ALICE LEIGHTON CLEATHER



(1854-1938, English)

Alice Leighton Cleather was one of the closest pupils of Blavatsky and after the death of her teacher, she was one of the few disciples who defended the theosophical movement and the original teaching provided by the Masters, from the corruption that subsequently did Leadbeater, Annie Besant and Alice Bailey.

This article is divided in two parts: the first part is a biography that I made of her, and the second part is a biography that I find in the internet, which complements very well the biography that I made.




1. ALICE CLEATHER’S BIOGRAPHY

(This is a short biography that I made in homage to her.)


1881
She is introduced to Theosophy

In 1881 she read first Alfred Sinnett's book “The Hidden World”, and in 1885 she read his second book “Esoteric Buddhism”. And she became so interested by Theosophy, that same year she requested her admission to the Lodge of London, which at that time was presided over by Mr. Sinnett, and there, she was initiated by Sinnett himself and Mohini Chatterji.




1887
Alice Cleather meet Blavatsky

In 1887, through Bertram Keightley, she met Madame Blavatsky whom comes to live in London, and that same year, she leaves the Lodge from London to join the new Lodge that Blavatsky creates (the Blavatsky’s Lodge).




Alfred Sinnett mesmerizes Alice Cleather


The Lodge of London presided by Mr. Sinnett was deviating from the correct initiatory path by accomplishing inappropriate activities such as hypnotism or mediumship, and about what happened in the Lodge of London during the year of 1887, we have the invaluable testimony of Alice Cleather who says:

« If it had not been for Blavatsky, it is just possible that I myself might have figured as one of Mr. Sinnett's mediums. I was seeing a good deal of both him and his wife, before Blavatsky moved into London from Maycot; and one day Mr. Sinnett suggested that I should allow him to make the experiment of trying to “release” my soul from the body, as I might then have some interesting experiences.

I thought so, too, although I then knew nothing of the dangers of such irresponsible practices.

As a young girl I had been able to “turn tables” and to mesmerize people; but I never took any real interest in this sort of thing, because the natural bent of my mind was towards philosophy. However, on receiving from Mr. Sinnett the assurance that he would be able to bring my soul safely back again, I consented to submit to the experiment.

His method proved to be the usual one. He asked me to lie down and close my eyes, and then proceeded to make mesmeric passes. He told me that I should soon “go off” and would then become conscious on “a higher plane”.

After what seemed to be about ten minutes, and I was beginning to wonder when “I should be released”, Mr. Sinnett said in a low voice:

    -   "Now you can’t move your right arm."

Naturally I did so at once, and lifted my forearm, opening my eyes at the same time to look at him. I have rarely seen anyone so taken aback; he had evidently thought I was “off”.

He seemed also quite annoyed by the failure of the experiment, but said we would try again another day. We never did, however, for soon afterwards Blavatsky moved into London, and I happened to mention the incident to her.

She was really angry with Mr. Sinnett, and she absolutely forbade me to permit Mr. Sinnett, or anyone else, to try such experiments again. Later on, of course, I came to learn the extreme danger of such practices, and that in the wrong hands they are forms of Black Magic.

I relate these few incidents, out of many that could be cited, in order to show the very questionable basis on which Mr. Sinnett's claim to “independent communication” rested.

Although he had the inestimable privilege of association with Blavatsky in India, and she had put him in direct communication with the Master Kuthumi, yet when this ceased, rather than admit it and be content to play a subordinate part, he declined to cooperate with Blavatsky in England, and resorted to these methods in a pitiful endeavor to maintain the high prestige he had acquired, through her. »
(Alice Cleather, HP Blavatsky as I Knew Her, p.31-33)



1888
Member of the Esoteric Section and Internal Group


Alice was the fifth person to submit her application to the “Oriental School Esoteric of Theosophy” of Blavatsky (also knows like “The Esoteric Section”), and she was the third to which Blavatsky gave him the opportunity to join the “Internal Group” of that School in 1890; taking her oath on September 17 of that year.

(Note: The picture above was taken in London in July 10, 1891 (one month after Blavatsky’s death) in the Blavatsky’s lodge in London, and show the majority of Internal Group´s members. In this picture don’t appear Alice Cleather,and you can see Coronel Olcott in the background.)



