[Ever since H.P.B. made the statement that "no Master of Wisdom would himself appear or send anyone to Europe or America . . . until the year 1975," speculation has been rife as to what type of teacher or messenger would then appear, and would he or would he not work among the formal theosophical organizations then in existence during the closing decades of this century. We reproduce hereunder the major portion of G. de Purucker's interpretation of H.P.B.'s statement, as given by him to his esoteric students in the 1930s. --Ed.]
It is not infrequently stated that the stream of inspiration from the Lodge of the Great Teachers ceased with the passing of H. P. Blavatsky, and that there will be no recurrence of the flow of that stream of inspiration and light until the Teacher comes whom she spoke of as coming about the beginning of the last quarter of the century. That idea is entirely erroneous.
All of you are doubtless familiar with the following passage from H.P.B.'s "First Preliminary Memorandum" issued by her in 1888 to the members of the E.S.:
Let every member know, moreover, that the time for such priceless acquisition is limited. The writer of the present is old; her life is well-nigh worn out, and she may be summoned "home" any day and almost any hour. And if her place is even filled up, perchance by another worthier and more learned than herself, still there remain but a few years to the last hour of the term -- namely, till December the 31st, 1899. Those who will not have profited by the opportunity (given to the world in every last quarter of a century), those who will not have reached a certain point of psychic and spiritual development, or that point from which begins the cycle of adeptship, by that day -- those will advance no further than the knowledge already acquired. No Master of Wisdom from the East will himself appear or send anyone to Europe or America after that period, and the sluggards will have to renounce every chance of advancement in their present incarnation -- until the year 1975. Such is the Law, for we are in Kali-Yuga -- the Black Age -- and the restrictions in this cycle, the first 5,000 years of which will expire in 1897, are great and almost insuperable.
As a few words of help, I would like to point out that H.P.B. was writing at a critical time in the history of the T.S.; and furthermore was writing to what she called her Esotericists. She pointed out very clearly that she was soon to pass away. She gave a hint so broad that few have noticed it, so wide that it has escaped observation, so deep that nobody has felt it, to the effect that someone would take her place. She called attention to the obvious fact that those who, belonging to the E.S., did not reach a certain stage of inner development, of understanding; in other words, as she phrased it, who did not put their feet on the pathway leading to Adeptship, would be sluggards and would have to wait and bide their time, not merely some eighty-five or ninety years ahead, or whatever the number of years may be from the time when she wrote to, let us say, 1980; but they would have to bide their time perhaps until the next life.
No Master of Wisdom came before H.P.B. came, nor while she was alive, nor has come since her passing; and it is in the highest degree improbable that any Master of Wisdom will come openly until the next great epoch of spiritual rejuvenation -- and the great epoch I have in mind will not come so soon as 1975. Messengers, however, will come regularly, as long as the 'link is unbroken.' But, as H.P.B. points out, none was 'sent' to Europe or America either while she was alive or after she passed on. And why should such come? As she herself points out in substance: someone will follow me in all likelihood ( ". . . due to her being sent out alone into the world to gradually prepare the way for others." -- K.H. in The Mahatma Letters, p. 203). For you, your time for learning from me these precious truths is now.
Writing to her then Esotericists, was she writing to people of the future, who would be esotericists twenty or thirty or forty or fifty or more years after she passed away: "If you do not take your chances now when I write -- I a sick and dying woman soon to pass away -- you will not learn from me"? Certainly not!
No Master of Wisdom will come himself or send anybody to Europe and America as H.P.B. was sent. Once in a century is enough in order to do propaganda in that way. Once the link is established, and the connections made between the Great Lodge and the outside world, the inner esoteric life begins to flow and the teaching is given for those who prove themselves ready to receive it -- who come and knock at the door of the Temple.
The Messengers do not come and advertise themselves in the newspapers. They come quietly and in the silence, not with flashes and blaring of trumpets. Their message is to the hearts of men, to those who are ready at any time; for none is neglected. The Masters of Wisdom and Compassion are always ready and always waiting and always working. The door is never shut against those whose feet are on the pathway. The Great Ones work among men continuously, uninterruptedly; and have done so for ages. Anyone whose feet are on the path, who shows even the smallest glimmer of the Buddhic Splendor, is watched, guided, helped; and if he succeeds, he finally is openly received into the Brotherhood.
