The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett

Theosophical University Press Edition


Letter No. 54

Received Simla, October, 1882.

My dear friend: — the deposition and abdication of our great "I am " is one of the most agreeable events of the season for your humble servant. Mea culpa! — I exclaim, and willingly place my guilty head under a shower of ashes — from the Simla cigars if you like — for it was my doing! Some good has come of it in the shape of excellent literary work — (though, indeed, I prefer your style) — for the Parent body, but none whatever for the hapless "Eclectic." What has he done for it? He complains in a letter to Shishir Koomar Gosh (of the A.B. Patrika) that owing to his (?) Hume's incessant efforts, he had nearly "converted Chesney to Theosophy" when the great anti-Christian spirit of the Theosophist threw the Colonel violently back. This is what we may call — tampering with historical facts. I send you his last letter to me, in which you will find him entirely under the influence of his new guru — "the good Vedantin Swami" (who offers to teach him the Adwaita philosophy with a god in it by way of improvement) — and of the Sandaram Spirit. His argument is, as you will find, that with the "good old Swami" he will at any rate learn something, while with us, it is impossible for him to "ever learn anything." I — "never gave him the assurance that all the letters were not evolved out of the Old Lady's fertile brain." Even now, he adds, when he has obtained subjective certainty, that we are distinct entities from Mad. B — "I cannot tell what you are — you might be Djual Kul, or a spirit of the high Eastern plane" — etc. in like strain. In the letter enclosed he says — we "may be tantrikists" (better ascertain the value of the compliment paid) — and, he is preparing, nay — all prepared — to plunge from extreme Adwaitism, into transcendental theism, once more. Amen. I hand him over to the Salvation Army.

I would not like to see him sever his connection with the Society altogether, though; first for his own intrinsic literary worth, and then — because you would be sure to have an indefatigable though a secret enemy, who would pass his time in writing out his ink dry against theosophy, denouncing all and everyone in the Society to all and everyone outside of it, and making himself disagreeable in a thousand ways. As I once said before, he may seem to forgive, and he is just the man to bamboozle himself before his own reflection in the looking-glass into magnanimous forgiveness, but in reality he neither forgives nor ever forgets. It was pleasant news for M. and all of us to hear how unanimously and quietly you were elected President, and we all — "masters" and chelas — greet fraternally and warmly your ascension to the office; an accomplished fact which reconciles us even with the sad and humiliating tidings that Mr. Hume expressed his utter indifference to chelas and even to their masters, adding that he cared very little to meet either. But enough of him who may better be described in the words of the Tibetan proverb:

". . . Like the bird of night: by day a graceful cat, in darkness an ugly rat."

One word of advice — an earnest warning from both of us: trust not little Fernbeware of him. His placid serenity and smiles when talking to you of the "mild scolding tempered with mercy," and that it is better to be scolded than cast off — are all assumed. His letter of penitence and remorse to M — which he sends you to keep — is not sincere. If you do not watch him closely, he will mix the cards for you in a way that may lead the Society to ruin, for he swore a great oath to himself that the Society will either fall or rise with himself. If he fails next year again — and with all his great gifts, how can such an incurable little jesuit and liar help failing? — he will do his best to pull down the Society with him — as regards belief in the "Brothers" at least. Try to save him, if possible, my dearest friend; do your best to convert him to truth and unselfishness. It is real pity that such gifts should be drowned in a mire of vice — so strongly engrafted upon him by his early tutors. Meanwhile, beware of ever allowing him to see any of my letters.

And now to C. C. Massey and your letters. Both answer and your reply are excellent. Doubtless a more sincere, truthful or a more noble minded man (S. Moses not excepted) could hardly be found among the British theosophists. His only and chief fault is — weakness. Were he to learn some day how deeply he has wronged H.P.B. in thought — no man would feel more miserable over it than himself. But of this anon. If you remember in my letter to H. upon the subject I "forbade all arrangements" for the simple reason that the Bsh. Theos. Soc. had collapsed, and virtually was no more. But, if I remember right I added — that if they re-established it on a firm basis with such members as Mrs. K. and her scribe — that we would have no objection to teach them through you — or words to that effect. I certainly objected having my letters printed and circulated like those of Paul in the bazaars of Ephesus — for the benefit (or perchance derision and criticism) of isolated members who hardly believed in our existence. But I have no objection, in case of an arrangement, as proposed by C.C.M. Only let them first organize, leaving out such bigots as Wyld — strictly out in the cold. He refused to admit Mr. Hume's sister Mrs. B. because, having never seen any mesmeric phenomena she disbelieved in mesmerism; and refused to admit Crookes, recommended by C.C.M., as I was told. I will never refuse my help and co-operation to a group of men sincere and ardent to learn; but if again, such men as Mr. Hume are to be admitted, men who generally delight in playing in every organized system they get into, the parts played by Typhon and Ahriman in the Egyptian and Zoroastrian systems — then the plan had better be left aside. I dread the appearance in print of our philosophy as expounded by Mr. H. I read his three essays or chapters on God (?) cosmogony and glimpses of the origin of things in general, and had to cross out nearly all. He makes of us Agnostics!! We do not believe in God because so far, we have no proof, etc. This is preposterously ridiculous: if he publishes what I read, I will have H.P.B. or Djual Khool deny the whole thing; as I cannot permit our sacred philosophy to be so disfigured. He says that people will not accept the whole truth; that unless we humour them with a hope that there may be a "loving Father and creator of all in heaven" our philosophy will be rejected a priori. In such a case the less such idiots hear of our doctrines the better for both. If they do not want the whole truth and nothing but the truth, they are welcome. But never will they find us — (at any rate) — compromising with, and pandering to public prejudices. Do you call this "candid" and — honest "from a European standpoint"? Read his letter and judge. The truth is, my dear friend, that notwithstanding the great tidal wave of mysticism that is now sweeping over a portion of the intellectual classes of Europe, the Western people have as yet scarcely learned to recognise that which we term wisdom in its loftiest sense. As yet, he only is esteemed truly wise in his world, who can most cleverly conduct the business of life, so that it may yield the largest amount of material profit — honours or money. The quality of wisdom, ever was, and will be yet for a long time — to the very close of the fifth race — denied to him who seeks the wealth of the mind for its own sake, and for its own enjoyment and result without the secondary purpose of turning it to account in the attainment of material benefits. By most of your gold worshipping countrymen our facts and theorems would be denominated fancy-flights, the dreams of madmen. Let the Fragments and even your own magnificent letters now published in Light, fall into the hands, and be read by the general public — whether materialists or theists or Christians; and ten to one every average reader will curl his lip with a sneer; and with the remark — "all this may be very profound and learned but of what use is it in practical life?" — dismiss letters and Fragments from his thoughts for ever.

