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

Letter No. 45

{H. P. B. remained at Torre del Greco, a small town south of Naples, until nearly August. She spent a few days in Rome and about ten days in Switzerland on her way to Wurzburg, Germany, where she settled down and labored for many months upon The Secret Doctrine. Her letters from Wurzburg and later from Ostende, with those from the Countess Wachtmeister, bring into sharp focus the stark drama of her stay upon the Continent.}

Torre Del Greco,
July 23rd.

My dear Mrs. Sinnett,

Do not tremble at the sight of this table-cloth. Lately my sight has become very weak and my hand so unsteady that I fancy somehow I can write more easily on large paper.

I hope you will forgive me for delaying my answer for more than a week; but I had work to finish for the papers, and had to do it for vile cash and lucre, as the burden of poor Mary Flynn and Babajee is now upon me also, and I have to work for my living, or rather for ours. And I write so slow now! One hour pen in hand, two hours in bed, my sight getting dim, heart faint (physically) and fingers stiff. Ah, well, it's my Karma; and I have nothing to say. No dear, I have not — speaking of Karma — seen your husband's new book, I see nothing now-a-days, but I asked Bowajee to send for it to London.

I was rather astonished to hear you say my letter made such an impression on yourself and your uncle, and I was agreeably surprised too; still it was real surprise; for, though I do not remember a word I said in it, still I could not have written to you anything more or less than what I had written dozens of times to others, and said in so many words — a hundred. But what you say, only made me sadder. Do not fight for me, my kind, dear Mrs. Sinnett, do not defend me; you will lose your time and only be called a confederate, if not worse. You would hurt yourself, perhaps the Cause, and do me no good. The mud has entered too deeply into the hapless individual known as H. P. B., the chemicals used for the dye of slander were, or rather are, too strong, and death herself, I am afraid, shall never wash away in the eyes of those who do not know me, the dirt that has been thrown at, and has stuck on the personality of the "dear old lady." Ah, yes; the "old lady" is a clean thing to look at now; an honour to her friends, and an ornament to the Society, if anything. Alone the "Occult World" has the key to the situation and the truth. But the Occult World is at a discount now, even at the Headquarters. The poor Colonel has it securely locked up for the present under a triple key, at the very bottom of his poor, weak heart, and dares not for the time being, have it on his tongue. A reaction, and an exaggeration with him, as usual. He has stuffed the S.P.R. with what could not but appear to the majority cock and bull stories, and had fights with me for asking him not to take them as arbiters, not to have anything to do with the Dons; and now when their arbitration had such a glorious end for us, he got frightened out of his wits and has become a Brahmin, a regular Subba Row for secrecy. He forgets the "they who shall deny me before men, I shall deny them before my (Tibetan) father." He does not deny the Masters, of course, but he is mortally afraid to pronounce even their names, except in strict privacy. Ah! If he had but half that reticence and discretion, when he thrust the Lord Buddha on His wheels, before the intuitional gathering at the Psychic Research Meeting! But it is too late. Consummatum est.

Well, really and indeed I would not have cared one brass pin for my personal reputation, only that every bullet of mud shot at, and passing through me, splatters the unfortunate T. S. with odoriferous ingredients.

You "cannot imagine how anyone knowing you (me) can believe you (me) guilty" — guilty of the asinine actions charged upon me? Nor could I — six months ago, but now I can. When was truth accepted and remembered, or lies and slander fail to be accepted and treasured in people's brains? The world is divided into the millions who do not know me, who have never seen or heard me, but who have heard of me; and what they did hear, even in the palmy days of Theosophy, when it was nearly becoming a fashion, could never prepossess them in my favour; and among those millions — a few hundreds — say thousands — who have seen me personally, i.e. the very rough personality in her "black bag," and of unrefined talk. Those who do know me and have had a glimpse of the inner creature — are a few dozens. But if you divide these into those who do believe, but are afraid of losing caste; those who know but whose interest it is to appear uncertain; and again those whom our phenomena kicked out of saddle — like the spiritualists — and broke the head of their own hobbies — what remains? A dozen or two of individuals who like yourself have the COURAGE of being honest with themselves and the still greater one of showing they do have it, under the nose and in the face of the idiots and the selfish of the age! Of course, you all who believe in, and respect the Masters cannot without losing every belief in Them, think me guilty. Those who feel no discrepancy in the idea (Hume was one of such) of filthy lying and fraud even for the good of the cause — being associated with work done for the Masters — are congenital Jesuits. One capable of believing that such pure and holy hands can touch and handle with no sense of squeamishness such a filthy instrument, as I am now represented to be — are natural born fools, or capable themselves of working on the principle that "the end justifies the means." Therefore, while thanking you, and appreciating fully the great kindness of your heart that dictated you such words as — "were I convinced tomorrow that you had written those wretched letters I should love you still" — I answer — I hope you would not, and this for your own sake. Had I written even one of those idiotic and at bottom infamous interpolations now made to appear in the said letters; had I been guilty once only — of a deliberate, 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 that 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 — but then where would be the Masters Ah! dear child of my old heart, I was, I really was guilty, of but one crime from the natural standpoint of human conception. Many are the things I have been obliged to conceal by holding my tongue; many — though fewer — those I have allowed to go uncorrected before the world's criterion and the belief of my friends; but these were no phenomena of ours, but only the mistakes and hallucinations, the exaggerations of other people, quite sincere too. And if I did so it was only because I was ever afraid of injuring the Cause; and that had I "revised and corrected" those first editions, I might have been called to task to explain the remainder, which I could never do, without betraying things I was not permitted to divulge. Never, never, shall you, or even could you, realise with all your earnestness and sympathy for me, and your natural keen perceptions — all I had to suffer for the last ten years! What could people know of me? The exterior carcase fattened on the life-blood of the interior wretched prisoner, and people perceived only the first, never suspecting the existence of the latter. And that "first" was charged with ambition, love of cheap fame, mercenary objects; with fraud and deceit, cunning and unscrupulousness, lying and cheating — by the average outsider; with insincerity and untruthfulness, suspected even of passing off deliberately bogus phenomena — by my best, my dearest friends. Bound up, as I was, from head to foot by my pledge, an oath involving my future life — aye, even lives — what could I do since I was forbidden to explain all, but insist on the truth of the little I was permitted to give out, and deny simply the unfair charges? But as I hope redress in my future existence, when this terrible period of Karma wans away; as I venerate the Masters, and worship MY Master — the sole creator of my inner Self which but for His calling it out, awakening it from its slumber, would have never come to conscious being — not in this life, at all events; as I value all this — I swear I never was guilty of any dishonest action. I may have appeared often heartless for allowing occasionally people to sacrifice themselves as I did, while knowing they had none of my chances, in this life of theirs, to progress very far; but then, it was for their good, not mine. Whether they progressed or not, reward for the good intention was stored for them by their Karma; while, in my case, the more I progressed in occult matters, the less I had any chances of happiness in this life, for it became more and more my duty to sacrifice myself for the good of others and to my own personal detriment. Such is the law. Ah, if they only knew, some of my "friends," who, if they do not go publicly against me, still entertain very serious doubts as to my honesty — if they only knew now what they are sure to learn some day — when I am dead and gone, with my memory soiled from head to foot — the real good I have done to them! I do not pretend to say, that I have done so for their own sake; for generally I was not even thinking of their personal selves. But since, they have happened to come within the circle where the poor old pelican's blood was being shed, and had their share of its fruition, why should some of them prove so cruel, if not ungrateful!

