Re Hume & Fern (the waistcoat incident) & my own journey to England. Received Allahabad, January 6, 1883. A little later commentary on my reply.
My dear friend, I approach a subject which I have purposely avoided for several months, until furnished with proofs that would appear conclusive even in your sight. We are not — as you know — always of the same way of thinking; nor has that, which to us is — fact — any weight in your opinion unless it violates in no way the Western methods of judging it. But now the time has come for us, to try to have you, at least, understand us better than we hitherto have been even by some of the best and most earnest amongst western Theosophists — such for instance as C. C. Massey. And though I would be the last man living to seek to make you follow in my wake as your "prophet" and "inspirer," I would, nevertheless, feel truly sorry were you ever brought to regard me as a "moral paradox," having to suffer me either as one guilty of a false assumption of powers I never had, or — of misusing them to screen unworthy objects and, as unworthy persons. Mr. Massey's letter explains to you what I mean; that which seems conclusive proof to him, and unimpeachable evidence, is neither for me — who knows the whole truth. On this last day of your year 1882, his name comes third on the list of failures, — something (I hasten to say for fear of a new misconception) that has nothing to do whatever with the present arrangement regarding the proposed new Branch in London yet everything with his personal progress. I deeply regret it, but have no right to bind myself so securely to any person or persons by ties of personal sympathy and esteem that my movements shall be crippled, and I, unable to lead the rest to something grander and nobler than their present faith. Therefore, I choose to leave him in his present errors. The brief meaning of this is the following: Mr. Massey labours under the strangest misconceptions, and (literally) "dreams dreams" — though no medium, as his friend, Mr. S. Moses. Withal he is the noblest, purest, in short, one of the best men I know, though occasionally too trusting in wrong directions. But he lacks entirely — correct intuition. It will come to him later on, when neither H.P.B. or Olcott will be there. Until then — remember, and tell him so: we demand neither allegiance, recognition (whether public or private) nor will we have anything to do with, or say to the British Branch, — except through you. Four Europeans were placed on probation twelve months ago; of the four — only one, yourself, was found worthy of our trust. This year it will be Societies instead of individuals that will be tested. The result will depend on their collective work, and Mr. Massey errs when hoping that I am prepared to join the motley crowd of Mrs. K.'s "inspirers." Let them remain under their masks of St. John the Baptists and like Biblical aristocrats. Provided the latter teach our doctrines — however muddled up with foreign chaff — a great point will be gained. C.C.M. wants light — he is welcome to it — through you. Since it is all he wants what matters it whether he regards the "light-bearer" handing his torch to you — as a man of clean or unclean hands, so long as light itself is not affected by it? Only let me give you a warning. An affair now so trivial as to seem but the innocent expression of feminine vanity may, unless at once set aright, produce very evil consequences. In a letter from Mrs. Kingsford to Mr. Massey conditionally accepting the presidentship of the British T.S. she expresses her belief — nay, points it out as an undeniable fact — that before the appearance of "The Perfect Way" no one "knew what the Oriental school really held about Reincarnation"; and adds that "seeing how much has been told in that book the adepts are hastening to unlock their own treasures, so 'grudgingly doled out hitherto' (as H.X. puts it)." Mr. Massey, thereupon gives in reply a full adherence to this theory, and blossoms into an adroit compliment to the lady that would not discredit a Plenipotentiary. "Probably," says he, "it is felt (by the Brothers) that a community among whom such a work as "The Perfect Way" can be produced and find acceptance is ready for the light!" Now, let this idea gain currency, and it will tend to convert into a sect the school of the highly estimable authoress, who, albeit a fifth rounder, is not exempt from quite a considerable dose of vanity and despotism, hence — bigotry. Thus, elevate the misconception into an undue importance; impair thereby her own spiritual condition by feeding the latent sense of Messiahship; and you will have obstructed the cause of free and general independent enquiry which her "Initiators" as well as we would wish promoted. Write then, good friend, to Mr. Massey the truth. Tell him that you were possessed of the Oriental views of reincarnation several months before the work in question had appeared — since it is in July (18 months ago) that, you began being taught the difference between Reincarnation a la Allan Kardec, or personal rebirth — and that of the Spiritual Monad; a difference first pointed out to you on July 5th at Bombay. And to allay another uneasiness of hers, say that no allegiance by her to the "Brothers" will be expected, (nor even accepted if offered) inasmuch as we have no present intention of making any further experiments with Europeans and will use no other channel than yourself to impart our Arhat philosophy. The intended experiment with Mr. Hume in 1882 failed most sadly. Better than your Wren are we entitled to the motto, Festina lente!
