Theosophical University Press Online Edition

THE LETTERS OF H. P. BLAVATSKY
to A. P. SINNETT

and OTHER MISCELLANEOUS LETTERS
TRANSCRIBED, COMPILED, AND WITH AN INTRODUCTION

By A. T. BARKER


Facsimile of the First Edition, 1925; print edition published by Theosophical University Press 1973 (print version also available); electronic edition published 1999. Electronic version ISBN 1-55700-145-6. This edition may be downloaded for off-line viewing without charge. For ease of searching, no diacritical marks appear in this electronic version of the text.

NOTE: This edition incorporates material from the Combined Chronology for use with The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett and The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett by Margaret Conger (copyright © 1973 by Theosophical University Press; available in print edition). The Blavatsky letters are linked both in numerical order according to Barker's original numbering, and also in chronological order with both Barker's "Blavatsky Letters" and "Mahatma Letters" according to the above book when this differs from the numerical order. The data given for the letters in the Combined Chronology is included in brackets { } if not included in the 2nd edition of The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett.

CONTENTS

Compiler's Preface
Introduction
Specimen of HPB's Handwriting

Foreword to Combined Chronology by Grace F. Knoche (17K)
Preface and Introduction to Combined Chronology by Margaret Conger (12K)

Table of Contents

NOTE: Files of each letter are named according to the letter number assigned by A. T. Barker, given in Arabic numerals, as in bl-#.htm. To go directly to a particular letter, change the last section of the current URL from bl-hp.htm to the file name reflecting the number of the letter. For example, to go to Letter 5, type bl-5.htm; for letter 10b, type bl-10b.htm, etc.

Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett Homepage


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". . . It was thy patience that in the waste attended still thy step, and saved MY friend for better days. What cannot patience do. . . . A great design is seldom snatched at once, 'tis PATIENCE heaves it on. . . ." — K. H.

COMPILER'S PREFACE

The letters here presented to the reader, written by the Founder of the Theosophical Society between the years 1880-1888, are intended to form a companion volume to the recently published Mahatma Letters, and should be read in conjunction with that work. They have been transcribed direct from the originals and without omission except for the occasional deletion of a name where-ever for obvious reasons it was absolutely necessary to do so. Contrary to the method employed in The Mahatma Letters, the compiler has permitted himself to correct obvious errors of spelling and punctuation, as these were too numerous to ignore, and no useful purpose could be served by leaving them unedited. Here and there in the text a word appears in square brackets. This always indicates that the word is either superfluous, or has been added by the compiler to make the sentence comprehensible. It should be understood that all footnotes are part of the original letters, unless signed "Ed.," in which case they have been added by the compiler. With these necessary exceptions the letters are presented to the reader, as already stated, unaltered.

In Section I are to be found exclusively the Letters of Madame Blavatsky arranged as far as possible in chronological order.

Section II contains all the Miscellaneous Letters of interest left by Mr. Sinnett, arranged under the names of the different writers in numbered sub-sections. Some of these have additional value owing to the marginal comments by the Mahatmas M. and K. H.

In Sub-section VIII are included some short notes from M. and K. H. which were overlooked in preparing The Mahatma Letters. They are now published not so much for their intrinsic value, but because in his Introduction to that volume the compiler stated that the whole of the Mahatma Letters left by Mr. Sinnett were then published, and his statement, inaccurate to this extent is hereby made good.

The Appendixes contain: I. An Article by Eliphas Levi on "Death," which is of particular value because it has comments in Master K. H.'s writing in the margin of the printed page of the magazine in which it originally appeared.

II. Cosmological Notes from Mr. Sinnett's MS. Book. One version of these notes which does not agree exactly with the MS. book from which his copies were presumably drawn, has already been published by Mr. Jinarajadasa. Although the differences may possibly not be regarded as serious, it is thought that students would be glad to have the opportunity of reading them just as they were left by Mr. Sinnett, and for that reason they are included in the present volume. The material contained in the two volumes was left all together in one box by Mr. Sinnett, and the whole of its contents are now in print with the exception of some miscellaneous correspondence by various writers which is not of sufficient interest to warrant publication. There must be, however, scattered about the world a number of H.P.B.'s letters in the keeping of different people, and it is greatly to be hoped that in the interest of the Movement steps will be taken to publish them.

