(Prefácio Biográfico). Samuel Hopgood Hart. Longo prefácio
biográfico na obra: Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism
(Palestras e Ensaios sobre Vegetarianismo) de Anna Kingsford e
Edward Maitland. Editada por Samuel Hopgood Hart. John M. Watkins,
Londres, 1912. 227 pp.
Informações: Esse Prefácio Biográfico enfatiza o trabalho de Anna Kingsford pelo vegetarianismo e contra a vivissecção. Aqui temos os textos completos desse Prefácio Biográfico de Samuel H. Hart, em inglês, e do capítulo O Vegetarianismo e a Bíblia, já em português.
Antes desses dois
textos, contudo, seguem uma nota de rodapé do próprio autor, no início desse
prefácio, e o índice dos capítulos da obra, já traduzidos ao português:
contei a história de Anna Kingsford e Edward Maitland enquanto
reformadores da alimentação e enquanto vegetarianos, e me limitei aos
assuntos que eram relevantes para suas vidas e obra em relação a esse
tema. Meu material, como se verá pelas referências, foi retirado quase
que inteiramente de A Vida de Anna Kingsford, que foi
escrito por Edward Maitland, e que foi publicado em 1896. Esse livro
oferece um relato bastante completo e interessante sobre Anna Kingsford,
Edward Maitland e sua obra. Ao usar tanto quanto possível de citações –
dentro dos limites acima referidos – permiti que eles mesmos contassem
sua própria história. Remeto a essa obra todos os que quiserem saber
mais sobre esses dois instrutores e reformadores. Todos os que quiserem
conhecer a história completa de Anna Kingsford como acadêmica de
Medicina, e de Anna Kingsford e Edward Maitland como trabalhadores
humanitários devem ler essa biografia. Há também uma outra biografia. Em
1893, enquanto escrevia e antecipando a publicação de A Vida de
Anna Kingsford, Edward Maitland escreveu a obra A História
do Novo Evangelho da Interpretação, na qual ele deu um relato
mais sintético de Anna Kingsford, dele mesmo e de sua obra. Em 1905, uma
terceira edição ampliada dessa obra foi publicada sob o título de
A História de Anna Kingsford, Edward Maitland e do Novo Evangelho da
Interpretação. Também me vali dessa obra para escrever esse
AUTORIA DE ANNA KINGSFORD:
(De 1881) Considerações Sociais (61-63)
(De 1881-2) Cartas sobre a Dieta Pura (64-76)
(De 1882) Uma Palestra sobre a Alimentação (77-100)
(De 1884) A Melhor Alimentação para o Homem (101-112)
(De 1885) A Fisiologia do Vegetarianismo (113-118)
Aspectos Históricos da Reforma da Alimentação (119-123)
Alguns Aspectos da Questão Vegetariana (124-144)
Mensagens para os Vegetarianos (145-150)
Evolução e Alimentação Carnívora (151-152)
AUTORIA DE EDWARD MAITLAND:
(De 1877) Extratos
da Obra Inglaterra e o Islã (153-158)
O Vegetarianismo em seus Aspectos Mais Elevados (159-169)
(De 1885) Vivissecção e Vegetarianismo (170-174)
Os Aspectos Mais Elevados do Vegetarianismo (175-178)
Evolução e Livre Pensamento (179-180)
(De 1893) O Aspecto Mais Elevado do Vegetarianismo (181-194)
Vegetarianismo – o Bom Senso do Mesmo (195-201)
O Melhor Alimento do Homem (202-205)
Vegetarianismo e Antigüidade (206-213)
O Vegetarianismo e a Bíblia (214-224)
Índice Remissivo (225-227)
[Note: This page number refers to the pages in the original.]
By Samuel Hopgood Hart
“All the earth is full of darkness and cruel habitations.” (Psalm 74:20)
“I know that at some distant day, now, indeed, perhaps very remote, the message we preach in a corner will become a religion of great nations.” (Anna Kingsford)
“Man’s whole idea and habit of life have become to be so utterly at variance with all possibility of the perfection of which his existence is capable, that only by incessant and unsparing denunciation can he be in any measure impressed with their heinousness.” (Edward Maitland)
ANNA KINGSFORD was born on 16th September 1846, at Stratford, in Essex. She was the daughter of John Bonus, being the youngest of twelve children. From her birth until her death she suffered from ill-health, which she ascribed to improper feeding by her ancestors, (2) “her illness, weakness,
and suffering surpassing anything conceivable, save by those who had intimate knowledge of her life.” But from her early childhood she believed that she had come to this earth to accomplish “some great and necessary work, on behalf both of herself and of others, which she alone could perform.” (1)
Deprived by her ill-health of the usual outlets, she early took to writing, her very first published production, a poem in religious magazine, having appeared when she was but nine years old; and her first book having been written at the age of thirteen. (2) So keen were her perceptions of the ideal, that her disappointment with the actual, which she felt throughout her life, was rendered all the more bitter. Edward Maitland says: “Hatred of injustice and its correlative cruelty, especially towards animals, attained in her the force and dignity of a passion,” and her sensitiveness on this score was the cause of “the chief mental misery of her life.” (3) The death of her father in 1865 put her into immediate possession of some £700 per annum, and so made her independent as far as money was concerned. (4)
In relating to Edward Maitland some of the incidents of her early life, she said:
“Between my leaving school and being married I was for a time passionately fond of hunting, and, when not disabled by illness, would spend the day in the saddle. (…) But suddenly one day, while riding home after a ‘splendid run and finish,’ as it is called, something in me asked me how I should like to be served so myself, and set me looking at the matter from the point of view of the hunted creature, making me vividly to realise its wild terror and breathless distress all the time it is being pursued, and the ghastly horror of its capture and death. It was even less, I believe, my sense of pity than of justice that rebuked and changed me. What right have I, I asked myself, thus to ill-treat a creature simply because it has a form which differs from my own? Rather, if I am superior, do its weakness and helplessness entitle it to my pity and protection than justify me in seeking my own gratification at its expense. And as for its lower position on the ladder of evolution, if there be evolution in one thing there must be in another – if
in the physical, then in the moral – so that for a man to act thus is to renounce his moral gains and abdicate his moral superiority. Of course that was the end of my hunting, and thenceforth I and my steed took our gallops by ourselves; for however much I may like a thing, I can never bring myself to do it while feeling it to be wrong. In fact, such a feeling would prevent my liking it.” (1)
It will be noticed from this and, in fact, from all her writings how strong was her sense of justice. Thus: “She would recognise no hard-and-fast line between masculine and feminine, human and animal, or even between animal and plant. In her eyes, everything that lived was humanity, only in different stages of its unfoldment.” (2) It was this sense of justice – “the essential of which,” she said, “is a sense of solidarity” – that also made her give up wearing furs. Shortly before her death, when writing of “the horrors of the seal-fishery,” she said:
“It is some years since I satisfied myself that the fur trade, and the sealskin trade in particular, were incompatible with the gentle life it should be the aim of civilised beings to lead, and since that time there have been no furs in my wardrobe.” (3)
On the last day of 1867, she was
married to her cousin, Algernon Godfrey
Kingsford, who was then in the Civil Service,
but who shortly afterwards became a clergyman in
the Church of England; and being “full of the
ideas which possessed her respecting a work in
store [for her], she made it a special condition
of her marriage that it should not fetter her in
respect of any career to which she might be
prompted.” (4) Of this marriage
there was one child only – a daughter – who
Some two or three years after her marriage she undertook
the risks and conduct, and became the proprietor of the Lady’s Own Paper, a London weekly magazine. (1) Her object in running this magazine was not to make money, but to make know her principles, which were everything to her; but as these compelled her, among other things, to exclude from the advertising columns thereof notices of any wares that failed to meet her approval, such as preparations of meats, etc., “in fact, whatever involved death in the procuring or ministered to death in the using” – she was, “after a two years’ trial and a loss of several hundred pounds,” forced to abandon her enterprise. (2)
When she renounced her magazine, being “under the impression that such a step was in some way related to the mission of which she had received such and so many mysterious intimations,” (3) she had already come to the determination to devote herself to the study of medicine, with a direct view to qualify herself for accomplishing: first, the abolition of vivisection – the existence of which she, as editor of The Lady’s Own Paper, had become aware of; and secondly, the abolition of flesh-eating, she having, under the tuition of her brother, Dr John Bonus, “adopted the Pythagorean regimen of abstinence from flesh-food, with such manifest advantage to herself, physically and mentally, as to lead her to see in it the only effectual means to the world’s redemption, whether as regards men themselves or the animals.” (4)
Writing, in 1879, to the Princess Marie-Christina of Austria, she said: “I am studying medicine in order to achieve the abolition of the slaughter and torture of animals, whether for food or for science.” (5)
She must have given up flesh-eating in, or prior to, the year 1871, for, in her book, The Perfect Way in Diet, which was published in 188I, she presented herself as an example of “the beneficial effects of the Pythagorean system of diet,” which, she said, “for a period of ten years,” she had “uninterruptedly maintained” (6) and, in 1886, when writing of facts and circunstances connected with her marvellous dreaming faculty and experiences, she said:
“For the past
fifteen years I have been an abstainer from flesh-meats. Not a vegetarian, because during the whole of that period I have used such animal produce as butter, cheese, eggs, and milk.” (1)
In the spring of 1873 she commenced to study medicine. She had scarcely commenced her studies when she had a very remarkable experience. She received a letter from a lady (who signed herself “Anna Wilkes”) who lived at a distance from, and who was a complete stranger to her. The writer stated that she had read with profound interest and admiration In My Lady’s Chamber (2) – a story written by Anna Kingsford – and that after reading it she had received from the Holy Spirit a message for her (Anna Kingsford) which was to be delivered in person, and would Mrs Kingsford receive her, and when? After some hesitation, Anna Kingsford asked her correspondent to come and see her, and she subsequently gave to Edward Maitland the following account of the meeting. She said:
“At the hour named I met her on the way while she was driving from the station, and was at once struck by her manner and appearance, and subsequently by her conversation, as much as I had been by her previous communication. She was tall, erect, distinguished looking, with hair of iron-grey, and strangely brilliant eyes. She told me that she had received a distinct message from the Holy Spirit, and had been so strongly impressed to come and deliver it to me in person that she could not refrain. Her message was to the effect that for five years to come I was to remain in retirement, continuing the studies on which I was engaged, whatever they might be, and the mode of life on which I had entered, suffering nothing and no one to draw me asside from them. And when these probationary and preparatory five years were past, the Holy Spirit would drive me forth from my seclusion to teach and to preach, and that a great work would be given me to do. All this she uttered with a rapt and inspired expression, as though she had been some sibyl delivering na oracle. And when she had ended, seeing, no doubt, my look of surprise, she asked me if I thought her mad – a question to which I was at some loss to reply, for I had encountered nothing of the kind before, and was disposed to share the impression which all ordinary and worldly folk
have always had concerning those who profess to be prophets. Having delivered her message, my prophetess kissed me on both cheeks and departed.” (1)
In the summer of the same year there
appeared in the Examiner, with a notice
of a tale by Anna Kingsford, a notice of a book,
By and by: an Historical Romance of
the Future, by Edward Maitland. This led to
her reading the book, with which she found
herself so much in sympathy that she wrote to
Edward Maitland – with whom she was then
entirely unacquainted –proposing an interchange
of ideas. (2)
Some correspondence followed, and later, Edward Maitland received an invitation to visit her and her husband at their home at Atcham, near Shrewsbury, her husband having been appointed Vicar of Atcham. This invitation he was not at the time able to accept, owing to great age and infirmity of his mother, with whom he then lived at Brighton, and the necessity of his almost constant attendance on her.
Writing on 4th August 1873 to Edward Maitland, she said:
“I have been the editor of a woman’s paper, and have addressed public meetings from platforms. By adoption and profession I am a member of that most conservative of churches, the Roman Catholic, (3) but by conviction I am rather a pantheist than anything else; and my mode of life is that of a fruit-eater. In other words, I have a horror of flesh as food, and belong to the Vegetarian Society. At present I am studying medicine with the view of ultimately entering the profession, – not for the sake of practice, but for scientific purposes.” (4)
In a subsequent letter (dated 14th August 1873) to Edward Maitland, referring to her “peculiar ideas respecting diet,” she said:
“These ideas are, I am very well persuaded, the future creed of a nobler and gentler race. I laugh when I hear folks talk hopefully on the coming age, which will decide all the quarrels of the world by means of international arbitration; and I have myself been scores of times invited to take part in ‘Women’s Peace Conventions’ and the like. These
poor deluded creatures cannot see that universal peace is absolutely impossible to a carnivorous race! If men feed like lions and tigers, they will, by the necessity of things, retain the nature of lions and tigers. (1) (...) I want to establish my theory about diet, and a few others belonging to the same category. Several physicians are on the same track, and all things appear to me indicate that the real salvation of the human race lies in a return to its ancient obedience to Nature. This primitive condition is depicted in the Hebrew allegory about the Garden of Eden. Man has no carnivorous teeth. The whole formation of his internal organs plainly presupposes his subsistence on fruits, grains, and vegetables. He has the rudiment of the third intestine peculiar to the vegetable-eating creatures, and his saliva-producing glands are those of the same race. But he has degenerated it by his habits in regard to diet, and debased himself. Nevertheless, his moral instincts are still against the habit he has adopted. For what little child, what gentle woman, or even what noble man, likes to see a sentient creature, full of health and life, immolated by knife or cord? Much less who, save a butcher, would care to do the murder necessary (?) for a single civilised dinner? I would like to force everyone who feeds on flesh to slay his or her own prey. I would like to oblige the fine lady to go and cut the throat of the innocent lamb or the pretty rabbit she wants to eat for her dinner. If she really had the nature she imitates, that would be a pleasant task to her. But she has it not; because she is by nature a being of higher race than the tiger or vulture.
I could bring forward endless proofs of my theory, proofs collected by dint of long and careful observation. And I know that in proportion as man abandons the diet of flesh and blood, and observers that of fruit and grain, his spirit becomes purer, higher, and diviner. So true is it that the body makes the soul.” (2)
A notice of Anna Kingsford in Light (3) says:
to her teaching was the word Purity. She held that man, like everything else, is only at his best when pure. And her insistence upon a vegetable diet – which she justified upon grounds at once physiological, chemical, hygienic, economical, moral, and spiritual – was based upon the necessity to his perfection of a purity of blood and tissue attainable only upon a regimen drawn direct from the fruits of the earth, and excluding the products of the slaughter of innocent creatures.” (1)
In the autumn she passed her preliminary examination at the Apothecary’s Hall, “with success so great as to fill her with high hopes of a triumphant passage through the course of her student life.” (2)
In a letter (dated 24th November) to Edward Maitland, she said
“I see everywhere in the universe inflexible, unchangeable Law; but Love I fail to see, unless the Law involves it in its course. I see everywhere prevailing the Rule of the Strong. In the depths of the sea, in the remote wilderness, in the open air of heaven, the swift and the powerful gain the battle of life. The dove is torn by the hawk, the fawn is murdered by the tiger, the tiny goldfish is victimised by some voracious cannibal of the waters. I see everywhere slaughter, suffering, and terror; and I score one to the theologians. For throughout Nature, Life is continued by means of Death. Is not the God who made all this just the very God who would delight in the death of an innocent victim? Is not the God who voluntarily surrounds himself with carnage and misery just the very God whom the sight of Calvary’s Cross would please? Some years ago I wrote these words in an essay for a magazine: ‘True religion is the infelt sense of harmony with the universe.’ (...) I must confess that I have lately moved from this standpoint of opinion. I do not find myself, when at my highest altitude of feeling, in harmony with the prevailing sentiment of Nature. If I were, I should not be a vegetarian. I should slay and eat, like the rest of my species. But, nevertheless, I know well that gentleness and horror of bloodshed characterise all noble and great dispositions, even though all these may not carry their ideas to a logical and practical issue as I do. How, then, reconcile this tenderness of soul with an admiration of Nature’s dispensations? Is not the morality of civilised man alone the morality of
Nature? Yet what a horrible inconsistency! What a ludicrous anomaly! For is not Nature the manifestation of God? And how, then, is it possible for man, who is part of God, to be more moral than the whole of which he is a fraction? How, in Christian phrase, can man be more just than his maker?” (1)
In replying, Edward Maitland said:
“I suggest that – supposing the Supreme Cause to be intelligent and feeling in our sense – it is not unimaginable that He may totally disregard physical pain and death as of no consequence in themselves, and look solely to the evolution, through them, of the moral nature. If the human conscience be the supremest result of the universe, and the sole end worth attaining, may it not be that such discipline as is inseparable from the idea of pain is essential to the production of that end?” (2)
To this, Anna Kingsford replied:
“Once or twice I have fancied that the key to the secret of the Universe might be found in the Transmigration theory of wise old Pythagoras. It has long been my serious and profound conviction that if men have immortal spirits, so also have all living creatures. We cannot logically arrogate perpetuity of being to our own species. And it is just possible that the germ of the soul, existing, perhaps, rudimentarily in the lowest forms of vegetation, may gather strength to itself by passing upwards through numberless modes of being, until it culminates in man (...) and at length mounts into higher atmospheres, and departs to inhabit the many ‘many mansions’ of the Father among the starry spheres. But this, of course, is the merest conjecture, avowedly set forth to account for the fact of earthly suffering among men and other living creatures. (...) As your son has a taste for medical study, it would be interesting and useful to him to investigate the influences of diet upon the system, and the relation of the human digestive organs to food. This is one of the most important items of the ‘sublime science’ I mean to study it specially myself, and am going to Paris for this purpose next March. Women are admitted to the medical schools there. I am disappointed to think there is so small a chance of our meeting soon. I comfort myself with the knowledge, however, that we certainly shall meet some time.” (3)
In the following January Edward Maitland met Anna
Kingsford for a short time one afternoon in London. (1) In the Life of Anna Kingsford he gives an interesting account of this their first meeting. She then told him that “justice as between men and women, human and animal, were her foremost aims. For all injustice was cruelty, and cruelty was, for her, the one unpardonable sin. It was their cruelty that more than anything else made her own kind hateful to her. For she was not a lover of humanity, if by that word be meant men and women; her love was all principles, not for persons.” (2) The meeting was sufficient to convince him of the “unusual character of the personality” with which he had come into contact, and, at parting, he found himself pledged to visit Anna Kingsford and her husband at the earliest opportunity. This, as will be seen, occurred in the following February, and the importance of the visit cannot be overrated, for it was from that time that the collaboration between Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland which has been so much to the world may be said to have begun. (3)
Edward Maitland was born on 27th October 1824 at Ipswich. He was the son of the Rev. Charles David Maitland, Perpetual Curate of St. James’ Chapel, Brighton. When he first met Anna Kingsford, his position was as follows: he, too, had been conscious from an early age of having “a mission in life”; (4) an idea that had remained with him, gathering force and consistency, until it was made clear to him that “not destruction merely, but construction, not the exposure of error, but the demonstration of truth, was comprised in it.” (5) He was bent on penetrating the secret of things at first hand, and by means of a thought absolutely free. He had been brought up in the strictest of evangelical sects, and had, even as a lad, begun to be revolted by the creed in which he was reared – specially the tenets of the depravity of man and vicarious atonement, which he regarded as “a libel nothing short of blasphemous against both God an man”: and he early came to feel that “no greater boon could be bestowed on the world that its emancipation from the bondage of belief so degrading and so destructive of any lofty ideal”: and that only in such measure as he might be the means of
their abolition would his life be a success and a satisfaction to himself. He says:
“It even seemed to me that my own credit was involved in the matter, and that in disproving such beliefs I should be vindicating my own character. For if God were evil, as those doctrines made Him, I could by no possibility be good, since I must have my derivation from Him. And I knew that, however weak and unwise I might be, I was not evil.” (1)
His life, too, like Anna Kingsford’s, had been one of much isolation and meditation. He says:
“I had felt myself a stranger even with my closest intimates. For I was always conscious of a difference which separated me from them, and of a side to which they could not have access. I had graduated at Cambridge with the design of taking orders; but only to find that I could not do so conscientiously, and to feel that to commit myself to any conditions incompatible with absolute freedom of thought and expression would be a treachery against both myself and my kind – for it was for no merely personal end that I wanted to discover the truth.” (2)
And so, after taking his degree, he
joined the band of “Forty-niners” to the then
newly discovered placers of California, and
remained abroad – from America passing to
Australia – for nearly ten years, during which
time he “experienced well-nigh every vicissitude
and extreme which might serve to heighten the
consciousness, toughen the fibre, and try the
soul of man.” (3)
While in Australia he married, “only to be widowered after a year’s wedlock.” (4) Of this marriage there was one child, a son, who survived him, but who has since died.
