OCCULTISM FOR BARTER
ESOTERIC COLLEGES AND FALSE PROPHETS
WHEN Jesus of Nazareth went to the Temple in Jerusalem he, it is said, drove money changers out of the courts; and later he said that many false prophets should arise. For the Christian that temple symbolized the Palace of God, and the occultist knows that the story really means the driving out from the heart of all materialistic thought. Jesus, with a prophet's eye, saw what has so often come to pass since then,- false prophets arising on every side, both in and out of the Church that bears his name.
In the present days no country can boast as ours of having so many false prophets, who, taking advantage of the popular leaning to mysticism hang out signs of various kinds, but one and all offering for sale the things of the spirit.
It is not to magazines or books dealing with these subjects that we refer, for printing and paper must be paid for when one wants to lay his ideas before the people. But it is quite a different thing when men or women offer to sell to the buyer, for money, the knowledge of self or any mystery in nature pertaining to spiritual things.
In one place we have a man pretending that he is a reincarnation of Jesus Christ, and in another, one deliberately stating that he is Gautama Buddha come again in order to correct errors in his promulgated doctrines. Again, we find astrologers and diviners, mediums and seers, opening shops wherein they dispense oracles to the willing, gullible people. One is quite as pernicious as the other, for the taint of money will corrupt anything. And those who have means are somewhat
to blame, in that they imagine that their money can procure them knowledge of the deep, spiritual things of Nature.
The latest thing in this line is that which began in Boston soon after the starting there of a magazine called the Esoteric. With that journal we had no concern, for its founders had a right to use it to promulgate just as much of truth as they had hold of in the same way that the PATH gives out its ideas of nature and of man. But in the beginning, the managers of that magazine let it be understood that they were, or one of them -to wit, Mr. Hiram Butler - was a theosophist; or member of the Theosophical Society. An examination of the records just made shows that he never was a member of that body.
Not very long ago a bulky book was circulated by this prophet, in which mysterious statements were made that one Vidya Nyaka desired to found a College in the U.S. to teach the stockholders (!) and students all the mysteries, and among others, the power of acquiring vast wealth, and it was said that after the college was organized unlimited means would be at its disposal, drawn from the funds at command of adepts; but, as a preliminary merely, the faithful must disburse. And disburse they did. We grieve to say that many theosophists sent in money to this scheme which, on its very face, boldly showed that it was founded as a means of giving its stock-holders wealth.
The first note was sounded in an alleged "Letter to a Seeker" published by the Esoteric. This was a fraud which took in theosophists who do not get acquainted with what is written in out-of-the-way places. It was a hit at the Theosophical Society and at the Adepts, pretending that They were cold and dead and selfish, and that only the Solar Biologists were fitted to help Americans. It exhibited ignorance when it left the domain of plagiarism. What it plagiarized from is a book called "The Wisdom of the Adepts," by Rev. Thomas Lake Harris, in which he attempted to show that Buddhist Adepts are systematically trying to subvert Christianity in America, and this "Letter to a Seeker" took as subtitle, "The Wisdom of the Wise." Fragments are taken, word for word, from pages 8, 9, 319, 249, 371, 248, 249, of Harris's book, and used to construct this letter in the Esoteric and signed Nemo. If Rev. Harris did not write it, then it was stolen from him; or, if he did, then the Esoteric is a secret organ for a Christian sect which is anti-theosophical, while it outwardly professes theosophy. Either of these alternatives is equally damaging.
The second note was a loud one on a brass bugle heralding the founding of the Esoteric College, as the direct outcome of the efforts of the magazine, with Mr. Butler at the head of it, and Vidya Nyaka in the mysterious distance with a medley of nonsensical letters at the end of his name. The real name of Vidya N. is Ohmart, and he is known to many men in Boston who experienced his wiles before Butler joined hands with him. Before that, Ohmart was satisfied to deal with men on pure business principles, but when he combined with Butler he played upon the credulity of the mystically inclined people who sincerely desired to know the things of the spirit and foolishly thought that the great pretensions of this pair hid great knowledge and wisdom.
It all speedily ended with a frightful expose in the N. Y. World, Boston Globe and Herald, and Philadelphia Inquirer. The worst of it was that the press mixed the Theosophical Society in it, entirely without cause but wholly because of Butler's theosophic claims, and today hundreds of people think that exposure was an exposure of humbug on our part. Such are the facts; hear now of the Karma:
Mr. Butler and all his confederates have to some slight extent injured the Theosophical Society, and the nemesis provided by the immutable law of Karma will follow him until the full consequence is felt and compensation made. We do not need sworn zealots to wreak a vengeance. That will follow, whatever it be, because behind the Theosophical Society is a mighty power that works by law and by will, and not by money. No wealth can buy its favor nor avert its care for its members and for the enemies of the Society. Already material damages and great annoyance have come to these men who dared to sell and buy in the Temple of God. And the same nemesis, but perhaps with lesser fury, will pursue all those members of the Theosophical Society who have in their hearts said, "Lo, here is one who offers at a price that which the Adepts of the Theosophical Society say can only be obtained through toil and unselfish effort; let us go buy of him." We are sorry for both, but surely lessons must be learned, and we had thought that the lesson was taught when the mysterious H. B. of L. invaded our ranks seeking recruits and getting those who would not try the right way. The end is not yet, the hour has not struck, but it will arrive. Let us then rely upon Karma and do our duty.
Path, March, 1889