But now your position with C.C.M. seems changing, and you are gradually bringing him round. He longs sincerely to give Occultism another trial and — is "open to conviction"; we must not disappoint him. But, I cannot undertake to furnish either them or even yourself with new facts until all I have already given is put into shape from the beginning, (vide Mr. Hume's Essays) and taught to them systematically, and by them learned and digested. I am now answering your numerous series of questions — scientific and psychological — and you will have material enough for a year or two. Of course I will be always ready with further explanations, hence unavoidably, additions — but I positively refuse to teach any further before you have understood and learned all that is already given. Nor do I want you to print anything from my letters unless previously edited by you, and put into shape and form. I have no time for writing regular "papers," nor does my literary ability extend so far as that.

Only how, about C.C.M.'s mind so prejudiced against the author of Isis and ourselves, who have dared an attempt to introduce Eglinton into the sacred precincts of the B.T.S. and to denominate + a "Brother"? Shall not our joint sins and transgressions "from a European standpoint" — be sorely in the way of mutual confidence; and will they not lead to endless suspicions and misconceptions? I am not prepared just now to afford the British Theosophists the proof of our existence in flesh and bones, or that I am not altogether H.P.B.'s "confederate"; for all this is a question of time and — Karma. But, even supposing it very easy to prove the former, it would be far less easy to disprove the latter. A "K. H.," i.e. a mortal of very ordinary appearance and acquainted tolerably well with the English, Vedanta and Buddhist philosophy, and with even a bit of drawing-room juggling — is easily found and furnished, so as to demonstrate his objective existence beyond doubt or cavil. But how about giving the positive, moral certitude that the individual, who may thus make his appearance is not a bogus K. H., a "confederate" of H.P.B.? Were not St. Germain, and Cagliostro, both gentlemen of the highest education and achievements — and presumably Europeans — not "niggers" of my sort — regarded at the time, and still so regarded by posterity — as impostors, confederates, jugglers and what not? Yet I am morally bound to set his mind at rest — through your kind agency — with regard to H.P.B. deceiving and imposing upon him. He seems to think he has obtained proofs of it absolutely unimpeachable. I say he has not. What he has obtained is simply proof of the villainy of some men, and ex-theosophists such as Hurrychund Chintamon of Bombay now of Manchester and elsewhere; the man who robbed the Founders and Dayanand of Rs. 4,000, deceived and imposed upon them from the first (so far back as New York), and then exposed and expelled from the Society ran away to England and is ever since seeking and thirsting for his revenge. And such other as Dr. Billing, the husband of that good, honest woman, the only really and thoroughly reliable and honest medium I know of — Mrs. M. Hollis-Billing; whom he married for her few thousands pounds, ruined her during the first year of his married life, went into concubinage with another medium; and when vehemently reproached by H.P.B. and Olcott, — left his wife and Society and turned with bitter hatred against both women; and since then is ever seeking to secretly poison the minds of the British Theosophists and Spiritualists against his wife and H.P.B. Let C.C.M. put all those facts together; fathom the mystery and trace the connection between his informants and the two traducers of the two innocent women. Let him investigate thoroughly and patiently, before he believes in certain reports — and even proofs brought forward — lest he overloads his Karma with a heavier sin than any. There is not a stone these two men leave unturned in order to succeed in their evil design. While Hurrychund Chintamon never failed once during the last three years to take into his confidence every theosophist he met, pouring into his ears pretended news from Bombay about the duplicity of the Founders; and to spread reports among the spiritualists about Mad. B's pretended phenomena, showing them all as simply "impudent tricks" — since she has no real idea of the Yoga powers; or again showing letters from her, received by him while she was in America; and in which she is made to advise him to pretend — he is a "Brother" and thus deceive the British theosophists the better; while H.C. is doing all this and much more, Billing is "working" the London mystics. He attitudinizes before them as a victim of his over confidence in a wife whom he found out as a false tricky medium, helped and supported in this by H.P.B. and H.S.O.; he complains of his cruel fate and swears on his honour (!) he left her only because he had found her an impostor, his honesty revolting at such a union. Thus, it is on the strength and authority of the reports of such men, and the too confiding persons, who, believing in them help them that C.C.M. gradually came to disown and repudiate the disgusting and deformed changeling which was imposed upon him under the guise of H.P.B. Believe me — it is not so. If he tells you he was shown documentary proof — answer him that a letter in his own handwriting and over his own signature, which, if placed in the hands of law would send him in 24 hours on the bench of criminals, may be forged as easily as any other document. A man who was capable of forging on a bogus will the signature of the testator and then getting hold of the hand of the already dead man, put a pen into it and guide it over the ready signature, to afford the witnesses a chance of taking their oath that they had seen the man sign it — is ready to do more serious work than simply slandering an unpopular foreigner.