The Alice Cleather’s notes of the Internal Group

She was assigned the task of taking notes of the meetings of the Internal Group, and sending them to William Judge in the United States. These notes have survived to this day, and compared to the notes that taken by other members, the Alice Cleather’s are the most complete from all those that were taken at those meetings. Her careful notes were used in 1940 for a report on the Theosophical Forum (Point Loma).

(These notes were published in “The Esoteric Papers of Madame Blavatsky”, p.477-552)

During this period Cleather wrote a number of articles, the most important were those published in “The Theosophist from March 1890 to August 1895 under the title “Theosophy in Western Lands”. These articles are a valuable data source regarding theosophical activities at the London headquarters.



1892
Alice Cleather starts collaborating with Basil Crump


In 1892 she met Mr. Basil Woodward Crump (1866-1945) who was a member of The Theosophical Society and The Esoteric Section. She developed a close friendship with him. Mr. Crump graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge. He worked like barrister of the Middle Temple, and by 1900 had become the editor of the Law Times. Crump was living for a time in the Cleather family home, and co-authored a number of books with Alice Cleather.



1894-1895
Alice Cleather supports William Judge


When in 1894-1895 The Theosophical Society was divided by the attacks of Mrs. Besant and Colonel Olcott against William Judge, Alice Cleather followed William Judge along with other English Theosophists, adhering to the "Theosophical Society in America” who was chaired by William Judge, and is separated of the "Theosophical Society in Adyar” who was chaired by Olcott and Besant.



April 1896
Alice Cleather attends the
Second Annual Convention of the Theosophical Society in America


When Mr. Judge died in March 1896, she attended in Convention of New York on April 1896, in which it was presented Mrs. Katherine Tingley as successor to William Judge, in the Oriental School Esoteric of Theosophy (Esoteric Section).



June 1896-February 1897
Crusade of the American Theosophists

Shortly after this Convention, Mrs. Katherine Tingley, along with Mr. Claude Falls Wright and Mr. Ernest Hargrove (who at that time was President of The Theosophical Society in America); they started a trip around the world to promote Theosophy.


In England, they were joined by Alice Cleather, passing through India in the winter of that year, arriving in San Francisco in April 1897.




February 1897
First Stone of Point Loma


On February 23, 1897, the groundbreaking ceremony of the “School for the Rebirth of the Lost Mysteries of Antiquity” was held at Point Loma, San Diego. They were present: Katherine Tingley, Ernest Hargrove, Claude Falls Wright, F.M. Pierce and others.



January 13, 1898
Creation of the Universal Brotherhood

Ten prominent and influential members who had shown no signs of wavering gathered at the home of Katherine Tingley. A constitution for a new theosophical organization was presented. The new organization was called “The Universal Theosophical Brotherhood”, which a month later was changed to “The Universal
Brotherhood”.

Among the signatories were Basil Crump, E. August Neresheimer, Robert Crosbie, Joseph H. Fussell, and Arthur L. Conger Jr.
(Pelletier, The Judge Case I, Chronology, p.223)



February 18, 1898
Dismemberment of the Theosophical Society In America
for fault of Katherine Tingley


During the Fourth Convention, held in Chicago on February 18, 1898, the Theosophical Society in America was absorbed by the "Universal Brotherhood", being Catherine Tingley at the head of this organization, and the Theosophical Society in America became a simple Department within the new organization chaired by Mrs. Tingley.

Catherine Tingley stayed with the majority of the members, and only a minority that did not agree with this reorganization, left. And among them were: Dr. Buck, Dr. Archibald Keightley, Jasper Niemand, A.H. Spencer, Ernest Hargrove and another 200 members of a total of 6’000 who stayed with Mrs. Tingley.

Alice Cleather stayed with Mrs. Tingley.



February 1898
Alice Cleather in charge of the Esoteric School in England

Katherine Tingley sends this message:

« Esoteric School of Theosophy. Strictly Private And Confidential.

To the Members E.S.T. Signed “Katherine A Tingley, Outer Head; issued from New York.