And now, you will please follow me into still deeper waters. An unsteady, wavering, suspicious candidate at one end of the line; a declared unprincipled, (I say the word and maintain it) vindictive enemy at the other end; and you will agree that between London and Simla we are not very likely to appear in either a very attractive or anything like a true light. Personally such a state of things is hardly calculated to deprive us of sleep; as regards the future progress of the British T.S. and a few other theosophists the current of enmity travelling between the two places is sure to affect all those who will find themselves on its way — even yourself, in the long run, perchance. Who of you could disbelieve the explicit statements of two "gentlemen" both noted for their intellectual eminence, and one of whom, at least, is as incapable of uttering an untruth as of flying in the air. Thus, end of the cycle notwithstanding, there is a great personal danger for the British T.S. as for yourself. No harm can come now to the Society; much mischief is in store for its proposed Branch and its supporters unless yourself and Mr. Massey are furnished with some facts and a key to the true situation. Now, if for certain and very good reasons, I have to leave C.C.M. to his delusions of guilt, regarding H.P.B., and my own moral shakiness, the time is ripe to show to you Mr. Hume in his true light, thus making way with one false witness against us, while deeply regretting the fact that I am bound by the rules of our Order and my own sense of honour (however little it may be worth in the eyes of a European) not to divulge at present certain facts that would show C.C.M. at once, how deeply he is in error. I may tell you no news if I say that it was Mr. Hume's attitude when the Eclectic was formed that caused our chiefs to bring Mr. Fern and Mr. Hume together. The latter reproached us vehemently for refusing to take in as chelas — himself, and that, sweet, handsome, spiritual and truth-aspiring boy — Fern. We were daily dictated laws, and as daily taken to task for being unable to realize our own interests. And it will be no news though it may disgust and shock you, to learn that the two were brought into the closest relationship in order to bring out their mutual virtues and defects — each to shine in his own true light. Such are the laws of Eastern probation. Fern was a most remarkable psychic subject, naturally — very spiritually inclined, but corrupted by Jesuit masters, and with his sixth and seventh Principles completely dormant and paralysed within him. No idea of right and wrong whatever; in short — irresponsible for anything but the direct and voluntary actions of the animal man. I would not have burdened myself with such a subject knowing beforehand that he was sure to fail. M⸫ consented, for the chiefs have so wished it; and he deemed it useful and good to show to you the moral stamina and worth of him whom you regard and call a friend. Mr. H. — you think, though lacking the finer, better feelings of a gentleman is yet one by his instincts as well as by birth. I do not pretend to be thoroughly well acquainted with the code of honour of Western nations. Yet, I doubt, whether a man who, during the absence of the proprietor of certain private letters, avails himself of the key from the pocket of a waistcoat carelessly left on the verandah during work, opens with it the drawer of a writing desk, reads the private letters of that person, takes notes from them and then uses those contents as a weapon to satisfy his hatred and vindictiveness against their writer — I doubt, I say, whether even in the West such a man would be regarded as the ideal of even the average gentleman. And this and much more, I maintain, was done by Mr. Hume. Had I told you of it last August you would have never believed me. And now I am prepared to prove it over his own signature. Having been caught in the same honest occupation by M⸫ twice, my Brother wrote purposely (or rather caused Damodar purposely to write) a certain letter to Fern enclosing a copy of a letter of Mr. H.'s to me. The knowledge of their contents was to bring out to light, when the time came, the true gentlemanly instincts and the honesty of him, who sets himself so high above humanity. He is now caught in his own meshes. Hatred, and the irresistible thirst of abusing and vilifying in a letter to Olcott one, who is so immeasurably higher than all his detractors, have led Mr. Hume into an imprudent confession. When caught and cornered — he resorts to a downright, barefaced lie.