When, smarting under the exposure and bent upon revenge H. Ch. arrived three years ago from Bombay, C.C.M. would neither receive nor see him, nor would he listen to his justification, for Dayanand — whom he recognised and accepted at that time as his spiritual chief — had sent him word to hold no communication with the thief and traitor. Then it was that the latter and C. Carter Black, the jesuit expelled from the Society for slandering in the Pall Mall Gazette both Swami and Hurrychund — became fast friends. Carter Black had for over two years moved heaven and earth to get readmitted into the Society but H.P.B. had proved a Chinese Wall against such readmission. Both the ex-fellows made peace, put their heads together and worked since then in a most charming accord. This made secret enemy — No. 3. C.C.M.'s devotion was in their way — they went to work to break the object of that devotion — H.P.B. — by shaking his confidence in her. Billing who could never hope to achieve success in that direction — for C.C.M. knew him too well, having legally defended his ruined and forsaken wife — succeeded to arouse his suspicions against Mrs. Billing as a medium and against her friend H.P.B. who had defended and supported her against him. Thus was the ground well prepared for sowing in it any kind of weed. Then came — like a thunderbolt Swami's unexpected attack upon the Founders and proved the death blow to C.C.M.'s friendship. Because Swami had been represented by her to them as a high chela, an initiate, he imagined he had never been one, and that in her misguided zeal to advance the cause H.P.B. had deceived them all! After the April row, his and her enemies made an easy prey of him. Take Light; compare dates and the various cautious and covered attacks. Behold C.C.M.'s hesitation, and then his sudden pouncing upon her. Cannot you read between the lines, friend?

But what of S. Moses? Ah — he at least, is never the man to utter a deliberate falsehood, much less repeat a slanderous report. He, at least, as well as C.C.M., is a gentleman every inch of him, and an honest man. Well; and what of that? You forget his profound, sincere irritation with us and H.P.B., as a Spiritualist the chosen vessel of election of Imperator? C.C.M. is ignorant of the laws and mysteries of mediumship and he is his staunch friend. Take again Light and see, how plainly his irritation grows and becomes louder in his Notes By The Way. He has entirely misconceived your meaning, or rather quotations (followed by no explanations) from a letter of mine to yourself, who, in your turn have never correctly understood the situation. What I then said I now repeat: — There is an abyss between the highest and lowest degrees of Planetaries (this to your query — Is + a Planetary Spirit?) and then my assertion that — "+ is a Brother." But what is a "Brother," in reality — do you know? For what H.P.B. has added out of the depths of her own consciousness, perhaps, I do not hold myself responsible; for she knows nothing for a dead certainty about +, and often "dreaming dreams" she draws her own original conclusions therefrom. Result: S.M. regards us as impostors and liars, unless we be but a fiction; in which case the compliment returns to H.P.B.

Now what are the facts and what the accusations against H.P.B. Many are the shadowy points against her in C.C.M's mind and, with every day they become blacker and uglier. I will give you an instance. While in London, at the Billings, Jan. 1879, H. P. B. who had produced a china pot from under the table, was asked by C.C.M. to give him some phenomenally produced object too. Consenting she caused a small card-case, as carved in Bombay to appear in the pocket of his overcoat hung in the hall.

