OLD DIARY LEAVES, Fourth Series (1887-92)
by Henry Steel Olcott
A VISIT TO EUROPE
THE arrangement of our Japanese books and pictures, the fitting together of the pieces of a huge brass lantern (a replica of those in the great Shin Shu Temple at Kyoto, which had been made specially for our Library at the expense of the Joint Committee of all sects at a cost of $250), and the reading up of back files of exchanges to get in touch with the movement, took up my time pretty thoroughly in the first days. Then there were no end of visitors always dropping in and visits to make. On the 21st (July) a reception at Adyar was arranged in my honor by the three “Commissioners” in whose hands I had placed the management of Society affairs, as a precaution against any complications that might happen during my absence from home. It was “largely attended, the Library looked splendid, and everybody seemed pleased”--so says the Diary. Certainly, this cordial good-feeling was very pleasant to me. A great curiosity prevailing in the Indian community to hear about Japan, I gave a public lecture in Pachaiappah’s Hall on the 27th.
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Two hours before the time appointed the hall was crowded. Theosophists and others came from Kumbakonam, Coimbatore, and other distant places to hear me, and there was much enthusiasm shown and the best possible feeling for the Japanese. The Hindus seemed very proud of their achievements, and were thrilled when I told them that, invariably, when I had to address the select audiences of political and military personages and the nobles, they asked me to tell them all about the Hindus, and explain why they and the Sinhalese had “lost their countries”. Evidently they determined to profit by the mistakes of other nations, and not do anything to break through the impregnability of the defensive wall of their patriotism. I told the Hindus that I had forewarned the Japanese that their overthrow, like their own, would date from the period when the religious spirit should almost die out of their national character, for then, being given over to the demoralising tendencies of purely worldly ambitions and the pleasures of physical life, the vital sap in them as a nation would dry up, they would become effeminate, and be vanquished and trodden underfoot by some more virile race. I told the Hindus that I was sorry to see some evidences in Japan of national decadence from this very cause. I found religious observances becoming perfunctory, the priesthood largely slothful (like those of Ceylon and India), and losing their influence day by day. I recall an incident which occurred at a lecture of mine at one of the big towns included in the third portion of my programme, that through the
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southern part of the empire. I called the attention of a monster audience to the fact that the Buddhist priests were growing less and less respected (there were some 400 present in the audience) because they were not observing the Ten Precepts. As these words were translated to them there was a loud roar of applause and the priests were abashed. I stood still until silence was again restored, and then, stepping forward one step and raising my hand, I cried out: “How dare you condemn the priests in this unthinking way? Are you any better behaved than they? Do you observe even the Five Precepts prescribed for the householder? These men in robes are your own kinsmen, born in your own families, of the same parents, and amid the same surroundings. They are no better nor worse than yourselves; and if they do not realise the ideal sketched for them by the Buddha, it is the fault of the Buddhist community, which shuts its eyes to their weaknesses, but still keeps up the form of saluting their outside dress, as if the man inside might be what he liked and it was nobody’s business. If you want your priests to be good, be good yourselves; if you want them to keep the Precepts, keep them yourselves; if you show them that you know how they ought to behave, and will not support them unless they do so behave, then, believe me, you will see the Priesthood of Japan swept clean at once by a wave of reform, and their ecclesiastical rank will once more carry with it the right to be honored.” The applause that thundered out after these words was something
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wonderful. I begged the Hindus to take to themselves this admonition if they wanted to cleanse the foulness out of their most sacred shrines and give the temples of their gods a pure atmosphere in which a real Devata could breathe and act without the sense of suffocation. A pure village community, such as was everywhere to be found in the forefathers’ times throughout Bharata Varsha, would make impossible such horrible scandals as turned up now from time to time in the British police Magistrates’ Courts in India; no Mahants would have to be prosecuted for seduction, coining, embezzlement, and theft of temple treasures; no sacred fanes turned into brothels, no real jewels stolen and replaced with mock ones in glass, no ruining of families, or connivance in murders of marked individuals, be heard of. I think the better part of my audience approved of my plain talk, but to me it did not matter one cowrie whether they did or did not: there was a truth to tell, and I told it—that was all.
