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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Chapter V
I, in the meantime, had started a Secret Doctrine class and had rented a room on Madison Avenue where we could [190] hold classes and see people by appointment. This Secret Doctrine class was started in 1921 and was exceedingly well-attended. People from the various Theosophical societies and occult groups came regularly. Mr. Richard Prater, an old associate of W.Q. Judge and a pupil of H.P.Blavatsky came to my class one day and the next week turned his entire Secret Doctrine class over to me.

I mention this for the benefit of United Lodge of Theosophists and for those who claim that the true Theosophical lineage descends from H.P.B. via W.Q. Judge. All the Theosophy that I knew had been taught me by personal friends and pupils of H.P.B. and this Mr. Prater recognized. Later he gave me the esoteric section instructions as given to him by H.P.B. They are identical with those I had seen when in the E.S. but they were given to me with no strings attached to them at all and I have been at liberty to use them at any time and have used them. When he died many years ago his theosophical library came into our hands with all the old Lucifers and all the old editions of the Theosophical magazine, plus other esoteric papers which he had received from H.P.B.

Among the papers which he gave me was one in which H.P.B. expressed her wish that the esoteric section should be called the Arcane School. It never was and I made up my mind that the old lady should have her wish and that was how the school came to get its name. I regarded it as a great privilege and happiness to know Mr. Prater.

Another old pupil of Madame Blavatsky and Col.Olcott, Miss Sarah Jacobs, gave me the photographic plates of the Masters' pictures which were given to her by Col. Olcott so that I have more than a happy feeling that the personal pupils and friends of H.P.Blavatsky approved of what I was setting out to do. I had their endorsement and their help until they passed over to the other side. They [191] were, naturally, all old people when I first met them. The attitude of the current Theosophical leaders and membership has always amused me. They have never approved of what I taught and yet what I taught came direct from personally trained pupils of H.P.B. and is more likely to be correct than that which has come from those who have not known her. I mention this because for the sake of the work I would like to have its sources recognized.

From the Secret Doctrine class arose groups of students all over the country who received the outlined lessons that I was giving to the class on Madison Avenue. These classes grew and prospered until they aroused definite Theosophical antagonism and I was warned by Dr. Jacob Bonggren that the classes were under attack. He was an old pupil of H.P.B. and his writings are to be found in the earlier magazines and I am very proud that he stood behind me in those earlier days.

In 1921 we formed a small meditation group of five men and my husband and myself who used to meet every Tuesday afternoon after business hours to talk about the things that mattered, to discuss the Plan of the Masters of the Wisdom and to meditate for awhile on our part in it. This group met steadily from the summer of 1922 until the summer of 1923. In the meantime I was continuing to write for the Tibetan and "Initiation Human & Solar," "Letters on Occult Meditation" and "The Consciousness of the Atom" had been printed.

People are apt to assume that if you write a book on such a technical subject as meditation that you know all about it. I began to get letters from all over the world from people asking me to teach them to meditate or to put them in touch with the Masters of the Wisdom. The latter request always amused me. I'm not one of those occult teachers who claims to know exactly what the Master [192] wants done or to have the right to introduce the curious and the dumb to the Masters. The Masters are not contacted that way. They are not the prey of the curiosity seeker, the gullible or the unintelligent. They can be found by the selfless server of the race and the intelligent interpreter of the truth but by no one else.

I have given out the teaching as it has come to me by the Tibetan but it is His responsibility. As a Master of the Wisdom He knows what I do not know and has access to records and truths which are sealed to me. The assumption that I know all that is given out in His books is a false one. As a trained disciple I may know more than the average reader but I have no knowledge such as that possessed by the Tibetan. He has vast knowledge and I frequently give a little chuckle when I hear myself described by some antagonistic Theosophist (I could mention names but I will not), as "the peculiar lady who keeps her ear at the keyhole of Shamballa." It will be a long time before I have earned that right "to enter into the place where the Will of God is known," and when I do I shall need no keyhole.

In the summer of 1922 I went away with the family for three months to Amagansett, Long Island, and undertook to write a letter once a week to the group of men to study and read during our absence. In many cases this letter seemed appropriate to send to those inquiring about meditation, about the way to God and about the spiritual plan for humanity, so we sent them copies of these letters as we wrote them. By the time we returned to New York in September 1922 it was necessary to consider in what way we could possibly handle the correspondence that was accumulating as a result of the increasing sales of the books and how to meet the demand for Secret Doctrine classes and how to handle all the appeals for help along spiritual [193] lines with which we were confronted. We, therefore, in April 1923, organized the Arcane School.

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