Inside — whether then or later in the evening, was found a slip of paper, with the facsimile of Hurrychund C's signature on it. At the time, no suspicion entered his mind, since there really was no ground for any. But now you see, he believes it — if not all a trick, at any rate a half-deception. Why? Because at that time he believed H. C. a chela, all but a great adept, as allowed and led to suppose by H.P.B.; and now he knows that H.C. was never a chela — since he himself denies it; that, he never had any powers, denies any knowledge of, or belief in such; and tells to everyone that even Dayanand has never been a Yogi but is simply "an ambitious impostor" like Mohamet. In short so many lies brought and left at the Founders' door. And then her letters, and the reports by trustworthy witnesses of her confederacy with Mrs. Billing. Hence — confederacy between her and Eglinton. She is proved, at any rate, an arch plotter, a deceiver, a crafty character; either that — or a visionary lunatic, an obsessed medium! European, western logic. Letters? Very easy to alter words, hence the whole meaning of a sentence in letters. So has the Swami letters from her, which he freely translates, quotes from and comments upon in the face of the July Supplement. Now pray, oblige me by carefully reading over again the "Defence." Note the bare-faced lies of India's "great Reformer." Remember what was admitted to you and then denied. And if my word of honour has any weight with you, then know that D. Swami was an initiated Yogi, a very high chela at Badrinath, endowed some years back with great powers and a knowledge he has since forfeited, and that H.P.B. told you but the truth, as also that H.C. was a chela of his, who preferred to follow the "left path." And now see what has become of this truly great man, whom we all knew and placed our hopes in him. There he is — a moral wreck, ruined by his ambition and panting for breath in his last struggle for supremacy, which, he knows we will not leave in his hands. And now, if this man — ten times greater morally and intellectually than Hurrychund — could fall so low, and resort to such a mean course, of what his ex-friend and pupil Hurrychund may not be capable to satisfy his thirst for revenge! The former has at least an excuse — his ferocious ambition that he mistakes for patriotism; his once alter ego has no excuse but his desire to harm those who exposed him. And, to achieve such results he is prepared to do anything. But you will perhaps enquire, why we have not interfered? Why we, the natural protectors of the Founders, if not of the Society, have not put a stop to the shameful conspiracies? A pertinent question; only I doubt whether my answer with all its sincerity will be clearly understood. You are thoroughly unacquainted with our system, and could I succeed in making it clear to you, ten to one your "better feelings" — the feelings of a European — would be ruffled, if not worse, with such a "shocking" discipline. The fact is, that to the last and supreme initiation every chela — (and even some adepts) — is left to his own device and counsel. We have to fight our own battles, and the familiar adage — "the adept becomes, he is not made" is true to the letter. Since every one of us is the creator and producer of the causes that lead to such or some other results, we have to reap but what we have sown. Our chelas are helped but when they are innocent of the causes that lead them into trouble; when such causes are generated by foreign, outside influences. Life and the struggle for adeptship would be too easy, had we all scavengers behind us to sweep away the effects we have generated through our own rashness and presumption. Before they are allowed to go into the world they, — the chelas — are everyone of them endowed with more or less clairvoyant powers; and, with the exception of that faculty that, unless paralyzed and watched would lead them perchance to divulge certain secrets that must not be revealed — they are left in the full exercise of their powers — whatever these may be: — why don't they exercise them? Thus, step by step, and after a series of punishments, is the chela taught by bitter experience to suppress and guide his impulses; he loses his rashness, his self sufficiency and never falls into the same errors. All that now happens is brought on by H.P.B. herself; and to you, my friend and brother, I will reveal her shortcomings, for you were tested and tried, and you alone have not hitherto failed — at any rate not in one direction — that of discretion and silence. But before I reveal her one great fault to you — (a fault, indeed, in its disastrous results, yet withal a virtue) I must remind you of that, which you so heartily hate: namely, that no one comes in contact with us, no one shows a desire to know more of us, but has to submit being tested and put by us on probation. Thus, C.C.M. could no more than any other escape his fate. He has been tempted and allowed to be deceived by appearances, and to fall but too easily a prey to his weakness — suspicion and lack of self-confidence. In short, he is found wanting in the first element of success in a candidate — unshaken faith, once that his conviction rests upon, and has taken root in knowledge, not simple belief in certain facts. Now C.C.M. knows that certain phenomena of hers are undeniably genuine; his position with regard to that, being precisely the position of yourself and your lady, in reference to the yellow ring-stone. Thinking you had reasons to believe the stone in question was simply brought (like the doll) not doubled — as she asserted, and disliking in the depths of your soul such a useless deception — as you always thought — on her part, you have not repudiated her for all that, nor exposed or complained of her in the papers as he has. In short, even when refusing her the benefit of the doubt in your own hearts, you have not doubted the phenomenon but only her accuracy in explaining it; and while being utterly wrong, you were undeniably right in acting with such a discretion in that matter. Not so, in his case. After entertaining during the period of three years a blind faith, in her, amounting almost to a feeling of veneration, at the first breath of successful calumny, he, a staunch friend and an excellent lawyer falls a victim to a wicked plot, and, his regard for her is changed into positive contempt and a conviction of her guilt! Instead of acting as you would have acted in such a case, namely either never mentioning the fact to her or else, asking her for an explanation, giving the accused the opportunity of defending herself, and thus acting consistently with his honest nature, he preferred giving vent to his feelings in public print, and to satisfy his rancour against herself and us by adopting an indirect means of attacking her statements in Isis. By the bye, and begging your pardon for this digression, he does not, it seems regard her answer in the Theosophist — "candid"! Funny logic, when coming from such an acute logician. Had he proclaimed in all the papers and at the top of his voice that the author or authors of Isis have not been candid while writing the book; that they often and purposely mislead the reader by withholding the necessary explanations and have given but portions of the truth, had he even declared, as Mr. Hume does — that the work teems with "practical errors" and deliberate misstatements — he would have been gloriously acquitted, because he would have been right — "from a European standpoint," and heartily excused by us — again because of his European way of judging — something innate in him and that he cannot help. But to call a correct and truthful explanation — not "candid" is something I can hardly realize, though I am quite aware that his view is shared even by yourself. Alas, my friends, I am very much afraid that our respective standards of right and wrong will never agree together, since motive is everything for us, and that you will never go beyond appearances. However, to return to the main question.