Other events of no great importance followed, but on 8th August—just four weeks from the date of my return from Japan and Ceylon—I embarked for Marseilles on the French steamer “Tibre,” from which we transhipped at Colombo into the “Djemnah” and went on our way. At Alexandria the two sons of the then reigning Khedive, of whom the elder is now his father’s successor, embarked as passengers, amid the thunders of cannon, the manning of the yards, and bedecking with flags of the war ships in the harbor, and the attendance on board of the several Ministers of
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the Egyptian Government. At Suez, H. P. B.’s and my old friend Captain Charles Dumont, Traffic Manager of the Canal Co., came aboard to see me. There were the usual dancing, charades, lotteries for charity, and singing on board during the voyage, and I only mention them because among the singers was a Batavian planter, an amateur vocalist, who had such a superb voice that I urged him strongly to go upon the stage. He could reach the ut de poitrine, of high C, with perfect ease.
We got to Marseilles on 1st September, and the venerable and learned Baron Spedalieri welcomed me again to France and took me to his house for breakfast. The Exposition Universelle of 1889 was then open, and I was, as usual at such shows, simply crushed with the sense of the vastness of its exhibits, and the impossibility of getting even a fugitive idea of the details. The fact is that one should visit at one of these World-shows only the department of Art and Industry in which he is specially interested, leaving all else to pass the eye as a flitting pageant. But my friend Count d’Adhêmar gave me a treat by taking me to see the revolting, yet marvellous, displays of psychical phenomena by the Aïsonas of Africa, the well-known sect of Mussalman mystics and sorcerers, whose feats surpass belief. I saw them stand on braziers of live coals with naked feet, pierce their cheeks, arms, and tongues with iron stilettos or long needles—some having heavy balls of iron or lead fastened to one end—lie with naked stomachs over
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sharp sword blades while a second man jumped on their backs, thrust daggers through the skin of their sides, chew up and swallow broken glasses and lamp-chimneys, bite scorpions in two, and eat live snakes. The piercing of the tongue transversely by a ball-weighted skewer, and then letting the heavy weight pull it to the perpendicular by twisting the flexible tongue, was a gruesome sight. It was not a show to take hysterical women to see. Before the performance began, the party of Aïsonas sat cross-legged in a semi-circle, with their Chief or Sheikh at the middle, and all beat rhythmical taps on very large tambourines, say, perhaps—as I recollect them—4 feet in diameter. This went on for a while, the rate of vibration never varying, until at last one of them cast aside his tambourine, sprang up with a shout, knelt before the Sheikh, who passed his hands over him, and then stepped on the live coals, or went on with one of the other feats. After a feat, the performer returned to the Sheikh, removed the weapon or weapons from the wounds, and the Sheikh would just stroke the place with his hand. Not a drop of blood would flow and the wound would close. Now this meant hypnotism, clearly and unmistakably, and the question is who was hypnotised—the performer only, or both he and the onlookers? For I not only saw the transpiercings of the flesh, but was allowed to handle the weapons, and feel the weight of the metal balls on them with my own hands. The rhythmic tapping of the drum-like tambourine was a hypnotic agency. One sees the
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same thing at Salvation Army meetings, when converts get the “change of heart” as the result of the hypnotising cadence of beaten drums and booming brasses, and the swing of the moving tunes. But this conceded, what next? What is this hypnotic action which makes the human body invulnerable to fire and to wounds by sharp instruments, prevents the natural flow of blood, and makes the open wound to close and granulate on the stroking passage of a hypnotist’s magnetic hands over the surface of the skin? We have not yet begun to get at the mysterious potentialities of this science of Anton Mesmer, widened out and re-christened by Charcot of La Salpêtrière, and other unpopularity-dodgers!
