W. Q. Judge – The Link

from a talk March 21th 1953, Bombay, India

B.P. Wadia  

© 2003 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö 

William Quan Judge was one of the three chief founders of the Theosophical Society in New York in 1875. H.P.Blavatsky and Col. H.S.Olcott were the other two. Associated with them at the beginning were about 20 others, but in the course of time they fell away from theosophical work. From the nature of the correspondence between Mme. Blavatsky and W. Q. Judge it becomes clear that his inner nature was, from the first, known to her, more than to himself. Working for many years through the vicissitudes of the Movement, Judge caught a glimpse of it, and knew it, then, for himself. He records that when he first met H.P.B. he felt he was meeting an old friend, and taking up with her a mutual thread of work from the past.

Every student of Theosophy can profit from the precepts and example that he set in his work and dealing with others, in his way of life, his writings and teachings. To the student of history at that time, his position is unmistakable: it is from the expression of the Theosophical Movement in him, and through him, that his position as a "link" and a "bridge" between the world of the Masters, from whom H.P.B. came, and the world of men, of which Col. Olcott was the chief, and he, Judge, represented in the Movement. He thus stood for the middle of the "Three Sections" (The Masters, the Chelas, humanity in general) – Judge represented the "type" of the successful chela.

Just as the Theosophical Movement forms a link between the Lodge of the Masters, and the world of men, so Mr. Judge, represents the "bridge" between the two as found represented in the Theosophical Movement. He is one of the few "successes" on the difficult chela's path.

For three cycles of seven years he served as a disciple, accredited by H.P.B. It is quite unusual for an individual to be so proclaimed, as one who is the disciple of a Great Teacher, a great Master. H.P.B. did this because she knew the need for members of the T.S. at that time, to know the special and peculiar position that Mr. Judge occupied in the scheme of the Theosophical Movement: "as the bridge between the two Manas(es)" as a throbbing heart left between the Great Fraternity of Adepts and the wandering, questing, roving and searching mind of humanity, floundering in the labyrinths of the world, and things lacking of the true.

An inquirer might ask: Why should W.Q.J. be respected on the authority of H.P.B.?  It becomes, to answer this, necessary for earnest students to find out for themselves what the "mind" of W.Q. Judge is. They will find that he wrote simple, profound and clarifying articles. He wrote one of the best text-books on Theosophy: The Ocean of Theosophy: He recorded the Echoes he heard from the world of the real Orient; from the Bhagavad Gita (which he rendered into English from the Sanskrit) one finds his Notes on the same; following this is a marvelous Epitome: and, above all these, the energy and dynamic inspiration of his Letters That Have Helped Me written to awake the souls of scores of his friends and correspondents. For then, as for our times now, there were many enquirers and students seeking for Truth and forming themselves into working study-groups and Lodges.

A practical ideal that he strove to establish was to see that there was a single, united, and working lodge of Theosophists, with centers everywhere active in the world, where the teachings of the Masters, and Their Messenger: H.P.B. would be preserved and actively studied. Thus, we should use again a sentence that he wrote: "I care everything for the unsectarianism that H.P.B. died to start." This is a theme for our thought and meditation. It demands that we discriminate, that we differentiate between the extremes of seeing "Theosophy" in any good movement of social uplift – and go about saying: "Lo here, and Lo there": this is "theosophy"; and, becoming narrow and credal in our own view of Theosophy, following the war of words and argument, and losing sight of the ideas that they enshrine and convey. This last is a kind of theosophical sectarianism and is as much to be avoided as the "seeing of theosophy 'everywhere.'"

Mr. Judge assumed the duty of spreading the one great idea: that man recognize the great spiritual principle of Universal Brotherhood. Not only that, but that he should honor it by practice in terms of his own way of life. Everyone was welcome, provided always that they were honest and sincere searchers for Truth. And he stood for that other great idea: that the T.S. was founded for students of great philosophical thoughts; and, that Truth, when found, answered all the problems and questions of life; and, being true, Theosophy, had no two answers for any one question. Theosophy, he said was the "mathematics of the soul;" as in mathematics, one has to study the fundamentals as well as the theorems and problems to acquire any conviction for oneself of their accuracy.