Thus C.C.M. knows; he is too intelligent, too acute an observer of human nature to have remained ignorant of that, most important of facts, namely that the woman has no possible motive for deception. There is a sentence in his letter which, framed in a little kinder spirit, would go far to show how well he could appreciate and recognise the real motives, had not his mind been poisoned by prejudice, due, perhaps, more to S. Moses' irritation, than to the efforts of her three above enumerated enemies. He remarks en passant — that the system of deception may be due to her zeal, but regards it as a dishonest zeal. And now, do you want to know how far she is guilty? Know then, that if she ever became guilty of real, deliberate deception, owing to that "zeal," it was when in the presence of phenomena produced, she kept constantly denying — except in the matter of such trifles as bells and raps — that she had anything to do with their production personally. From your "European standpoint" it is downright deception, a big thundering lie; from our Asiatic standpoint, though an imprudent, blamable zeal, an untruthful exaggeration, or what a Yankee would call "a blazing cock-a-hoop" meant for the benefit of the "Brothers," — Yet withal, if we look into the motive — a sublime, self-denying, noble and meritorious — not dishonest — zeal. Yes; in that, and in that alone, she became constantly guilty of deceiving her friends. She could never be made to realize the utter uselessness, the danger of such a zeal; and how mistaken she was in her notions that she was adding to our glory, whereas, by attributing to us very often phenomena of the most childish nature, she but lowered us in the public estimation and sanctioned the claim of her enemies that she was "but a medium"! But it was of no use. In accordance with our rules, M. was not permitted to forbid her such a course, in so many words. She had to be allowed full and entire freedom of action, the liberty of creating causes that became in due course of time her scourge, her public pillory. He could at best forbid her producing phenomena, and to this last extremity he resorted as often as he could, to her friends and theosophists great dissatisfaction. Was, or rather is, it lack of intellectual perceptions in her? Certainly not. It is a psychological disease, over which she has little if any control at all. Her impulsive nature — as you have correctly inferred in your reply — is always ready to carry her beyond the boundaries of truth, into the regions of exaggeration; nevertheless without a shadow of suspicion that she is thereby deceiving her friends, or abusing of their great trust in her. The stereotyped phrase: "It is not I; I can do nothing by myself. . . it is all they — the Brothers. . . . I am but their humble and devoted slave and instrument" is a downright fib. She can and did produce phenomena, owing to her natural powers combined with several long years of regular training and her phenomena are sometimes better, more wonderful and far more perfect than those of some high, initiated chelas, whom she surpasses in artistic taste and purely Western appreciation of art — as for instance in the instantaneous production of pictures: witness — her portrait of the "fakir" Tiravalla mentioned in Hints, and compared with my portrait by Gjual Khool. Notwithstanding all the superiority of his powers, as compared to hers; his youth as contrasted with her old age; and the undeniable and important advantage he possesses of having never brought his pure unalloyed magnetism in direct contact with the great impurity of your world and society — yet do what he may, he will never be able to produce such a picture, simply because he is unable to conceive it in his mind and Tibetan thought. Thus, while fathering upon us all manner of foolish, often clumsy and suspected phenomena, she has most undeniably been helping us in many instances; saving us sometimes as much as two-thirds of the power used, and when remonstrated — for often we are unable to prevent her doing it on her end of the line — answering that she had no need of it, and that her only joy was to be of some use to us. And thus she kept on killing herself inch by inch, ready to give — for our benefit and glory, as she thought — her life-blood drop by drop, and yet invariably denying before witnesses that she had anything to do with it. Would you call this sublime, albeit foolish self-abnegation — "dishonest"? We do not; nor shall we ever consent to regard it in such a light. To come to the point: moved by that feeling, and firmly believing at the time (because allowed to) that Hurrychund was a worthy chela (1) — of the Yogee Dayanand, she allowed C.C.M. and all those who were present to labour under the impression that it was Hurrychund who had produced the phenomena; and then went on rattling for a fortnight of Swami's great powers and of the virtues of Hurrychund, his prophet. How terribly she was punished, every one in Bombay (as you yourself) — well knows. First — the "chela" turning a traitor to his Master and his allies, and — a common thief; then the "great Yogin," the "Luther of India" sacrificing her and H.S.O. to his insatiable ambition. Very naturally, while Hurrychund's treason — shocking as it appeared at the time to C.C.M. and other theosophists left her unscarred, for Swami himself having been robbed took the defence of the "Founders" in hand, the treachery of the "Supreme Chief of the Theosophists of the Arya Samaj" was not regarded in its true light; it was not he that had played false, but the whole blame fell upon the unfortunate and too devoted woman, who, after extolling him to the sky, was compelled in self-defence to expose hismala fides and true motives in the Theosophist.

Such is the true history, and facts with regard to her "deception" or, at best — "dishonest zeal." No doubt she has merited a portion of the blame; most undeniably she is given to exaggeration in general, and when it becomes a question of "puffing up" those she is devoted to, her enthusiasm knows no limits. Thus she has made of M. an Apollo of Belvedere, the glowing description of whose physical beauty, made him more than once start in anger, and break his pipe while swearing like a true — Christian; and thus, under her eloquent phraseology, I, myself had the pleasure of hearing myself metamorphosed into an "angel of purity and light" — shorn of his wings. We cannot help feeling at times angry, with, oftener — laughing at, her. Yet the feeling that dictates all this ridiculous effusion, is too ardent, too sincere and true, not to be respected or even treated with indifference.

I do not believe I was ever so profoundly touched by anything I witnessed in all my life, as I was with the poor old creature's ecstatic rapture, when meeting us recently both in our natural bodies, one — after three years, the other — nearly two years absence and separation in flesh. Even our phlegmatic M. was thrown off his balance, by such an exhibition — of which he was chief hero. He had to use his power, and plunge her into a profound sleep, otherwise she would have burst some blood-vessel including kidneys, liver and her "interiors" — to use our friend Oxley's favourite expression — in her delirious attempts to flatten her nose against his riding mantle besmeared with the Sikkim mud! We both laughed; yet could we feel otherwise but touched? Of course, she is utterly unfit for a true adept: her nature is too passionately affectionate and we have no right to indulge in personal attachments and feelings. You can never know her as we do, therefore — none of you will ever be able to judge her impartially or correctly. You see the surface of things; and what you would term "virtue," holding but to appearances, we — judge but after having fathomed the object to its profoundest depth, and generally leave the appearances to take care of themselves. In your opinion H.P.B. is, at best, for those who like her despite herself — a quaint, strange woman, a psychological riddle: impulsive and kindhearted, yet not free from the vice of untruth. We, on the other hand, under the garb of eccentricity and folly — we find a profounder wisdom in her inner Self than you will ever find yourselves able to perceive. In the superficial details of her homely, hard-working, common-place daily life and affairs, you discern but unpracticality, womanly impulses, often absurdity and folly; we, on the contrary, light daily upon traits of her inner nature the most delicate and refined, and which would cost an uninitiated psychologist years of constant and keen observation, and many an hour of close analysis and efforts to draw out of the depth of that most subtle of mysteries — human mind — and one of her most complicated machines, — H.P.B.'s mind — and thus learn to know her true inner Self.