H. P. B. greeted me warmly on my arrival in London, 4th September, at 7 p.m., and kept me talking, after the good old New York fashion, until 2 a.m. I found Mrs. Annie Besant living in the house, having just come over from the Secularists into our camp, with bag and baggage. This was when her subsequent splendid career as Theosophical lecturer, author, editor, and teacher began, only ten years ago; does it not seem strange that she should have ever been anything else than a Theosophist? Is it not almost incredible that she should have once been so incredulous about our ideas, the existence of the Great Teachers, the possibility of infinitely extending human knowledge by widening the area of human consciousness? Strange that she should have been a Materialist, hard as nails against the claims of spiritual existence and the promoters of
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that philosophy? One thinks she must have been but masquerading then in borrowed robes, while always in her heart a spiritualist. Certainly that is what I saw in her at our first meeting, despite her air of a woman of the toiling class, with her thick, laced boots, her skirts somewhat shortened to keep them tidy when trudging through the muddy streets of the East End, her red neckerchief of the true Socialist tinge, and her close-cut hair—in short, an Annie Militant. Some of our people of the upper class in society were prepossessed against her, thinking that no great good could come from her importation of her fads and cranks into our respectable body! Some even protested to me against having her living at Headquarters, as it might keep influential women away. But what I found in her is written in my Diary of 5th September, the evening of our first meeting: “Mrs. Besant I find to be a natural Theosophist: her adhesion to us was inevitable, from the attractions of her nature towards the mystical. She is the most important gain to us since Sinnett.” And note that her Autobiography had not then been written to uncover the shine of her awakened spirit “within the day lamp of the body,” as Maimonides puts it; she had not, I believe, made one public discourse in support of Theosophy, nor had she said one word of the sort during the conversation between her and H. P. B. and myself, But when conducting her to the door I looked into her kind, grand eyes, and all this sense of her character passed like a flash into my own consciousness, I recollect taking her then by the hand
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and saying, just at parting: “I think you will find yourself happier than you have ever been in your life before, for I see you are a mystic and have been frozen into your brain by your environment. You come now into a family of thinkers who will know you as you are and love you dearly.” She will be able to say whether these were not my prophetic words at that first meeting. How marvellously she has altered for the better during these past ten years only those can realise who knew her in 1889; she is not the same woman—she feels her soul. Blessings on her!
On the following day she and I called together on Mr. Bradlaugh at his residence. I had made his acquaintance and heard him lecture in New York in 1873, and had been one of his sponsors for Honorary Membership of the Lotos Club, so our personal relations had a pleasant basis. I found him ageing fast, yet full of that virile strength which made him stand like an oak among men. In the course of the conversation I remarked how deep was my regret that our gain of Mrs. Besant was at his expense, but that the step had been taken of her own motion, not because of any solicitation on our part. He sadly replied that it was a great and deep loss to him, but that Mrs. Besant was a woman who would always act according to the promptings of her conscience, and he had nothing to say. Even if he should, it would be useless.
On the next Sunday evening I went to hear Mrs. Besant on “Memory,” at the Hall of Science—a very able and forcible discourse, the first I had ever heard
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from her. So favorable a chance to hear so grand an orator was not to be lost, so I went alone or with others several times to her lectures, and escorted her to the Hall of Science on that memorable evening when she pathetically bade farewell to her Freethinker colleagues, since they had decided that she ought not to be longer allowed to work with them because she had taken up with views so diametrically opposed to theirs. Vivid indeed was her oration when she protested in the sacred name of Freethought against the disloyal attitude of Freethinkers towards an old and tried colleague, who had simply exercised the prerogative for which she had battled during so many years. She showed as clearly as day the inconsistency and shortsightedness of that policy. At the same time her speech brought back to my own mind the fact that their position towards Theosophy was the very one she herself had formerly taken up in the National Reformer, the organ of Mr. Bradlaugh and herself. A Madras Freethinker had written to ask of the editors whether a Secularist could consistently be also a Theosophist, and Mrs. Besant, for herself and co-Editor, had answered him editorially that the two were incompatible. We copied that decision with comments into the Theosophist, the comments being somewhat strong, with hints that the Secularists of the Mrs. Besant type were getting to be as dogmatic as the Pope. Neither of us then foresaw how soon she would have to drink at the hand of her own party of the bitter chalice she was once commending to our lips.
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Besides the desirable acquaintances made at that time was the undesirable one of the notorious Diss Debar, “the Precipitation Medium of the U. S. A.”: a showy, smooth-talking person, who was either a very remarkable medium or a very extraordinary humbug. The evidence of Mr. Luther R. Marsh, of New York, a great lawyer, and formerly law-partner of Daniel Webster, was enthusiastic in favor of her mediumship, and it was rumored that they were privately married. She told me that this was so, and that Mr. Marsh was shortly coming to London to meet her: moreover, she called herself Mrs. Marsh. She was a stout, black-haired woman, with an ample figure and a sort of fetching way, like that nameless gift of your Parisian woman. She was dressed in black and wore the cross of a foreign order (the Legion, I think) on her bosom—a hit of dramatic finesse, for it might mean so much. My entry says that I was “not convinced” of her good faith. She had picked up some American lady with much money, but not much brains, and had constituted her paymaster. She wanted lodgings for both, so I referred her to a place in the neighborhood and they went there, but within the next few days there was no end of a row, a seizure of luggage—if I remember aright—bills unpaid, and the flitting of the decorated mistress of wonders. Subsequently, I believe, she was prosecuted for swindling and imprisoned, but my memory has not charged itself with the real facts of the case. She has plunged out of public sight, and I have heard nothing about
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her for years. But I was informed that she had told wild stories of her intimacy with H. P. B., and some very occult and very wonderful work that they were doing together—all sheer falsehood.