In 1857 he returned to England, and after an interval devoted himself to literature – writing for ideal reasons; but he did not leave his trials behind him, for “vicissitudes and struggles, and trials and ordeals,” awaited him at home, and he was made to learn by experience that only “by the bruising of the outer, the inner is set free,” and that “man is alive only so far as he has felt.” (5) His books of this period brought him into immediate fame. They were The Pilgrim and the Shrine and Higher Law, and the book to which I have referred, By and By.
On visiting the Shropshire parsonage in February 1874, Edward Maitland received from Anna Kingsford and her husband a welcome “more than cordial.” (1) He found that she had laid aside all other pursuits for science, and “her work-table was covered with the insignia of her new engrossment”; (2) but, in order that he might not have any misconception on the subject, she again told him that it was not for men and women – who seemed to be her natural enemies – that she was taking up medicine and science, not to cure their ailments, but “for the animals and for knowledge generally.” She said: “I want to rescue the animals from cruelty and injustice, which are for me the worst, if not the only sins. And I can’t love both the animals and those who systematically ill-treat them.” (3) In connection with this, however, it must be borne in mind that (as Edward Maitland has pointed out), though she may not have loved men and women, “she ardently loved that which men and women are either in the making or in the marring, in that her enthusiasm was for Humanity”: and “Man, carnivorous and sustaining himself by slaughter and torture, was not for her man at all in any true sense of the term. Neither intellectually nor physically could he be at this best while thus nourished.” (4)
One great difficulty stood in the way of Anna Kingsford carrying out her determination to obtain a medical degree – at any rate, in this country. Immediately after she had passed her preliminary examination, the medical authorities had seen fit to close their schools against women students; and owing to asthma, from which she was a great sufferer, she could not, for the greater part of the year, live in the country. It was essential then for her to be in a large city. The nearest country abroad where women were then admitted to medical degrees was France, and Paris was a city in which, when other places would be impossible for her, she would be able to live, and in Paris she would be able to prosecute her studies. Her husband “desired only that she be happy in her own way, and follow what career she preferred, as by the terms of their engagement, as well, also, as by her endowments and aspirations, he considered her entitled to do”: (5) but as was natural, and very rightly, he would not consent to her
going alone and unprotected to Paris. He could not himself leave his work to accompany her, and neither of them knew of any person, relative or friend, who was available for the purpose; nor did they know of any family in Paris with whom she could make a home. This was a difficulty which none of them were then able to solve. Meanwhile, Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland “saw truth alike,” and it proved to be the same with their respective aims in life. Edward Maitland says:
“As I was bent on the construction of a system of thought at once scientific, philosophic, moral, and religious, and recognisable by the understanding as indubitably true, by reason of its being founded in first principles; she was bent on the construction of a rule of life equally obvious and binding, and recognisable by the sentiments as alone according with them, its basis being that sense of perfect justice which springs from perfect sympathy. By which it will be seen that while it was her aim to establish a perfect practice, which might or might not consist with a perfect doctrine, it was my aim to establish a perfect doctrine which would inevitably issue in a perfect practice, by at once defining it and supplying an all-compelling motive for its observance.” (1)
During this visit, which lasted
nearly a fortnight, one subject especially
occupied them: this was the subject of
vivisection, of which he then heard for the
first time. It was a discovery which filled him
with “unspeakable horror and amazement,” and he
resolved to make the abolition of vivisection,
and the system represented by it, thenceforth
the leading aim of his life and work. (2)
As regards the question of diet: Edward Maitland had “never been fully content with the prevailing mode of sustaining our organisms.” It had always struck him as “inconsistent with the perfection conceivable as possible, that man, the highest product of the visible world, should be so constituted as to be able to sustain himself only by doing violence, not only to his sensitive fellow-creatures, but to his own higher feeling.” (3) Consequently, he was favourably disposed to give practical heed to the arguments put before him on behalf of the vegetarian regimen; and the further consideration that
only as an abstainer from flesh-food could he with entire consistency contend against vivisection, was a potent factor in his decision. He recognised the distinction between “death and torture as a broad one.” (1) “But,” he says, “the statistics I now for the first time perused, of the slaughter-house and cattle traffic, shewed beyond question that torture, and this prolonged and severe, is involved in the use of animals for food as well as for science.” (2)
Thus, the first important result of this visit was that Edward Maitland became a vegetarian.
The change in his mode of life was soon productive of good results. It was, he says, accompanied by “increased accessibility to ideas,” and consequent enhanced capacity for entering into relation with the region whence ideas have their derivation. (3) He says:
“Had we been in any degree instructed in spiritual or occult science, we should have known that the renunciation of flesh-food, though in itself a physical act, has ever been recognised by initiates as the prime essential in the unfoldment of the spiritual faculties; since only when man is purely nourished can he attain clearness and fullness of spiritual perception. (4) As it was, neither of us had [then] even heard of occult science, or of the necessity of such a regimen to the perfectionment of faculty. She had adopted it on grounds physiological, chemical, hygienic, aesthetic, and moral; not on grounds mental or spiritual. I undertook to adopt it partly on the same grounds which had influenced her, and partly with a view to enhance and consolidate the sympathy subsisting between us.” (5)
Referring to his “increased accessibility to ideas,” he says:
“It is mainly to the increased sensibility of my mental surfaces, through the elimination from my system of all unsuitable substances, that I ascribe the increased accessibility to ideas of which I have spoken. All my experience goes to show that it is not to any original or unavoidable defect of material or structure, but to the coarseness and unsuitability of the food on which we are in the habit of sustaining our organisms, that our general insensibility to the finer influences which pervade
the universe – and by the operation of which alone man becomes redeemable from exclusive engrossment by the lower planes of his nature – is ascribable. It is, I am confident, because our sympathetic faculties are so dulled and narrowed through our cruel and unnatural mode of sustaining ourselves, that we have lost that sense of oneness both with the whole of which we are parts, and with our fellow-parts of the same whole, in the due recognition and culture of which religion and morality respectively consist. We are accustomed to over-materialise ourselves to such a degree as to lose all cognisance of the immaterial and essential part of us.” (1)
Edward Maitland considered that the
evils suffered by the world during the cycle
known as the historical, are “due to no inherent
defect, either of constitution or of
circumstance, but to a temporary and remediable
lapse from normal health through the misconduct
of life, and, primarily, through disobedience to
the laws of Purity (...) man must be made clean
outwardly in respect of his flesh by the washing
of water,” and “he must be made clean inwardly
in respect of his organism (...) by the
abjuration of a diet of blood and of all
poisonous infusions whatsoever, and by the
return to his natural sustenance – at once food
and medicine – the grains and herbs, the juices
of fruits, and vegetable oils; for so only will
he deposit tissues possessed of perfect
soundness, and have an organism capable of
attaining its full development in respect of all
the faculties of humanity, and build up his body
to be a pure temple and abode of the soul.”
A few weeks after Edward Maitland had returned home from his visit to Atcham, he received from Mr. Kingsford a letter informing him that the time had come for his wife to go to Paris, and, as he could not possibly quit his duties to accompany her, asking him if he (Edward Maitland) would do so; for, in default of his compliance, she would be forced to renounce her proposed career, and the disappointment would be more than she could bear, so entirely had she set her heart on it. He added that the exposition would occupy only a few days, the purpose being the preliminary one of enrolment. Edward Maitland fell in with the suggestion, and, after a few days sojourn in Paris, they returned to England, she having become a regularly enrolled student of the University of Paris; and while in Paris, after having overcome “obstacles which
would have daunted any one of weaker will or meaner purpose,” she obtained a permit from the Minister of Public Education, accepting the preliminary examination already passed by her in London in lieu of the usual entrance examination at Paris. This left her free to study where she pleased until the commencement of the academic year in the following autumn, when she would again have to return to Paris. (1)
Edward Maitland says: “On returning to England, she at once set to work on her subjects for the autumn term at Paris, dividing the time between her home and London. For, although the schools were closed against her sex, she could still obtain private tuition. The death of my mother, which took place in the summer of this year, set me free to leave Brighton and go into chambers in London, where I was in a position to be of service to my charge, and to follow the lines of study in which we were mutually interested.” While in London, Edward Maitland spent much time at the British Museum studying and analysing “the various religious systems of antiquity.” He says:
“As I pursued my analysis of the various systems of religion, steadfastly following the while my reformed mode of diet, I found myself, to my inexpressible delight, coming into possession of a strangely entranced faculty of ideation, which manifested itself in a power of insight into problems which had hitherto baffled me. It was as if my mental surfaces had been cleansed and sensitised in such wise as to render them accessible to impressions and suggestions which formerly had been too subtle and refined to obtain recognition.” (2)
When the time arrived for her to
return to Paris for the autumn term, Edward
Maitland accompanied her and resumed his office
of escort as on the previous occasion. She then
settled down to prepare for he first examen
under the tuition of a professor who had
been recommended to her; and Edward Maitland
followed her course of studies with her, and
enabled her by dint of logical processes to
detect the philosophical fallacies enunciated by
her professor, who, though a man of a great
talent, was a thorough-going materialist, and an
adept in the elaboration of specious arguments.
Notwithstanding serious inroads made on her time and strength by ill-heath, “she worked to such excellent purpose as to pass her examen with the highest credit, and to rouse her
professor’s enthusiasm to the utmost pitch,” and he procured for her a magisterial permit enabling her to pursue her studies at home until the following autumn. They then returned to her home at Atcham for Christmas, after which she went to London, and studied physiology at the school then recently opened in Henrietta Street for women students of medicine, attended classes in botany at Regent’s Park School, and took private lessons in other subjects required. (1)
In the autumn of 1875 she returned to Paris, this time accompanied by her husband and daughter, Edward Maitland remaining in London. They took up their residence, near to the medical schools, with a family or Irish ladies, under whose care she was left when her husband and daughter returned home for Christmas. An interesting account of her first experiences as a hospital student is to be found in the Life of Anna Kingsford. (2) While her success in her work was remarkable, one thing brought her into constant conflict with her tutor, and that was her refusal to allow him to vivisect or experiment on animals at her lessons. Her persistent refusal led at length to his withdrawal, compelling her to engage another.
Meanwhile, despite her hard work, she from time to time reported to Edward Maitland such of her hospital experiences as were likely to interest him. In a letter, written in 1876, she related the following: –
“In the hospital yesterday – at the surgical consultation of La Pitié – there was a man with a broken péroné, who fell to my share.
‘Describe to me the accident which caused this,’ said I.
‘I slipped. My leg slid under me, and I fell.’
‘How came you to slip?’
‘The floor was swimming in blood, and I slipped on the blood.’
‘Blood!’ cried I. ‘What blood?’
‘Madame, I am a slaughter-man by trade. I had just been killing, and all the slaughter-house was covered with blood.’
Oh, then, my heart was hardened. I looked in the man’s face. It was of the lowest type, deep beetle-brows, a wide, thick, coarse mouth, a red skin – ‘savage’ was stamped on every line of it.
The world revolts me. My business is not here. All the earth is full of violence and cruel habitations. Elsewhere I shall find peace, and there will I go to wait for you, and for the few pure and merciful souls yet remaining here. (...) What of life remains to me I will live in doing my utmost against every form of cruelty. (...) More and more every day it appears to my mind that I am not of this world. Visions float about me in the night that seem to warn me of some unknown change perhaps awaiting me. I do not know; but my state of mind of late has been singularly clear and expectant. I fancy that there is a future, and that I am meant to have some special work beyond this plane of existence, something for which I have been put to school here.” (1)
Soon after this she passed her second examen “with high credit.” Her health, however, which was then in “an utterly bad state,” necessitated a month at the seaside, with “entire cessation of work,” and after a few more weeks, which were divided between her own home and her mother’s, the time came when it was needful for her to return to her work in Paris. She was again accompanied by her husband, who this time had arranged to remain with her for a prolonged period, his bishop having assented to his engaging a substitute during his absence. But shortly after their arrival she was taken so ill that it was “impossible to say when, if ever, she would be able to resume work.” They accordingly decided to return to England at the earliest opportunity, and:
“(…) permission was sought and obtained for her to pursue her studies at home during the coming winter without detriment to her academic position, attendance at an English hospital being accepted as an equivalent for attendance for the same period at a French one. This was a special favour granted, in consideration of the circumstances, by the Minister of Public Education, in compliance with a formal application on her behalf from the authorities of the university. She accordingly returned home, and when sufficiently recovered to resume her studies, took up her abode with a relative at Chelsea, and obtained permission to attend the Children’s Hospital in Great Ormond Street, Bloomsbury.” (2)
Chelsea, however, did not agree with
her; and she, subsequently, in January 1877,
after having gone home for Christmas, removed
from Chelsea and became the guest of
Letitia Going, a vegetarian lady and a spiritualist, who lived in Jermyn Street; and here she had the additional advantage of being nearer to Edward Maitland than she had been when at Chelsea. (1)
During the Christmas interval, which he had spent with Anna Kingsford and her husband at their home in Shropshire, Edward Maitland made the following note, describing the aspect at the time of a certain village which struck him as “singularly illustrative of our condition as a people.” He says:
“In the towns I had, of course, been accustomed to see the festival of the nativity of the Divine Life that had been born into the world celebrated by the public exhibition in the provision shops of the hecatombs of animal corpses stripped of their skins. But this fair village among the peaceful hills far surpassed in sacrificial enthusiasm any homage which a town could render to the gory Moloch of our national orthodoxies. For some days before Christmas the population had been engaged in the annual killing of their pigs, a process which for that whole period had involved the incessant piercing of the skies by the agonised screams of the innocents thus massacred in advance.
The slaughter was finished by Christmas Eve, and the village sent out its carollers over the country round to sing hallelujahs about the ‘Lord of Life,’ and ‘It was the joy of One,’ and ‘How beautiful upon the mountains’; and the next morning saw them flocking to the village church to do further homage to the Genius of the day by reciting services to the key-note of ‘Peace on earth, and good will towards men!’ A thin fleece of new-fallen snow covered the ground, as if sent expressly to signify that Nature, even if she had not condoned the violence done to her in the persons of her porcine offspring, was anxious at least for that sacred day to efface all evidence of the deed. But the attempt was unsuccessful. For in the gutters between the whitened foot-way and road the blood ran in streams, while every here and there a large ensanguined patch of snow indicated the place of a standing pool of blood. The decorations of the church, and the vigour of the devotions of the congregation, whose responses were fairly roared out, served to aggravate the incongruity of the whole, and to remind one that that rough little village was but an epitome and résumé of all Christendom, inasmuch as it
was precisely the combination of lip-service and blood-service, which ever constitute for a priest-constructed orthodoxy the realisation of perfection. And I wondered whether the Laureate could have had such a scene in his mind when he made his Harold ask of one who had turned renegade –
‘What dost thou here,
Trampling thy mother’s bosom into blood?’” (1)
Reference has been made to the increased accessibility to ideas which Edward Maitland, after his renunciation of flesh-foods, found himself possessed of. New faculties now began to manifest themselves, and in them both. For, in 1876, Edward Maitland and Anna Kingsford found themselves possessed of psychic faculties in such measure that “no longer did the veil which divides the world sensible from the world spiritual constitute an impassable barrier, but both were open to view, and the latter was as real and accessible as the former.” Edward Maitland says:
“It was about the middle of 1876 that this remarkable accession of faculty began to manifest itself in plenitude, I being the first to experience it, notwithstanding my previous total lack of any faculty of the kind, or of the belief in the possibility of my having it. (...) I found myself – without seeking for or expecting it – spiritually sensitive in respect of sight, hearing, and touch, and in open, palpable relations with a world which I had no difficulty in recognising as of celestial nature; so far did it transcend everything of which I had heard or read in the annals of the contemporary spiritualism; so entirely did it accord with my conceptions of the divine.”
Edward Maitland, so far as he was concerned, ascribed this accession of faculty to, in part, the purification that his physical system had undergone by means of his new dietary regimen. (1)
In this connection, Edward Maitland relates the following interesting occurrence which happened early in 1877, and which, he says, “while in itself singular in the extreme, threw an unexpected light on an obscure part of the Bible and on the spiritual significance of certain animal forms.” He and Anna Kingsford were in London, which place they had arranged to leave on the evening of 29th March, on a visit to her mother at Hastings. When she awoke on the morning of the day in question, she suddenly saw before her in waking vision a collection of dragons, scorpions, serpents, lobsters, and various creeping things, large and small, while a voice said to her, “Keep him [Edward Maitland] from touching these; if he touch the flesh of these, you must not suffer him to come
near to you.” Edward Maitland says:
“She told me of this vision in the course of the day, and drew for me some of the forms of the animals; for so vivid had been the sight, that she had every detail perfectly impressed on her mind. But through some interruption to our conversation she omitted to tell me of the prohibition. She had, moreover, no apprehension of any of the animals shewn coming in my way, or of my eating of them should they do so.
In the afternoon, however, owing to the presence of a visitor who desired something different from the diet usual in the house, a lobster appeared on the table. At this she [Anna Kingsford] was somewhat dismayed, for it gave rise to the suggestion that her vision might be prophetic and have an unanticipated significance. Even now, she did not tell me of the positive prohibition, but imagined it was intended as a test; and that if I partook, she was not go on her journey with me. Consequently, after a general remark from her, intended as a dissuasion against the eating of anything that had to be put to so cruel a death as is reputed of the lobster, I, regarding it as fish and ‘cold-blooded,’ and therefore, in the absence of a sufficiency of perfectly insensitive food, allowable, partook of it, but through some cause I could not define did no more than taste it. Shortly after this she rose, and quitted the room, saying she should not be able to go that evening.
After venting her disappointment alone – for she had been eagerly looking forward to he holiday – she returned, and said that she saw now that she had been wrong in not having told me the whole vision; but that she had mistaken the meaning of the words uttered, and that, as she now perceived, they were not a test, but a positive prohibition. And we then sat down to consult our Genii (1) through the planchette (2) concerning the occurrence, deeming it likely that the vision had been of their sending.
We both, as usual, placed our hands on the instrument; but, after waiting for some time, there was no response. I then withdrew my hand in order to reduce the amount of the light in the room, but sat down again without doing so on finding that the writing had begun. On replacing my hand, it ceased. I withdrew it, and it went on again. And so again the third time. Thereupon I withdrew it altogether. It then wrote:
‘Let him go. We can do nothing with him now.’