One may ask by what path did Mr. Judge, the disciple, come to be placed by H.P.B. in a position to radiate the light of the occult world to men of this present day? He did not regard himself as an "Irishman," though he was born in Dublin; nor only as a "citizen of the U.S.A." He separated himself from his profession as a "lawyer"; from his religion, as he was born in a Christian family; nor did he look on himself as "political self", of any party or nationality. He placed himself above the distinctions called caste, creed, religion, politics, profession or nationality. He deliberately chose to base himself on certain great ideas – universal and impersonal truths, that inspire and energize all men however fallen, to take steps in the right direction. "Theosophist is, who Theosophy does" was a motto adopted by him. As a true student of Theosophy, working with mind and heart, he broke these bonds, proclaiming, in the words of Tom Paine: "The World is my country, and to do good, is my religion" The whole of mankind are my brothers!

It is prejudice that keeps us all in the sphere of the mediocre and the sectarian. Theosophy, being universal, destroys these limits. H.P.B. was the one who said that there could be no "local" theosophists. There is no local Theosophy. True Theosophists have no distinctions, and wear no labels. Judge was, first of all a man. His favorite book was the Bhagavad-Gita; and, therefore, he might be called a "brahmin," but, he would not have allowed that or accepted it. He called that scripture "the study of Adepts." It was the gift of Krishna, the primordial preserver, a Great Teacher to mankind, and as such he said, it should be used and studied by all who chose the path of chelaship, hoping to become wise, and ultimately, Adepts. He stated at a crucial time that the doors of the T.S. had to be opened to all, without any exceptions. Every man has a right to seek Truth; and: Theosophy is a statement of facts in Nature. If such a seeker does not see the value of Masters as ideals and facts; still, because of his honesty and sincerity the doors are open to him. Everything that Judge wrote is found to convey this attitude of non-prejudice. If one is patient and careful one will find in his articles answer one's heart's desire and open the path of purpose in life.

Where did he acquire this knowledge? While H.P.B. was writing Isis Unveiled. This was during the years 1875-1877 when he participated, as did Col. Olcott, in that work. Anyone interested in determining the difference between these two earliest and closest students of H.P.B., need only read the articles and writings that they have left us. Using a phrase found in the Gita, we could call Judge a "man of meditation." We do this after considering his rendition of the Bhagavad Gita, and Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms, and the Notes he wrote thereon. From his many articles and the letters he wrote his associates and friends, we can see how he tested these propositions for himself by meditation, concentration, strong search, and the will to serve and help others.

He accepted nothing blindly, but tested all teachings in the crucible of his own heart and mind. As an example of this, consider the nature of the Aphorisms on Karma or, the Hints which Mr. Judge published after The Secret Doctrine was issued. Therein we can measure the depths of his understanding and discernment. He gathered these, as a man of calmness and reflection, drawing the worlds of time and space into his consciousness for the truths hidden there. He never claimed to know what H.P.B. did not give out as hints, as some others did, saying that they had heard directly from Her Masters! He put forward no claims of originality. He could discern in her words the "hints" that were therein concealed, and he was humble in regard to his own ability and knowledge, always pointing to Her and to Them.

Another great quality that we can discern in Mr. Judge is that of profundity of mind, and, a careful use of it in checking the acts of the body and the "head", with the heart's intuition. At one time, H.P.B. wrote, saying that her Lucifer magazine was like the fighting, combative and active Higher-manas, but, Mr. Judge's Path she compared to "pure Buddhi," and she said that this was not hers, but the Masters opinion.

