Theosophical University Press Online Edition
Letter No. 156
[Marginal comments in M.'s handwriting are printed in bold type. Passages printed in bold type italics have been underlined by M. The numbers in brackets in bold type refer to M.'s comments at the end of the letter. — ED.]
Jan. 4th, 1881.
MY DEAR OLD LADY,
And tho' I am desperately inclined at times to believe that you are an impostor I believe I love you more than any of them.
I have just got off the last pages of a pamphlet I am preparing. These last pages are an extract from your letter about Madame [As there are perverted natures which come to love physical deformity as a contrast to beauty, so also there are those who find a rest in the moral depravity of vitiated persons. Such would consider imposture as cleverness.] Thekla Lebendorff [Mr. Sinnett has to use his influence to forbid such breach of trust. Her letter to Mr. Hume was a private one. The case may be given fully. The publishing of names — names of persons whose kin survive and live to the present day in Russia must be forbidden by M. B.] But your explanation in this case is not intelligible — so after trying to make out what you meant — I have entirely rewritten this out of my inner consciousness — Buddha knows if I have got on the right scent — I do not — but you will see the proofs and you or the Brothers,? must correct any blunders.
This pamphlet consists of (1) a long letter denouncing theosophy as a sham, and setting forth all the objections to it and the Brothers, put forward by the more intelligent men who do not disbelieve in the facts of spiritualism.
Such as Mr. Chatterjei — for instance?
(2) A very much longer letter alas, an awfully long letter, picking the first to pieces and turning it inside out.
I have in this done my very best. I think it reads fairly well — it is not conclusive — (for that you must thank the Brothers) (1) but it puts the very best face possible on every awkward fact, and gives the fullest view of all the favourable ones. The facts being as they are I defy anyone to do more. I mean anyone short of a brother, and my hope is that if there are brothers, some of them may when the proofs are before you favour us with some hints by which I may strengthen the case. I have taken this opportunity to let in a lot of light upon the principles of Esoteric Theosophy and on matters connected with the Brothers and their modi operandi etc. etc. There is a great deal in this letter (2).
But tho' I think I have made out a good case; though I may convince others — I have almost unconvinced myself (3). Never till I came to defend it, did I realise the extreme weakness of our position. You, you dear old sinner (and wouldn't you have been a reprobate under normal conditions?) are the worst breach of all — your entire want of control of temper — your utterly un-Buddha and un-Christlike manner of speaking of all who offend you — your reckless statements form together an indictment that it is hard to meet — I have I think got round it (4). But though I may stop others' mouths, I personally am not satisfied. Now perhaps you will say "Are you any better?" "I shall reply at once certainly not — probably in other ways ten times worse." But then I am not the chosen messenger of the embodiment of all purity and virtue — I am a mudstained soul that, though a cat may look at a king, may not even look at a Brother. (5) Now I know all about the Brothers' supposed explanation (6), that you are a psychological cripple, one of your seven principles being in pawn in Tibet — if so more shame to them keeping other people's property to the great detriment of the owner. But grant it so, then I ask my friends the Brothers to "precisez" as the French say — which principle have you got old chaps?
It ain't the Hoola sariram, the body — that's clear for you might truly say with Hamlet "Oh that this too solid flesh would melt!"
And it can't be the linga sariram, as that can't part from the body, and it ain't the kama rupa and if it were, its loss would not account for your symptoms.
Neither assuredly is it the Jivatma, you have plenty of life in you. Neither is it the fifth principle or mind, for without this you would be "quo ad" the external world, an idiot. Neither is it the sixth principle for without this you would be a devil, intellect without conscience, while as for the seventh that is universal and can be captured by no Brother and no Buddha, but exists for each precisely to the degree that the eyes of the sixth principle are open.
Therefore to me this explanation is not only not satisfactory — but its having been offered — throws suspicion on the whole thing.
Very clever — but suppose it is neither one of the seven particularly but all? Every one of them a "cripple" and forbidden the exercise of its full powers? And suppose such is the wise law of a far foreseeing power!
And so in many cases the more one looks into things, the less they seem to hold water. The more they bear the look of contrivances thrown out on the spur of the moment to meet an immediate difficulty.
If as is quite possible, everything could be explained — then I only deplore the fatuity of the superior beings who send you to fight the world armed with only a part of your faculties, and carefully surround you with a network of such contradictory and compromising facts, as to render it impossible for your most loving and by no means least intelligent friend to avoid at times grave doubts not only as to their existence but also as to your good faith. (7)
In letter No. 2 I have doubtless answered every objection — after a fashion — but if I was to write a No. 3 on the other side couldn't I make mincemeat of some at least of No. 2's arguments. No one outside can perhaps.
As said before — a good reason for it. For the arguments on both sides are faulty and easily made "mincemeat" of.
All I can say is — if as I still believe on the balance of evidence the Brothers do exist -- entreat and pray them so to strengthen you as to make you more what a great moral reformer — should be — and so strengthen our hands to defend you and advance their cause. (8)
Well No. 3 is Olcott's letter from Ceylon — with one passage left out and a few words modified — to me an excellent letter — the passage which the world would at once hit upon as pointing to a transcendental flirtation between Morier and his "most exquisite specimen of perfect womanhood" K. H.'s sister, I have naturally elided — also the one about his supposed exit from the body in New York, which is weak and explicable as simple somnambulism. [This passage is scored through in red ink in the original by M. — ED.]