‘For how long is this? Can we go tomorrow?’ we asked.
To which it wrote:
‘If he purge himself tonight, you may go; but he may ask nothing of us for seven days.’
‘What is the meaning of this prohibition?’
‘The spirits who hold intercourse with you belong to an order which can have no dealings with eaters of reptiles, whether of sea or land. For all things which move upon the belly are cursed for the sake of the evil one, whose seal is set on all serpents, dragons, and scorpions, such as we shewed you.’
In answer to further questioning, they said:
‘If he take a purge, you may go with him tomorrow.’
I complied with their injunction, and the next morning we asked some further questions respecting this strange affair. Among other queries, we inquired whether they endorsed the whole of the Levitical code, for we had recognised and found a passage corresponding to the above. To this they replied:
‘No, else you would have been destroyed already.’
‘Is it right to eat flesh?’ was then asked; to which it was replied:
‘We do not say it is right; and even for you it would be unlawful to eat flesh.’” (1)
On another occasion, they were, in like manner, informed by their Genii that:
“Man’s perfect diet is grain, the juice of fruits, and the oil of nuts:” (1)
When the time came for her return to Paris, she was accompanied by her husband, her daughter, and her daughter’s governess; her husband remaining with them until they were settled. Some weeks later, in July, she then being very unwell, Edward Maitland, at her husband’s suggestion and her request, joined her until her husband could replace him, which he did in the following month, when Edward Maitland returned to London.
During the time that Edward Maitland was with her, they received, through the planchette, the following message: –
“Teach the doctrine of the Universal Soul and the Immortality of all creatures. Knowledge of this is what the world most needs, and this is the key-note of your joint mission. On this you must build; it is the key-stone of the arch. The perfect life is not attainable for man alone. The whole world must be redeemed under the new gospel you are to teach.” (2)
In September Anna Kingsford returned home for a short time. The following extract from a letter, dated 23rd September 1877, written by her to Edward Maitland, records another of her wonderful experiences: one which has important bearing on the subject of this book, and which she regarded as “a new revelation of great import and of an astonishing nature”: and which, Edward Maitland says, “contained several things which, at the time, were beyond not only our own but the world’s knowledge, for their meaning had long been lost.” (3) In her letter she says:
“You must know that I passed yesterday afternoon in reading through the book Fruit and Bread, which had been sent me anonymously. The book struck me much, but I am bound to say that I did not attach any great importance to it, and never dream that it had come into my hands in any other than an ordinary chance fashion. I was not, therefore, exclusively in my thoughts when night came; and I was by no means prepared for the vision which the (full) moonlight brought me after I had gone to rest. I might keep it till we meet, but as possibly it might by that time lose something of its vividness, or some of the words spoken might slip my
memory, I think it best to commit it at once to paper while it is fresh in my mind.
I saw in my sleep a great table spread upon a beautiful mountain, the distant peaks of which were covered with snow, and brilliant with a bright light. (1) Around the table reclined twelve persons, six male, six female, some of whom I recognised at once, the others afterwards. Those whom I recognised at once were Zeus, Hera, Pallas Athena, Phoebus Apollo, and Artemis. (2) I knew them by the symbols they wore. The table was covered with all kinds of fruit, of great size, including nuts, almonds, and olives, with flat cakes of bread, and cups of gold, into which, before drinking, each divinity poured two sorts of liquid, one of which was wine, the other water. As I was looking on, standing on a step a little below the top of the flight which led to the table, I was startled by seeing Hera suddenly fix her eyes on me, and say: ‘What seest thou at the lower end of the table?’ And I looked, and answered: ‘I see two vacant seats.’ Then she spoke again and said: ‘When you are able to eat of our food and to drink of our cup, you also shall sit and feast with us.’ Scarcely had she uttered these words, when Athena, who sat facing me, added: ‘When you are able to eat of our food and to drink of our cup, then you shall know as you are known.’ And immediately Artemis, whom I knew by the moon upon her head, continued: ‘When you are able to eat of our food and drink of our cup, all things shall become pure to you, and ye shall be made virgins.’ (3)
Then I said: ‘O Immortals, what is your food and your drink, and how does your banquet differ from ours, seeing that we also eat no flesh, and blood has no place in our repasts?’
Then one of Gods, whom at the time I did not know, but have since recognised as Hermes, (4) rose from the table and,
coming to me, put into my hands a branch of a fig-tree bearing upon it ripe fruit, and said: ‘If you would be perfect, and able to know and to do all things. Quit the heresy of Prometheus. Let fire warm and comfort you externally; it is Heaven’s gift. But do not wrest it from its rightful purpose, as did that betrayer of your race, to fill the veins of humanity with its contagion, and to consume your interior being with its breath. All of you are men of clay, as was the image which Prometheus made. Ye are nourished with stolen fire, and it consumes you. Of all the evil uses of Heaven’s good gifts, none is so evil as the internal use of fire. For your hot foods and drinks have consumed and dried up the magnetic power of your nerves, sealed your senses, and cut short your lives. Now, you neither see nor hear; for the fire in your organs consumes your senses. Ye are all blind and deaf, creatures of clay. We have sent you a book to read. Practice its precepts, and your senses shall be opened. (...)’
‘Do you, then,’ I asked, ‘desire the whole world to abandon the use of fire in preparing food and drink?’
Instead of answering my question, he said: ‘We shew you the excellent way. (...) We have told you all that can be shewn you on the level on which you stand. But our perfect gifts, the fruits of the Tree of Life, are beyond your reach now. We cannot give them to you until you are purified and have come up higher. The conditions are GOD’S; the will is with you.’
These last words seemed to be repeated from the sky overhead, and again from beneath my feet. And at the instant I fell, as if shot down like a meteor from a vast height; and with the swiftness and shock of the fall I awoke.
You may guess how full my heart was! (...) I suspect that (...) we shall really have to abandon the use of cooked foods, and to live like John the Baptist and the old desert saints, before we can get what the Gods promise. Have you courage sufficient for this? When one thinks what it is one is buying at the price, the sacrifice seems a slight thing indeed. And in view of your consenting, I will ask you to get some packets of ‘crushed wheat,’ instead of the tea we were going to take out – the plain crushed wheat, I mean. I felt curiously guilty this morning as I ate my egg and drank my hot coffee! And I had always considered my food so simple and pure! Now I regard myself as a mere groveller – a worm and an ‘image of clay.’ My mind is full of the Gods and of Prometheus,
and I can’t think of anything else for five minutes together. (...)”
During the year 1877, she passed her
first Doctorat examen with distinction.
Allied to the question of the slaughter of animals for food, is that of the slaughter of animals for sacrifice. There are some who believe – or profess to believe – that, many years ago, God commanded Moses to have animals slaughtered for religious sacrifices! They base this belief on certain passages –which they invariably interpret literally – that are to be found in the Bible; and this alone, for them, is final and conclusive, and settles the matter; and they argue that “as God commanded that animals were to be killed for sacrificial purposes, it cannot be wrong for man to kill them for other purposes, such as food, etc.” These Biblical advocates for animal slaughter, flesh-eating, and other cruelties, never pray to be delivered from “blood-guiltiness,” or try to understand what “blood-guiltiness” and “blood-thirstiness” mean; (2) nor do they lay any, the least, stress on the fact that only those Statutes are of the Lord (and therefore right), that “rejoice the heart”; (3) nor do they believe that it has ever entered into the Divine Providence to “save both man and beast,” (4) much less do they consider it to be the distinguishing mark of “a righteous man” that he should regard “the life of his beast”; (5) and as to believing or feeling that “it is good not to eat flesh nor drink wine” (6) – such thoughts, though to be found expressed in language most explicit in the Bible, are far from them. It is sufficient for them that there are to be found in the self-same Bible some passages which, apparently, justify flesh-eating and other barbarous customs of which they approve: and this leads to the question whether they rightly interpret the Bible or the part thereof to which they appeal in justification of their wrong-doing.
In June 1878, Anna Kingsford received, in sleep, an instruction Concerning the Interpretation of the Mystical Scriptures, (7) which has a very important bearing on the subject of Biblical interpretation in connection with animal sacrifice. A portion of this instruction she read in a book, in a library purporting to be that of Emanuel Swedenborg. The remainder
of it she heard delivered as a lecture “by a man in priestly garb, in an amphitheatre of white stone, to a class of students (of whom she was one), who took notes of it.” What she had read, she wrote down immediately on waking, and the notes that she had taken of what she had heard, she was also, on waking, able to reproduce from memory, her memory having been abnormally enhanced, for “the words presented themselves again to her as she wrote, and stood out luminously to view.” (1) The gist of the Instruction was that the “Books of Moses the Prophet” are not historical but mystical, and ought, therefore, to receive not a literal but a mystic or allegorical consideration; and a considerable portion of it was used by Edward Maitland in his Lecture on Vegetarianism and the Bible, (2) which appears in another part of this book.
The following passage on the sacrifices said to have been offered up by Cain and Abel respectively is of interest: –
“It is not to be supposed that the two sacrifices offered to God by the sons of Adam were real sacrifices, any more than it is to be supposed that the Apple which caused the Doom of Mankind was a real apple. It ought to be known, indeed, for the right Understanding of the Mystical Books, that in their esoteric sense they deal, not with material Things, but with spiritual Realities; and that as Adam is not a Man, nor Eve a Woman, nor the Tree a Plant in its true signification, so also are not the Beasts named in the same Books real Beasts, but that the Mystic Intention of them, is implied. When, therefore, it is written that Abel took of the Firstlings of his Flock to offer unto the Lord, it is signified that he offered that which a Lamb implies, and which is the holiest and highest of Spiritual Gifts. Nor is Abel himself a real Person, but the Type and spiritual Presentation of the Race of the Prophets; of whom, also, Moses was a Member, together with the Patriarchs. (...)
They are Idolaters who understand the Things of Sense where the Things of the Spirit are alone implied.” (3)
At the beginning of June 1878, her
second Doctorat examen, which she was
anxious to pass with as much distinction as she
had passed her first, was pending. The date
originally fixed for this examination was 5th
June, “but her professor, distrusting
the examiners appointed for the occasion, partly because of the known hostility of some of them to women students, and partly because he had prepared her from books other than those written by the examiners themselves – a circumstance likely to be resented by them – had persuaded her to get the date of her examination postponed for a few days, when another set of examiners would officiate.” (1)
Edward Maitland says:
“So eager was she to test her condition that [on 5th June] she went all the way to the Schools, when having no call to go, in order to listen to the examination the going on – the subjects beings those of her next ordeal – and to compare the answers given with those that she herself was prepared to give, the examination being vivâ voce. Her delight on returning was unbounded. She could have answered every question put far better than any of the students, she declared, and would have distanced them all had she been one of the class. (2) (...) The day finally appointed [for her examination] was ushered in by a violent thunderstorm, which cleared off, but just in time to render her going possible; for, while it lasted, the streets were flooded, and no vehicle was procurable. The storm, moreover, had produced the usual distressing effect upon her nervous system – for she was excessively sensitive to electric disturbances – so that I begged her to give up the intention of going in for her examen on that day. But she was bent on it. She had worked long and hard, and shrank from the strain of further delay; and, moreover, was confident of being thoroughly up in her subjects, and she had never yet failed to pass well. It was not her mental but her physical state that led me to distrust her fitness. (...) So we set off for the Schools. The examen was to occupy two days. Her report to me of the first day augured ill for the chances of success. Of the three examiners, two had been all that could be desired; but the third, a Dr N– –, who had been substituted at the last moment, was known to her as one of a clique in the Faculté who violently objected to the admission of women to diplomas, and were determined to make the examinations impossible for them. His hostility to her was evinced from the moment that she presented herself, his manner, which to the male students had been kind and considerate, at once becoming stern and forbidding in the highest degree. And
when he found that she returned perfect answers in all the subjects properly comprised in the examination, he questioned her on others, referring to the most abstruse and recondite diseases, some of them of such rare occurrence that their very existence is denied by many doctors. And, finding no cause of complaint against her in respect of these, he endeavoured to break down her self-possession by committing the outrage of putting to her the most embarrassing questions which could possibly be put to a young woman in the presence of men, going far outside the usual range of subjects for the purpose. This exhibition of his enmity put a terrible strain on her nerves, but she bore it without flinching, knowing that he was technically within his right, and resolved not to afford him the pretext which he was seeking of refusing to pass her. It was only when it came to l’épreuve pratique, which involved manual dexterity, that the effect showed itself. She had controlled her mind, but she could not control her muscles. And the consequence was that her hands trembled over the piece of dissection appointed her, and the work was done somewhat less artistically than otherwise would have been the case, and than she had been wont to do it. This gave the professor the desired opportunity, and though the comparative failure was obviously due partly to the nervousness induced by himself, and partly to the clumsiness of the student told off to hold the subject for her, he refused to sign her note of approval.
From her other two examiners she had obtained the warmest commendations. ‘Madame,’ said one of them, with a deferential bow, ‘you know your subjects perfectly.’ ‘Madame,’ said the other, ‘I have absolutely nothing to reproach you with.’ They felt deeply the injustice and hardship shown to one whom they recognised as exceptionally gifted and industrious, and the discredit done to their university and their order in thus treating a woman for being a woman after opening their doors to women. But he remained inexorable, declaring that under no circumstances would he and his party suffer a woman to pass. And so deeply did his colleagues feel the matter that they met expressly to discuss it, with the result that an offer was made to give her a fresh and merely formal examination in the following month with an unprejudiced professor in his place.
The offer came too late. The disappointment and indignation felt by her were too much for a system always highly
strung and fragile, but now sorely overwrought. A condition set in of intense commotion cérébrale, under which she refused to return home, as she could not bear the sight, she said, of the books and study which had brought her to such an end; and there was nothing for it but to tell the driver of our fiacre to go round the Bois. After driving for an hour or two, she said she would go home and put some things together, and go to the seaside. Paris was unendurable now; she would go mad if she stayed. On reaching her apartment she threw herself on the sofa, where she remained for some time moaning and crying, and exclaiming in the most piteous tones, ‘Je suis réfusée – réfusée – réfusée,’ until, in a culminating paroxysm of anguish, she suddenly stood up at her full height, and with a piercing shriek fell insensible to the floor, her action being so sudden that, although I was by her side when it occurred, I was able only to break the full force of the fall. She remained insensible long after being raised, and recovered consciousness only to find herself paralysed from head to foot the whole length of the left side. And when, at length, a doctor was procured, the seizure was pronounced to be a hémiplégie cérébrale gauche of a very severe and serious character, from which a partial recovery at best could be anticipated, and this only after a long period of illness. As to her ever again being fit for mental work, that was scarcely to be thought of. The verdict, had I accepted it, was a death-blow to all our high hopes, and implied the ruin of our mission. But I did not for a moment accept it. I knew she had in her that of which medical science takes no account, and my faith in the Gods and in our mission far exceeded my faith in the doctors. For others their opinion might hold good; but it did not apply to one of her order. They agreed with me that recovery would depend far more on nursing than on medicine, and that it must be sympathetic nursing. To aid me in rendering this, I proposed to summon her husband forthwith. But she forbade me to do so until she was sufficiently recovered to travel, and then he should come and help me to take her to the seaside. Meanwhile, she would rely solely on the nursing, and decline all medical aid. French diagnosis, she declared, might be good, but not so French therapeutics. Her experience of the hospital practice terrified her by its severe and experimental character; and, besides, as a sensitive of sensitives, and an abstainer from flesh-food, her system falsified all the usual calculations of the effect of drugs.
And, as it was, the form taken by her malady was in defiance of all precedent. For, while the stroke was on the left side of the brain, the paralysis also was on that side, instead of following the course of the nerves and crossing over to the right. And, besides, the French doctors were all vivisectors, and as they could not take a fee from a medical student, they would have no interest in trying to cure her.” (1)
When, shortly after, her husband
joined her, they all left Paris and went (via
Fécamp) to Dieppe for a change. He was able to
stay with her until “near the end of July,” when
he was obliged to return home, and she and
Edward Maitland returned to Paris. It was a long
time before she recovered from the shock to her
system. In September, she was “ suffering
terribly through failure of the heart’s action”
– the effect of her recent illness – but she was
“struggling with her work” in order to pass the
examen for which she had been so unjustly
rejected, though it was doubtful whether she
would be able to hold out so long. (2)
Writing, under date of 29th September, in his diary, Edward Maitland says:
“This morning she had a dreadful access of inability to breathe owing to the constriction of the muscles of the heart, and thought her last moment had come. In this extremity, she was startled by hearing a loud voice utter within her, in an imperative tone, the exclamation, ‘Live!’” (3)
In spite of her condition, during the month of September, she received from her Illuminators – whom she called “the Gods” – an instruction of great value, which, Edward Maitland says, out of consideration for her still remaining weakness of memory:
“(…) was projected into her mind, verse by verse, to be written down at once, no second verse being given her until she had written down the last received. The communication commenced shortly before she rose, and was continued at intervals during the whole time she was dressing.” (4)
In this instruction, which purported to come from Hermes, Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland were exhorted as follows: –
“Purify your bodies, and eat no dead thing that has looked with living eyes upon the light of Heaven.
For the eye is the symbol of brotherhood among you.
Sight is the mystical sense.
Let no man take the life of his brother to feed withal his own.