You will soon hear of a new step taken at Chicago which is the outward aspect of a higher esoteric body of enormous importance, which all may aspire to through loyalty and devotion. . . . Members will please note that I should disapprove of any documents or letters sent out to this School, unless indorsed by myself. Mr. Crump and Mrs Cleather still act as my agents in England. Miss Churchill, Sec’y. Acting Council of the E.S.T.: E.A. Neresheimer; H.T. Patterson; J.H. Fussell; Iverson L. Harris; F.M. Pearce; D.N. Dunlop; Wm. Lindsay; Clark Thurston. All the above are perfectly reliable. »
(Pelletier, The Judge Case I, Chronology, p.227)




Ernest Hargrove’s opinion about Mrs. Tingley


In a letter of Hargrove to Mrs. Tingley, he writes to her:

« Now, my dear friend, you have made an awful mess of it that is the simple truth. You were run in as Outer Head as the only person in sight who was ready to hand at the time.

We were all of us heartily glad to welcome you, for you solved the problem which confronted us who was to be Outer Head, and you were a sort of neutral centre around which we could congregate.

And most of us fairly yelled with delight, for you solved our difficulty and we had ample proofs that some members of the Lodge were working through you and that you had high and rare mediumistic and psychic gifts and that you were a disciple of the Lodge. So things went swimmingly for a time.

Our enthusiasm and anxiety to see all go well carried some of us too far carried me too far to the extent of leading me to use my personal influence with people to get them to accept you as Outer Head. I thought it was for the good of the work, but since then I have learned better. »
(Pelletier, The Judge Case I, Chronology, p.224)




1899
Alice Cleather separates from the "Universal Brotherhood"

Alice Cleather participated in the Conventions of The Theosophical Society in America from 1895 to 1898. However, disillusioned by how Katherine Tingley had transformed this organization, in 1899 she separated from the "Universal Brotherhood”.

On this subject she wrote:

« In 1899, I and many others left Mrs. Tingley's Society on discovering that she was departing as far from Blavatsky's original teachings as, on her side, Mrs. Besant was. To neither of these organizations was I, therefore, able to belong. Neither of their leaders inspired me with any confidence, as both were introducing ideas completely foreign to those promulgated by Blavatsky while professing to carrying on her work»
(www.blavatskyarchives.com/stokescleather.htm)



Alice Cleather leaves England

Alice Cleather had musical talent, and during this period of her life she made musical tours with musical accompaniment, in various parts of the world. On several of those tours she was accompanied by Basil Crump. In 1911 she was present in Egypt, and later she resided in Italy from 1911 to 1918, making occasional trips to England, and to other parts of the continent, especially to Florence in 1911 and to Paris in 1912.



1917
Foundation of the HPB Library

In 1917 Alice Cleather founded the “HPB Library”, as an independent and distinct center of the other Theosophical organizations established at the time.
(Joan Sutcliffe, HPB Library, Toronto, 2001)

Alice Cleather together with William Kingsland founded the HPB Lending Library with around 600 volumes. At the beginning of 1923 he transferred the library from London to Victoria in British Columbia, Canada by Mrs. H. Henderson.
(Boris de Zircoff, Collected Writings XIV, p.521)

Mrs. Henderson was succeeded by Mrs. I. Davey as caretaker, and then the library was moved in 1923 to Vernon, British Columbia (Michael Freeman as caretaker) and since 1992 has been relocated to Toronto, Ontario (Joan Sutcliffe as caretaker).



1918
Alice Cleather goes to India

In 1918 Alice Cleather accompanied by her son Graham Gordon Cleather (her other son had already died and her husband died in 1919) and Mr. Basil Crump, they undertook a trip to India. The trip was fraught with danger, since her ship was torpedoed by a German submarine, and she and her companions managed to survive in a boat, from which they were rescued, finally reaching India at the end of 1918.



1920
Alice Cleather become Buddhist

In 1920 the three took Pânsil (vows) in Buddha Gaya, on the presence of Tibetan lamas of “Yellow Hat” (Gelugpa), the lama in chief Geshe Rinpoche, of the monastery of Donkar in the Chumbi Valley, carrying out the rite, being they the first Europeans who took the precepts in this sacred place.