I am going, after this preliminary entree en matiere and necessary explanation to make you acquainted with certain extracts from private letters not intended for your eye, nevertheless, far from "confidential," since in nearly every one of them Mr. H. begs the addressee to have them read by other theosophists. I hope this will not be imputed to me as a mark of "ungentlemanly instincts" by you. As to every other man, since, now-a-days, a man universally recognized as a "gentleman" is often a low wretch, and gentleman-like externals often hide the soul of a villain — he is welcome to regard me in any light he pleases. These extracts I give you because it becomes absolutely necessary that you should be correctly informed of the true nature of him, who now passes his time in writing letters to the London theosophists and candidates for membership — with the determined object of setting every mystic in the West against a Brotherhood of "atheists, hypocrites and sorcerers." It will help to guide your action in the event of possible contingencies, and mischief caused by your friend and our well-wisher, who, while denouncing my Brother, my more than friend, as a pilferer, coward, liar, and the incarnation of baseness, insults me with words of pitying praise which he thinks I am traitor enough to accept and imbecile enough not to weigh at their value. Remember — such a friend is to be guarded against as one takes precautions against a duellist who wears a corslet beneath his shirt. His good actions are many, vices far more numerous; the former have always been largely controlled and promoted by his inordinate self-love and combativeness; and if it is not yet determined which will finally control the impetus whose outcome will be his next birth, we may prophesy with a degree of perfect assurance, that he will never become an adept either in this or his future life. His "Spiritual" aspirations received a full chance to develop. He was tested, as all have to be — as the poor moth was, who was scorched in the candle of Rothney Castle and its associations — but the victor in the struggle for adeptship was ever Self and Self alone. His cerebral visions have already painted for him the image of a new Regenerator of Mankind in place of the "Brothers" whose ignorance and black magical dealings he has found out. That new Avatar does not live at Almorah but on Jakko. And so the demon — Vanity which has ruined Dayanand is ruining our quondam "friend" and preparing him to make an assault upon us and the T.S. far more savage than the Swami's. The future however may take care of itself; I shall only have to trouble you now with the data above indicated. You will now realize, perchance, why I was made to collect evidence of his untruthful, cunning nature, in October last. Nothing, my friend, — even apparently absurd and reprehensible actions — is done by us without a purpose.
On the 1st of December, Mr. H. writing to Col. O. said of us: "As for the Brothers, I have a sincere affection for K.H. and always shall have, and as for the others I have no doubt that they are very good men, and acting according to their lights. But as to their system, I am, of course, entirely opposed x x x but that has nothing to do with the exoteric practical aims of the T.S. in which and in their furtherance I can as cordially and cheerfully cooperate with your good Brothers as etc. etc."
Eight days earlier (22nd November,) he had written to P. Sreenevas Row, Judge S.C.C. at Madras, — "I find the Brotherhood a set of wicked selfish men, caring as a body for nothing but their own spiritual development (mind, in this respect K.H. is an exception but he is I believe the only one) and their system one of deception and tainted largely with sorcery (!) in that they employ spooks, i.e. elementals to perform their phenomena. As to deception, once a man has become a chela and bound himself by the vows they exact, you cannot believe a word he says; x x x he will lie systematically; as for sorcery, the fact is that until the time of Sonkapa x x x they were a set of unmitigated, vile sorcerers x x x Every chela is a slave — a slave of the most abject description — a slave in thought, as well as in word and deed x x x : our Society x x is an edifice noble in outside show — but built not on the rock of ages, but on the shifting sands of atheism, a whited sepulchre all bright x x x inside full of deceit and the dead bones of a pernicious, jesuitical system. x x x You are at liberty to make what use you please of this letter inside the Society," etc.
On the 9th of the same month he wrote to Mr. Olcott of the "manifest selfishness of the Brotherhood, intent solely on their spiritual development."