The compiler takes this opportunity of acknowledging his indebtedness to several friends for painstaking and careful work in checking the originals with the printed proofs, and also for the compilation of the Index.

A. T. B.


INTRODUCTION

Of all the problems which confront the student of Theosophy, there is none more vital in the present day than a thorough grasp and correct perspective not only of the personal character of the Founder of the Theosophical Society, but of the nature of the work she did and the true relationship it bears to the whole fabric of the Theosophical Movement. It is now beginning to be recognised that her writings contain the key to the profoundest mysteries of Man and the Universe, and those who opposed her, finding themselves unable to disprove the value and truth of her philosophy, sought by means of personal slander and vilification to prejudice public opinion, and thus divert attention from the treasure of knowledge which she was the means of giving to the world, and which, if impartially considered on its merits, must have carried with it the conviction of the integrity of the writer. In The Secret Doctrine Mme. Blavatsky quoted the words of Gamaliel as being particularly applicable to her own work: "If this doctrine is false it will perish of itself, but if true then it cannot be destroyed." Just as her work has stood the test of time and public criticism, so will these two volumes provide the means for the vindication of her personal character. The biassed and untrustworthy nature of the Hodgson Report of the Society of Psychical Research, which has provided the basis for so much ignorant and malicious criticism even down to the present day, is clearly revealed in these pages. Much fresh light is also thrown on the forgeries known as the Coulomb Letters, and also of her relation with the notorious Solovioff, who, in his rage and resentment at being refused the privilege of chelaship, did so much to injure her reputation. It would require a volume to deal adequately with all the evidence on these important questions; the reader is therefore left to form his own conclusions as to whether the heroic figure which stands out so vividly in these pages was the liar, the fraud, and worse than dishonest medium which the Society of Psychical Research and the Spiritualists generally would have us believe, or whether she was what she claimed to be — no medium indeed, but the conscious Agent of the Masters who sent her forth, performing her prodigious task under conditions which would make the bravest halt; an occultist pledged to silence as to the true reasons for most of her actions, ever fearful of giving out too much, but yet through it all labouring so fiercely and whole-heartedly for the sake of the few who were entitled to her Master's thanks. She wrote herself in Letter No. XLV — "Those who see no discrepancy in the idea of filthy lying and fraud even for the good of the Cause — being associated with work done for the Masters — are congenital Jesuits . . . or natural born fools. Had I been guilty once only — of a deliberately, purposely concocted fraud, especially when those deceived were my best, my truest friends, no 'love' for such one as I! At best, pity or eternal contempt. Pity if proved I was an irresponsible lunatic, a hallucinated medium, made to trick by my 'guides' whom I was representing as Mahatmas; contempt — if a conscious fraud." Let those who are so limited as to believe that the Masters and their teaching are the invention of H. P. Blavatsky read the account of her journey into the wilds of Sikkim, in which she describes her meeting in propria persona with the Mahatmas M. and K. H. The real nature of these Adepts as living men, or, as H. P. B. called them, "superior mortals, not ignorant flapdoodle gods," is here placed beyond the realm of speculation.

There is hardly one of these pages that does not throw some unexpected light on the mysteries of the relationship between Adept and chela, and it is thus possible to gain some comprehension of the life of those who, while living in the world, serve the purposes of the Great Lodge of Adepts whose headquarters are beyond the Himalayas of Northern India. Wherever those chelas may be, their hearts will give a warmer and quicker throb as they read the story of H. P. B.'s intimate association with her teachers. As they read further of the trials and torments which inevitably befell those other chelas of forty years ago, it is not they who will be tempted to condemn those who fell from their high estate, dragged into the mire by one or other of the weaknesses of human nature. But while there should be nothing but pity and compassion for the failures, let no student of the Sacred Science fall into the blunder of seeking in the name of "Brotherhood" to justify their indulgences, either ethically or morally.