But slay only such as are evil; in the name of the Lord. (1)
They are miserably deceived who expect eternal life, and restrain not their hands from blood and death.” (2)
In October, she was much better, as the following entry in Edward Maitland’s diary shows:
“13th October. – Since 29th September when the Spirit commanded her to ‘live,’ [she] has been marvellously better, having had no return of her heart trouble or difficulty in breathing. She has taken no drugs, and has lived as simply and moderately as possible – mainly on bread and fruit, avoiding hot foods and drinks. I, too, have done likewise, with manifest advantage to health, comfort, and lucidity.” (3)
Before the close of the year she
“passed with high credit and perfect ease the
examen for which she had been so unjustly
and cruelly réfusée,” and shortly
afterwards, in 1879, “an intense spell of work,
extending over three months, was rewarded by her
passage of a somewhat dreaded examination in
chemistry with the highest notes of
In 1880, she entered on the last year of her student course, provided all went well. But her persistent refusal to allow her professors to vivisect at her lessons continued to subject her not only to constant altercations with them, but to a constant change of them. (5)
Having passed her Doctorat examens with the highest credit, and accomplished her course in the shortest possible period – saving only for the single failure above mentioned, the fault of which was not hers – there remained only the acceptance of the thesis, by which the granting of a diploma is preceded, for her to complete her student course, and be qualified to enter on the practice of her profession as an M.D. of the
Faculté de Paris. Edward Maitland says:
“She resolved to make her thesis an exposition of the principles on behalf of which she sought a diploma, entitling it De l’Alimentation Végétale chez l’Homme. In it she demonstrated the non-carnivorous nature of man, as determined by his physical structure and moral constitution, and advocated a return to his natural diet as the remedy for the evils which afflict modern society. In a treatise thus conceived the wrongs and the sufferings of the animals inseparable from the use of them as food necessarily held a conspicuous place in the moral division of the argument; and though there was no opening for a direct denunciation of scientific experimentation upon them, the whole tone of the paper pointed unmistakably in that direction. It was the usage for the candidates for a diploma to recite their theses in the Schools before an audience of professors and students, and to defend them in open disputation. And she was so full of her subject and confident of the impregnability of her position, as well as of her ability to do justice to it even in a foreign language, that she looked forward with ardour to an ordeal usually regarded with terror. Her disappointment, therefore, and consternation were great when, on presenting herself at the appointed time and place, the chef of her hospital – Professor Léon Le Fort – came forward and informed her that her thesis could not be received as it stood; not because it was unscientific – its accuracy was unimpeachable in that respect – but because it was moral! He himself, he declared, and some of his colleagues did not object to it on that score; and, indeed, now that they had admitted women, they could not expect altogether to exclude sentiment, at least for the present: but there were some of their number, one in particular, whose position made it impossible to disregard them, and who were enraged at its tone, and the only course open was to postpone the reading until the obnoxious portions had been eliminated, when she would be called up again and passed, but without a public disputation. For, though admitting it to be scientifically sound, the Faculté could not allow teaching so opposed to all their traditions to be promulgated among the students. Meanwhile, he himself would make the necessary excisions, and she might be perfectly easy about the result. It would only involve a delay of a few weeks. (...) We were not long in ascertaining the name of the chief objector. He was one of the party most violently opposed
to the admission of women to degrees. And from the accounts which reached us of the discussions, and even dissensions, which arose among them over the thesis, it was evident that these inveterate patrons of the shambles and the torture-chamber fairly writhed under the thought that such a protest on behalf of mercy and purity of life could have emanated from one trained in their school. It was a veritable thrust from the spear of Ithuriel, and the hand had dealt it was a woman’s!” (1)
The day finally appointed for the thesis was 22nd July 1880. Edward Maitland says:
“On repairing to the Schools, we found her friendly chef and two other professors waiting to examine her on the subject of her thesis, and such others as might choose, in a small room and with closed doors, myself as next friend being the only other auditor. The examination took the form of a friendly conversation, in which it was evident the professors each and all took no small pleasure in drawing out a candidate whom they recognised as of exceptional endowments. Finding them thus sympathique, she was perfectly at her ease, and did full justice to her faculty of eloquent and lucid exposition. On the conclusion of the function her chef, who evidently took no small credit to himself for having composed the difference which menaced her diploma, warmly shook hands with me, and congratulated me on her success, saying, ‘Madame is now one of us’; to which I mentally replied, ‘Yes, but with a very considerable difference.’ (...) The novelty and importance of the subject, her courage in selecting such a theme, the talent shewn in the treatment, and the disputation to which it had given rise, secured for the thesis a demand altogether exceptional in the case of such productions, to the speedy exhaustion of the first edition and issue of a second. (2) And the question received an impulsion which extended over the Continent generally, leading to the formation of vegetarian societies, several medical men warmly supporting the cause.” (3)
In the following month she graduated
in Paris, and thus ended her career as a medical
student – a career during which
she never attended at any place or on any occasion where or on which vivisection took place, it having been an essential part of her plan to prove that such experimentation was not necessary for a degree. And this she effectually demonstrated by accomplishing her student course with rare expedition and distinction, despite her many and severe illnesses and her frequent change of professors, who, one after another, resigned the office on account of her refusal to allow them to experiment on live animals at her lessons. (1)
Concerning the obtaining by her of her qualification to practise as an M.D. of the Faculté de Médecine of Paris, Edward Maitland says: “Of the cost in toil and suffering, physical and mental, at which that privilege was obtained,” the Life of Anna Kingsford “gives at best but a faint indication. For, being limited to things occurring in space and time, history cannot take account of the dimension which is conditioned by intensity.” (2) Only those who know what it is to be hypersensitive to their spiritual surroundings can imagine the keen agony to her of the associations to which she was in the University of Paris of necessity exposed. “That which sustained and carried her through her university course was the consciousness that her mission was a mission of redemption, and that only to those who have themselves been more or less ‘perfected through suffering’ is such a mission ever entrusted.” (3)
One of the trio of examiners at whose hands she received her diploma, was Professor Charles Richet. Edward Maitland says:
“He was so much struck by her, that he invited her to a vegetarian repast at his house, given expressly in her honour; and she was not without hope of enlisting him on her side in the vegetarian and anti-vivisection causes. For she read in him a possibility of higher things. But the rival influences prevailed. His soul was quenched, and he became one of the leading experimentalists of the day.” (4)
On quitting Paris, they went for a
short time to Boulogne, to recruit their
exhausted energies; and thence they returned to
England – she to her home at Atcham, and he to
London. Their intention was to find a small
house in the West End of
London suitable for continuing their humanitarian and other work; and, before the end of the year, they decided on No. II Chapel Street (now Aldford Street), Park Lane; and in the following November she took up her residence there. (1) She had not been there for long when she received, in sleep, an instruction Concerning the “Work of Power” – a work open to all potentially and eventually, but not actually and in the present. In this instruction she was told that the “Two Seats” were vacant at the Celestial Table, (2) if she would put on Christ, and she was adjured as follows: –
“Eat no dead thing. Drink no fermented drink. Make living elements of all the elements of your body. Mortify the members of earth. Take your food full of life, and let not the touch of death pass upon it. (...) Hephaistos [the Fire-Spirit] is a destroyer, and the breath of fire is a touch of death. The fire that passes on the elements of your food deprives them of their vital spirit, and gives you a corpse instead of living substance. And not only so, but the spirit of the fire enters into the elements of your body, and sets up in all its molecules a consuming and a burning, impelling to concupiscence and to the desire of the flesh. The spirit of the fire is a subtle spirit, a penetrative and diffusive spirit; and it enters into the substance of all matter upon which it acts. When, therefore, you take such substance into your organism, you take with it the spirit of the fire, and you assimilate it together with the matter of which it has become a part. I speak to you of excellent things. If you would become a Man of Power, you must be master of the Fire.” (3)
The following incident shews how adverse the conditions of modern life in this country were to their spiritual work. Edward Maitland says:
“Being in London one Christmas evening, and speaking to me under illumination, ‘Mary’ (4) suddenly broke off and said: ‘Do not ask me such deep questions just now, for I cannot see clearly, and it hurts me to look. The atmosphere is thick with the blood shed for the season’s festivities. (5) The Astral Belt is everywhere dense with blood. My Genius says that if we were in some country where the conditions of life are purer, we could live in constant communication with the spiritual world. For the earth here
whirls round as in a cloud of blood like red fire. He says distinctly and emphatically that the salvation of the world is impossible while people nourish themselves on blood. The whole globe is like one vast charnel-house. The magnetism is intercepted. The blood strengthens the bonds between the Astrals and the Earth. (...) This time, which ought to be the best for spiritual communion, is the worst, on account of the horrid mode of living. Pray wake me up. I cannot bear looking, for I see the blood and hear the cries of the poor slaughtered creatures.’ Here her distress was so extreme that she wept bitterly, and some days passed before she fully recovered her composure.” (1)
In 1881 Anna Kingsford had some
further remarkable experiences. In March of that
year she was the recipient of a vision
Concerning Three Veils which separate Man
from God. (2) It is too long
for insertion here. The purport of it was to
teach mankind the absolute necessity for “purity
of life, purity of heart, and purity of
doctrine.” The three veils to be removed were
“Blood, Idolatry, and the Curse of Eve,” and in
her vision it was given to her to withdraw them.
She was told: “To you it is given to withdraw
them; be faithful and courageous; the time has
come.” And the command given was: “Put away
blood from among you!” It is for the purpose
partly of shewing how faithfully and
courageously Anna Kingsford withdrew the first
of these three veils that this Preface has been
In the same month she received, also in sleep, an Illumination Concerning the Greek Mysteries, (3) from which the following passages, being of very great interest, are taken: –
“In the celebration of the mysteries of Phoibos Apollo, (4) it was forbidden to eat anything upon which terrestrial fire had passed. Wherefore all the food of his votaries was sun-baked, and his chief sacrifice consisted in fruits from high trees ripened by the sun’s rays. With these mysteries of Apollo were associated those of Zeus and Hera, the King and Queen.
(…) It was, therefore, an offence against Phoibos and Zeus for their votaries to eat anything on which fire had passed, or any fermented wine. Their wine was the pure juice of the grape drunken new, and their bread was unleavened and sun-baked. (1) (...)
In the mysteries of Hermes, the second circle – the God who guards the Soul – it was forbidden to eat any creature which had life, or, rather, which had seeing eyes. (2) For Hermes is the Seer. His votaries partook only of vegetable food, which might be cooked with terrestrial fire, and of wine, which might be fermented.” (3)
And in May she received, also in
sleep, an instruction concerning the
degradation of religion through the
materialisation of the spiritual doctrine of
sacrifice. In her vision, her Genius led her
into a large hall of temple-like structure,
where she saw four bullocks lying slaughtered
upon altars, and a number of persons standing
round in the act of adoration. And above the
altars, in the fumes arising from the spirits of
the blood of the slain beasts, were misty
colossal shapes, half formed, from the waist
upwards, and resembling the Gods. (4)
And her Genius said: “These are Astrals, and
thus will they do until the end of the world.”
I have referred to their book, The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ. During the preparation of the lectures comprised in this book, they received certain instructions with reference to the character of their audience. They were told that they must not speak of the Greater Mysteries to any persons who for a period of forty days had tasted flesh or whose hands had shed blood, or whose tongues had tasted any. (6) The Greater Mysteries were to be reserved until they had a circle of “pure livers.” At the same time, they were enjoined to eat fish for a time, to enable them to perform the hard intellectual work before them. They were told that fish contained iodine,
which was necessary for them both, especially for her: that “the prohibition about fish related to the highest mode of life,” and that these things were matters of Caste or Degree, and they were not yet of the highest, so that it was not obligatory on them to abstain from fish. But, while eating fish, they were to consider themselves of “a lower caste.” This permission, of course, did not extend to allow of flesh being eaten. (1)
Speaking of their method of work in preparing the Perfect Way lectures, Edward Maitland says that it “consisted in the forcible projection of the mind’s perceptive point inwards and upwards to its central and radiant point in search of the informing idea of any phenomenal fact, following meanwhile the mode of life which always has been found essential to such introvision, one indispensable condition being the renunciation of flesh as food.” (2)
The Perfect Way lectures were designed to exhibit the process of the interior perfectionment of the individual, rather than to elaborate the various practical applications of the doctrine taught. But in these lectures vegetarianism is “insisted on as essential to the full apprehension and realisation of the ideal implied by the term ‘Christ’ – among other reasons for its sensitising influence on the higher planes of the consciousness”; (3) and flesh-eating is condemned as incompatible with the religion of Jesus Christ.
Bearing in mind the instructions given to them, when referring in one of his lectures to certain knowledge appertaining to the Greater Mysteries, Edward Maitland said:
“Such knowledge is reserved for those who have fulfilled the conditions requisite for initiation therein. Of those conditions, the first is the complete renunciation of a diet of flesh, the reason being fourfold, – spiritual, moral, intellectual, and physical, – according to the fourfold constitution of man. This is imperative. Man cannot receive, the Gods will not impart, the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven on other terms. The conditions are God’s; the will is with man.” (4)
On the subject of vegetarianism, Anna Kingsford said:
“In eating flesh, and thereby ingesting the blood principle – flesh and blood being inseparable – man sacrifices to the astral emanations of his own magnetic atmosphere, and so doing, ministers to the terrene and corruptible. This it is to ‘eat of things offered to idols,’ for blood is the food of the astral eidola, and the eater of blood is infested by them.” (1)
“And, let us say boldly, and without fear of contradiction from those who really know, that the Interior life and the clear Heaven are not attainable by men who are partakers of blood: men whose mental atmosphere is thick with the fumes of daily sacrifices to idols. For so long as these shadows infest the Man, obscuring the expanse of the higher and divine Ether beyond, he remains unable to detach himself from the love for Matter and from the attractions of Sense, and can at best but dimly discern the Light of the Spiritual Sun.
Abstinence from bloody oblations on all planes is therefore the gate of the Perfect Way, the test of illumination, the touchstone and criterion of sincere desire for the fulness of Beatific Vision.” (2)
In another lecture she said:
“Paradise can never be regained, Regeneration never completed, man never fully redeemed, until the body is brought under the law of Eden, and has cleansed itself thoroughly from the stain of blood. None will ever know the joys of Paradise who cannot live like Paradise-men; none will ever help to restore the Golden Age to the World who does not first restore it in himself. No man, being a shedder of blood, or an eater of flesh, ever touched the Central Secret of things, or laid hold of the Tree of Life. Hence it is written of the Holy City: ‘Without are dogs.’ For the foot of the carnivorous beast cannot tread the golden floors; the lips polluted with blood may not pronounce the Divine Name. Never was spoken a truer word than this; and if we should speak no other, we should say all that man need know. For if he will but live the life of Eden, he shall find all its joys and its mysteries within his grasp. ‘He who will do the will of God, shall know of the doctrine.’ But until ‘father and mother’ are forsaken, – that is, until the disciple is resolved to let no earthly affections or desires withhold him from entering
the Perfect Way, – Christ will not be found nor Paradise regained.” (1)
On another occasion, being in a condition of clairvoyance, Anna Kingsford said:
“Many particulars are shewn to me about diet. (...) Food should be cold and uncooked, and no fermented drinks used. Cakes should be sun-baked in a kiln, that the particles may become polarised by the sun’s magnetism. I see a row of cakes being baked in this way in Egypt, but in this [English] climate such things are impossible to us, and we must be content to live and die.” (2)
Three interesting letters, entitled Letters on Pure Diet, written by Anna Kingsford, appeared in the July and October 1881 and January 1882 numbers of The Food Reform Magazine, then recently established. The second and third of these letters – on the subject of Jesus and flesh-eating – being of particular interest. They are reprinted in this book.
The year 1881, also, saw the publication of an English edition of the thesis which Anna Kingsford had written in Paris at the close of her student course. In this edition the parts which had been rejected by the Faculté were restored. It was published under the title of The Perfect Way in Diet. (3) In the Preface, Anna Kingsford says:
“If any into whose hands this book may fall should be inclined to think me over-enthusiastic, or to stigmatise my views as ‘Utopian,’ I would ask him seriously to consider whether ‘Utopia’ be not indeed within the realisation of all who can imagine and love it, and whether, without enthusiasm, any great cause was ever yet won for our race. Man is the master of the world, and may make it what he will. Into his hands it is delivered with all its mighty possibilities for good or evil, for happiness or misery. Following the monitions and devices of the sub-human, he may make of it – what, indeed, for some gentle and tender souls it has already become – a very hell; working with God and Nature, he may reconvert it into Paradise.”
The book immediately attracted the attention of the scientific world, being considered a work of great value, and it became the pioneer of the modern movement towards a pure
and bloodless diet. I have been told, recently, on good authority, that in this country The Perfect Way in Diet has done more for the vegetarian cause than any other book has done – and this after an interval of twenty-nine years from its publication, and notwithstanding the many books that have been written on the subject since its publication in 1881.
An idea of the comprehensiveness of The Perfect Way in Diet may be gathered from the fact that it treats of (inter alia) anatomy and physiology, cookery, physical force, food values, national habits, chemistry, effects and dangers of flesh food, alcoholism, slaughter-houses, social considerations, (1) sufferings of cattle and over-breeding, treatment of disease, economical considerations, the leather question, the fur trade, the manure question, and sport. In this book, Anna Kingsford says:
“The most excellent and proper aliments of which our race can make use consist of tree-fruits and seeds – and these uncooked – and not of the plants themselves, whether foliage or roots.” (2)
At the same time, she admits that:
“(…) through a combination of natural and artificial causes, this best mode of subsistence has become impossible to the majority of persons in certain parts of the globe, and it seems, therefore, wise and consistent that they should increase the variety and range of their food by recourse to cookery.” (3)
But, she says:
“(…) fire can be only used legitimately by man for the preparation of those vegetables, herbaceous plants, roots, and hard fruits, which he cannot properly masticate when raw, and for the digestion of which, in that condition, the anatomy and physiology of his system are not adapted.” (4)
To such extent, fire is allowed to be used to make palatable and digestible non-natural foods, and man may live – he may be bound to live – wholly or partially on such foods. By the use of fire, man is given a choice between Nature and Art. But, Anna Kingsford points out, the choice between the garden and the slaughter-house – which the use of fire also gives – involves very different considerations. For, as she says, “the culture, harvesting, and preparation of all vegetable produce are alike in harmony with the interests of morality, of individual and of public health,
of social and private economy, and of that love of beauty, virtue, and consistent philosophy which dominates the nature of all gentle and civilised humanity”; but “each one of these interests is wounded, and that violently, by the abuse of the art of cookery in the hands of the man who degrades himself by its means to the level of the beast of prey.” (1)
In 1882, speaking on the subject of vegetarianism at a temperance meeting at Church Lawford, Edward Maitland said:
“I find myself [as a vegetarian] so much the better in both body and mind that I am quite convinced that no one can be the best that he has it in him to be until he has become an abstainer not only as regards drink, but as regards flesh. (...) I don’t, however, recommend you to eat only what are called vegetables, such as cabbage, carrots, and turnips. Men are not root or herb eaters, but fruit and grain eaters by nature: and it is on this diet that we thrive best when once we have become properly accustomed to it.”
In the month of April 1882, Anna Kingsford gave a lecture On Food before the students of Girton College, Cambridge, which was greatly appreciated. It is reprinted in this book. During the same year, she and Edward Maitland received urgent appeals to go to Switzerland in the Anti-Vivisection cause. Accordingly (accompanied by her daughter), they left London for a time to carry on their crusade in Switzerland, arriving there early in August, (2) the greater part of which month they passed at Lausanne. They made their home at the Pension du Cèdre, “being tempted thither by its charming position in the open country and its vegetarian regimen.” While at Lausanne, she delivered addresses on behalf of vegetarianism and against vivisection. The energy she displayed in the cause for which she fought was such as to elicit from one of the local magnates the remark that “it was fortunate for them that she was vegetarian, for as a flesh-eater her fierceness would have made her dangerous.” (3)
Geneva was their aim, but it was too early for Geneva, the inhabitants then being mostly in the mountains. So, from Lausanne they went to Montreux, where they stayed until 19th September, when they repaired to Geneva. On arriving there, however, the weather, which until then had been fine,
broke up, and she found herself “struck down with a chill,” which, settling on the lungs, produced so serious an illness as to lead those whom they consulted to urge on her an instant flight to a milder climate. She would never, they declared, get over her attack if she remained at that season in Switzerland. At the end of the month, therefore, they left Switzerland for Mentone, where they had been advised to go to, intending to return to Geneva as soon as circumstances permitted. (1) But Mentone proved to be a no better place for her; and, in The Life of Anna Kingsford, Edward Maitland gives a detailed account of how they journeyed from place to place seeking one suitable for her, and of her terrible sufferings, and of the troubles that beset them and difficulties they encountered wherever they went. Finally, on 23rd October, they found themselves again in Paris, she remaining resolved to resume her interrupted crusade in Switzerland when she should be sufficiently recovered; and, in the meantime, with a view to keeping up her medical and scientific knowledge, as her health permitted, she “resumed her visits to the hospitals.” (2)
The publication, in 1882, of The Perfect Way lectures (3) was followed by a correspondence, which continued for some months, in the then new weekly paper, Light – the official organ of the Spiritualists. Anna Kingsford’s and Edward Maitland’s contributions to the controversy consisted of three joint articles, entitled, The Perfect Way and its Critics, which are of very great interest. (4) Part of the controversy, of course, had to do with the food question, and, in this connection, St Paul was by one of their critics cited against them (as they put it) as an authority on behalf of “the inevitable brutalities of the slaughter-house,” and “the revolting and inhuman practice of corpse-eating.” In reply, they pointed out that “the very fact that Paul found it necessary to interfere in this matter between two different schools of the Church, proves that the conviction and practice in regard to flesh-eating were far from uniform
among professing Christians, and that no inconsiderable number of them refrained on principle from bloody meats.” They said:
“If we listen to tradition, and
study such historical memoranda as we possess on
the subject, we shall find that Paul himself was
the innovator, and that the general habits and
teaching of the Early Church were Nazarene or
Essenian, and therefore vegetarian. Jesus the
Nazarene must certainly have been an abstainer
from flesh and strong drink, and even the
statements in regard to His custom of eating
fish are, as one of us has elsewhere
demonstrated, (1) not literally,
but mystically intended. James, the ‘brother’ of
Jesus, and one of his most familiar associates,
is universally reputed to have been a
vegetarian, and so also was an innumerable
company of the early saints, both men and women.