1922
Annie Besant tries to deceive the Theosophists


In response to the Theosophists who did not agree on what the Theosophical Society from Adyar had become; Annie Besant published an article in Theosophist magazine titled "Who Will You Serve?", where she claimed that Leadbeater had been "one of the closest and most trusted students of Blavatsky and that Blavatsky woke up Leadbeater’s powers."

This outraged Alice Cleather who challenged Mrs. Besant to present some document confirming what she had affirmed, and Annie Besant never presented any proof because the reality is that Leadbeater was never a disciple of Blavatsky.

Annie Besant lied (as she did so many times).

(Gregory Tillett,The Elder Brother, p.202-203)



1923
Blavatsky Association of London

In 1923 she collaborated (by letter) with William Kingsland in the formation of the “Blavatsky Association of London”, which was active until 1947. During the years 1922 and 1923, she published in Calcutta, India, three small works of great historical importance. (See Bibliography downside)



1925
Interview with the Panchen Lama


At the end of 1925 she went to Beijing with her son and Mr. Crump, and met the Panchen Lama, who gave her a Buddhist “Testimonial” which read:

« Special Gelukpa Buddhist of the English race, faithful and devoted, to be treated as a Buddhist, to be afforded every assistance and help, and not to be injured or wrongfully opposed. »

This document was very useful to travel through Central Asia during these turbulent times.

She also received a special passport for Tibet.


Meeting with the Lamas of the Temples Fa Yuan and Kwan Yi, in May 15, 1926.




1927
The Beijing edition of
The Voice of Silence

In 1927 she published in Beijing, a true version to the original “The voice of Silence”, currently known as “the Beijing edition”. This edition was extremely necessary, since the original edition of Blavatsky in the hands of the Adyar Society, it was no longer published, and in its place there was a version altered by Annie Besant, in which she deleted the fourth paragraph on page 43, eliminating the note 38 of Glossary II.

These texts refer to the Pratyeka Buddhas that Blavatsky and the Buddhist tradition consider to be egoist Buddhas, but that Annie Besant (lacking sufficient knowledge in this matter) eliminated.


The Editorial Foreword to the 1927 edition states that the edition was printed at the Panchen Lama’s request and that his staff, together with Chinese scholars, verified Madame Blavatsky translation of Tibetan words, and they concluded that the translation was correct. The foreword also mentions that Madame Blavatsky studied for several years at Tashilunpo and knew the previous Panchen Lama very well.


The Panchen Lama also endorsed this edition with a special sutra written in Tibetan calligraphy by himself.

Translation:

All beings desire liberation from misery.
Seek, therefore, for the causes of misery and expunge them.
By entering on the path, liberation from misery is attained.

Exhort then, all beings to enter the path.”





1928
Crossing the Gobi Desert

After the publication of The Voice of Silence in Beijing, Alice Cleather and her group, traveled through the Tibetan plateau, to several unspecified places having agreed to meet with the Panchen Lama in Kokonoor (Lake Koko).

After an extremely arduous journey on camel and foot, through the Mongolian desert, they discovered that the Panchen Lama had been arrested and would not arrive with them, so they returned sailing on the Yellow River in a small barge, where they were assaulted by bandits and stripped of their belongings, arriving in the city of Xining in north China six months later.

After Mrs. Cleather recovered, they went by plane to Beijing. During her stay in Beijing, she published two pamphlets in Chinese. In October of 1936 she fractured her left arm in a fall, and when she recovered, she made plans to attend the Parliament of Religions in Calcutta in March 1937, and taking advantage of the trip to visit Ceylon.

Then she went back to Darjiling and later she returned to Calcutta, where she and her group were informed of the death of the Panchen Lama in Jyekundo on November 1937. In April 1938 she returned to Darjiling, dying on May 4, 1938, at 84 years of age.
(Boris de Zircoff, Collected Writings XIV, p.520)




Alice Cleather defended Blavatsky


Alice Cleather was the only student of Blavatsky (of the Internal Group of London) who fought with all the means at her disposal against the alterations to the teaching of her master, made by her former classmate Annie Besant.