On the 8th of September in a letter to twelve chelas (the very ones he was referring to in the letter to Judge Sreenavas Row of November 22nd — after having received from them an exasperatingly candid joint reply to the aforesaid diplomatic letter — as liars and bound slaves) — he said, as you know, he "should not have expected any European to read between the lines," of his plot in the H X letter in the Theosophist; but "a set of Brahmins . . . the subtlest minds, in the world . . . not ordinary Brahmins, but men of the highest, noblest training, etc" (!!). They — "may rest assured that I (he) shall never say or do anything that is not for the advantage of the Brothers, the Society and all its objects." x x x (Thus it seems that charges of sorcery and dishonesty is to the "advantage" of Asiatic adepts). In this same letter, if you remember, he adds that it "is the most efficient weapon for the conversion of the infidels at home yet forged," and that he "of course expected" (by writing this letter in the Theosophist) "to take our dear old lady in — I could not take her into the plot," etc. etc.
With all his cunning and diplomacy he really seems to suffer from a loss of memory. Not only had he taken the "dear old lady" into the plot in a long private letter written to her a few hours after the said "efficient weapon" had been sent for publication, (a letter sent by her to you and which you lost in your packing up at Simla to come down) but he had actually gone out of his way to put a few words of explanation on the back of the said "Letter." It is preserved as every other MSS by Damodar and the note runs thus . . . "Please print this carefully and without alteration. It answers admirably Davison's and other letters from home." . . . (Extracts from these letters were enclosed in his manuscript). . . . We can't long I fear bolster up — but hints like these will help to break the fall" etc. . . .
Having thus himself forged this most efficient "weapon for the conversion of the infidels at home," as to our actual existence, and unable henceforth to deny it, what better antidote than to add to the hints therein contained full and well defined charges of sorcery, etc.?
When accused by the 12 Chelas in their joint answer to his letter to them, of a deliberate falsification of facts with reference to the "dear Old Lady" whom he had, notwithstanding all he could say to the contrary, "taken into the plot" he writes in a letter to Subba Row that he had never done so. That his letter to the "Madam" explaining to her the whys and reasons for that "Letter" of his by "H.X." — was written and sent to her long after the said denunciatory Letter "was already in print." To this Subba Row, in his letter to whom he had bitterly abused and vilified M⸫, answered by quoting to him the very words he had written on the back of the manuscript thus showing to him how useless was any further falsehood. And now you may judge of his love for Subba Row!
And now comes the bouquet. Writing on the 1st of December to Mr. Olcott (letter first above referred to), he distinctly claims adept powers. "I am very sorry I cannot join you Bsody in Bombay — but — if allowed I may nevertheless perhaps assist you there . . ." Yet in Fern's case he says "it is a perfect chaos and no one can tell what is really owing and what is not;" and several letters upon the same topic teem with acknowledgment that he had no power to see what was going on "during the past six months." Quite the contrary, it would seem, since in a letter to me within this period he describes himself as "not on a level spiritually with him (Fern) Sinnett" and others. He did not dare brag to me of his spiritual clairvoyance; but now, having "broken forever with the Tibetan Sorcerers" his potential adept powers have suddenly developed into monstrous proportions. They must have been from birth marvellously great since, he informs Olcott (same letter) that a "certain amount of Pranavam for a few months (six weeks in all) was necessary to ensure concentration — at first. x x x I have passed that stage and — I am a Yogi."
The charge preferred now against him is of so grave a character, that I would have never asked you to believe it on my simple assertion. Hence — this long letter, and the following evidence which, please read with the utmost care and drawing your conclusions solely on that evidence.