The stricter devotional Orders of the Catholic
Church, like those of all other divine
Mysteries, have always abstained from flesh;
and, Paul notwithstanding, this unbloody and
innocent diet has from the beginning been
regarded by all Adepts as constituting ‘the
excellent – or perfect – way.’ Certain it is,
that the prophecy of Isaiah – ‘They shall not
hurt nor slay in all My holy mountain’ – will
never be realised by those who persist in
destroying and devouring like beasts of carnage.
How shall we hasten the restoration of Paradise
by continuing the manners of the Fall? If we
truly and earnestly desire to regain the Golden
Age, and to become citizens of Heaven, we must
begin by adopting the new life, and by returning
to natural and human modes of sustenance. The
eating of blood, and the habit of slaughter, are
part of the Fall, and came with
it. We, of the new Life, desire to return to
Eden. And, as a first step thither, we abandon
that horrible and degrading custom which has so
long assimilated our race to that of the lowest
types of bestial existence; we reject the offal
which delights the wolf and the swine, and turn
instead to the pure sun-created fruits and
grains, unbloody gifts of fragrant trees and
fields, for which alone the anatomy of man is
fitted. We cannot err in following the
indications – nay, the commands – of nature, for
these are the surest words of God.
[Our critic] seems to argue that the superiority of certain races is due to their habit of flesh-eating. As well might he
assert it to be due to their not less universal habit of dram-drinking. Both habits are equally abuses and drawbacks, and have doubtless withheld these very races from the higher and interior civilisation they have hitherto invariably and significantly failed to reach. For there can be no true and perfect civilisation without sympathy and solidarity between all the children of God’s family, and without the recognition of the fact which must be the basis of that solidarity, – that the same Spirit breathes in all, that the same Destiny is over all, and that the same Immortality is the heritage of all, no matter on what round of the ladder each individual soul, at any given time, may stand. To kill, to devour, or to torture any sentient fellow-being for a selfish end, is a breach of the law of solidarity, and there is but a question of degree between the murder of an ox and that of a man (Isa. lxvi. 3). (...)
Against the use of wine we have said nothing; on this subject we leave [our critic] to make peace between Paul and the Nazarenes, to whose number Jesus, John the Baptist, and many a saint and hero of the Old Testament, belonged.” (1)
Writing, in the same controversy, on the relation of religion to diet, Edward Maitland very aptly pointed out that:
“As the regulator of conduct, religion is necessarily the regulator of diet. For diet is a department of conduct, and this as respects quality as well as quantity. To deny the relation in question is to repudiate the practice of temperance, whether in eating or drinking, as a religious duty, and to admit cannibals, gluttons, and drunkards to the kingdom of Heaven. The conditions of admission to that kingdom are dependent upon attitude of mind and state of heart. The question between us is whether those conditions are fulfilled by one who, either personally or by proxy, batters in the skull or cuts the throat of a gentle, innocent, highly sensitive fellow-creature, in order to devour its flesh, when the earth around him supplies in abundance wholesome and legitimate food. Nor is the cruelty to the animals the worst part of the evil involved in such a practice. Men themselves are unutterably degraded by it and kept back. It is not the wolf or tiger, but the lamb, which is represented in the Sacred Writings, as the type of him who finally overcomes evil and attains to perfection and bliss. And there is abundant reason to believe that only from food
at once pure in itself, and righteously come by, can the spirit within (the ‘God of the man,’ as I have termed it) extract the elements needful for the edification of the individual to the full stature of his due perfection.” (1)
They remained in Paris until the middle of March 1883, when they returned to Switzerland to resume their interrupted crusade. Writing, about this time, to The Herald of Health, Anna Kingsford said:
“I think that possibly you may like to reproduce an article which has recently appeared in a French newspaper, and of which, therefore, I enclose a translation. I have seen several of the advertisements, ‘Bains de Sang’ (Baths of Blood), to which the article refers, and I know a Parisian lady whose doctor told her that she would probably die if she did not consent to go to the slaughter-house in the morning and drink blood. He said she had tubercular symptoms, and that nothing else could save her. She refused to comply, and recovered.
This ‘blood mania’ is, in fact, the last new medical craze, and it may interest your readers to see what is thus the practical outcome of vivisection and carnivorous tastes, encouraged as they are here in this atheistic city of Paris.” (2)
Edward Maitland says:
“The article contained a graphic description of the scene at the abattoirs in the Rue de Flanders, the files of elegant equipages of the upper classes drawn up before them, and their dainty occupants awaiting in the buildings the slaughtering of the ‘mild-eyed oxen,’ and then quaffing bowls of the fresh-shed, steaming blood; while others supplement or vary the process by having baths of blood at home.” (3)
Their Swiss campaign opened
distressfully, she having to remain for several
days at Berne owing to ill-health. In the course
of this expedition she “held meetings, public
and private, and delivered lectures and
addresses at Berne, Lausanne, Montreux, and
Geneva,” at which places letters of
introduction, which they held, procured for them
cordial receptions from the principal residents.
Edward Maitland says: “Her subjects were
vegetarianism and vivisection, and the
enthusiasm excited by her combination of gifts,
her courage, her zeal, her eloquence, her
self-possession, her resourcefulness, her
mastery of her subjects, and the charm of her
personal appearance, made her progress a
veritable triumph.” And, he says: “Her visit
proved a great and lasting stimulus to the cause
of food reform in Switzerland.” (1)
On 20th May they returned to England. Two days later they went to Norwich, where she had undertaken to lecture on behalf of vegetarianism, and “her reception was most enthusiastic.” (2)
In August they went together to Atcham, “to prepare for a lecturing tour” which they had undertaken on behalf of the Vegetarian Society. The expedition occupied them from 21st September till the middle of October 1883, when they returned to Atcham, having held public conferences at Chester, Carlisle, Longtown, Silloth, Ambleside, Stirling, Dundee, Dunfermline, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dumfries. (3)
Edward Maitland says:
“The most notable features of this tour were, first, the indescribable enthusiasm everywhere evinced for Anna Kingsford on account of the eloquence and luminousness of her expositions and the charm of her personality; and, secondly, the intensity of her physical sufferings, and the manner in which her spirit rose superior to them and carried her triumphantly through. She had left home ill, the
climatic conditions of the place having proved
in the highest degree deleterious to her, and
each day’s journey had completely prostrated
her, sometimes inducing total loss of
consciousness while in the train, and always
culminating in agonising neuralgic headache on
arrival, rendering her to all appearance utterly
incapable for the appointed task of the evening.
Her one remedy was the immersion of the lower
limbs in water as hot as she could bear it; and
thus would she occupy herself until the last
moment before starting for the lecture-hall.
Arrived there, she was a new person, and for the
hour, or hour and a half, of her address would
stand firm, confident, and self-possessed, and
pour forth unfalteringly that which she had to
say, with a natural spontaneous eloquence which
kept her audience spell-bound, to be greeted at
the close with an outburst of applause,
electrical for its vehemence, and seeming as if
with difficulty repressed until then.
The tributes rendered to her gift were many and striking. Even persons of slender culture and ordinarily unimpressible would declare, whatever the subject might be, they would go any distance to hear her. Speaking of her one day, a notable publicist and philanthropist, himself an admirable speaker, declared of himself and his compeers that they always felt when listening to her as if they were beings of an inferior order hearkening to the utterances of some superior being who had come down to teach them. She herself and her teaching seemed alike to be to her hearers as a new revelation of human possibilities.” (1)
After a few days’ rest at Atcham, they visited Birmingham and Bath on the same behalf, and with similar results. (2)
It was probably during this lecture tour that, when speaking to a vegetarian society at Birmingham, Edward Maitland said:
“Among the many excellent grounds, economic, hygienic, aesthetic, and moral, on which we abstainers from a diet of flesh are entitled to congratulate ourselves, there is one which, in my view, not only surpasses all others, but which calls at this time (3) for special recognition. This is the
consciousness we enjoy that, in virtue of our innocuous mode of living, we constitute in our own persons, as do no others of mankind, living temples for the divine principle of Justice, and on all occasions where Justice is involved, can stand forth as champions of the oppressed and redressers of wrong, without liability to reproach on the score of inconsistency. (...)
Unless they [the animals] do something to merit harsh treatment, let us not accord them harsh treatment. Using without abusing: not willfully inflicting on them any incompensatable injury or suffering; training them, as our children, by means of kindly discipline, to lead useful lives, and so both ministering to their happiness in the present and fitting them for higher forms in the future: slaying, in obedience to the law of self-preservation, such only as are noxious and dangerous, or, for pity’s sake, those which are hopelessly suffering. Such is the Perfect Way with Animals. But it is not a new way, strange as it may appear to a world which has for ages revelled in blood. It was the way of the Golden Age of the past, when innocence was the product of ignorance. It will be the way of Golden Age of the future, when innocence will be the product of experience. For it is ever the way indicated by the divine Spirit itself of Humanity as expressed in the words: ‘He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?’ (1) – words in which we have at once the Creed of the Vegetarian and the whole duty of Man.”
In May of the following year (1884) they visited Exeter “to take part in a public demonstration in the vegetarian cause, where Anna Kingsford was the principal speaker,” in June they were in Paris on behalf of the anti-vivisection cause, (2) and in December they went on a lecturing tour to Leeds, Hull, Birmingham, and Cheltenham, her subjects being, as before, vegetarianism and vivisection. “She had everywhere the same success and recognition as on her previous tour, but also, as then, a vast amount of physical suffering”: (3) and towards the close of the year she undertook to write a weekly letter to the Lady’s Pictorial on subjects connected with Hygiene. This involved a very heavy correspondence with individuals, and it brought to her a considerable private practice. By this
means, also, she was able to a great deal to advance the cause of humanity that she had so much at heart. (1)
The year 1884 was a memorable one for vegetarians. During that year there was held, in London, an International Health Exhibition, and the Vegetarian Society – which had its headquarters in Manchester (2) – obtained space for and opened a dining-room in the Exhibition for the purpose of demonstrating in practical fashion the truth of its teaching, and circulating literature advocating pure and humane diet; and a series of public lectures was given on the subject. In consequence of a decision come to at the close of the Exhibition, the Society, on 12th January 1885, held a great meeting at Exeter Hall, in London, at which addresses were given by prominent vegetarians who dealt with various aspects of the food question. This meeting attracted considerable attention, and many leading articles were written upon it. The chair was taken by Edwin Collier (the then Treasurer of the Society), and the speakers included W. E. A. Axon, the Rev. Professor J. E. B. Mayor, Dr Anna Kingsford, Edward Maitland, T. R. Allison, William Harrison, Thos. Baker, the Rev. M. de Colleville, the Rev. W. J. Monk, Lieut. Richardson, W. S. Manning, T. W. Platten, and others. Anna Kingsford spoke on “The Physiology of Vegetarianism”; and Edward Maitland on “The Higher Aspects of Vegetarianism.”
On 15th May 1885 Anna Kingsford wrote to her friend Lady Caithness as follows:
“I enclose you a form of petition sent to me for signature. (...) I have already obtained nearly seventy names to it, and I send a form to you, begging you to sign it, and to get all the friends you can to sign also. As you see, it is a petition to Pope Leo XIII., calling on him to instruct the Catholic Church on the subject of humanity to animals, – a long-neglected matter, which I understand his Holiness has promised to take up if the Christian worlds shews itself anxious to receive the expression of his opinion. (...) Vivisection is not specifically mentioned, the basis of the request being as indefinite and general as possible. But I am sure you will agree with me that the expression of the Pontiff’s views in favour of the kind treatment of animals is enormously
needed in Catholic countries.”
The petition, ultimately, proved to be a hapless one:
“Hapless because, although having some hundreds of thousands of signatures, it was refused presentation on the ground that the effect of a papal utterance on the subject would be to burden the conscience of the faithful with a new sin to confess, and one of which a precise definition was impracticable.” (1)
Some two years later, when she was in Rome, she saw for herself how cruelly the animals were treated there, and how indifferent to their sufferings all people were. In a letter, dated 28th March 1887, to Light, she said: –
“The great need of the popular form of the Christian religion is precisely a belief in the solidarity of all living things. It is in this that Buddhism surpasses Christianity – in this divine recognition of the universal right to charity. Who can doubt it who visits Rome – the city of the Pontiff – where now I am, and witnesses the black-hearted cruelty of these ‘Christians’ to the animals which toil and slave for them? Ill as I am, I was forced, the day after my arrival, to get out of the carriage in which I was driving to chastise a wicked child who was torturing a poor little dog tied by a string to a pillar – kicking it and stamping on it. No one save myself interfered. Today I saw a great, thick-shod peasant kick his mule in the mouth out of pure wantonness. Argue with these ruffians, or with their priests, and they will tell you ´Christians have no duties to the beasts that perish.’ Their Pope has told them so. So that everywhere in Catholic Christendom the poor, patient, dumb creatures endure every species of torment without a single word being uttered on their behalf by the teachers of religion. It is horrible – damnable. And the true reason of it all is because the bests are popularly believed to be soulless. I say, paraphrasing a mot of Voltaire, ‘If it were true that they had no souls, it would be necessary to invent souls for them.’ Earth has become a hell for want of this doctrine [that animals have souls that survive the death of the body]. Witness vivisection, and the Church’s toleration of it. Oh, if any living beings on the earth have a claim to Heaven, surely the animals have the greatest claim of all! Whose sufferings so bitter as theirs, whose wrongs so deep, whose need of compensation so appalling? As a mystic and as an occultist, I know they are not destroyed by death; but if I could doubt
it – solemnly I say it – I should doubt also the justice of God. How could I tell He would be just to man if so bitterly unjust to the dear animals?” (1)
Writing in her diary of her Roman experiences, she said:
“I went [to Rome] thinking that I should love Rome: I found that I hated it. Hated the peasants most of all, and the priests. The whole place and its influences left a bitter taste with me. I shall never wish to see Rome again, should I live a hundred years. A great horror and contempt of the degraded cult, called Christianity, which from Rome has gone forth to poison the whole earth, seized me. Worse even than Protestantism in this, that it has taught the people to be cruel to their beasts. (...) No art, no marble or painted or columned beauty, can compensate for the daily sight and hearing of the devilries of Italian peasants. And the priests! Pah! They resemble black flies buzzing about the putrid corpse of a dead religion. (...) I have seen a man strike his horse furiously with his fist upon its nostrils because the poor creature snatched a wisp of grass from a torn sack.” (2)
In the autumn of 1885 Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland went on a nearly six weeks’ lecture tour, during which she delivered fifteen public addresses. (3)
They visited Gloucester, Malvern, Cheltenham, Hereford, Bristol, Clifton, Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon, and Tunbridge Wells. Edward Maitland says:
“At all these places she addressed large audiences, public and private, with her wonted power and acceptance, betraying no signs of the ill-health from which she was suffering, her enthusiasm for the causes advocated always sufficing to sustain her through the effort, however arduous, and lifting her to a plane at which she was superior to all limitations.” (4)
In 1886 Anna Kingsford – then being in London – was again in a very bad state of health. “When the time came to quit London for home, she was prostrate and suffering beyond all previous experience.” Edward Maitland accompanied her home to Atcham; but, he says, “it soon became evident that the only hope of immunity from intense and constant suffering (...) lay in flight to some less unfavourable conditions of
climate. The wrench for us all was a severe one, for we were never so happy as at the Vicarage, and it was an ideal place for study and work.” (1) She determined to go to Paris; to which place she and Edward Maitland went, via Ostend and other places, and they arrived there sometime in October. (2) While in Ostend they visited Madame Blavatsky, who then was staying there. (3)
On 17th November, being then in the very weak state of health that I have described, Anna Kingsford was caught in a heavy rain while returning home after going to the Pasteur Institute with a view to witnessing Pasteur’s procedure and obtaining information to strengthen her hands with the public against his system. The visit had been a fruitless one, owing to her having gone at a wrong hour; and, on her return home, she was “struck down by a severe attack of pneumonia, which for a time threatened to carry her off. But after an incredible amount of suffering – so extraordinary was her vitality – she rallied.” This was the beginning of a “long and terrible illness,” from which she never really recovered. It marked the beginning of the end. And it was not until 15th February of the following year (1887) that she was well enough to leave Paris, when they left for San Raphael, accompanied by her husband, who had joined them for a few days. (1) From San Raphael they went to other places, including Rome. I have referred to the impression mad upon her by the habitual cruelty of the people to the animals that she witnessed while she was at home. On 15th July they returned to London – that then being the only place suitable for her – and took up their abode at 15 Wynnstay Gardens, which they had taken furnished, and which, so far as she was concerned, proved to be “a home to die in,” her husband spending as much time with her as he could, having regard to his clerical duties. (2) This was the first time in her life that she really knew the pleasure of having a comfortable home of her own in which she could live; and, at first, it did something to reanimate her with fresh and hope, and she continued her writing with
unimpaired vigour. Though her medical knowledge told her that, physiologically, she had no right to look for a recovery, she eagerly adopted every means which promised to conduce to a cure, including the taking of “the most nutritious diet compatible with her principles, though not such as satisfied her doctor, whom she plainly told that she preferred to die, if die she must, as a vegetarian, than to live as a flesh-eater, so greatly did she loathe the idea as well as disapprove the practice.” (1) But as the weeks passed, it became only too evident that she was getting weaker and weaker. She said it would be no kindness for people to wish to keep her alive if life was to be the rack it had theretofore been for her. (2) During the time she was lying ill, she wrote a letter to the Pall Mall Gazette, “pleading with tenderness and power the cause of the seal and other helpless creatures who are slaughtered each year for the sake of their fur.” (3)
In September she had to give up her press-work, by discontinuing her weekly contributions to the Lady’s Pictorial. Even then her doctors saw no reason why she should not recover a fair share of health and live for some years “if she would consent to follow the diet prescribed by them -beef and burgundy.” But Edward Maitland says: “Such an abandonment of her principles was out of the question, even if she had believed in its efficacy” (4) – which she did not. On the contrary, she considered herself as “a striking example of the beneficent effects of the Pythagorean system of diet,” to which she owed her life, her health, and the vital force that she had enjoyed. In The Perfect Way in Diet, she said:
“While occupied in a laborious six years’ study of my profession at the École de Médicine of Paris, I overcame many obstacles and trials, physical and moral, rendered specially hard by the artificial disabilities of my sex, and by a variety of personal circumstances. Indeed, the difficulties in my case were such as would, I believe, have proved insurmountable to most persons even of robust health and physique. I, moreover, am not only burdened with a hereditary tendency to phthisis, but have been actually treated for a somewhat severe manifestation of the disease, and am, besides, of an extremely sensitive
and nervous temperament. That under all these adverse conditions I have been enabled to attain satisfactorily the end of my student’s course, I owe probably in great part to the simple, pure, and unexciting diet which for a period of ten years (1) I have uninterruptedly maintained.” (2)
In a public address, she declared:
“I cured myself of tubercular consumption by living on vegetable food. A doctor told me I had not six months to live. What was I to do? I was to eat raw meat and drink port wine. Well, I went into country, and ate porridge and fruit, and appear to-day on this platform!” (3)
An obituary notice (4) of her says: “According to her own assertion, she would have succumbed to this disease [consumption] twenty years ago but for her strict adherence to vegetarian diet.” But her life was not to be spared longer, and, finally, on 22nd February 1888, in her forty-second year, this “good and faithful servant” of God was released from her “rack” and passed away to continue her work from elsewhere.