Literary Works

·        The Ring of the Nibelung; An Interpretation Embodying Wagner’s Own Explanations (1903) in collaboration with Basil Crump, G. Schirmer, NY.
·        Parsifal, Lohengrin, and the Legend of the Holy Grail (1904) in collaboration with Basil Crump, G. Schirmer, NY.
·        Richard Wagner's Music Dramas (1904) in collaboration with Basil Crump, Methuen & Co., London 1904, 4 Vols.
·        Tristan and Isolde: An Interpretation, Embodying Wagner’s Own Explanations (1905) in collaboration with Basil Crump, Methuen and Co., London.
·        Lohengrin and Parsifal: Described and Interpreted in Accordance with Wagner’s Own Writings (1913) in collaboration with Basil Crump, Methuen and Co., London.
·        HP Blavatsky: Her Life and Work for Humanity (1922) Thacker, Spink & Co., Calcutta.
·        HP Blavatsky: A Great Betrayal (1922) Thacker, Spink & Co. Calcutta. Reprinted by The HPB Lending Library, Vernon, BC. (link)
·        HP Blavatsky as I knew Her (1923) with an Addendum by Basil Crump, Thackeer, Spink & Co., Calcutta and Simla. (link)
·        The Voice of Silence (1927) Beijing edition, true to the original, with notes and photo of the Panchen Lama. Beijing.
·        Buddhism, the Science of Life (1928) in collaboration with Basil Crump, China Booksellers.
·        The Pseudo-Occultism of Alice Bailey (1929) with Basil Crump, Thaker Spink and Co., Calcutta. (link)
·        Why I Believe in Buddhism (in Chinese).
·        Some Thought on Buddhism (in Chinese).

(Several of them you can download here.)

Crump was also the author of:

·        The Secret Doctrine on the Problem and Evolution of Sex Victoria, HPB Library, B.C., Canada.
·        Did Jesus visit India and Tibet? Buddha and Christ: Confusion between person and principle (1926) The Far Eastern Times, Peking.
·        Evolution as Outlined in the Archaic Eastern Records (1930)









2. ALICE CLEATHER.
DEFENDER OF HELENA BLAVATSKY


(This is an article that appeared in the “The O.E. Library Critic” journal in Abril-May 1938, and that serves as a complement for those who want to know more about this incredible woman.)


« Mrs. Alice Leighton Cleather, one of the most valiant defenders of H.P. Blavatsky, died suddenly at Darjiling, India, on May 4th, aged about 84 years. But even at this advanced age she was still actively engaged in the defense of Blavatsky and in opposing the corruptions introduced by Mrs. Besant.

Annie Besant

Mrs. Cleather was born in April 24, 1854, in England. She was the daughter of a Church of England clergyman and the wife of Colonel William Barclay Gordon Cleather, a British army officer who had seen active service in India.

The Colonel Cleather (1837-1919) belonged to the 79th Foot Regiment, within the ranks of which he had risen since his enlistment in 1855. He retired in 1918. They had two children: Graham Gordon Cleather and Thorsten Gabriel Gordon Cleather (1885-1906).

She contacted Theosophy through reading Sinnett’s Occult World in 1881, and joined the Theosophical Society in 1885, but did not meet Blavatsky until 1887, under circumstances which she has interestingly narrated in her book “H.P. Blavatsky As I Knew Her”.

She became deeply attached to Blavatsky, a feeling which was reciprocated, and was one of the famous “Inner Group” members who received special instructions not given even to general members of the Esoteric Section.

Of this group she and Edward Toronto Sturdy were the last survivors, and her intimate relations with Blavatsky placed her in a position to speak authoritatively regarding her teachings and the corruptions introduced by Mrs. Besant.

Unfortunately, Mr Sturdy lacked discernment since he collaborated with Annie Besant to attack William Judge.


At the time of the trouble in the Theosophical Society, Mrs. Cleather took the side of William Judge and joined Mrs. Tingley’s faction, accompanying her on the famous “crusade” around the world.

Later she became dissatisfied with the leadership of Mrs. Tingley and resigned from her society (Point Loma) in 1809, thereafter remaining aloof from the several theosophical societies.

Mrs. Cleather’s closest associate was Mr. Basil Crump, a London barrister who for eleven years was editor of the London Law Times and who survives her. Mr. Crump was a close friend of the Cleather family, being draw n to them not only by a common interest in Theosophy, but also by common musical tastes, and as regards Colonel Cleather, by their being Masons.