On the 17th (September) I gave my first public lecture in London at South Place Chapel, Mr. Moncure D. Conway’s place of worship. The building was packed Mrs. Besant took the chair. My topic was “The Theosophical Society and Its Work”. At the close I was fairly bombarded with questions from all parts of the hall, and finally that serio-comic incident occurred which I have mentioned elsewhere, but which may be repeated here, as this is the proper connection. A voice from the right-hand gallery called out loudly: “I would like to know how it is that Colonel Olcott is so familiar with all the Eastern religions when I scarcely know one perfectly although I have given twenty years to its study?” It was a foolish thing to ask, for the answer was so obvious; but just as I was about to say something of a conciliatory nature, a loud response came from the opposite gallery—it was the one word “Brains”. That sent the house into convulsions of merriment, and neither Mrs. Besant nor I could refrain from smiling. The querist was a great authority on Assyriology. The London papers gave long notices of the discourse, but a short quotation from the Pall Mall Gazette will suffice:
“It is no unusual thing to see an array of thoughtful faces at South Place Chapel, yet it may be questioned whether the walls of that simple, unpretending building
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have hitherto looked down upon an assemblage bespeaking more respect, by reason of its high mental capacity and ability, than that which occupied the chapel’s sitting and standing room at night. The occasion was Colonel Olcott’s Theosophical lecture, Mrs. Besant presiding. There were present bronzed Anglo-Indians, Easterns in fez and goggles, medical, theological, and science students and teachers, representative South Place people, agnostics, freethinkers, and spiritualists—how many different ‘ists’ were really in evidence it is scarcely possible to set down. To this heterogeneous gathering Mrs. Besant introduced the lecturer Colonel Olcott is—as already mentioned in your columns—a man of striking and commanding personality. His hair is silvery, his flowing beard white and soft, his forehead massive, and his whole aspect venerable. He neither makes any pretension to eloquence nor strives after effect. He says what he has to say in the plainest possible way. His manner is certainly sincere and his method convincing.”
The Theosophist (Supplement, November, 1889), in taking over the P. M. G.’s report, says:
“There are in London, among a host of ways of making a living, offices called ‘Newspaper-cutting Agencies,’ which supply subscribers with cuttings upon any desired subject from the newspapers of Great Britain and the Colonies. From such an agency we have received already nearly one hundred excerpts from British journals which speak about Colonel Olcott’s opening lecture and Theosophy in general.
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The prevailing tone is one of chaff or bitterness, though there are instances of sober interest in, and respect for, the themes we preach. What is conspicuously shown is the existence of popular interest in us and our doings and sayings. Another striking proof is, that at one and the same time Madame Blavatsky was writing an article on Theosophy, bespoken by the North American Review, the leading review of the United States, and Colonel Olcott one on the ‘Genesis of Theosophy’ for the (Conservative) National Review, of London—the latter article in reply to one on the same subject by Mr. Legge in the same periodical.”