It is a sense of this quality of developed intuition that inspires and energizes all those who study his articles. It is the impact on our minds that is first noticed, not the authority of the "person" who says it. Were such an attitude towards the teachings of Theosophy universally adopted the whole movement would benefit through the self-induced and self-devised approach both H.P.B. and W.Q.J recommended. In other words, our "heart" will not show truth to our "minds" until we grasp, firmly, the concept that Theosophy is the only thing worth living for!

Such a position and attitude gives us the strength and power of the facts and truths that it embodies. It is so, that our embodied, personal consciousness may be enabled to penetrate, to fly, inward to its Parent Source (the Higher Self) where the eternal "sunlight of life" shines – far from this world of disease, doubt and darkness of mind and heart.

Looking at the life and work of Mr. Judge we can employ it as a measure of our own resolve. Are we willing to be strong, strong enough, willing enough, honest enough to decide that matters of our ordinary physical and personal lives must take second or third, or last place; and Theosophy and its application be placed first? We all learn how to value it, as we try to pass on what we understand.

In the stories about Jesus is the one of the young man who came to him, asking to join his band of disciples. As he was wealthy, Jesus told him that first, he must go back and sell all his possessions. That is, to give up and relieve himself of all that which at the moment bound him; and, then, make the following of him and his teachings the first concern – and, the story tells us that the young man went away, "sorrowing" because he had great possessions and was either unable to understand what Jesus meant, or was unwilling to dispose of them.

Everyone of us desires peace and contentment, but how many are willing to pay the price for these? All want the joy of living, but are we willing to endure the sorrows, disease and death – so that these may fall away from us –  and thus learn the meaning of the phrase: "the higher carelessness" which Mr. Judge uses in one of his Letters?

Judge, the non-sectarian, knew what the Path was. That Path which is called Light, Peace and Holiness. It has been traced by the feet of the Masters who have trodden it before us for hundreds of incarnations, living to help and to show it to others. These Men, great in true Meditation, true Compassion and true Knowledge pour the sweet waters of Truth, some say, they emanate from their "Lotus Feet," using the imagery of the East. These are the Adepts, the Masters for whom H.P.B. served as Agent; of which Judge was the devoted disciple, and whom all Theosophists ought to come to know. We need to bear in our heart and remember that which H.P.B. declared: – "where thought can pass, They can come." Will we let this happen to us? Will we open our ears and hearts to Them?

Is there not hope for us all? Mr. Judge wrote that the Masters lived in fact "on the inner planes of our own being." It is the Master within, the Higher Self, which is One with the Great ALL, that we must seek to know. "Take one step in our direction, and we will take one in yours," They said. Only misguided and self-deceived persons think otherwise. "Try," is the watch-word of those disciples who have determined to be victorious.

If the Theosophical philosophy is true, then ours is the privilege to see the vision of Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Pythagoras, Mohammed, and all the great prophets and sages, and the long line of Rishis all of whom continue alive, not "dead!" These form a mighty bridge, called in Sanskrit the Guruparampara chain. They represent to us the Himalayas of the Spirit. They are those summits of eminence, unchanging, clad in the eternal snows of their Wisdom. We, gazing from the "plains" of our life, on this symbol, may draw together in the company of those companions we sense are also seeking Them, as we are. Here and there they gather, seeking to establish again those living links of sympathy and work that can lead all to the Great Abyss; which, seemingly divides their World from ours. This precipice cannot be bridged unless we extend our "hands," our "willingness," and stretch out to seize hold of those mighty hands extended to pull us across to the land of virgin and immaculate truth that lies ever there. The goal lies before us all. We can achieve if we will. We can help others to transcend this world of strife and confusion by using that perpetual chant of encouragement They eternally diffuse: "Man can redeem himself. He can do now what multitudes have done in the past. He can reach to immortality."


[NOTE: This article is made up from notes taken down by Dallas TenBroeck of Mr. Wadia's talk given in Bombay U.L.T., March 21 1953.]


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