The great and high mission that Anna Kingsford came to fulfil, she fulfilled. The hard and sorrowful work that was given to her to do, she did. The agony of heart that she was called upon to suffer, she suffered. The heavy and painful burthen that was put upon her shoulders to bear, she bore -for, to her, it was none other than that “sweet yoke of Christ” which all saints embrace- and she bore it the end: and, even then she had no thought of relaxation, for “one of her latest utterances was that she could carry on the work better from the other side, where she would be free of her physical limitations.” (5) Hers was a divine mission, and in fulfilling it she gave -and gave willingly- her health, her strength, her convenience, her comfort, her happiness, yea, her very life- all that people hold most dear- and she gave as those and those only who stand close to God can give. Her knowledge of “the cruelties perpetrated in the world, especially those enacted in the name of science, robbed life of all joyfulness for her, and made the earth a hell from which she was eager to escape.”(6)
Edward Maitland survived her for a little more than nine years. But for his help and sympathy – but for his life
of self-sacrifice and self-abnegation – she could not have done her work: and but for him the tale of her life would not have been told. The world owes a great debt to this dear and loving soul. His remaining years were spent in editing her books, Dreams and Dream Stories, and Clothed with the Sun; and in bringing out a new (third) edition of their joint work, The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ; and in writing The Story of the New Gospel of Interpretation; The Bible’s Own Account of Itself, and The Life of Anna Kingsford; and in writing letters, articles, and pamphlets – many of them in the vegetarian cause – and in lecturing.
Writing in 1892, in reply to a letter from a friend about some of the Humanitarians of the day, Edward Maitland says:
“While sympathising in their ends, I do not sympathise in their means, for I see in their extravagances the worst enemies of the cause they seek to serve. And I, accordingly, look upon the whole order represented by T–, K–, and Co. as symptoms of the prevailing disease, rather than as its physicians and healers. If, however, you have influence with any of them, I think the most effective line to take, as in regard to diet, is not the sake of the animals, but that of the humans; as by shewing them that the root of all progress must be within man himself; and so long as he feeds like the carnivora, he cannot be expected to be human. It is a spiritual regeneration that alone can better the world, one that reforms men themselves, and not institutions merely. And these folks have no idea except of the outer, not being themselves evolved in their spiritual part. If we can put the right spirit in man, all the rest will order itself in accordance. That was the secret and method of Jesus; and it is the line on which we are working. Of course we must not neglect the outer, but the main thing is the inner. The two act and react on each other. The world would be no better off were all the reformers of the outer only to come into power at once. For the man would remain the same.” (1)
On 14th May 1895, at a meeting of the London Vegetarian Society, Edward Maitland, in opening a discussion on the subject of “Food, Death, and Civilisation,” said that:
“(…) at first sight the connection between these things was not clear. But without the first, the second was inevitable. It was equally true that any quantity of food would not prevent
death or promote civilisation. The question was: What was the salient cause of our social difficulties, dangers, and defects; and what the radical cure? Our manner of living was at the bottom of all, and the remedy was to be found in reverting to the natural manner of sustaining life. Our carnivorous habits sinned against the laws of nature, physical and moral: and the evil of our social condition was the consequence of a violation of those laws, which were not to be outraged with impunity, but always exacted the penalty. The prevailing evils of our social system were drunkenness, disease, and crime: and this was a consequence of the congestion of great towns and cities, causing a struggle for existence. The cause of this he attributed to our carnivorous habits driving the people into the towns to make room for the animals to feed. By resuming the natural diet (vegetable food), the populations of our towns would be spread over the land to cultivate and turn it into one vast fruit and vegetable garden, with the result of providing food and work for all, and rendering possible the education of all.” (1)
Having fought “the good fight,” Edward Maitland passed away on 2nd October 1897, at the close of his seventy-third year.
From 1874, when he first met Anna Kingsford, until his death, his voice and his pen were ever active in the cause of humanity, and he ever gave of his best. His heart taught him the inhumanity, and there in the wrong and wickedness of flesh-eating. He was faithful to his intuitions: and “the generation of the faithful shall be blessed.”
I shall ever remember Edward Maitland as one of the greatest, wisest, most lovable, and best of men whom it has been my privilege to know: and, applying the words to Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland respectively, I say, with Anna Kingsford:
“Blessed is the Soul whom the Just commemorate before God; for whom the Poor and the Orphan and the dumb Creature weep.” (2)
In memória aetérna erit justus:
ab auditióne mala non timébit.
SAMUEL HOPGOOD HART.
(1:1) In this Preface I have told the story of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland as food-reformers and non-flesh-eaters, and have confined myself to such matters as throw light upon them and their work in this connection. My material, as will be seen from the references, has been drawn almost entirely from The Life of Anna Kingsford, which was written by Edward Maitland, and which was published in 1896. This book gives a very full and interesting account of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland and their work. I have, by quoting as much as possible – within the above-mentioned limits – from this work, allowed them to tell their own story. I refer those who would know more of these two great teachers and reformers – those who would know the whole story of Anna Kingsford as a medical student, and of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland as humanitarians – to the above-mentioned biography. There is, also, another biography. In 1893, while writing and in anticipation of the publication of The Life of Anna Kingsford, Edward Maitland wrote The Story of the New Gospel of Interpretation, in which he gave a short account of Anna Kingsford and himself and their work. In 1905, a third and enlarged edition of this book was published under the title of The Story of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, and of the New Gospel of Interpretation. I am indebted also to this book. – S. H. H.
(1:2) Light, 10th March 1888.
(2:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 1, 2; Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 2, 5, 6.
(2:2) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 4, 29; Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 3, 5.
(2:3) Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 4.
(2:4) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 8, 9.
(3:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 9, 10.
(3:2) Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 6.
(3:3) Life of A. K., vol. II. p. 326; Light, 1888, p. 97. See also Health, Beauty and the Toilet (Second Edition), p. 17; and The Perfect Way in Diet, p. 109. While she declined to use furs, she did not disapprove of the use of such feathers as were obtainable without slaughter and (as she was assured) without cruelty. These, it would appear, she wore in place of furs (Life of A. K., vol. II. pp. 326-351); although it has been said that she wore “neither fur nor feathers” (Pall Mall Gazette, quoted in Light, 1888, p. 97). She wore silk gloves in all weathers, and some vegetable material for her shoes (Life of A. K., vol. II. p. 351; and see Health, Beauty and the Toilet (Second Edition), p. 83; and A. K.’s Address, The Physiology of Vegetarianism, p. 113 post.
(3:4) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 13; Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 6.
(4:1) Life of A. K., vol. I p. 16; Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 7.
(4:2) Life of A. K., vol. I p. 20
(4:3) Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 9, 10.
(4:4) Life of A. K., vol. I p. 21; Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 7, 8.
(4:5) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 333; Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 8.
(4:6) Pp. 90, 91.
(5:1) Dreams and Dream Stories (Third Edition), Preface, pp. 22-23. See also The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ, Preface, p. XLI.
(5:2) This story appeared in The Lady’s Own Paper, and it was afterwards published separately as by “Colossa” (Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 21).
(6:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 22, 23; Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 10, 11.
“Some four years later, at a time when Mrs Kingsford was in great straits for want of a suitable home in London in which to carry on her studies, the same lady was spiritually commissioned on her behalf, while totally ignorant both of her whereabouts and her need, and with results entirely satisfactory” (ibid., p. 11).
(6:2) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 27; Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 1, 2.
(6:3) She joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1870 (Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 15).
(6:4) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 27-28.
(7:1) See A. K.’s lecture on Some Aspects of the Vegetarian Question, p. 124 post, and A. K.’s Addresses to Vegetarians, p. 145 post.
(7:2) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 28, 29. Referring to the last sentence of this letter, E. M. says:
“This she subsequently recognised as true only in the limited sense that they act and react on each other, the soul being the real maker of the body, but able to make it only out of the materials supplied to it.”
(7:3) 10th March 1888.
(8:1) Life of A. K., vol. II. p. 347.
(8:2) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 30; Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 11, 12.
(9:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 30, 31.
(9:2) Ibid., pp. 31.
(9:3) Ibid., pp. 31-32.
(10:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 29, 32, 33.
(10:2) Ibid., pp. 33.
(10:3) See Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 37.
(10:4) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 36; Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 13.
(10:5) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 38; Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 15-16.
(11:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 37; Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 13, 14.
(11:2) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 37; Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 14.
(11:3) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 38; Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 15.
(11:4) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 42; Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 21.
(11:5) Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 16-17, 21-22.
(12:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 36, 46; Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 12.
(12:2) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 47.
(12:3) Ibid., p. 48.
(12:4) Ibid., p. 21.
(12:5) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 50; Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 12, 13.
(13:1) Life of A. K., vol. I pp. 51, 52; Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 36.
(13:2) Life of A. K., vol. I pp. 52, 53; Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 30, 31.
(13:3) The Soul, and How it Found Me, p. 21.
(14:1) See The Woman and the Age (par. 16), by E. M.
(14:2) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 53; Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 31, 32.
(14:3) The Soul, and How it Found Me, pp. 21, 23; see also Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 39.
(14:4) See also E. M.’s lecture on Man Incarnate and Discarnate (MS. pp. 4, 5).
(14:5) Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 29, 30.
(15:1) The Soul, and How it Found Me, pp. 22, 23.
(15:2) Ibid., p. 297.
(16:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 57, 58.
(16:2) Ibid., p. 73.
(16:3) Ibid., pp. 58, 59.
(17:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 61, 62.
(17:2) Vol. I. pp. 63-67, 73, 78, 79.
(18:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 89, 90.
(18:2) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 92, 93; Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 42, 43.
(19:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 126, 138, 139.
(20:1) Life of A. K., vol. I pp. 135-136; England and Islam, pp. 255-256.
Things have not changed in this respect since 1876. Christmas still has its Advent or season of preparation and looking forward, and this season is by flesh-eaters still observed with befitting discipline. In England – as probably in most, if not all other Christian countries – it is honoured by great cattle shows, which are held in different parts of the country, but which, though crowded with men and women – “connoisseurs” and “experts” – only a small minority of our great population can attend. The majority have for their information to be satisfied with lengthy press descriptions of these shows, which descriptions are given in language as light, mocking, callous, heartless, and cruel as may be considered suitable or agreeable to or befitting the tastes of the flesh-eating “faithful,” for whose instruction or delectation they are written. The following description (take from the Daily Express of 5th December 1911) of one of these cattle shows may be taken as an illustration, for it fully bears out what I have said, – the day of the show being the day next after Advent Sunday in the year of Grace 1911: –
“The great Christmas show of fat cattle opened at Islington yesterday, and nearly six hundred animals, each the pride of its countryside, are making positively their last appearance before the public.
They are all to be butchered to make a Christmas holiday, and each of the pens is a condemned cell.
The sheep are already as good as mutton, and although the mammoth pigs sleep peacefully beneath winning rosettes, their pen bears that other dread sign, ‘Sold to Cuttem and Slicem, Ham Curers.’
But this note of impending doom does not spoil the enjoyment of the connoisseurs from all the shires who come to feast their eyes on pens of fat lambs, and lean over the railings discussing for hours the points of a red-polled steer.
Many of these experts wear flat, curly top hats and side whiskers, and are accompanied by daughters, who sniff superciliously at the weak points of a curly-coated Lincolnshire pig or the demerits of an Aberdeen-Angus heifer.
For the real breath of the hills and dales, however, one must listen to the herdsmen and shepherds. These men, so obviously in their best Sunday clothes, who never tire of tending and combing their beasts, make the hall a babel of every known dialect. (...) Admission to the show costs only a shilling or so, and it is well worth the money. There are clusters of South Down sheep, whose backs are a veritable delight to pat. One’s fingers sink deep into thick, woolly backs that are like rare Turkish carpets.
In another room are fat pigs, whose clean, white backs it is impossible to pass without slapping. Ferocious Highland cattle are secured by stout ropes, and may be prodded between the wide, stretching horns with perfect impunity.”
This description of a cattle show is, a week later (the Daily Express of 12th December 1911), followed by an account of the “sales.” The writer says:
“Because we eat to live, our cattle and sheep are fattened to die – to provide those of us who are not vegetarians with the flesh-pots for which we hanker.
The Christmas cattle market was held at Islington yesterday, and thousands of beasts passed from the drovers’ care into the hands of the inevitable butcher. (...) The slaughter-house seems cruel, but we must have our Christmas dinners, despite all sentiment. Regal, thick-necked steers, soft-coated calves, and fat sheep must go the way of all flesh, that they may re-appear on our Christmas tables as beef, and veal, and mutton.” – S. H. H.
(21:1) Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 37, 38.
(22:1) Celestial affinities, guides or ministers. They are sometimes called “angels”. Inferior spirits are employed by the Genii to perform the mechanical act of writing. The Genii being of the celestial order do not themselves manifest on the physical plane, but employ the elementals for that purpose (Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 167. See A. K.’s Illumination, Concerning the Genius or Daimon, C. W. S., part I., No. XIV.).
(22:2) For those who have never seen a planchette, the following description (taken from The Century Dictionary) may be of interest. A planchette is “a small heart-shaped or triangular board mounted on three supports, of which two, placed at the angles of the base, are easily moving casters, and the third, placed at the apex, is a pencil-point. If the tips of the fingers of one person, or of two, are placed lightly upon it, the board will often, after a time, move without conscious effort on the part of the operator, and the pencil-point will trace lines, words, or even sentences. It was invented about 1855.”
(23:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 165, 166, 167; The Soul, and How it Found Me, pp. 204-207.
(24:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 171; The Soul, and How it Found Me, p. 215.
(24:2) Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 134; Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 186.
(24:3) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 246.
(25:1) The mountain and snowy peaks in this vision denoted the pure heights of spiritual attainment, variously called in Scripture the “Holy Hill of the Lord,” the “Mount of God,” the “Mount of Regeneration,” and other names, meaning the summit of one’s own spiritual nature (see note to A. K.’s dream, The Difficult Path, in Dreams and Dream Stories, p. 56; and see Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 254).
(25:2) Of these Gods and Goddesses, Zeus may be said to represent spirit and reason; Hera, original life; Pallas Athena, interior wisdom; Phoebus Apollo, the spirit of wisdom; Artemis, the intuitional or reflective principle of the soul.
(25:3) The term “virgin” in its mystical sense signifies a soul pure from admixture of matter. The plural was used to include Edward Maitland.
(25:4) Hermes represents the spirit of understanding, and the fig-tree, as “the special symbol of Hermes,” signifies the faculty of inward understanding (Life of A. K., vol. I p. 247; Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 75; and see p. 211 post).
(27:1) Life of A. K., vol. I p. 264.
(27:2) Ps. LI, 17; see also Ps. CXXXIX, 21.
(27:3) Ps. XIX, 8.
(27:4) Ps. XXXVI, I, 7.
(27:5) Prov. XII, 10.
(27:6) Rom. XIV, 21.
(27:7) See A. K.’s Illumination of this title, C. W. S., part I., No. V.
(28:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 269.
(28:2) See pp. 214-224 post.
(28:3) See further on the subject of bloody sacrifice The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ, Lect. IV. pars. 6-15, and 17, where the connection between idolatry and bloody sacrifice – including flesh-eating – is shewn. See also p. 197 post.
(29:1) Life of A. K., vol. I pp. 264, 265, 270.
(29:2) See also Story of A. K. and E. M., p. 144.
(32:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 266, 270-273.
(32:2) Ibid., pp. 274, 289.
(32:3) Ibid., p. 289.
(32:4) Ibid., p. 282.
(33:1) Animals have souls which, like those of men, are good and evil, and, like those of men, survive the death of the body, and reincarnate and progress or otherwise; for transmigration may be downwards as well as upwards. The body is but “the chamber of ordeal” for the Soul, and for the time being, it represents the character of the Soul. Some animals are receptacles of evil spirits. Killing creatures – whether men or animals – that are habitually noxious is not wrong. Such creatures may be killed, as mercifully as possible, “in the name of the Lord.”
(33:2) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 283. A. K.’s Illumination, An Exhortation of Hermes to his Neophytes, C. W. S., Part II., No. XII. p. 248.
(33:3) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 292.
(33:4) Ibid., pp. 303, 315.
(33:5) Ibid., pp. 338, 339.
(35:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 380, 381.
(35:2) The original thesis was published in Paris in the French language. It was subsequently translated into German, and issued with illustrative notes and other additions by Dr A. Aderholdt (see Preface to The Perfect Way in Diet, and see Pall Mall Gazette, February 1888; p. 97).
(35:3) Life of A. K., vol. I p. 382.
(36:1) Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 135, 136.
(36:2) Life of A. K., vol. I p. 380.
(36:3) Life of A. K., vol. II. p. 348; Light, 1888, p. 117.
(36:4) Life of A. K., vol. II. p. 269; and see vol. I p. 382.
(37:1) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 386, 388.
(37:2) See p. 25 ante.
(37:3) Life of A. K., vol. I. pp. 425, 426; C. W. S., pp. 98-102.
(37:4) I.e., Anna Kingsford.
(37:5) See pp. 19, 20 ante.
(38:1) Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 136, 137.
(38:2) This vision is recorded in full in Clothed with the Sun, Part I., No. i.; also in The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ, Lect. VI. , par. 42.
(38:3) See C. W. S., Part I. , No. XVIII.
(38:4) The inmost and highest mysteries of the perfect humanity, which constitute the highest of all castes, and “entitle those who attain to them to sit on the golden seats” (C. W. S. p. 78). Castes are, properly, spiritual grades, and bear no relation to the outward condition of life (see p. 210 post).
(39:1) See p. 25 ante.
(39:2) See p. 32 ante.
(39:3) In addition to the mysteries of Phoibos Apollo, and Zeus and Hera, and Hermes, Anna Kingsford’s Illumination Concerning the Greek Mysteries, deals with the mysteries of Her, whose initiates might eat fish; of Bacchos in whose mysteries it was permitted to the outer circle to eat all flesh save of the unclean; and of Ares, in whose mysteries human flesh and the flesh of horses might be eaten.
(39:4) One of them in particular attracted her attention. It was the head and bust of a woman of enormous proportions and wearing the insignia of Diana (The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ, Lect. IV., par. 14).
(39:5) C. W. S., p. 66.
(39:6) Life of A. K., vol. I. p. 441.
(40:1) Life of A. K., vol. II. pp. 4, 5; and see Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 131, 132.
(40:2) Light, 1893, p. 103.
(40:3) Letter dated 15th October 1890, by E. M. to M. B. See The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ, Preface, pp. ii-iii.
(40:4) The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ, Lect. III. , par. 60; and see C. W. S., No. II. pp. 5-8.
(41:1) The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ, Lect. IV, par. 15.
(41:2) Ibid., pars. 18-19.
(42:1) The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ, Lect. VI, par. 24.
(42:2) Life of A. K. vol. II, p. 5; and see Story of A. K. and E. M., pp. 131, 132.
(42:3) Life of A. K. vol. I, p. 382; vol. II, p. 27. A sixth edition of The Perfect Way in Diet was published in 1999.