There are several references to the writing of The Secret Doctrine which show to how great an extent the Masters were themselves responsible for that work. That is why the teaching of H. P. B. "remains for us the test and criterion of Theosophy," by which all other teaching on the subject must be judged. After all, if the Masters do not know what Theosophy is, no one does, because in its essence, purity and completeness it is alone contained in the secret teaching of which the Guardians are the Masters Themselves. That teaching, as stated by H. P. B., "is not the fancy of one or several isolated individuals, but the fruit of the work of thousands of generations of Adept Seers," ["That is to say, men who have perfected their physical, mental, psychic. and spiritual organisations to the utmost possible degree."] through whom it was handed down from the first Divine Instructors of our Humanity. It is the substratum and basis of all the world-religions and philosophies, but its doctrines are the exclusive possession of none of them. It was the mission of Madame Blavatsky, under the instructions of those Adepts, to give to the world selected portions of that archaic teaching. It should be remembered that an Adept — a Master, is one who has achieved immortality, and therefore has the power to perceive truth as it is and at will to reflect it without distortion. It is because no one of lesser degree can claim that power always and with certainty that Their testimony must be regarded as the highest authority on all matters of occult doctrine and practice. And here it must be stated unequivocally that from the point of view of the "original programme" of the Society, no theosophical association has any raison d'etre if it does not remain true to the Masters and their teaching. There are some who seem to believe that it is possible to be faithful to the Masters while denying even the theoretical truth of their teaching. This is where the responsibility of the old Theosophical Society is so grave. In his Introduction to The Mahatma Letters the writer had occasion to point out in what important particulars that Society showed by its actions a serious divergence from the spirit and letter of the original teaching. That volume proves beyond question that H. P. B.'s writings are absolutely consistent with the Masters' teachings, and in nothing is this more clearly discernible than in her exposition of the doctrines relating to the Life after Death. It is not the least serious aspect of the situation that the Theosophical Society bases its propaganda on this important subject not, as the public has a right to expect, on the message of H. P. B. and the Masters, but on the personal investigation of later students, whose views, for example, on the post-mortem survival of personal consciousness are so different as to represent the direct antithesis of the original teaching.

No serious students of H. P. B. will deny the force or the truth of these arguments, but there are many such who conceive it to be their duty to remain in the old Theosophical Society and at the same time to stand by the original teaching. They are at once faced with certain difficulties which have to be experienced to be understood, but which, fortunately, the constitution of the Society does not make it impossible to solve. Let the reader turn to Letter No. C in this volume, and he will there see how H. P. B. was faced with a very similar situation and of the measures she recommended to deal with it. She lays stress on the fact that the Society was founded as a Universal Brotherhood, in which no one has the right to force his own views on another, but each must be allowed free expression of opinion. She defines what a nucleus of Brotherhood is by quoting Master K. H. almost word for word: "A group or branch, however small, cannot be a theosophical society unless the members in it are magnetically bound to each other by the same way of thinking, at least in some one direction." She urges that those who intend at all costs to remain true to the original programme of the Society — i.e. to the Masters and their teaching — should found Lodges devoted to that purpose alone. Exactly the same should be done in our own day as a solution of present difficulties.

Therefore, all the world over, let the lovers of the Wisdom of H. P. B. unite, whether they be in or out of the Theosophical Society; let them found Lodges which shall be places apart, sanctified by devotion to the Truth and the Cause of the Brotherhood of Humanity, while seeking their knowledge from her writings, [that is to say, The Secret Doctrine, Isis Unveiled, The Key to Theosophy, The Voice of the Silence, and her numerous magazine articles in Lucifer and The Theosophist; care should be taken to study these works wherever possible in the original editions or exact reprints of them — the later Revised Editions have been considerably altered and, in the opinion of many students, quite unwarrantably] which contain all and far more than is necessary for the instruction of Theosophists, until the promised hour strikes at the beginning of the last quarter of this century, when another Messenger from the Great Lodge may be expected to appear and carry forward the work of H. P. Blavatsky to the next stage of unfolding.

A. TREVOR BARKER.
LONDON,
December, 1924.


A Typical Specimen of Mme. Blavatsky's Handwriting