Edmond W. Fern

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According to Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett:

Fern, Edmond, W., a young Englishman born in India. At the time the Letters were being written, he was apparently serving as some kind of secretary to AOH at Simla and may have been living in the Hume home. Apparently he was somewhat of a psychic and the Mahatmas considered that he might have valuable potential for the transmission of messages, etc. He joined the TS and was placed on probation under the supervision of M. It appears that he failed to pass the probationary tests. ML index; LMW; D, p. 524. [1]

Probation

Mahatma M. took an interest in Mr. Fern and accepted him as a chela on probation:

[W]hen we take candidates for chelas, they take the vow of secrecy and silence respecting every order they may receive. One has to prove himself fit for chelaship, before he can find out whether he is fit for adeptship. Fern is under such a probation. . .[2]
The option of receiving him or not as a regular chela — remains with the Chohan. M. has simply to have him tested, tempted and examined by all and every means, so as to have his real nature drawn out.[3]
Fern is in the hands of two clever — ‘dwellers of the threshold’ as Bulwer would call them — two dugpas kept by us to do our scavengers’ work, and to draw out the latent vices — if there be any — from the candidates; and Fern has shown himself on the whole, far better and more moral than he was supposed to be.[4]

As the probation went on, he was found lacking moral strength. Mahatma M. wrote:

Fern was tested and found a thorough Dugpa in his moral nature. We will see, we will see; but very little hope left notwithstanding his splendid capacities. Had I hinted to him to deceive his own father and mother he would have thrown in their fathers and mothers in the bargain. Vile, vile nature — yet irresponsible.[5]

On October 1882, Master K.H. wrote a letter to Mr. Sinnett saying:

If he fails next year again — and with all his great gifts, how can such an incurable little jesuit and liar help failing? — he will do his best to pull down the Society with him — as regards belief in the "Brothers" at least. Try to save him, if possible, my dearest friend; do your best to convert him to truth and unselfishness. It is real pity that such gifts should be drowned in a mire of vice — so strongly engrafted upon him by his early tutors. Meanwhile, beware of ever allowing him to see any of my letters.[6]

Mr. Fern was finally expelled from the Theosophical Society by the end of 1882. In 1883 Master K.H. wrote:

Fern was a most remarkable psychic subject, naturally — very spiritually inclined, but corrupted by Jesuit masters, and with his sixth and seventh Principles completely dormant and paralysed within him. No idea of right and wrong whatever; in short — irresponsible for anything but the direct and voluntary actions of the animal man.[7]

Notes

  1. George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 231.
  2. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 75 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 231.
  3. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 74 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 227.
  4. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 75 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 232.
  5. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 89 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 278.
  6. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 92 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 288-289.
  7. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 101 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 344.