The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett

Letter No. 55

{Received Elberfeld, October 2, 1884}

[The envelope is addressed in K.H.'s writing to "A. P. Sinnett, Esq., c/of L.C.H. {Laura C. Holloway}." — Ed.]

And now, friend, you have completed one of your minor cycles; have suffered, struggled, triumphed. Tempted, you have not failed, weak you have gained strength, and the hard nature of the lot and ordeal of every aspirant after occult knowledge is now better comprehended by you, no doubt. Your flight from London and from yourself was necessary; as was also your choice of the localities where you could best shake off the bad influences of your social "season" and of your own house. It was not best that you should have come to Elberfeld sooner; it is best that you should have come now. For you are better able now to bear the strain of the present situation. The air is full of the pestilence of treachery; unmerited opprobrium is showering upon the Society and falsehood and forgery have been used to overthrow it. Ecclesiastical England and official Anglo India have secretly joined hands to have their worst suspicions verified if possible and at the first plausible pretext to crush the movement. Every infamous device is to be employed in the future as it has in the present to discredit us as its promoters, and yourselves as its supporters. For the opposition represents enormous vested interests, and they have enthusiastic help from the Dugpas — in Bhootan and the Vatican!

Among the "shining marks" at which the conspirators aim, you stand. Tenfold greater pains than heretofore will be taken to cover you with ridicule for your credulity, your belief in me — especially, and to refute your arguments in support of the esoteric teaching. They may try to shake still more than they already have your confidence with pretended letters alleged to have come from H.P.B.'s laboratory, and others, or with forged documents showing and confessing fraud and planning to repeat it. It has ever been thus. Those who have watched mankind through the centuries of this cycle, have constantly seen the details of this death-struggle between Truth and Error repeating themselves. Some of you Theosophists are now only wounded in your "honour" or your purses, but those who held the lamp in preceding generations paid the penalty of their lives for their knowledge.

Courage then, you all, who would be warriors of the one divine Verity; keep on boldly and confidently; husband your moral strength not wasting it upon trifles but keeping it against great occasions like the present one. I warned you all through Olcott in April last of what was ready to burst at Adyar, and told him not to be surprised when the mine should be fired. All will come right in time — only you, the great and prominent heads of the movement be steadfast, wary and united.

We have gained our object as regards L.C.H. She is much improved, and her whole life hereafter will be benefited by the training she is passing through. To have stopped with you would have been to her an irreparable psychic loss. She had this shown her, before I actually consented to interfere at her own passionate prayer, between you; she was ready to fly to America, and but for my intervention would have done so. Worse than that; her mind was being rapidly unsettled and made useless as an occult instrument. False teachers were getting her into their power and false revelations misled her and those who consulted her. Your house, good friend, has a colony of Elementaries quartering in it, and to a sensitive like her, it was as dangerous an atmosphere to exist in as would be a fever cemetery to one subject to morbific physical influences. You should be more than ordinarily careful when you get back not to encourage sensitiveness in your household, not to admit more than can be helped the visits of known mediumistic sensitives. It would be well also to burn wood-fires in the rooms now and then, and carry about as fumigators open vessels (braziers?) with burning wood. You might also ask Damodar to send you some bundles of incense-sticks for you to use for this purpose. These are helps, but the best of all means to drive out unwelcome guests of this sort, is to live purely in deed and thought. The talismans you have had given you, will also powerfully aid you if you keep your confidence in them and in us unbroken. (?)