(43:1) See p. 61 post.
(43:2) The Perfect Way in Diet, p. 15.
(43:4) Ibid., The Perfect Way in Diet does not, for the reasons therein mentioned, oppose the addition of certain aliments of animal origin, viz. milk, eggs, cream, butter, and cheese – as being inconsistent with the Pythagorean regimen therein advocated (see pp. 50-51).
(44:1) The Perfect Way in Diet, p. 16.
(44:2) Life of A. K. vol. II, pp. 73, 75, 79, 84.
(44:3) Ibid., p. 79.
(45:1) Life of A. K. vol. II, pp. 79, 80, 84.
(45:2) Ibid., pp. 95, 96.
(45:3) They were published in 1882, under the title of The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ.
(45:4) The articles appeared in Light of 23rd September 1882, p. 425; of 11th November 1882, pp. 508-510; and of 9th December 1882, pp. 551-553. They are included in Appendix III of the New (Fourth) Edition of The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ. The greater part of the third article incorporated (almost verbatim) the second of Anna Kingsford’s Letters on Pure Diet, published in The Food Reform Magazine, to which reference has been made (see p. 42 ante).
(46:1) The reference is to Anna Kingsford’s two letters, referred to above, on Pure Diet, which appeared in The Food Reform Magazine of October 1881, p. 46; and January 1882, p. 100.
(47:1) Light, 1882, p. 509; The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ, App. III, pp. 348-350.
(48:1) Light, 1882, p. 551. Edward Maitland’s letter is signed, “Cantab.”
(48:2) Life of A. K. vol. II, p. 112.
(48:3) Ibid., pp. 112, 113.
In the Daily Express of 16th July 1908, an account of “The Blood Cure,” as it was then recently practised on the advice of “a quack doctor at Kirchbrak,” was related as follows: –
“BERLIN, Wednesday, 15th July.
The extraordinary credulity which still prevails among a large section of the population was well illustrated today by a prosecution at Brunswick, which resulted in a man named Charles Albrecht being sentenced to three years penal servitude for criminal quackery.
Albrecht practised as a quack doctor at Kirchbrak, and to his many clients he recommended the blood of executed murderers as a remedy for all kinds of ailments.
The demand for this gruesome medicine was enormous, and in order to cope with it, Albrecht obtained a quantity of pig’s blood, which he bottled and sold as the blood of beheaded murderers at 12s. a bottle. His profits were very large, and his patients, who numbered hundreds, blindly obeying his directions, drank the pig’s blood, believing it to be the blood of criminals who had died on the scaffold. The same remedy was recommended for heart disease, consumption, gout, skin diseases, and practically every other form of sickness.”
It will be noticed that the only crime supposed to have been committed – and for which punishment was meted out – was the mere imposture by Albrecht of selling some pig’s blood for the blood of executed murderers, and so obtaining money by a false pretence or fraud: and the moral condition of the dupes of the quack doctor – who numbered hundreds – who were prepared to drink the blood of executed murderers in order to cure their physical ailments – and this in a Christian country – is described merely as a good illustration of “extraordinary credulity!”
(49:1) Life of A. K., vol. II, pp. 117-119.
(49:2) Ibid., p. 120.
(49:3) Ibid., p. 128.
(50:1) Life of A.K., vol. ii, pp. 128, 129.
(50:2) Ibid., p. 129.
(50:3) In 1882 special endeavour had been made to deprive the animals even of the scanty allowance of justice theretofore supposed to be accorded to them, and to leave them wholly to the caprices of the vivisectors, by claiming for physiologists the right not only to slay, but to torture animals to the utmost for ends in which the animal victims themselves had no concern. (See Dr W. B. Carpenter’s article in the Nineteenth Century for February 1882.)
(51:1) Mic. vi.8.
(51:2) Life of A.K., vol. ii. p. 179.
(51:3) E. M. MS. of Life of A.K., p. 1154.
(52:1) Life of A. K., vol. ii. pp. 230, 277, 278.
(52:2) This Society dates from 1847. It had its origin at Ramsgate; its first President was James Simpson. It has numbered among its Presidents, Professor F. W. Newman and Professor Mayor.
(53:1) Life of A. K., vol. ii. pp. 201, 202, 290, 291.
(54:1) Light, 1887, pp. 161-162. See further as to the souls, and as to immortality of animals, Anna Kingsford’s letter, dated 8th May 1887, Light, 1887, p. 219.
(54:2) Life of A. K., vol. ii. p. 298.
(54:3) E.M.’s letter, dated 16th November 1885, to Mrs. A.
(54:4) Life of A. K., vol. ii. p. 222.
(55:1) Life of A. K., vol. ii. p. 251.
(55:2) Ibid., p.260.
(55:3) At the time of their visit – which lasted three days only (namely, from 5th to 8th October) – Madame Wachtmeister and Madame Blavatsky were living together. Some years after the death of Anna Kingsford, a book entitled Reminiscences of H. P. Blavatsky and “The Secret Doctrine,” written by Madame Wachtmeister, was published. In this book Madame Wachtmeister magnified the above-mentioned visit of three days into a visit of a fortnight, and her account of the visit was otherwise inaccurate – so inaccurate that, Edward Maitland says, “She misstated everything except the fact of the visit” (letter, dated 2nd March 1895, of E.M. to the Rev. G.J.R. Ouseley). It is necessary to bear this in mind, because it proves how little reliance can be placed on statements made by Madame Wachtmeister about Anna Kingsford in connection with this visit. Edward Maitland subsequently learnt that, after the above-mentioned visit, Madame Wachtmeister had been accustomed to depreciate Anna Kingsford “especially by alleging that in respect of diet she did not practise what she preached, and was no consistent opponent of cruelty to animals.” It was not only in loose conversation that she said these things, but in writing; and of this, Edward Maitland received absolute and conclusive proof. Writing to a friend, Madame Wachtmeister said:
“Anna Kingsford was not a vegetarian, so you see she could not deprecate the torturing of animals both before and at the slaughtering-houses, for she was inconsistent both in teaching and policy.”
In another letter she said:
“You seem to be as surprised to hear that Mrs. Kingsford was no vegetarian as I was myself when she and Mr. Maitland begged of me to provide both fish, poultry, and birds during the time that they were the guests of Madame Blavatsky and myself at Ostend. The first evening there was only vegetable food such as I eat myself, but during the fortnight they stayed with us, I, of course, provided the food Mrs. Kingsford told me she was accustomed to eat. (…)”
These statements, in so far as they make out Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland to have been flesh-eaters, at the time referred to, are, of course, absolutely untrue. The letters containing them, subsequently, came into the possession of Edward Maitland. Referring to Madame Wachtmeister’s misstatements, Edward Maitland says:
“How far the calumny spread, and what the injury done by it to our reputation and work, I have no means of judging. (...) Madame Blavatsky (...) made no manner of charge against us on the score alleged by her associate Madame Wachtmeister” (see Life of A. K., vol. ii. pp. 256-259; and letter, dated 2nd March 1895, of E.M. to the Rev. G.J.R. Ouseley).
I should not have thought it worth while after all these years to repeat or even refer to the “inventions” of Madame Wachtmeister, were it not for the fact that, quite recently, it has again been given out – this time in a well known and widely read food-reform paper (The Herald of Health, of July 1911, p.131) – that Anna Kingsford “took fowl.” In further and conclusive proof of the inaccuracy of all such statements: when writing, on 4th March 1895, to the Rev. G.J.R. Ouseley of a similar statement that had been made by a certain well-known food-reformer (whom I will call “Mrs. X”) and which had first come to the knowledge of Edward Maitland in 1894 – the statement made by Mrs. X having been that Anna Kingsford was “no vegetarian” – and referring to the conversation that he (Edward Maitland) had had with Mrs. X on the subject of her misstatement, Edward Maitland says: –
“On demanding [from Mrs. X] her authority for the statement, she said that she had seen her [Anna Kingsford] eat fish or bird at Mrs. Going’s in the spring of 1877. To this I replied that Mrs. Going’s was a vegetarian house, and she did not have such food on her table, and that was Anna Kingsford’s reason for staying there. To this [Mrs. X] returned that some stranger had come who required such food, and it had been got especially for her; and that Anna Kingsford had partaken of it. I assured [Mrs. X] that she must be mistaken, certainly as to bird. As to fish, I could not be so positive, because we did not then put fish in the same category with the warm-blooded animals: and it was so early in our spiritual work that we had not yet received positive instructions in the matter. But that even so I was confident that she [Mrs. X] was mistaken. And as she had no knowledge whatever about Anna Kingsford’s habits subsequent to that period, she was quite unjustified in denying her to be a vegetarian.” – S.H.H.
(56:1) Life of A. K., vol. ii. pp. 274, 275, 277, 292.
(56:2) Ibid., p. 299.
(57:1) Life of A. K., vol. ii. p. 300. Letter of E. M., dated 4th March 1895, to the Rev. G.J.R. Ouseley.
(57:2) E. M.’s letter, dated 10th August 1887, to Mrs. E. M. James.
(57:3) Pall Mall Gazette, February 1880; see Light, 3rd March 1888, p. 97.
(57:4) Life of A. K., vol. ii. p. 328.
(58:1) The Perfect Way in Diet, in which this passage occurs, was published in 1881.
(58: 2) Ibid., pp. 90, 91.
(58:3) Address on “The Physiology of Vegetarianism,” p.113 post.
(58:4) Pall Mall Gazette, February 1888; see Light, 3rd March 1888, p. 97.
(58:5) E. M.’s letter, dated 22nd February 1888, to Mrs. E. M. James.
(58:6) Life of A. K., vol. ii. p. 347; Light, 1888, p. 116.
(59:1) Letter, dated 12th April 1892, to Mrs. L.
(60:1) The Vegetarian Messenger, July, 1985.
(60:2) Hymn of Love, in C.W.S., Part ii., Nº. xiv. p. 273.
[Tradução: Arnaldo Sisson Filho. Embora o texto em inglês seja de domínio público, a tradução não é. Esse arquivo pode ser usado para qualquer propósito não comercial, desde que essa notificação de propriedade seja deixada intacta.]
[N.T.: Essa numeração refere-se às paginas no original.]
1. [N.T.: Essa numeração refere-se aos parágrafos no original.]
HÁ muitas pessoas para as quais os argumentos de natureza científica, social, econômica e até mesmo de ordem moral a favor de uma dieta vegetariana não são suficientes, mas que requerem, além disso, a sanção da Bíblia. Como estamos preparados para enfrentar questionamentos também sob esse aspecto, elaboramos este breve ensaio para responder o que poderia ser chamado de dificuldades religiosas cristãs no caminho do vegetarianismo.
Os leitores notarão, à medida que avançarmos, que não fazemos nenhum questionamento quanto à autoridade da Bíblia. O único questionamento, se é que é um questionamento, será quanto à interpretação da Bíblia, ou pelo menos quanto a certas partes da mesma. E com o intuito de merecer uma leitura paciente e tolerante das passagens que possam diferir das crenças que os leitores possam estar acostumados, desde logo lembrarei que a crença da infalibilidade da Bíblia é uma coisa – e é algo compatível com o espírito de humildade que é o único com o qual deveríamos nos aproximar das coisas sagradas – mas a crença na infalibilidade de nossa própria interpretação da Bíblia é outra coisa, a qual é incompatível com aquele espírito de humildade.
Naturalmente, esse preâmbulo pode ser totalmente supérfluo, pois pode ocorrer que os pontos de vista que expressamos já sejam os dos leitores. Contudo, seja esse ou não o caso, faz-se necessário para uma ampla defesa de nossa Causa que esse preâmbulo seja feito.
Em primeiro lugar, então, qual a natureza e o propósito da Bíblia? Ela é, antes de qualquer outra coisa, um livro religioso; não um livro científico ou histórico, mas sim uma obra religiosa. E, assim sendo, como a religião não é algo que se direciona principalmente aos sentidos externos ou à razão, mas algo que se relaciona com a Alma, o apelo (chamamento) da Bíblia não é principalmente para os sentidos externos ou para a razão, mas para a Alma.
Se concordarmos com essas premissas, então também não deveremos ter qualquer dificuldade em concordar com as premissas que seguem. Como a Alma não é perecível como o corpo, mas é imortal, e pode tornar-se eterna, os ensinamentos que são necessários para ela não devem se referir a pessoas, coisas ou eventos que sejam do tempo e transitórios, mas
devem consistir em verdades que são eternas e, portanto, passíveis de uma perpétua aplicabilidade.
Do mesmo modo, uma vez que a Bíblia – sendo um livro religioso e que se dirige à Alma, ou à parte espiritual do homem – trata de coisas internas e espirituais, e não com coisas externas e materiais, é na sua significação espiritual, não na forma externa, que consiste o seu verdadeiro valor e onde ele deve ser buscado.
Quanto a esse último ponto a própria Bíblia se manifesta categoricamente, dizendo que a Letra é algo morto e que mata, e que apenas o Espírito tem vida e dá vida. E não apenas isso, mas a Bíblia insiste também sobre a necessidade do leitor ou ouvinte ter um sentido interno próprio, tão somente por meio do qual o sentido interno da Bíblia pode ser discernido. Assim, constantemente é dito, em relação a alguma afirmação cujo significado principal esteja tão profundamente contido de modo a se constituir em um mistério: – “O que tiver ouvidos para ouvir, que ouça”. E constantemente ela se refere com reprimenda a pessoas que têm olhos que não vêem e ouvidos que não ouvem o significado místico escondido sob suas frases simbólicas.
Desse modo, longe de aprovar a concordância (aceitação) cega e não inteligente, a Bíblia repetidamente exalta um Espírito de Compreensão (Entendimento) como sendo o principal dos dons (dádivas) divinos. E ao assim fazer, como podemos observar, a Bíblia não é inconsistente consigo mesma quando ao enumerar as graças divinas da Fé, Esperança e Caridade, ela declara que a principal delas é a Caridade. Pois a Caridade é uma com o Amor, e o Amor é um com a Simpatia, e a Simpatia é o primeiro e o último passo da Compreensão (Entendimento). Assim, é para a vossa Compreensão (para o vosso Entendimento) que apelamos no que diz respeito ao reconhecimento daquilo que apresentaremos nesta ocasião.
Das premissas assim estabelecidas, decorre a seguinte importante conclusão, a qual é uma chave-mestra para a interpretação das Escrituras: – Tudo o que há de mais verdadeiro na Bíblia é espiritual, e nenhum dogma ou doutrina são verdadeiros quando pareçam ter um significado físico, ou que não seja espiritual. Se forem verdadeiros e, contudo, nos pareçam ter uma significação material, é porque nós ainda não os resolvemos, e assim se constituem para nós num mistério, para o qual ainda temos que buscar a interpretação. Aquilo que é verdadeiro é para o Espírito tão somente. (1)
Então, não apenas a Bíblia se dirige à Alma, mas ela contém, e é, a história da Alma. E ela está escrita – como seria de se esperar de sua origem egípcia – em hieróglifos, ou em símbolos sagrados, o método usual para os egípcios, e deles adotado pelos hebreus; ou, também poderia ser, o
método dos hebreus, o povo sagrado, desde o princípio, e que esse método tenha sido introduzido por eles no Egito.
Esse método de escrever consiste em descrever coisas espirituais e que pertencem à Alma, como figuras ou em termos derivados do mundo físico. De modo que o que se significa não é o animal, a planta, a pessoa, ou outro objeto desenhado ou escrito, mas sim uma outra coisa, a qual o tal objeto foi selecionada para representar, e da qual ele se torna o símbolo, o tipo ou a representação.
Tendo sido escrita dessa maneira, a Bíblia, ou pelo menos a sua parte espiritual e não meramente histórica, é um hieróglifo, denotando sob a forma de vários objetos físicos – tais como a narrativa de eventos aparentemente mundanos, e biografias aparentemente de pessoas reais, entre outras coisas do mundo natural – processos que são puramente espirituais e místicos.
A Bíblia, em síntese, pode ser definida como uma coleção de parábolas narrando a história da Alma, desde sua primeira descida na matéria, até o seu retorno final para sua condição original de puro espírito. E como a Alma passa pelo mesmo processo quer se trate de uma só ou de muitas – seja uma pessoa, uma igreja, uma raça, ou mesmo o universo como um todo – a narrativa que descreve, ou a parábola que representa a história de um, igualmente o faz para todos. E os mesmos termos, que são três em número, abrangem todo o processo.
Esses termos são Geração, Degeneração e Regeneração, e esses, portanto, sendo aplicados à Alma, são o tema da Bíblia, conforme agora mostraremos, e não a história física, ou qualquer pessoa ou povo seja lá qual for, muito embora sejam descritos em termos derivados de pessoas ou de um povo. E tomar tais pessoas, povos ou um outro símbolo por qualquer outra coisa que não sejam os seus apropriados papéis de símbolos, e ignorando o seu verdadeiro significado, e dar-lhes a honra devida apenas àquilo que de fato eles significam trata-se, em linguagem bíblica, de cometer idolatria.
Pois, ao assim proceder, nós materializamos mistérios espirituais, e conferimos à Forma a consideração devida apenas à Substância. Onde quer que compreendamos como coisas Sensoriais coisas que tão somente pertencem ao Espírito, encobrindo assim as verdadeiras feições da Divindade com representações falsas e espúrias, nós cometemos o que a Bíblia considera como o mais repugnante dos pecados, e nos tornamos idólatras e, ao mesmo tempo, nos identificamos com aquela escola materialista que está rapidamente se espalhando pelo mundo com o objetivo declarado de erradicar a própria idéia de Deus e de Alma.
Isso porque “Idolatria é Materialismo, o pecado comum e original dos homens, o qual substitui o Espírito pela Aparência, a Substância pela Ilusão, e conduz tanto o Ser moral quanto o Ser intelectual ao
erro, de modo que eles substituem o superior pelo inferior, e o elevado pelo superficial. É esse falso fruto que atrai os sentidos externos, a tentação da serpente no começo do mundo”; (1) e isso tanto para a raça quanto para cada indivíduo onde e quando quer que tenha vivido, pois todos estão sujeitos à sua atração.
Devemos então saber, para a reta compreensão das escrituras místicas, que em seu sentido esotérico, ou interior e real, elas não tratam de coisas materiais, mas de realidades espirituais; e que nem Adão é um homem real, porém antes denota a personalidade inferior ou força intelectual em todo ser humano; nem Eva uma mulher real, mas denota o elemento feminino em todo o ser humano, a saber, a Alma ou consciência moral; e ela é, portanto, chamada de a “Mãe dos que Vivem”, ou seja, dos que estão espiritualmente vivos – aqueles nos quais a Alma alcançou autoconsciência.
Tampouco o Éden é um lugar real, mas uma condição de inocência anterior a uma queda de uma altura alcançada. Nem é a Árvore da Vida no meio do Éden uma árvore real, porém Deus estabelecido no meio do Universo como sua vida. Do mesmo modo que não é o homem feito de imediato à imagem e semelhança de Deus, mas somente após longas eras de desenvolvimento, começando nas formas inferiores da vida vegetal, e seguindo sua elevação através de muitas formas, até que ele alcança a forma humana; e mesmo então ele não é feito à imagem de Deus, não é verdadeiramente homem no sentido bíblico e místico. Pois nesse sentido faz-se necessário algo mais do que o homem físico, mais do que o homem intelectual, mais até mesmo do que o homem moral, para tornar-se um homem.