The lecture brought me one bit of bad luck in prompting Dr. Bowles Daly, an Irish journalistic writer and author, to seek our acquaintance. He manifested so much interest in our work and talked so smoothly as to win my confidence. He joined the Society, and after a while came out to Adyar. He had told me that he owned two houses in London, which he should sell, and then follow me out. He would give his services quite gratuitously. Later, it turned out that he had not a copper, and on that plea demanded a salary and allowances from the Sinhalese, among whom he ultimately went to work. He had a certain sort of ability and any amount of self-push, but proved to be quite ignorant of Eastern literature, and so was useless to me as an assistant editor, the capacity in which we had agreed that he was to be engaged. He went, as above said, to Ceylon; enlarged our Buddhist school at Galle into a weak College; did some hard work; gave rein
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to a furious temper; drove the boarding scholars out of the school building with a belt buckle on Wesak Day because their recitation of the gathas and silas annoyed him upstairs; was chosen a member of a Provincial Buddhist Committee; tried to wean from me the love of the Sinhalese; insulted and enraged some of the leading Buddhists; denounced wholesale the entire Sangha; and at last moved off to Calcutta, where he tried to prejudice the public against Theosophy, and finally became mixed up in several disagreeable public incidents. At last accounts he was in the Australian colonies. But for his ungovernable temper and his free indulgence in vulgar abuse, he might have done good service to a movement which always needs efficient helpers. I should not have ventured to invite him out to India but for his declaration that his services would be as free and unremunerated as our own; a declaration which he repeated to H. P. B. when I took him to her room, after the agreement had been arrived at between us (and after he had borrowed £20 of me on some excuse about having to make his preparations for leaving, a fact which caused H. P. B.’s eyebrows to rise when I told her about it). The loan was repaid at Adyar.
At the time of my visit I had the chance to see of what infinite tenderness and unselfish compassion Mrs. Besant was capable. An old friend of hers, a fellow-reformer and very well-known man, was utterly prostrated by overwork of the brain, and his life in peril. She took him into her house, nursed him like a sister,
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calmed his ravings, and, I believe, saved his life. It made it all the more sad for me when that same man, possibly—nay, probably, it must have been—in another access of nervous debility, turned upon his gentle nurse and said cruel things against her in the press. I was all the more sorry because of my great appreciation of his noble traits of character. I did a good deal of literary work for H. P. B. in those days. She had a table placed beside her own desk, and we fell at once into the old fashion of the New York “lamasery” when we toiled on the composition of Isis Unveiled, night after night, until the small hours of the morning. I wrote letters and articles for her magazine, and helped her on her occult teaching papers for her E. S. pupils. She resented my acceptance of invitations for parlor-talks on Theosophy, visits to important persons whom we wanted to interest, and lecturing tours—wanting to keep me tied to her desk-side. But this could not be, for the general interests of the movement had to be considered first of all; and though she called me a “mule” and all sorts of pet names of the kind, I did what was to be done. Yet it was a real sacrifice to have to deny myself the pleasure of the close companionship, for, as in New York, when we two were working together alone, the door between us and the Teachers seemed ever open; uplifting ideas came pouring into my mind, and the spiritual intercourse was very real. Her habit of counting on me as an ever willing and loyal helper had become so fixed, and our tie was so much closer and so different from that
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between her and our juniors, that she appeared to delight in the renewal of the latter. In those pleasant hours she used to tell me all she thought of those around her, and consult me as to how to treat them, and the best way to push on the movement. When certain persons would come in and pet and flatter her, she, when they were gone, should the occasion demand it, would paint to me their real characters. Meanwhile, the object of my European visit was silently yet surely being accomplished, H. P. B.’s angry feelings were subsiding, and all danger of a disruption was swiftly passing away. Things which had seemed to her as mountains became molehills when we came to look at them calmly. Thus had it always been. The new Rule about doing away with Entrance Fees and Annual Dues, adopted at the last Adyar Convention, and which had so exasperated the British and American Sections, and dissatisfied even the Indian, was temporarily got over, after much delay, by my issuing the following Executive Notice:
“Pending the final decision of the General Council regarding fees and dues, I hereby direct that the following rule shall be observed. Each Section is at liberty to alter within its own jurisdiction the amount of entrance fees and annual dues (hitherto fixed at, etc., etc.); and each Section, as an autonomous part of the Theosophical Society, shall collect said fees and dues, as determined by them, in the name and by the authority of the Theosophical Society, and apply the same to the Society’s work as the sectional governing
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body shall from time to time determine . . . The Indian Section . . . having unanimously recommended that the entrance fee and annual dues shall be restored to Rs. 10 and Re. 1 respectively, the recommendation is hereby approved . . .”
The fact is that the new resolutions passed by the Convention of 1888 were universally reprobated, and thus fell to the ground one more experiment which I allowed to be tried to stop the clamors of some who thought that in an ideal Society like ours things should not be managed on the prudent business plan, but that we should trust to the sporadic generosity of our members and the general public. The deficit in the year’s account was made up by taking from the Theosophist cash-box Rs. 1,308-2-11. Verb. sap.