The Masters are working in the silence constantly; and the supposition that their work, the Theosophical Society in the world, and the E.S. which their Messenger H.P.B. founded, were to be left without guidance and light is a monstrous perversion of the truth.
Nor will it be a Master of Wisdom who will be that particular one of the Messengers to appear or to be at work (not necessarily to 'appear') during the last quarter of the century.
Yet, lest my words be misunderstood, I call upon you to bear witness in the records to what I am now going to tell you. Do not be too ready to receive anyone who may come with mere claims. Be not too ready to reject anyone who may be able to teach you. Do not fasten your minds upon a certain particular kind of Teacher or Messenger; for the high probability is that you will guess wrongly. Be awake; be alert; be earnest; be devoted; be loyal and steady; be compassionate; be forgiving; be loving; cultivate the virtues. Then, when the new effort of the end of this century begins, you will be good material to work with if you are still alive, and you will know whither to turn.
For I tell you now, and I warn you, that there will in all probability be conflicting claims. Even my present words will be quoted. Be awake, be prepared; cultivate the inner vision, the inner light.
Nor will the work of this particular Messenger -- who in all probability will not be greater than those who have already come, but whose work will be a particularly precarious and difficult one, and who will merit all your devotion and help -- necessarily begin in the month of January, 1975. Remember that he may not begin his work exactly on the New Year of 1975, or on the esoteric New Year. He may begin a little before or a little after, or much before or much after. But his work will be during the last quarter of this century.
So far as that Messenger to come is concerned, there is a danger in building up too idealistic and too lofty a conception of who and what that Messenger will be -- for his work will be greatly impeded, hindered, if there be among Theosophists of those days at the time of his coming an expectation, a conception, a notion, an idea, that an incarnate divinity has come to walk upon the earth and teach men. You will find that he will be -- those of you who may be still alive -- a quiet, simple, kindly, devoted, individual, who will be of course fully prepared and fitted for the work that he will have to do. Nor is it probable that he will be greater or farther advanced than are the Messengers who have already come.
I have no right to tell you anything that I am not sure of, but I think that Brother Judge was perfectly right when he suggested that it is very likely that H.P.B. herself will be the new Messenger who will come back at the end of this century. I think that it will be H.P.B., or rather the spirit-soul who in her last imbodiment was known as H.P.B.
In 1889, William Q. Judge, who was at that time secretary to H.P.B., wrote as follows:
If we succeed in carrying the T.S. well along into the twentieth century, there is a very great possibility that we can transmit it pure and undogmatic to such successors as will, after our death, keep it in being until the next twenty-five year cycle. At that time another messenger will come. In my opinion he will be the same being as now directs our efforts. In such an event there would be ready for his further work a Society that might be fit for greater things than our present T.S. is, and if so, all our efforts now will be crowned with success. If, on the contrary, the members fail now, great will be the responsibility upon every one of us then. In view of this, it is expected that the Section shall strive to become the life and core of the Theosophical movement, so that it may carry the spirit and genius of the movement through the seventy-five years which will begin at about the year 1900. If this shall be accomplished, then in 1975 there will be an instrument ready at hand for the returning Messenger to use during the last twenty-five years, instead of having to construct it anew amid jars and discords such as have surrounded H.P.B. for fifteen years. Now in the Key to Theosophy she plainly states that the strength and power of this ideal Section will not rest so much in the technical occult knowledge of the members as in the spiritual development, coupled with good common-sense, which they shall have attained. . . .
Let everyone, then, who reads this listen to the call. A mental sacrifice is demanded, an abandonment of self, a complete renunciation, an entire devotion to this cause. Altruism must be made the line of our lives, for by that alone can the end in view be reached. We are not associated in this Section for our own individual profit, nor for the glory of H.P.B., nor for the making of new mysteries or dogmas, but only that men and races of men after us may become brothers such as we should be. -- Suggestions and Aids
The important thing about it will be that he will come at a cyclical period and will be greatly helped by the beginning of that cyclical period, a very short period but a very important one in each century; and therefore did H. P. Blavatsky, and therefore does every Messenger preceding him, point to that period as an important one. Cultivate within your own selves love, and you will understand the love that he will give you. Cultivate within your own hearts forgiveness, and you will then understand the forgiveness that will flow forth from him to you. Be truthful and you will recognize truthfulness when you hear it; and you will recognize his truthfulness when he comes.