Para ser feito à imagem e semelhança de Deus ele deve atingir sua maioridade espiritual, através do desenvolvimento da consciência de sua natureza espiritual. Ele deve ser alma tanto quanto corpo; Eva tanto quanto Adão; assim como no mundo físico, também no plano espiritual ele requer a mulher para lhe fazer um homem, e a mulher mística é a Alma. Antes do seu advento (da Alma), ele é o homem apenas materialístico e rudimentar, é homem apenas na forma, e é um animal em todos os outros aspectos.
Mas ela vem finalmente, manifestada como tão somente a Alma pode fazer, quando seu ser inferior está envolto em profundo sono, e ele acorda para descobrir-se plenamente homem, à imagem de Deus, macho e fêmea, no sentido que ele representa os dois aspectos, masculino e feminino da Deidade, o poder divino e o amor divino, e também os Sete Espíritos através dos quais Deus cria todas as coisas. Assim constituído ele é de fato Homem, pois ele é uma manifestação de Deus,
por cujo espírito, operando dentro dele, ele tem sido criado. E criado desse modo tem sido e será todo o homem que jamais viveu ou viverá.
Porém o processo inclui um ponto chamado de Queda. Entregando-se aos impulsos externos da natureza inferior, antes que ela seja suficientemente forte para resisti-los, Eva estende sua mão e apanha o fruto que, como ela é espiritual e ele é material – é Matéria – é proibido para ela. Em outras palavras, e despido de alegoria, a Alma, ou ser superior, cai sob o poder do ser inferior e perde a intuição do Espírito, e o homem, não mais sendo por ela sustentado, a segue em sua queda.
Assim, o ser inferior, com os seus apetites e os seus pensamentos, torna-se o único regente, e a sua prole é Caim, o assassino e até mesmo torturador de seus irmãos, humanos e animais. E quando Abel, que como ministro da Alma e de suas intuições representa o profeta, oferece a Deus as “primícias de seu rebanho” [Gênesis 4:4], ou seja, quando o “Cordeiro” de um coração puro e gentil faz sua aparição, ele é em seguida assassinado por Caim, o qual, como o escravo dos sentidos, ofertando os “produtos do solo” [Gênesis 4:3], ou da natureza inferior, representa o sacerdote. (1)
Nesse sentido, então, Abel não promoveu nenhum derramamento de sangue e não foi agente da morte de criaturas inocentes, tanto para sacrifício quanto para alimento. Seu “Cordeiro” significava simplesmente os mais santos e elevados dons espirituais, “Cordeiro” que, rejeitado e assassinado desde o começo do mundo, é apresentado no Apocalipse como finalmente ocupando o trono de Deus, cercado de todos aqueles que, redimidos em razão de o terem seguido, têm o nome do Pai escrito em suas frontes.
Pois é ainda a Alma que, sob a representação da mulher, quando purificada da Matéria, torna-se a Noiva do Espírito, e Mãe dos que vivem eternamente; enquanto que é a Alma que persiste no mal que é denominada de “Mãe das Abominações”, e que compartilha da desgraça da “Babilônia”, ou “aquela grande cidade”, o mundo ou sistema de civilização no qual a Matéria é exaltada e posta no sagrado lugar de Deus e da Alma, e o corpo é feito como sendo tudo e por tudo.
A mesma verdade espiritual reaparece muitas e muitas vezes nos livros sagrados, sob várias formas alegóricas. Sempre são a ternura de coração e a pureza de hábitos os acompanhantes da vida superior; sempre são o derramamento de sangue e o comer carnes os resultados de uma queda para um nível inferior. A estória do Dilúvio ilustra a mesma verdade, e à matança de animais acrescenta
a bebedeira. Nessa parábola, o homem é representado, depois de um período de decadência até um extremo materialismo, como uma vez mais, sob uma enchente de intuição, recuperando aquelas alturas da perfeição – a plena consciência de sua natureza espiritual.
Mas tão logo ele desce do monte da purificação e regeneração, ele vai novamente para a indecência e o derramamento de sangue, de tal modo que a Deidade é representada como tendo desistido dele, o considerando perdido e sem esperanças, dizendo que não haveria mais utilidade em puni-lo, e dando-lhe relutante permissão para usar a carne como seu alimento. Pois tal é o óbvio e verdadeiro sentido da passagem tão confusamente traduzida no nono capítulo do Gênesis. E, contudo, constantemente encontramos uma permissão, que foi o resultado de uma queda, colocada como uma escusa para declinar de fazermos um esforço de recuperação!
Que tal recuperação não é vista na Bíblia como sendo impossível é mostrado pela escolha de um símbolo de esperança – o arco-íris com os seus sete raios. Pois esse é novamente o símbolo da Mulher ou Alma, a qual, quando restaurada na pureza, e divinamente iluminada, manifesta os Sete Espíritos de Deus. Essa é uma realização para a qual a Alma sempre guarda a potencialidade em seu seio, e em virtude disso um dia será novamente a produtora de homens “feitos à imagem de Deus”.
A contenda, já referida, entre profeta e sacerdote, como sendo respectivamente ministros da Alma e dos sentidos, da vida pura e do derramamento de sangue, é levada adiante através de toda a Bíblia, até que ela culmina no assassinato pelos sacerdotes do maior dos profetas. Pois os profetas não faziam derramamento de sangue; e todas as narrativas que representam Moisés, Samuel, Elias, e outros profetas como estando engajados na matança de pessoas de seu povo ou de tribos vizinhas – narrativas que pelo seu horror aparente são de imediato obstáculos para os fiéis e uma oportunidade de zombaria para os descrentes – representam simplesmente os conflitos da Alma com as más tendências do homem que ela anima.
E se, além disso, tivessem os tradutores da Bíblia sido devidamente talhados para essa tarefa, primeiro, pela posse do necessário conhecimento de Hebraico; em segundo lugar, pela posse do necessário discernimento das coisas divinas; e em terceiro lugar, por estarem livres de inclinações prévias em favor de uma concepção sanguinária do caráter divino, eles teriam trazido para o inglês [N.T.: Língua do original.], os nomes das vítimas desses massacres, ao invés de mantê-los no original; e desse modo teríamos visto nessas narrativas apenas uma antecipação do método seguido nas obras “O Progresso do Peregrino” e “Guerra
Santa” de Bunyan.
Quanto aos próprios escritores da Bíblia, podemos crer que, caso eles pudessem ter antevisto a que profundezas de estupidez (insensibilidade) um regime de carne e de estimulantes pode reduzir um povo de outro modo não carente de inteligência, depois de viver por dois mil anos com esse regime – a estupidez demonstrada por tomarmos suas parábolas como verdades literais – eles teriam renunciado de imediato ao seu método favorito, e falado diretamente.
O método empregado por Moisés não era nenhum outro senão o método que foi acima descrito. Instruído em todos os Mistérios da religião dos egípcios, ele os ministrou como mistérios para o seu próprio povo, ensinando a seus iniciados o espírito dos hieróglifos celestes, e pedindo-lhes que quando celebrassem festivais para Deus, que carregassem em procissão, com músicas e danças, aqueles animais sagrados que fossem relacionados com a dada ocasião, em vista do seu significado interior. E desses animais ele especialmente designou machos de um ano, sem mancha ou defeito, para significar que é necessário acima de todas as coisas que o homem dedique ao Senhor seu intelecto e sua razão, e isso desde o começo e sem a menor reserva.
Os sacerdotes, então, foram idólatras, os quais, vindo depois de Moisés, e pondo sob a forma escrita aquelas coisas que pela palavra de sua boca havia comunicado a Israel, substituíram os verdadeiros significados das coisas pelos seus meros símbolos materiais, e derramaram sangue inocente nos puros altares do Senhor. (1)
Os profetas desse modo, como já foi dito, não promoviam derramamento de sangue. Não trataram de coisas materiais, porém com significados espirituais. Seus cordeiros sem manchas, suas pombas brancas, seus bodes, seus carneiros, e outras criaturas sagradas, são signos e símbolos dos vários dons e graças que as pessoas místicas devem oferecer aos céus. Sem tais sacrifícios não há remissão do pecado.
Mas quando o sentido místico foi perdido, então a matança (carnificina) veio em conseqüência. Os profetas se extinguiram da face da terra, e os sacerdotes passaram a reger o povo. Então, quando a voz dos profetas novamente se levantou, eles foram obrigados a falar diretamente, e declararam abertamente que os sacrifícios para Deus não são a carne de touros ou o sangue de bodes, porém santos votos e sagradas ações de graças, que são suas contrapartes místicas. Pois, assim como Deus é um Espírito, assim também são espirituais os Seus sacrifícios. É apenas tolice e ignorância oferecer carne e bebida material para o puro Poder e o Ser essencial.
Em vão, mesmo para nós, os
profetas têm falado, e em vão tem Cristo se manifestado. (1) Pois todo o tema principal do ensinamento de Cristo e a moral da vida de Cristo, por meio dos quais ele vindicou ao mesmo tempo a Lei e os Profetas, é que um homem não pode ser salvo por nenhum ato de outro, ou por qualquer processo que ocorra fora dele mesmo; que “ninguém pode por qualquer meio redimir seu irmão, nem pagar a Deus um resgate por ele (pagar o seu preço)” [Salmos 49:8]; e que, portanto, nenhum tipo de oferenda queimada, ou de oferenda pelos pecados, nem qualquer sacrifício físico ou material seja lá qual for, pode salvar um homem de seus pecados e de suas conseqüências, mas tão somente um coração humilde e arrependido, e um espírito puro dentro do próprio homem, e uma vida de acordo com isso.
Se apenas uma vez pudermos ler a Bíblia com a visão não obscurecida pelo véu de sangue, e não distorcida pelo preconceito, então todo o seu mistério – o mistério de nossa queda e de nossa redenção – torna-se claro como o céu sem nuvens. Pois, então, podemos identificar como algo que ocorre em nossas próprias almas todo o processo, desde o começo até o fim, que a Bíblia, do Gênesis até o Apocalipse, apresenta sob a forma de símbolos e parábolas, precisamente como fez Nosso Senhor ele mesmo.
E, assim fazendo, nós chegamos a conhecer de forma absoluta, pela experiência individual de nossas próprias almas que o segredo e o método do Cristo não é nenhum outro do que aquele processo interior de purificação e regeneração, tão somente por meio do qual o espírito no homem retorna a sua condição original de pureza, tornando-o um homem novo, uno com Deus, que é puro Espírito.
É esse processo de transmutação, ou redenção do Espírito da Matéria, tanto na dimensão individual quanto na universal, que constitui o tema das sagradas escrituras, o objeto de todas as religiões verdadeiras, e a tarefa de todas as verdadeiras igrejas. E são os vários estágios desse processo que constituem respectivamente a Queda de Adão por meio da submissão da Eva dentro dele à serpente da Matéria; a descida de Israel, ou da Alma, até o Egito, ou o mundo e os sentidos; e o Êxodo ou fuga do mundo através da água da separação e consagração até o deserto, até a região erma da experiência beneficente; e a travessia do rio Jordão, ou rio da purificação, para tomar posse da terra prometida da perfeição.
Novamente, são esses vários estágios desse processo que estão representados na história do Evangelho do típico homem regenerado. Sejam eles chamados de água e espírito, ou de alma pura e a divina operação que nela ocorre, ou da Virgem Maria e o Espírito Santo, é desses dois dentro de cada homem que finalmente é redimido, que
o homem novo, ou o homem regenerado, o Cristo Jesus – que sempre é o “único Filho gerado por Deus” (“Filho único de Deus”) [João 3:16, 18] – é produzido.
E é sempre pela crucificação e morte na cruz da renúncia daquele velho Adão, o ser inferior, e a ressurreição e ascensão para uma condição de perfeição verdadeira que a salvação é finalmente alcançada. E a razão pela qual todas essas verdades eternas na história da alma foram centralmente colocadas na vida do profeta de Nazaré é simplesmente porque, reconhecendo nele os sinais ou testemunho de sua realização de perfeição num grau nunca antes alcançado, e em sua história as adequadas correspondências simbólicas, o Espírito Divino, sob cuja inspiração os Evangelhos foram compostos, o selecionou como o ícone das possibilidades da humanidade em geral.
Porém, mesmo rejeitando dessa maneira como sendo idólatra, como uma blasfêmia, e como perniciosa no mais alto grau à doutrina, conforme ela é comumente conhecida, da Redenção ou Reconciliação Vicariante [N.T.: Aquela realizada por alguém em lugar de outro; no caso o sacrifício de Jesus Cristo para nos redimir do pecado, para nos reconciliar com Deus.], ainda vemos em Cristo Jesus o “único Filho gerado por Deus” (“Filho único de Deus”) [João 3:16, 18]. E ainda nos apegamos a Seu sangue e a sua cruz como os únicos meios da salvação.
Mas é o Cristo Jesus dentro de nós, ou o homem que renasceu de alma e espírito puros, como o próprio Jesus declarou que todos devem nascer – exatamente do mesmo modo como se descreve que Ele nasceu – a quem buscamos para nos salvar. E os meios são Sua cruz de auto-sacrifício, renúncia, e pureza de vida; e a recepção em nós mesmos daquele “Sangue de Deus” que não é nenhum sangue meramente físico – com o qual as imperfeições morais não possuem nenhuma relação – mas que é a vida de Deus, o próprio Espírito puro, o qual é Deus, e o qual Deus está sempre derramando em abundância para o bem de Suas criaturas, dando a elas de sua própria vida e substância.
Quão perniciosa é a doutrina da redenção (ou reconciliação) vicariante, conforme ela é comumente aceita, é algo que pode ser visto pelas atuais condições do mundo: intelectualmente, moralmente e espiritualmente, não menos do que fisicamente. O homem sempre se constrói segundo a imagem de seu Deus, isto é, segundo a sua idéia de Deus. E acreditando em um Deus que é injusto, egoísta e cruel, o homem não pode ser senão injusto, egoísta e cruel.
É precisamente essa má representação do caráter divino, e essa perversão da verdadeira e da única possível doutrina da reconciliação ou redenção, em uma doutrina que faz a salvação do homem um processo externo a si mesmo, e dependente da ação de outro que não ele mesmo, que, por meio da falsificação do Cristianismo, provocou o seu fracasso. E, ao invés de um mundo ordenado por princípios de justiça, simpatia e
pureza, nos legou um mundo de más ações, de egoísmo e de sensualismo.
De acordo com o verdadeiro Evangelho, conforme declarado pelos profetas, a substância da humanidade não é material e criada, mas sim espiritual e divina. E o homem se eleva além de sua natureza inferior até sua natureza superior ao subordinar os primeiros aos últimos, elevando-se assim totalmente ao superior, tornando-se com isso divino – pois entre Espírito e Matéria não há linha fronteiriça. Esse conhecimento era o tesouro sem preço do qual Israel, ao fugir ou libertar-se, “despojou os egípcios”. [Êxodo 12:36] Esse era o grande segredo de todos os sagrados mistérios desde o princípio.
Ao contrário desse, trata-se de um falso evangelho, aquele que tendo origem nos sacerdotes, e desafiando ao mesmo tempo o intelecto e a intuição, atribui a salvação a uma operação vicariante, e, ao invés do sacrifício de nossa própria natureza inferior para a nossa natureza superior, e de nós mesmos para os demais, insiste no sacrifício de nossa natureza superior para a inferior, e dos outros para nós mesmos.
É dessa inversão da ordem divina que o hábito de
comer carne e a vivissecção – aquela mais
infernal de todas as práticas que sugiram do
abismo sem fundo da natureza inferior do homem –
são os diretos e inevitáveis resultados. E até
que a ordem divina seja restaurada, tanto em ato
quanto em pensamento, pela renúncia da doutrina
do sacrifício vicariante, conforme comumente
sustentado, e pela conseqüente reabilitação do
caráter de Deus, todos os nossos esforços de
melhoramento devem ser em vão; nossa civilização
será tão somente uma falsificação, um simulacro
desse termo; e nossa moralidade e religião serão
coisas das quais se pode dizer que estaríamos
melhor sem elas.
Em conclusão: aquilo que buscamos não é uma reforma de instituições meramente, ou a promoção de benefícios materiais meramente, mas sim uma radical renovação da própria Substância dos homens em todos os planos de suas naturezas, com vistas à realização daquilo que há tanto tempo foi prometido: “novos céus e nova terra onde habitará a Retidão (a Justiça)” [2 Pedro 3:13], e o advento daquele perfeito estado, a Nova Jerusalém, ou Cidade que tem Deus como sua luz, a luz que desce do céu da região celestial do próprio homem, aquele reino dos céus que está dentro dele mesmo, mas o qual jamais pode ser realizado por aqueles que persistem em ordenar suas vidas de modo a tornarem necessários o derramamento de sangue e a injustiça.
“Ele te mostrou, ó homem, o que é bom; e o que o Senhor exige de ti: nada mais do que agir com justiça, gostar do amor, e caminhar humildemente com o teu Deus!” [Miquéias 6:8] “Eles
não ferirão e nem destruirão em toda a minha montanha sagrada, disse o Senhor.” [Isaías 65:25]
Se nos for perguntado, qual a fonte, e qual a autoridade para essa interpretação, responderemos que há apenas uma fonte e autoridade para a verdade, e essa é a Alma do próprio homem, e que para obter acesso a esse lugar, e conhecer a doutrina, é necessário fazer a Vontade do Pai, e viver a vida pura que é requerida.
Pois a Alma vê divinamente, e nunca esquece aquilo que uma vez aprendeu. E tudo o que ela conhece está a serviço daquele que para com ela tem os devidos cuidados e a cultiva. Dela advém, diretamente e sem mescla de adulteração humana, aquilo que recém foi dito. E não há nenhuma outra fonte ou método de revelação divina.
É verdade, como se supõe geralmente, que a revelação divina é pronunciada por uma voz vinda do céu. Mas o céu é o mais íntimo santuário do templo do próprio homem, e a voz é a de Deus lá falando. Somente onde o terreno, o qual é o corpo, é puro e é nutrido com pureza, de modo que nenhuma exalação nociva surja para obscurecer a atmosfera, é que homem e sua Alma podem entabular conversação direta.
Vivendo da maneira que o mundo vive hoje, ele não pode conhecer as potencialidades da humanidade. Daí segue que ele diviniza uma espécie mais adiantada, à custa do resto da raça, quando na verdade todos são divinos, se apenas os deixarem assim ser. E a revelação é, tanto quanto a razão, o atributo natural do homem. Que tão somente viva com pureza, e ele reverterá a Queda.
NOTAS DE RODAPÉ
(215:1) Vide a Iluminação de Anna Kingsford “Concerning the Prophecy of the Immaculate Conception” (Sobre a Profecia da Imaculada Conceição), em Clothed with the Sun (Vestida com o Sol), Parte I, nº. 3.
(217:1) Vide a Iluminação de Anna Kingsford “Concerning the Interpretation of the Mystical Scriptures” (Sobre a Interpretação das Escrituras Místicas), em Clothed with the Sun (Vestida com o Sol), Parte I, nº. 5.
(218:1) Vide o Prefácio Biográfico, p. 28.
(220:1) Vide a Iluminação de Anna Kingsford “Concerning the Interpretation of the Mystical Scriptures” (Sobre a Interpretação das Escrituras Místicas), em Clothed with the Sun (Vestida com o Sol), Parte I, nº. 5, pp. 20-21; e Prefácio, p. 28 ante.
(221:1) Vide a Iluminação de Anna Kingsford “Concerning the Interpretation of the Mystical Scriptures” (Sobre a Interpretação das Escrituras Místicas), em Clothed with the Sun (Vestida com o Sol), Parte I, nº. 5, pp. 18-19.