Donald J. DeGracia Accepts the 1854 Birthdate for C.W. Leadbeater
- Donald J. DeGracia apparently accepts the
1854 birthdate for C.W. Leadbeater. See his
online book titled "BEYOND THE PHYSICAL: A Synthesis
of Science and Occultism In Light of Fractals, Chaos and
"Charles Webster Leadbeater (1854-1934), though
not in his day sharing the same degree of public
notoriety as Annie Besant, is no less controversial a figure.
Leadbeater's life is shrouded in intrigue and mystery.
A recent biographer has attempted to piece together details 1,
but many mysteries still remain. The whole origins of the
Theosophical Society, the accounts of Blavatsky, and the roles
played by Besant and Leadbeater, as well as the life exploits of
these figures and others (most notably J. Krishnamurti) make up a
most incredible set of stories. These have been amply documented and
I have no intention of going into them here 2.
However, the unfamiliar reader is strongly recommended
to look into these biographies, if simply for the sheer drama.
1 Tillet, (1982).
2 Leadbeater's biography is presented in the previous footnote. For
biographies of other relevant individuals see: For H.P. Blavatsky;
Neff, (1971) and Meade, (1980). For Annie Besant; Besant, (1893) and
Dinnage, (1986). For J. Krishnamurti see; Lutyens, (1975)."
It would be interesting to know DeGracia's thinking about
Leadbeater's claim to have been in London in 1851 in light
of the 1854 birthdate he gives above.
I give below Leadbeater's account of the London experience
extracted from his book THE MASTERS AND THE PATH:
Madame Blavatsky has often told us how she met
the Master Morya in Hyde Park, London, in the
year 1851, when He came over with a number of
other Indian Princes to attend the first great
International Exhibition. Strangely enough, I
myself, then a little child of four, saw Him also,
all unknowing. I can remember being taken to see
a gorgeous procession, in which among many other
wonders came a party of richly-dressed Indian
horsemen. Magnificent horsemen they were, riding
steeds as fine, I suppose, as any in the world, and
it was only natural that my childish eyes were
fixed upon them in great delight, and that they
were perhaps to me the finest exhibit of that
marvellous and fairy-like show. And even as I
watched them pass, as I stood holding my father' s
hand, one of the tallest of those heroes fixed me
with gleaming black eyes, which half-frightened
me, and yet at the same time filled me somehow
with indescribable happiness and exaltation. He
passed with the others and I saw Him no more, yet
often the vision of that flashing eye returned
to my childish memory.
Of course, l knew nothing then of who He was, and I should never
have identified Him had it not been for a gracious remark which He
made to me many years afterwards. Speaking one day in His presence
of the earlier days of the Society I happened to say that the first
time I had had the privilege of seeing Him in materialized form was
on a certain occasion when He came into Madame Blavatsky' s room at
Adyar, for the purpose of giving her strength and issuing certain
directions. He Himself, who was engaged in conversation with some
other Adepts, turned sharply upon me and said: "No, that was not
the first time. You had seen me before then in my physical body. Do
you not remember, as a tiny child, watching the Indian horsemen ride
past in Hyde Park, and did you not see how even then I singled you
out?" I remembered instantly, of course, and said "Oh, Master, was
that you? But I ought to have known it." I do not mention this
incident among the occasions when I have met and spoken with a
Master, both parties to the interview being in the physical body,
because I did not at the time know that great horseman to be the
Master, and because the evidence of so small a child might well be
doubted or discounted.