You have heard of the step H.P.B. was permitted to take. A fearful responsibility is cast upon Mr. Olcott; a still greater — owing to O.W. and Esot Buddhism — upon you. For this step of hers is in direct relation with and as direct a result of the appearance of these two works. Your Karma, good friend, this time. I hope you will understand my meaning rightly. But if you remain true to and stand faithfully by the T.S. you may count upon our aid and so may all others to the full extent that they shall deserve it. The original policy of the T.S. must be vindicated, if you would not see it fall into ruin and bury your reputations under it. I have told you long ago. For years to come the Soc. will be unable to stand, when based upon "Tibetan Brothers" and phenomena alone. All this ought to have been limited to an inner and very secret circle. There is a hero-worshipping tendency clearly showing itself, and you, my friend, are not quite free from it yourself. I am fully aware of the change that has lately come over you, but this does not change the main question. If you would go on with your occult studies and literary work — then learn to be loyal to the Idea, rather than to my poor self. When something is to be done never think whether I wish it, before acting: I wish everything that can, in great or small degree, push on this agitation. But I am far from being perfect hence infallible in all I do; though it is not quite as you imagine having now discovered. For you know — or think you know, of one K.H. — and can know but of one, whereas there are two distinct personages answering to that name in him you know. The riddle is only apparent and easy to solve, were you only to know what a real Mahatma is. You have seen by the Kiddle incident — perchance allowed to develop to its bitter end for a purpose — that even an "adept" when acting in his body is not beyond mistakes due to human carelessness. You now understand that he is as likely as not to make himself look absurd in the eyes of those who have no right understanding of the phenomena of thought-transference and astral precipitations — and all this, through lack of simple caution. There is always that danger if one has neglected to ascertain whether the words and sentences rushing into the mind have come all from within or whether some may have been impressed from without. I feel sorry to have brought you into such a false position before your many enemies and even your friends. That was one of the reasons why, I had hesitated to give my consent to print my private letters and specifically excluded a few of the series from the prohibition. I had no time to verify their contents — nor have I now. I have a habit of often quoting, minus quotation marks — from the maze of what I get in the countless folios of our Akasic libraries, so to say — with eyes shut. Sometimes I may give out thoughts that will see light years later; at other times what an orator, a Cicero may have pronounced ages earlier, and at others, what was not only pronounced by modern lips but already either written or printed — as in the Kiddle case. All this I do (not being a trained writer for the Press) without the smallest concern as to where the sentences and strings of words may have come from, so long as they serve to express, and fit in with my own thoughts. I have received a lesson now on the European plane on the danger of corresponding with Western literati! But my "inspirer" Mr. Kiddle is none the less ungrateful, since to me alone he owes the distinguished honour of having become known by name, and having his utterances repeated even by the grave lips of Cambridge "Dons." If fame is sweet to him why will he not be consoled with the thought, that the case of the "Kiddle–K.H. parallel passages" has now become as much a cause celebre in the department of "who is who" — and "which plagiarized from the other?" as the Bacon-Shakespeare mystery; that in intensity of scientific research if not of value, our case is on a par with that of our two great predecessors.

But the situation — however amusing in one way — is more serious for the Society; and the "parallel passages" must yield first place to the "Christian-Mission-Coulomb" conspiracy. Turn then to the latter all your thoughts, good friend — if friend all notwithstanding. You are very wrong to contemplate absence from London the coming winter. But I shall not urge you, if you do not feel equal to the situation. At any rate, if you do desert the "Inner Circle" some other arrangement has to be made: it is out of question for me to be corresponding with, and teaching both. Either you have to be my mouthpiece and secretary in the Circle, or I shall have to use somebody else as my delegate, and thus have positively no time to correspond with you. They have pledged themselves — (most of them) to me for life and death — the copy of the pledge is in the hands of Maha-Chohan — and I am bound to them.

I can now send my occasional instructions and letters with any certainty only through Damodar. But before I can do even so much the Soc. especially the H.Qrs. will have to pass first through the coming crisis. If you still care to renew the occult teachings save first our post-office. H.P.B. — I say again is not to be approached any longer without her full consent. She has earned so much, and has to be left alone. She is permitted to retire for three reasons (1) to disconnect the T.S. from her phenomena, now tried to be represented all fraudulent; (2) to help it by removing the chief cause of the hatred against it; (3) to try and restore the health of the body, so it may be used for some years longer. And now as to the details consult, all of you together: for that I have asked them to send for you. The sky is black now, but forget not the hopeful motto "Post nubila Phoebus!" Blessings upon you, and your ever loyal lady.


{The Sinnetts had spent August traveling through Switzerland. Shortly after September 10 they went to Elberfeld to visit the Gebhard family and found H.P.B. in a high state of nervous excitement because of a letter received from Damodar telling of the brewing of the Coulomb conspiracy. The "step" H.P.B. had at length been permitted to take was to cable to Adyar to evict the Coulombs from Adyar Headquarters. Among the other guests at that time at Elberfeld were Drs. Hartmann and Hubbe-Scheiden. September 20, H.P.B., accompanied by Mrs. Holloway and young Rudolph Gebhard, left for London where she stayed with Mrs. and Miss Arundale until her return to India, November 1. Mrs. Holloway returned to America shortly before H.P.B.'s own departure.}

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