The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett

Letter No. 162

[Passages in bold type are comments by K. H.; those in bold type italics have been underlined by him. — Ed.]

Triplicane, Madras,
10th August, 1882.

To Madam H. P. Blavatsky, etc. etc. etc.

Respected Madam,

On account of heavy professional work I have been unable to send you a reply to your letter of the 1st inst. up to this time, and now I heartily thank you for your kind letter and the photo you were good enough to send me. I have forgotten to inform you in my last letter that I had already despatched a reply to Mr. Hume. Of course, I said nothing in my answer about "giving him a place in my heart" or about his sympathy and kindness toward my countrymen; nor did I say anything about his coming here.

(So deep is the prejudice you see, that he will hardly believe M. or myself, when we assure him of your sincerity.) *

* (I have erased the sentence for I have no right to place him in a false position. He does not know you.)

It will not be a very easy thing to make me believe that any Englishman can really be induced to labour for the good of my countrymen without having any other motive but sincere feeling and sympathy towards them. For the sake of M. and K. H. and for your sake, I consented to help Mr. Hume and Mr. Sinnett in their occult studies.

Under present circumstances, the assistance of some influential Englishman is certainly necessary for the Cause. Hindus are as yet, helpless, dispirited, disorganised and almost stupified by their own misfortunes. The countenance and support of some men at least of the ruling race seem to be absolutely necessary for initiating any movement or reform. Nevertheless it is quite clear to my mind, that the real work of reform or regeneration must be commenced by Hindus themselves. But until the people are roused up from their present condition of lethargy, we must somehow or other pull on with the few Englishmen we have got. But there are formidable difficulties in our way. These gentlemen do not consent to obtain occult knowledge in the way in which ordinary chelas do. If one or two of them whom the Brothers may be pleased to select were to go to Tibet as other chelas do and acquire some knowledge of Occult Science in the manner permitted and prescribed by the rules of the Himalayan or Tibetan brotherhood, come back to this wretched world when they are allowed to do so, and preach to their own countrymen and labour for the good of humanity, there would be no difficulty in the matter. But now the Brothers cannot teach them as the chelas in Tibet are taught. Some things only are to be revealed to them; and it is very difficult to draw a very clear line of demarcation between that which can be taught to them and that which cannot be taught, so long as they are not proper candidates for initiation. Besides, the conditions under which Occult Science is to be taught now are quite different from the conditions under which it was taught in former times. In ancient times the ordinary multitude had implicit confidence in their initiates and Rishis. They never asked for reasons for any of the truths revealed to them; and the Rishis never cared to demonstrate the truth of their teachings according to the formal rules of logic. A student of Occult Science generally realises the truth of his Guru's teaching by actual perception, and not by assuring himself that his Guru's reasoning is correct. But now, Madam, the attitude of the student and the enquirer is altogether different. Every proposition, however plain it may be, must be supported by reasons thrown into the proper syllogistic form before it can be accepted by those who are supposed to have received the so-called liberal education. If a Guru for instance, were to tell his disciple that he should not commit murder or theft, the disciple is sure to turn round and ask him "Well sir, what are your reasons for saying so." Such is the attitude of modern mind, and you can see that it is so from Bentham's works.

Under such circumstances, you may very easily perceive how difficult it is to give reasons for any of the truths (they are mere assertions to sceptics) of occult science. Suppose I tell Mr. Hume that an adept can project his astral body to any place which he may wish to see, he is sure to turn round and ask me "How do you know it? How can you prove it?" In the case of an adept teaching his chela, he will either prove his proposition by actually projecting his astral body to any particular spot or by teaching him the practical method of doing it himself. Supposing these two ways of proving the statement are not open to you, see, how difficult it will be to give a priori reasons in support of the proposition in question. Such reasons, even if given can never be satisfactory to one acquainted only with the methods of reasoning and proof adopted in the so-called modern Science; hence arises the difficulty of teaching Occult Science to men in the position of Mr. Hume and Sinnett. And in my case the difficulty is considerably enhanced for two reasons: —

(1) Because I do not dare show a thing of Occult Science practically, and (2) Because You now see what he fears. Promise him in writing not to question him or press him to answer your questions about us and he will give you instructions with pleasure and as you see he is not altogether wrong. — I am constrained to act as if I did not know the Brothers when I really only refused to speak about them. Hence there is some danger of these people getting disappointed in course of time and relapsing into their former state of scepticism, if there is no danger of their turning out our enemies when they find that practical instruction will not be given to them. It was for these reasons that I was very reluctant to undertake the work of instructing them in our ancient philosophy and science. But as M. and K. H. have asked me to do so, I cannot but obey their commands; and I am fully prepared to do my best in the matter. But the danger which I expect in future will very soon overtake us if Mr. Hume comes here and sees me personally.

(1) From my present mode of life (a pleader) he is sure to think that I cannot be a proper chela of the Mahatmas.

(2) He is sure to ask me one thousand and one questions about the Brothers; and then I will be forced to tell him that I would not be permitted to answer such questions. He may naturally say, "well, this is not giving me practical instruction; I am merely asking for some information; you see I am living according to the directions given me, and what harm is there in giving me some information about the Mahatmas when I am your brother theosophist." And you are sure to say so.

(3) Day and night I shall have to give him facts and explanations which may or may not satisfy him (you know very well how he was arguing with M. about P. G.) or tell him plainly I will not tell him anything more etc. etc. etc.

Anyhow the matter will not come to any satisfactory conclusion.

I thank you sincerely for your kind advice and I shall try my best not to deviate from the course pointed out to me. But, Madame, you are certainly magnifying me and my abilities. As for adeptship, I know very well how far I am from it. I have not heard up to this time that any one placed in my position has ever succeeded in becoming an adept. Even practically I know very little of our Ancient Arcane Science. This is not quite so. He knows enough for any of you. My notions about it are to a considerable extent vague and hazy. They are all so many dreams which may or may not be verified hereafter. It is a great misfortune to India that under such circumstances I should be considered its only "plank of salvation." I am no doubt fully determined to do what I can for Theosophy and my country up to the end of my life time. Your disinterested labours for the good of my country imperatively demand such assistance from me and from every other Hindu who loves his own country. It is enough for me to know that one of our Illustrious Brothers has been kind enough to notice me and render me some assistance.

Please ask Colonel Olcott to send a telegraph beforehand to Mr. Raghunatha Row and to myself informing us of the date on which he would come here. And I hope you will be pleased to do the same thing in case you should find it convenient to come here. We cannot permit you to come here as mere strangers. Some of the most prominent members of the native community will, I am sure, welcome you on your arrival here.

Why not consult him.

I thank you for your information regarding the book I wanted concerning the Great Pyramid of Egypt. There is some mysterious connection between the plan on which it was constructed and our Esoteric Sruchakram. But you have not yet informed me whether the information which I received regarding your . . . [The remainder of this letter is missing. — Ed.]

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