Mr. Hume acted judiciously in eliding that passage in O.'s letter though the writing of the three words would not be covered by the theory of somnambulism, as somnambulists do not pass through solid walls. As for the sentence about my brother's sister, no one with any delicacy would have thought of giving it to the public. The public, represented so brutally indecent in thought, that even one of its most accomplished leaders could not read of the pure sisterly friendship of a holy woman for her brother's lifelong brother in occult research without descending to the grovelling thought of a sensual relationship, must be but a herd of swine. And still that same leader wonders that we do not come to his study and prove we are not fictions of a mad fancy!
No. 4 is your story about Thekla — rewritten — I only hope it is quite true — and that when it gets round to Russia as it is sure to do, that people will confirm and not contradict.
There is a preface in big type which anyone who likes may suppose to be written by the Brothers — or by you or the President, saying that these letters though by no means entirely free from errors and misconceptions are yet published as throwing some light upon difficulties which have been felt by many interested in Theosophy. The proofs will come to you in due course — strengthen the defence if you or they can — don't attempt to weaken the attack — the strongest position is always gained, by putting out yourself all that can possibly be said against you.
By the way how many copies should be printed of the Bengali translation of the Ladies Rules etc. Sinnett only printed 100 of the English and there appear to be none left now! It is no use printing more of the Bengali rules than are likely to be of use — but I think 100 too few. Please tell me how many — I am paying for the printing of this, and S. K. Chatterjee who is going down to Calcutta — and who has taken great pains with the translation, will see it through the press, and I have to write to him there to say how many copies, so please, don't forget to answer sharp, how many copies.
Chatterjee is a very clever fellow but though he does not disbelieve in spiritualism, or spiritual science, I can't get him to swallow the Brothers nohow! I have just sent him on Olcott's letter and Ramaswamier's certificate with Morier's postcript — to the effect that you are all dzing dzing. Most people are dzing dzing in the opinion of the illustrious.
If they don't exist what a novel writer you would make! (9A) You certainly make your characters very consistent. When is our dear old Christ — I mean K. H., again to appear on the scene — he is quite our favourite actor (9B) — well I suppose they know their own business best, but humanly speaking they make a mistake in crippling my energies by leaving me without any certainty of their existence, and thus harassing me with doubts whether I may not be preaching doctrines which however pure in themselves may be founded on a fraud — and which if so founded can never do any good — by doubts whether I am not wickedly wasting my time and brains over a chimera, time and energies that I might devote to some humbler but possibly truer and more good producing cause (9C). However I engaged for one year — and during that shall do all I can, honestly and fairly — but if within that period I can acquire no certainty I shall retire from the Society feeling that true or false, it is no truth for me. I shall not give up the life (10) for that imperfectly perhaps as I may as yet have succeeded in living it, commends itself wholly to me — but I shall withdraw from the Society; if founded on truth I shall at least have done it some good by all I have written and done — if not so, I cannot have done much harm and I have not so far as I know gone beyond what I do believe.
You will say that this is nicely complimentary [to] you — but between you and I there must be no euphemisms if put into a witness box to-morrow. I could swear, that as at present advised — I believe you to be a perfectly true woman — but I could not swear that the whole story about the Brothers was not a fiction, though I could swear that on the whole I believed it to be more likely to be true than false.
Sinnett however — lucky fellow, has no shade of doubt — and with his conviction — position and abilities he will be a tower of strength to you — and to Theosophy — so that I shall have less compunction in washing my hands of the business than I should have had were you left without a champion in the hands of the Philistines.
I shall take up Terry's letter next and see what I can make of it. I have not had time to consider it yet properly.
I wish you would put me in communication with your Triplicane Pundit, and induce him to favour me with a few more letters like that last. If I had only had that before I wrote that Fragments!
Love to Olcott.
Ever yours affectionately,
A. O. HUME.
(1) Who refuse to send their portrait — photos to illustrate the forthcoming revised and corrected edition of Hume's "Essays on Miracles."
(2) So there is. But great intellectuality does not always go hand in hand with great discernment of right and wrong.
(3) Quite so. There are natures also so much psychologised with their own eloquence, so completely subjugated by their own great oratorial powers that they are the first to fall under the charm. Mr. Hume will as easily bamboozle himself into as out of any belief, provided he is allowed to take all the points himself.
(4) Yes — but at what a price!
(5) Hypocrisy is not always "the necessary burden of villainy —" but often the outcome of vain coquetry with one's own nature. The inner Hume assuming attitudes before the mirror of the outer Hume.
(6) He is mistaken — he does not.
(7) Never for those who know her well.
(8) Nor shall we fail to do so when the time comes.
(9A) Yes; and what a sculptor and painter she must be as she justly remarked.
(9B) The man blasphemes! K. H. will never be an actor for the gratification of anyone. Let him doubt it, he will not doubt much longer but soon find out his mistake.
(9C) If he has the slightest doubt and yet does so he is no honest man.
(10) Let me draw your attention to a sentence in my letter to Scott in which I allude to certain implied threats. The date of Mr. Hume's letter is Jan. 4th. I projected myself before Scott on the 5th and wrote to tell him that I was glad I could do so without appearing to yield to implied threats. Whoever else will see us it will never be Mr. Hume. He can retire but Mr. Sinnett need not break with him.
Finally we do not approve in its present form of Mr. Hume's pamphlet. Comparatively few of the members of the Society occupy themselves with Occult study or believe in our existence. His pamphlet commits the whole body to both. Therein he errs as plainly as Wyld of London in giving out his private views and his preface suggesting us as its authors must but compromise the Society the more.
Your proposal to compile a manual for the instruction of young members is approved by K. H. Consult with Moorad Ali and Olcott. K. H. desires me to say that he has no objection to your bringing out 2nd edition provided you include [in] an appendix and the different proofs that have since accumulated. He desires you to stay here as long as you possibly can. He will write through the Disinherited.
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