In his July letter to me he imputes to us the blame for Fern's course of falsehood, his pretended visions and pretended inspirations from us; and in the letter to Mr. Olcott (December 1st) he charges Morya, my beloved brother, with acting "in a most dishonourable manner," adding that he has "never since looked upon him as a gentleman, for having caused Damodar x x x to send Fern a transcript of my confidential report on him. x x x " This he regards as "a dishonourable breach of confidence" — so gross that "Moriar was afraid (!!) to let even K.H. know how he had stolen and made a bad use of my letter to him. K.H. is a gentleman I believe and would scorn so base an act." No doubt, I would had it been done without my knowledge and were it not absolutely necessary — in view of clearly foreseen events to bring Mr. Hume to betray himself and thus counteract the influence and authority of his vindictive nature. The letter so transcribed was not marked confidential, and the words "I am ready to say so to Fern's face, at any day" — are there. However — the unmeasured abuse and his truly saintly and gentlemanly indignation at M⸫'s treachery are followed by these words of confession (1); very startling as you will see: ". . . Fern does not, let me do him that justice, know to this day that I knew of this" i.e. of the letter pilfered by M⸫ and sent to Fern through Damodar. In short, then, Mr. Hume had means of reading the contents of a private letter addressed to Fern registered, sent to his (Mr. Hume's) care, kept in a drawer of a table belonging to the house. The proof is complete since it is himself who furnishes it. How then? Of course, either by reading its physical substance with his natural eyes, or, its astral essence by transcendental power. If the latter, then by what brief forcing system was the psychic power of this "Yogi," who, in July last, was "not on a level spiritually" with yourself, or even with Fern, suddenly shot out into such full flower and fruitage, whereas it takes even us, trained "sorcerers" ten or fifteen years to acquire it? Besides, if, this and other letters to Fern, were presented to him in the "astral light" (as he maintains in his letter in reply to Col. O's query, herein enclosed), how comes it that the benevolent Almorah genius (through whose help he suddenly acquired such tremendous powers) could cause him to take note of the contents, to read word for word and to remember only such letters as were kept by Fern — in accordance with M⸫'s positive orders — in his desk in Mr. Hume's house? While, we defy him to repeat one word of other and (for him) far more important letters sent by my Brother to the "probationary chela" in which the latter was forbidden to keep them at Rothney Castle, but had them securely shut up in a locked desk at his own house? These queries, arising at M⸫'s will in Olcott's mind he flatly put the question to Mr. Hume. As M⸫'s chela revering him, of course, as a Father as well as Teacher he very properly put to this Censor Elegantiarum the direct question whether he had been himself guilty of the very "dishonourable" breach of gentlemanlike conduct of which he was complaining in Morya's case (and unjustly as you now see; for what he did had my approval, since it was a necessary part of a preconceived plan to bring out — besides Mr. H.'s true nature, — of a disgraceful situation, itself developed by the wicked appetites, follies and karma of sundry weak men — ultimate good, as you will find).
We have no gentlemen — now at all events, that would come up to the Simla standard — in Tibet, though many honest and truthful men. To Mr. Olcott's question came a reply so reeking with deliberate, bare falsehood, foolish vanity, and so miserable an attempt to explain away the only possible theory that without the owner's knowledge he had read his private correspondence, that I have asked Morya to procure it for me for you to read. After doing this you will kindly return it to me through Dharbagiri Nath who will he at Madras within this week.
I have done an unpleasant and distasteful task, but a great point will be achieved if it helps you to know us better — whether your European standard of right and wrong inclines the scales in your opinion either one way or the other. Perchance, you may find yourself in C.C.M.'s attitude deploring to find yourself obliged to either accept or reject for ever such a "distressing moral paradox" as myself. No one would regret it more deeply than I; but our Rules have proved wise and beneficent to the world in the long run, and the world in general and its individual units especially are so terribly wicked that one has to fight each one with his or her own weapons.
As the situation stands at present, and though we would not allow too much "procrastination" it does seem desirable that you should go for a few months home — say till June. But unless you go to London and with C.C.M.'s help explain the true situation and establish the Society yourself, Mr. Hume's letters will have done too much harm to undo the mischief. Thus your temporary absence will have achieved a dual good purpose: the foundation of a true theosophical occult Society, and the salvation of a few promising individuals for future careers, now jeopardized. Besides, your absence from India will not be an unmixed evil since the friends of the country will feel your loss, and perhaps be all the more ready for your recall: especially if the Pioneer changes its tone. Some of your holiday time it might be agreeable to you to utilize in one form or another of theosophical writing. You have now a large store of materials, and if you would contrive to get copies of the didactic papers given to Mr. Hume it would be a timely precaution. He is a prolific letter-writer and now that he has disburdened himself of all restraints he will bear close watching. Remember the Chohan's prophesy.
Yours ever sincerely,
1. Fern was at Bombay and he dreaded the just denial of even a "rascal." (return to text)