All this you are at liberty to tell C.C.M. I have closely watched him, and feel pretty certain that what you will tell him will have far more effect upon him than what a dozen "K.H.'s" might tell him personally. "Imperator" stands between us two, and will, I am afraid, stand thus for ever. His loyalty to, and faith in the assertions of a European living friend can never be shaken by the assurances to the contrary, made by Asiatics, who to him — if not mere figments, are unscrupulous "confederates." But I would, if possible, show to you his great injustice, and the wrong done by him to an innocent woman — at any rate comparatively innocent. However crazy an enthusiast, I pledge to you my word of honour, she was never a deceiver; nor has she ever wilfully uttered an untruth, though her position becomes often untenable, and that she has to conceal a number of things, as pledged to by her solemn vows. And now I have done with the question.

I am now going to approach once more a subject, good friend, I know is very repulsive to your mind, for you have told and written so repeatedly. And yet, in order to make some things clear to you, I am compelled to speak of it. You have often put the question "why should the Brothers refuse turning their attention to such worthy, sincere theosophists as C.C.M. and Hood, or such a precious subject as S. Moses? Well, I now answer you very clearly, that we have done so — ever since the said gentleman came into contact and communication with H.P.B. They were all tried and tested in various ways, and, not one of them came up the desired mark. M. gave a special attention to "C.C.M." for reasons I will now explain, and, with results as at present — known to you. You may say that such a secret way of testing people is dishonest, that we ought to have warned him, etc. Well, all I can say is, that it may be so from your European standpoint, but that, being Asiatics, we cannot depart from our rules. A man's character, his true inner nature can never be thoroughly drawn out if he believes himself watched, or strives for an object. Besides, Col. O. had never made a secret of that way of ours, and all the Bsh. theosophists ought to — if they did not — know that their body was, since we had sanctioned it, under a regular probation. As for C.C.M. — of all the theosophists, he was the one selected by M. and with a definite purpose, owing to H.P.B.'s importunities and his special promise. — "He will turn back on you some day, pumo!" M. repeatedly told her, in answer to her prayers to accept him as a regular chela with Olcott — "That he never, never will!" she exclaimed in answer. "C.C.M. is the best, most noble, etc., etc., etc." — a string of laudatory and admiring adjectives. Two years later, she said the same of Ross Scott. "Such two staunch, devoted friends — I never had!" she assured her "Boss" — who only laughed in his beard, and bid me arrange the "theosophical" marriage. Well; one was tested and tried for three years, the other for three months, with what results I hardly need remind you. Not only NO temptations were ever put in the way of either, but the latter was furnished with a wife amply sufficient for his happiness, and connections that will prove beneficent to him some day. C.C.M, had but objective, undoubted phenomena to stand upon; R. Scott had moreover, a visit in astral shape from M. In the case of one — the revenge of three unprincipled men; in the case of the other — the jealousy of a petty-minded fool made short work of the boasted friendship, and showed the "O.L." what it was worth, Oh, the poor, trusting, credulous nature! Take away from her her clairvoyant powers; plug up in a certain direction her intuitions — as in duty bound was done by M. — and what remains? A helpless, broken-hearted woman!

Take another case, that of Fern. His development, as occurring under your eye, affords you a useful study and a hint as to even more serious methods adopted in individual cases to thoroughly test the latent moral qualities of the man. Every human being contains within himself vast potentialities, and it is the duty of the adepts to surround the would-be chela with circumstances which shall enable him to take the "right-hand path," — if he have the ability in him. We are no more at liberty to withhold the chance from a postulant than we are to guide and direct him into the proper course. At best, we can only show him after his probation period was successfully terminated — that if he does this he will go right; if the other, wrong. But until he has passed that period, we leave him to fight out his battles as best he may; and have to do so occasionally with higher and initiated chelas such as H.P.B., once they are allowed to work in the world, that all of us more or less avoid. More than that — and you better learn it at once, if my previous letters to you about Fern have not sufficiently opened your eyes — we allow our candidates to be tempted in a thousand various ways, so as to draw out the whole of their inner nature and allow it the chance of remaining conqueror either one way or the other. What has happened to Fern has befallen every one else who has preceded, will befall with various results every one who succeeds him. We were all so tested; and while a Moorad Ali — failed — I, succeeded. The victor's crown is only for him who proves himself worthy to wear it; for him who attacks Mara single handed and conquers the demon of lust and earthly passions; and not we but he himself puts it on his brow. It was not a meaningless phrase of the Tathagata that "he who masters Self is greater than he who conquers thousands in battle": there is no such other difficult struggle. If it were not so, adeptship would be but a cheap acquirement. So, my good brother, be not surprised, and blame us not, as readily as you have already done, at any development of our policy towards the aspirants past, present or future. Only those who can look ahead at the far remote consequences of things are in a position to judge as to the expediency of our own actions, or those we permit in others. What may seem present bad faith may in the end prove the truest, most benevolent loyalty. Let time show who was right and who faithless. One, who is true and approved to-day, may to-morrow prove, under a new concatenation of circumstances a traitor, an ingrate, a coward, an imbecile. The reed, bent beyond its limit of flexibility, will have snapped in twain. Shall we accuse it? No; but because we can, and do pity it, we cannot select it as part of those reeds that have been tried and found strong, hence fit to be accepted as material for the indestructible fane we are so carefully building.