Basil Crump

Mrs. Cleather and Mr. Crump traveled extensively, lecturing on the music of Richard Wagner and the symbolism of the Wagnerian dramas. Jointly they published four books on Wagner, which have gone through several editions, are still in print and regarded as authoritative.

Colonel and Mrs. Cleather, their son Gordon Cleather and Mr. Crump traveled extensively together, an association which was continued after the Colonel’s death in the winter of 1918-19, which prevented he joining them in India, as intended. Young Cleather became proficient in Tibetan and Chinese, a qualification which rendered great service to his elders.

Disillusioned and disheartened by the continual discords in the Theosophical Movement, Mrs. Cleather and Mr. Crump withdrew from all public theosophical activities for a time, going in 1918 to reside in India, accompanied by Gordon Cleather, where they became deeply interested in Buddhism of the Mahayana type and took pansil, as had Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott before them.

It was during this residence in India that Mrs. Cleather had her interest in theosophical activities revived through reports of the antics of Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater and their coming World Teacher Krishnamurti, and decided on a vigorous campaign in defense of Blavatsky, and in opposition to the doctrines of Neo-theosophy, to say nothing of the doings of the sex-pervert Leadbeater.

Charles Leadbeater

I was informed by Mrs. Cleather in one of her earlier letters that it was the reading of the [O.E. Library] Critic which in some way came into her hands, which caused her resolution to come out of her long retirement and to work openly in defense of her old teacher Blavatsky and her teachings.

In pursuit of this aim Mrs. Cleather first published in India, in 1922, a book “H.P. Blavatsky, A Great Betrayal, which is one of the most scathing exposures of Besant-Leadbeaterism, the World Teacher delusion and the inroads of sex-perversion doctrines into the Theosophical Society that has appeared.

This was followed in the same year by her book “H.P. Blavatsky: Her Life and Work for Humanity”, originally published in the Maha Bodi Journal, and written at the request of the Venerable Anagarika Dharmapala.

Dharmapala was also a disciple of Blavatsky
and he was the Sri Lankan Buddhist revivalist.


In 1923 Mrs. Cleather published her book “H.P. Blavatsly As I Knew Her originally written as part of a proposed volume by Mrs. Laura Langford (the Laura Holloway of The Mahatma Letters), but as the Langford book was delayed, and in fact never actually compiled by Mrs. Langford, this was published separately by Mrs. Cleather for reasons stated therein.

About one half of this book consists of a criticism by Mr. Crump of Sinnett’s sour posthumous book “The Early Days of Theosophy in Europe, in which Blavatsky was maligned.

These three books, published in Calcutta, are still available and constitute a highly important contribution to “Back to Blavatsky” literature.


During her stay in India Mrs. Cleather undertook a trip to Australia, where she lectured much to the annoyance of Mrs. Besant, Mr. Leadbeater and the Liberal Catholic faction which has taken deep root in Australia.

Australian Worker (Sydney), 10 August 1927


Having become deeply interested in Buddhism and the Panchen Lama, then all exile from Tibet, the Cleather group: Mrs. Cleather, son Gordon Cleather, Mr. Crump and Miss Cristobel Davey, left India in 1925, going to Peking, where they resided for several years and frequently contacted the Panchen Lama.

It was during this time (1928) that Mrs. Cleather and Mr. Crump published their reprint of the original edition of Blavatsky’s “Voice of the Silence at the direct request of the Panchen Lama, who endorsed it as a correct exposition of the Mahayana Buddhist ethics.

Panchen Lama in 1934

At that time and until very recently this was the only edition of “The Voice of the Silence exactly as Blavatsky approved and published it. A later version, edited by William Judge and still popular, while not altered in any really essential particulars, contains as many as 665 emendations and cannot be designated as the book as Blavatsky wrote it…

During their Peking sojourn Mrs. Cleather and Mr. Crump published “Buddhism the Science of Life (1928), and Mr. Crump alone published in 1930 “Evolution as Outlined in the Archaic Eastern Records, which has been designated as “The Secret Doctrine in 200 pages”.