In real Esotericism no appointing such as is often supposed is ever made in the ordinary way, by paper and ink, or by print, or by ribbons and seals and notarial certifications, and what not. That method is childish. Such documents can be destroyed or forged, laid aside or lost. The method is too uncertain altogether -- too uncertain. The Successor is known by his life, by his teachings, and by the way in which his predecessor treated him. There may be, in addition to all this, a declaration, written or spoken, or there may not be such, but the written or spoken declaration would add not one feather's weight of importance to the reality.
A strange and curious situation; and some of you may say that it is a very parlous situation: "How are we to know?" The situation is usually deliberately left as I have told you. Think about the matter. Suppose that a Mahatman came to you with a legally drawn document with an imposing red or blue seal, and with a blue or black ribbon sealed upon the paper, the legend on the paper saying, or having words, something like this: "To all whom it may concern: Be it known that I, Maha-Chohan of Sambhala, hereby certify that ------ is my fully authorized agent to do such and such work in the Theosophical Society, and to be successor of so-and-so in the E.S." What would you think? Your first instinct would be one of amusement, perhaps. The second would be one of suspicion.
On the other hand, consider a man who comes among you, or who has been among you: he is quiet, unobtrusive, kindly, perhaps through the years you watch him; you see that he does no harm, that he is studious, that he is gentle, that he is forgiving; that he lives the life as far as you know; that he is faithful to duty, and that he carries out all the rules and regulations of the station of life in which his karma puts him. You hear him speak. You may or may not be impressed by what he says, but you are impressed at least with the feeling that he is an honest man. Then when the time comes, you suddenly realize that things are in safe hands; that there is strength in this man, strength of judgment, strength of will, that there are wisdom, knowledge, spiritual power. In other words, you are keenly conscious that the insignia of reality and of authority are in the man himself. Which of the two would you then choose to follow: the man who comes bringing a paper, or the man whom you know?
Remember also that the Servants of the Lodge come quietly and go quietly. They work quietly and they live quietly. Whatever they do, however public it may be, on however grand a scale, on however small or apparently insignificant a scale, it may be, in which they work, whatever they do carries a mark of power and ability.
I am writing in this way with great deliberation, because the time is coming in the future when you may have to make your choice -- and mark you, I don't say that you will have to. It may be that events will follow some other path. But in emphasizing my words thus, I want to awaken intuition in your minds. I want to acquaint you with how things are conducted in the Esoteric Life, as far as I can do so.
Did H.P.B. bring anything except herself? No; she herself was her own proof. If H.P.B. had appeared in the world with a formally witnessed and attested document certifying her status as a Messenger of the Lodge, would she in any wise have been greater than she was? Would her position as a Messenger from the Lodge thereby have been 'proved'? The answer is an obvious No. H.P.B. proved what she was by what was in her.
There is in the exterior world, and outside the Great Lodge, this succession of Teachers, following each other in serial order -- called in Sanskrit the Guru-paramparya, i.e. the Guruparampara -- each one authorized to teach, each one capable of teaching, and each one therefore teaching. But will the succession continue, or will it be -- even if temporarily -- broken? If the call of your hearts is strong enough, and if the appeal of your minds is sincere enough, the line of succession will continue, and will endure, if these conditions prevail, throughout the ages of the future. Should it [not] happen, then make the call anew. If the call is strong enough and sincere enough, it will be answered.
No Teacher has ever passed on what Mystics and Occultists call the Living Word and Knowledge -- in other words, the authority in the line of succession of teachings and Teachers, which line of succession always prevails in every truly occult School -- by merely formal documents. The Successor is his own proof; and once you know the real man, nothing that is written against him or for him thereafter will cause you to change your mind. The man himself carries in himself the proofs of his high authority and lofty mission. It is a matter solely of merit and of spiritual standing of one called forth by the heart-cry of those who are hungry for truth and spiritual leadership.