And now — to other matters.

We have a reform in head, and I look to you to help me. Mr. H.'s annoying and indiscreet interference with the Parent Society, and his passion of domineering all and everything, have made us come to the conclusion that it would be worth our while to attempt the following. Let it be made known "to all concerned" through the Theosophist and circulars issued to every Branch, that hitherto they have looked too often and too unnecessarily to the Parent Body for guidance and as an examplar to follow. This is quite impracticable. Besides the fact, that the Founders have to show themselves and try earnestly to be all to everyone and all things — since there is such a great variety of creeds, opinions and expectations to satisfy, they cannot possibly and at the same time satisfy all as they would like to. They try to be impartial, and never to refuse one what they may have accorded to another party. Thus they have repeatedly published criticisms upon Vedantism, Buddhism and Hinduism in its various branches, upon the Veda Bashya of Swami Dayanand — their staunchest and at that time most valued ally; but, because such criticisms were all directed against non-Christian faiths, no one ever paid the slightest attention to it. For over a year and more, the journal came out regularly with an advertisement inimical to that of the Veda Bashya and was printed side by side with it to satisfy the Benares Vedantins. And now Mr. Hume comes out with his public castigation of the Founders and seeks to prohibit the advertisement of anti-Christian pamphlets. I want you, therefore, to please bear this in mind, and point out these facts to Col. Chesney, who seems to imagine that theosophy is hostile but to Christianity; whereas it is but impartial, and whatever the personal views of the two Founders, the journal of the Society has nothing to do with them, and will publish as willingly criticism directed against Lamaism as against Christianism. At all events, willing as we both are, that H.P.B. should always and gratefully accept your advice in the matter, it was I, who advised her to "kick" as she says against Mr. H's attempts at authority, and you are at liberty to inform him of the fact.

Now in view to mending matters, what do you think of the idea of placing the Branches on quite a different footing? Even Christendom, with its divine pretensions to a Universal Brotherhood has its thousand and one sects, which, united as they all may be under one banner of the Cross are yet essentially inimical to each other, and the authority of the Pope is set to naught by the Protestants, while the decrees of the Synods of the latter are laughed at by the Roman Catholics. Of course, I would never contemplate, even in the worst of cases such a state of things among the theosophical bodies. What I want, is simply a paper on the advisability of remodelling the present formation of Branches and their privileges. Let them be all chartered and initiated as heretofore by the Parent Society, and depend of it nominally. At the same time, let every Branch before it is chartered, choose some one object to work for, an object, naturally, in sympathy with the general principles of the T.S. — yet a distinct and definite object of its own, whether in the religious, educational or philosophical line. This would allow the Society a broader margin for its general operations; more real, useful work would be done; and, as every Branch would be so to say, independent in its modus operandus, there would remain less room for complaint and par consequence — for interference. At any rate, this hazy sketch, I hope, will find an excellent soil to germinate and thrive in, in your business-like head; and if you could, meanwhile, write a paper based on the aforesaid explanations of the Theosophist's true position, giving all the reasons as above-mentioned and many more for the December, if not for the November number you would, indeed, oblige M. and myself. It is impossible, and dangerous, to entrust with such a subject, which requires the most delicate handling — either one or the other of our Editors. H.P.B., would never fail to break the padri's heads on such a good opportunity, or H.S.O. to turn a neat extra compliment or two to the Founders address, which would be useless, for I strive to show the two entities of Editor and Founder quite distinct and apart from each other blended though they be in one and same person. I am no practical business man and therefore, I feel utterly unable for the task. Will you help me, friend?

It would be better, of course, if the "feeler" would be made to appear in the November, as though in answer to Mr. Hume's very impolite letter, which, of course, I will not permit to be published. But you could take it for your ground-work and basis to frame your editorial answer upon. To return to the reform of Branches this question will have of course to be seriously considered and weighed before it is finally settled. There must be no more disappointment in members once they have joined. Each Branch has to choose its well defined mission to work for, and the greatest care should be taken in the selection of Presidents. Had the "Eclectic" been placed from the first, on such a footing of distinct independence, it might have fared better. Solidarity of thought and action within the broad outline of the chief and general principles of the Society there must always be between the Parent and Branch bodies; yet the latter must be allowed each their own independent action in everything that does not clash with those principles. Thus a Branch composed of mild Christians sympathizing with the objects of the Society might remain neutral in the question of every other religion, and utterly indifferent to and unconcerned with the private beliefs of the "Founders," the Theosophist making room as willingly for hymns on the Lamb, as for slokas on the sacredness of the cow. Could you but work out this idea, I would submit it to our venerable Chohan, who now gently smiles from the corner of an eye, instead of frowning as usual — ever since he saw you become President. Had I not, last year, owing to the ex-President's truculence, been "sent to bed" earlier than at first contemplated, I was going to propose it. I have a letter of lofty reproach, dated October 8th, from the "I am." In it, he sends for you on the 5th and explains his unwillingness to continue to hold office "and his" great desire that you should take his place. He condemns "altogether the system and policy," of our order. It seems to him "quite wrong." He winds up by: "Of course I shall ask you to get the O.L. to refrain from proposing me for the council of the Society." No fear, no fear of this; he may sleep soundly and undisturbed and see himself in dream the Dalai Lama of the Theosophists. But I must hasten to enter my indignant and emphatic protest against his definition of our "faulty" system. Because, he succeeded in catching but a few stray sparks of the principles of our Order, and could not be allowed to examine and — remodel the whole, we must all need be — what he would represent us! If we could hold such doctrines as he would impose upon us; if we in ought resembled the picture he has drawn; if we could submit for a single hour to stand silently under the load of such imputations as he has thrown upon us in his September letter; verily we should deserve to lose all credit with the Theosophists! We ought to be dismissed and hunted out of the Society and people's thoughts as charlatans and impostors — wolves in sheep's clothing, who come to steal away men's hearts with mystic promises, entertaining all the while the most despotic intentions, seeking to enslave our confiding chelas and turn the masses away from truth and the "divine revelation of nature's voice" to blank and "dreary atheism"; — i.e. a thorough disbelief in the "kind, merciful Father and Creator of all" (evil and misery, we must suppose?) who lolls from the eternity, reclining with his backbone supported on a bed of incandescent meteors, and picks his teeth with a lightning fork. . . .