All of these books are still available. There were also some minor publications, including “The Pseudo-Occultism of Mrs. A. Bailey.

In 1923 there was founded in London “The Blavatsky Association”, the object of which was the defense of Blavatsky and the propagation of her teachings.

While Mrs. Cleather was actively associated in organizing this, her name does not appear in the records of the Association as “Founder”. It was the work of a number of students, especially William Kingsland, long its president and Mrs. Cleather.

William Kingsland

In 1933 the Panchen Lama having decided to return to Tibet, the Cleather party undertook a perilous journey to Kum Rum with the aim of meeting him as he had directed.

At this time Mrs. Cleather was about 79 years old and endured the hardships of the journey like a far younger person. Unfortunately, the Dalai Lama's arrest caused complications which frustrated the meeting and the party had to return to Peking disappointed.

A most interesting account of this pilgrimage, with many photographs by Mr. Crump, was published in Chinese periodical Caravan (in English), February to May.

In 1937, there being finally a prospect of the Panchen Lama returning to Tibet, the Cleather party left Peking and returned to Darjiling in northern India, whence they expected to cross the border and contact him, a plan which was frustrated by his untimely death.

Shortly before leaving Peking Mrs. Cleather met with a serious accident, including a broken arm, recovery from which was hampered by her advanced age. She was, however, able to make the journey, but never fully recovered. It is possible that the bitter disappointment caused by the unexpected demise of the Panchen Lama contributed indirectly to her death.

_ _ _

The determined defense by Mrs, Cleather of Madame Blavatsky and her unsparing attack on the Besant and Leadbeater corruptions of her teachings and on the Leadbeater “morality” inculcated openly in the Adyar Society naturally aroused resentment in that quarter.

More bitter, however, and the more unexpected as coming from a source which should be friendly, were two anonymous articles in the U.L.T. magazine Theosophy (October, 1923, p.536, and January, 1929, p.101), purportedly the exponent of Blavatsky Theosophy.

Nothing I have ever read surpassed these attacks, especially the second, in the way of virulent denunciation, libelous accusations and flagrant falsification.

Mrs. Cleather very rightly did not reply, but the first article was dealt with in a pamphlet, “Un published Letters in Reply to a Theosophical Attack on Mrs. Cleather’s Books”, written by Mr. Kingsland, Mr. Crump and the Victoria Lodge, Independent, and published by the HPB Library, while the second was dealt with in the Critic of March and April. 1929 (reprinted as a pamphlet still obtainable).

Alice Cleather

These attacks, apparently instigated because Mrs. Cleather did not see eye to eye with the anonymous writer in Theosophy on the sacrosanctness of William Judge, aroused great indignation among the friends of Mrs. Cleather who knew the facts and the falseness, yes, even indecency of some of the charges, and afforded a striking illustration of how personality worship may eclipse the better theosophical instincts. But enough of that. Those who knew Mrs. Cleather and her work know that no more loyal, devoted, sincere, honest and unselfish pupil of H. P. B. could be found anywhere.

Despite her illness Mrs. Cleather was able to contribute recently to The Canadian Theosophist two extremely valuable articles, the one (March, 1938, pp. 6-20) being a complete, unabridged copy of Blavatsky’s wonderful Preliminary Memorandum prefacing her “E.S.T. Instructions No. III”.Which contains the gist of the theosophical ethics, including the so-called “Golden Stairs”.

And the other (December, 1937), being an exposure, substantiated by photographic proof, of Mrs. Besant’s unscrupulous tampering with and alteration of the Blavatsky’s teachings as presented in the so-called Volume III of The Secret Doctrine, which Mrs. Ransom would have us believe to be an authentic portion of the work (Theosophist, May, p.153).

Mrs. Cleather was as closely associated with Blavatsky as was Mrs. Besant; Mrs. Cleather knew what Blavatsky taught and stuck to it; Mrs. Besant also knew what she taught, and altered it to suit her own caprices.

The forthcoming Adyar edition of The Secret Doctrine will doubtless bear witness to this, if we can judge by the prospectuses. Had Mrs. Cleather lived she would unquestionably have been able to present further evidences of this»

(Note: you can download digital version of this journal here, p.118-121 in pdf)




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