There was still another matter to be settled, viz., to please the two Western Sections and calm H. P. B. by giving her some delegation of my powers that would really facilitate the settlement of passing questions without the delay involved in a reference to Adyar. She, it will be recollected, wanted to act as my representative with full discretionary powers; but as I had no great opinion of her discretion in matters of a practical kind, I concluded to make a compromise, to be tried as an experiment. So it was done in this way:
“LONDON, 25th December, 1889.
“In compliance with the unanimous request of the Council of the British Section, and to obviate the inconvenience and delay of reference to Headquarters
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of current local questions requiring my official adjudication, I hereby appoint H. P. Blavatsky as Chairman, and Annie Besant, William Kingsland, and Herbert Burrows as Members, of an Appellate Board, to be known as ‘The President’s Commissioners’ for Great Britain and Ireland; and, furthermore, I hereby delegate to the aforesaid Commissioners for the United Kingdom the appellate jurisdiction and executive powers conferred upon me under the Constitution and Rules of the Society, and declare them to be my personal representatives and official proxies for the territory named until the present order be superseded.
“Provided, however, that all executive orders and decisions made on my behalf by the said Commissioners shall be unanimously agreed to and signed by the four Commissioners above designated.”
This looked to her a larger Xmas present than it really was, for the words italicised in the concluding sentence made the condition that the four Commissioners, and not H. P. B. alone, should make me responsible for their official decisions. I selected the other three from my respect for their practical good sense and steadfastness of will, believing that they would suffer nothing very revolutionary to be done to upset the steady working of the Society. Some of our worthy colleagues had--as H. P. B. so considerately informed me from time to time in her letters--made themselves merry over my fustian “Executive Orders,” but if either one of them had tried to keep in sound and working order such an incongruous and
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unmanageable body of eccentrics as the Theosophical Society, so that it might ultimately settle down upon a strong foundation of wise autonomy, being independent within constitutional limits, and yet coherent as a whole Federation, they perhaps would have felt more like crying than laughing. Even now, one very well known Secessionist, whose habitual impulse is to be against every semblance of orderly administration and follow only his personal caprice, is calling the skies to witness how the Society has degenerated into rival camps of slaves, following different popes, and bidding them join his guerilla company. Heaven knows where can be found another society so conservatively conducted as ours, yet with so little restraint upon individual rights. But there are some whose military conceptions cannot rise above the level of bush-whacking. At any rate, the results have fully justified my policy; and if the Society is ready to enter the twentieth century as a powerful social force, it is because I listened to all good advice, let my cranky associates play with their fads until they themselves threw them aside as unworkable, and when a stress came, showed the “mulish” quality which H. P. B. so vigorously denounced. The complete restoration of pleasant relations between us was proved by her issuing the notice that she had appointed me her sole agent in Esoteric Section affairs for Asiatic countries, with very large discretionary powers, which has been above quoted. So, the cyclone having blown itself out, we went on with our joint literary work in her
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writing-room at Lansdowne Road. Needless to say, our Indian friends breathed freer when they heard the news.
Before leaving England for home I received through the Rev. S. Asahi, Chief Priest of Tentoku Temple, Tokio, an ecclesiastic of great influence, the following highly gratifying imperial communication:
“TOKIO, 18th October, 1889.
“TO BARON TORUKU TAKASAKI.
“His Imperial Majesty has accepted the present of a stone image and five other articles which were offered him by Colonel H. S. Olcott with an explanatory memorandum accompanying each article. I beg Your Excellency to inform that gentleman of His Majesty’s acceptance.
“VICE-MINISTER OF THE IMPERIAL HOUSEHOLD.”
The presents accepted by His Majesty were, the original model of the Buddhist Flag, a carved stone image from Buddha Gaya, leaves from the sacred Bo-trees of Anuradhapura and Buddha Gaya, and photographs of several noted shrines. With this hint of imperial good wishes, no wonder the nation turned en masse towards the messenger of Southern Buddhism and took to heart the message! It should be added that an explanation of the instant popularity of the Buddhist Flag may be found in the fact that when first shown to the Japanese priests, they consulted their own sacred writings and found that the colors of the
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vertical stripes were identically as therein described as to be seen in the aura of the Buddha. Some readers may also recollect that the Tibetan Envoy to the Government of India told me at Darjeeling that they were those of the flag of the Dalai Lama. Our Colombo Buddhist colleagues were therefore wiser than they knew when they suggested the idea of the Buddhu râsâ for the proposed Buddhist Flag of all nations.