Indeed, indeed, we have enough of this incessant jingle on the Jew's harp of Christian revelation!

M. thinks that the Supplement ought to be enlarged if necessary, and made to furnish room for the expression of thought of every Branch, however diametrically opposed these may be. The Theosophist ought to be made to assume a distinct colour and become a unique specimen of its own. We are ready to furnish the necessary extra sums for it. I know you will catch my idea however hazily expressed. I leave our plan entirely in your own hands. Success in this will counteract the effects of the cyclic crisis. You ask what you can do? Nothing better or more efficient than the proposed plan.

I cannot close without telling you of an incident which, however ludicrous, has led to something that makes me thank my stars for it, and will please you also. Your letter, enclosing that of C.C.M. was received by me on the morning following the date you had handed it over to the "little man." I was then in the neighbourhood of Pari-Jong, at the gun-pa of a friend, and was very busy with important affairs. When I received intimation of its arrival, I was just crossing the large inner courtyard of the monastery; bent upon listening to the voice of Lama Ton-dhub Gyatcho, I had no time to read the contents. So, after mechanically opening the thick packet, I merely glanced at it, and put it, as I thought, into the travelling bag I wear across the shoulder. In reality though, it had dropped on the ground; and since I had broken the envelope and emptied it of its contents, the latter were scattered in their fall. There was no one near me at the time, and my attention being wholly absorbed with the conversation, I had already reached the staircase leading to the library door, when I heard the voice of a young gyloong calling out from a window, and expostulating with someone at a distance. Turning round I understood the situation at a glance; otherwise your letter would have never been read by me for I saw a venerable old goat in the act of making a morning meal of it. The creature had already devoured part of C.C.M.'s letter, and was thoughtfully preparing to have a bite at yours, more delicate and easy for chewing with his old teeth than the tough envelope and paper of your correspondents epistle. To rescue what remained of it took me but one short instant, disgust and opposition of the animal notwithstanding — but there remained mighty little of it! The envelope with your crest on had nearly disappeared, the contents of the letters made illegible — in short I was perplexed at the sight of the disaster. Now you know why I felt embarrassed: I had no right to restore it, the letters coming from the "Eclectic" and connected directly with the hapless "Pelings" on all sides. What could I do to restore the missing parts! I had already resolved to humbly crave permission from the Chohan to be allowed an exceptional privilege in this dire necessity, when I saw his holy face before me, with his eye twinkling in quite an unusual manner, and heard his voice: "Why break the rule? I will do it myself." These simple words Kam mi ts'har — "I'll do it," contain a world of hope for me. He has restored the missing parts and done it quite neatly too, as you see, and even transformed a crumpled broken envelope, very much damaged, into a new one — crest and all. Now I know what great power had to be used for such a restoration, and this leads me to hope for a relaxation of severity one of these days. Hence I thanked the goat heartily; and since he does not belong to the ostracised Peling race, to show my gratitude I strengthened what remained of teeth in his mouth, and set the dilapidated remains firmly in their sockets, so that he may chew food harder than English letters for several years yet to come.

And now a few words about the chela. Of course you must have suspected that since the Master was prohibited the slightest tamasha exhibition, so was the disciple. Why should you have expected then, or "felt a little disappointed" with his refusing to forward to me your letters via Space — in your presence? The little man is a promising chap, far older in years than he looks, but young in European wisdom and manners and hence committing his several indiscretions, which, as I told you put me to the blush and made me feel foolish for the two savages. The idea of coming to you for money was absurd in the extreme! Any other Englishman but you would have regarded them after that as two travelling charlatans. I hope you have received by this time the loan I returned with many thanks.

Nath is right about the phonetic (vulgar) pronunciation of the word "Kiu-ti"; people usually pronounce it as Kiu-to, but it is not correct; and he is wrong in his view about Planetary Spirits. He does not know the word, and thought you meant the "devas" — the servants of the Dhyan-Chohans. It is the latter who are the "Planetary" and of course it is illogical to say that Adepts are greater than they, since we all strive to become Dhyan-Chohans in the end. Still there have been adepts "greater" than the lower degrees of the Planetary. Thus your views are not against our doctrines, as he told you, but would be had you meant the "devas" or angels, "little gods." Occultism is certainly not necessary for a good, pure Ego to become an "Angel" or Spirit in, or out of the Devachan since Angelhood is the result of Karma. I believe you will not complain of my letter being too short. It is going to be soon followed by another voluminous correspondence "Answers to your many Questions." H.P.B. is mended, if not thoroughly at least for some time to come.

With real affectionate regard,

Yours,

K. H.


Letter 55

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FOOTNOTE:

1. The latter he certainly was, though never very "worthy" for he had always been a selfish, plotting rascal, in the secret pay of the late Gyeckwar. (return to text)