My dearest Mrs. Sinnett — my heart is broken — physically and morally. For the first I do not care; Master shall take care it shall not burst, so long as I am needed; in the second case there is no help. Master can, and shall not interfere with Karma. My heart is broken not for what my true, open enemies have done — them, I despise; but for the selfishness, the weak-heartedness in my defence, the readiness shown to accept and even to force me to all manner of sacrifices — when Masters are my witnesses, I was ready to shed the last drop of life in me, give up every hope, for the last shred of — I shall not say happiness — but rest and comfort in this life of torture, for the cause I serve and [as] for every true Theosophist. The treachery — that atmosphere of soft and sympathetic words, expressive of the utmost selfishness at the bottom of them, whether due to weakness, or ambition — was something terrible. I shall not mention names. With some, with most of them, I shall remain on good terms to my dying day. Nor shall I allow them to suspect I read through them from the first. But I shall never — nor could I if I would, forget that forever-memorable night during the crisis of my illness, when Master, before exacting from me a certain promise, revealed to me things that He thought I ought to know, before pledging my word to Him for the work He asked me (not ordered as He had a right to) to do. On that night when Mrs. Oakley and Hartman and everyone except Bowajee (D. N.), expected me every minute to breathe my last — I learned all. I was shown who was right and who wrong (unwittingly) and who was entirely treacherous; and a general sketch of what I had to expect outlined before me. Ah, I tell you, I have learnt things on that night — things that stamped themselves for-ever on my Soul; black treachery, assumed friendship for selfish ends, belief in my guilt, and yet a determination to lie in my defence, since I was a convenient step to rise upon, and what not! Human nature I saw in all its hideousness in that short hour, when I felt one of Master's hands upon my heart, forbidding it cease beating, and saw the other calling out sweet future before me. With all that, when He had shown me all, all, and asked "Are you willing?" — I said "Yes," and thus signed my wretched doom, for the sake of the few who were entitled to His thanks. Shall you believe me if I say, that among those few your two names stood prominent? You may disbelieve, or perhaps doubt — yet it was so. Death was so welcome at that hour, rest so needed, so desired; life like the one that stared me in the face, and that is realised now — so miserable; yet how could I say No to Him who wanted me to live! But all this is perhaps incomprehensible to you, though I do hope it is not quite so. [The letter has been mutilated at this point, and half of two lines are missing. — Ed.] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . him, and I have already . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wurzburg — about 4 or 5 hours from Munich. I do not want to live in any of the large centres of Europe. But I must have a warm and dry room, however cold outside, since I never leave my rooms, and here healthy people catch cold and rheumatics unless they have palaces. I like Wurzburg. It is near Heidleberg and Nurenberg, and all the centres one of the Masters lived in, and it is He who advised my Master to send me there. Fortunately I have received from Russia a few thousand francs, and some benefactors "sent me Rs. 500 and 400 from India". I feel rich and wealthy enough to live in a quiet German place, and my poor old aunt is coming to see me there. I intend to take a nice set of rooms and happy will be the day I see you at my samovar, if you intend really to come down (or up?) to see me. From Elberfeld it is not very far, less than a day's journey, I believe. Then I shall live, at my Master's bidding and pleasure, or rather vegetate during day and live only during night, and write for the rest of my (un)natural life. The Coulombs I hear, have left India and are coming to London, where I suppose they, or rather she, will pay you a visit. They will leave no stones unturned, so long as there remains one person in the world to believe in me, and the missionaries have promised them Rs. 5000 yearly, if they go on ceaselessly with their work of H. P. B. destruction. They are welcome to do and say what they like.

My sincere love and regard to all. How is dear little Dennie?

Yours ever the same, [The portion with the signature has been cut out. — Ed.]

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