones and therefore bathed in Their wonderful magnetism.  The vibrations here are marvelously stimulating, and all of us who live here are therefore under a constant strain which brings out whatever is in us.  Strong vibrations from other planes are playing all the while upon our various vehicles, and those parts of us which can in any sense respond to them are raised, strengthened and purified.  To live at Adyar is the most glorious of all opportunities for those who are able to take advantage of it, but its effects on those who are constitutionally unable to harmonize with its vibrations may be dangerous rather than helpful... The workers here live mostly in the great central building within the immediate aura


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of the shrine room and the President." [48]

          The shrine room was the centre of the ES, a small room between the meeting room of the ES and a large room which Leadbeater later occupied on the roof of the headquarters building.

          It was closed to all but a select few, and was cleaned by devoted members rather than ordinary servants.  The marble floor had the sacred word OM in Sanskrit set into it in marble mosaic, and on the far wall hung the portraits of the two Masters chiefly concerned with the Society, KH and M, painted by Herr Schmiechen under HPB's direction.  On other walls hung paintings of various Masters, including one of the Master Jesus said to have been phenomenally produced by HPB. [49]  Those who lived at Adyar, and were deemed worthy, could obtain permission to spend half an hour each day in meditation in the shrine room.

          Leadbeater immediately settled down into the routine of Theosophical life almost as if he had never been away from it.  He was given charge of The Theosophist whilst Mrs Besant was away on her many lecture tours, and gave regular talks on the roof-top of the headquarters building.  These talks were transcribed and subsequently found their way into print in one or other of his numerous books.  He


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so devoted himself to revising, checking and editing his notes of investigations into past lives, and other research into the past of the earth and its people, later to be published as Man: Whence How and Whither, and it was from this research that the next facet of his multi-faceted career is to begin.  Ernest Wood served as his secretary. [50]  Each day Leadbeater began work around 6.30 a.m., continuing until some time before midnight, or even up to 2.00 a.m. the following morning, every minute being spent on Theosophical activity. [51]

          At Adyar he was surrounded by friends, even if the Theosophical movement had been split by his return to it.  The production of pamphlets continued unabated, eminent figures in the Society resigned, or broke away to form separate movements. [52]  But Leadbeater, the fallen prophet restored, had now become a martyr of Theosophy, chosen of the Masters.   Having undergone suffering and symbolic crucifixion, he was now returned to his rightful place in the occult order of things.

          It now remained only for Leadbeater to don the robes of a John the Baptist and proclaim the imminence of the Second Coming, taking the Society into yet another period of crisis, dissension and turmoil.  As he continued his occult research into past incarnations he moved steadily


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towards that new role, and assumed it one day in April, 1909, when he "discovered" Krishnamurti.


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Charles Webster Leadbeater 1854-1934 
A Biographical Study
by Gregory John Tillett
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